A few weeks ago I met up with Julie and Stephen very early on a sunny Monday morning for a sunrise anniversary session. Stephen and Julie are missionaries to Africa that were heading out of town a few days after our shoot, and a sunrise shoot was the only time that worked for both of us. But as I began to think more about them and their story, I thought it was so fitting that we did a sunrise shoot, which ironically was only my second sunrise shoot in al the years I’ve been shooting. You see, Julie and Stephen are a young couple who are in love with Jesus and willing to do whatever He calls them to, but they are also a young couple who has endured hardship on a level that nobody should ever have to. During their session it was so evident to me that they were allowing God to teach them whatever lessons He could through this last year of pain and struggle but that, no matter what life may bring, they were choosing joy. They stood under the willow tree and laughed, heartily and genuinely and I couldn’t help but think about what an amazing picture that was of what God has done in their lives. Throughout their entire session they were both so full of joy. Whether it was in the little dry humor one liners Stephen was whispering in Julie’s ears, or her sweet and adorable laugh…the joy of the Lord just radiated from them. Between that weeping willow tree, the joy on their faces, and the fact that it was early in the morning, I was reminded of Psalm 30:05 that says “Though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning” and how much Julie and Stephen are truly a testament of that scripture.
Continue to pray for them as this week, in particular, is a challenging one. If you want to read more of their story and support their mission, you are welcome to here. Pray, also, for Julie’s health as she was recently admitted to the hospital and is being treated for Malaria.
Julie and Stephen, it was truly an honor to capture your love and dedication both to each other and to the Lord. I hope you cherish these images and that they serve as a reminder of how great the love and grace of our God is.