**NOTE: I know you all come here for the photos, which there will be plenty! But please, if you don't mind, read this post. Then visit the site links. And please be in prayer for this family. Thank you:) **
It's a strange thing to be so excited to meet a new client's family and so deeply saddened at the same time because of the circumstance. This is how I felt the week of March 1. Sarah contacted me after being introduced through a friend and asked if I could shoot a session for her family. Her middle child, 6 year old Faith, had just (and I mean literally 2 weeks earlier) been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given about 6 months to live. After hearing the news, I went to Faith's carebridge site to learn more. I cried. And cried more. And read entries out loud to Matt while crying. I didn't know Faith at the time but a close friend and client, Kelli, has a 6 year old girl and I just put them in the same place. I imagined Kelli going through this and couldn't bare the thought. I prayed so hard that night that God would heal and comfort little Faith and put her in great spirits for our upcoming session so they could have happy and wonderful memories to take home forever!
I told Kelli the story. She was in. Anything to help, and committed to being there to do make-up. Then told Leanna, and she rescheduled clients so she could be there to do hair for the shoot. I told Kara and she dropped plans and picked up some fun things to bring to the shoot and spent time hanging out. Then I was connected with Bryan F through my friend Amy C to help shoot and take video. Lastly, Amy Parrish (who, at the time, I had never met) offered her studio for us to use to stay out of the cold! Praise God for this incredibly willing group of friends.
March 6th was the big day! The ladies + Bryan showed up to get things rollin. We had Faith's favorite singer, Taylor Swift, blasting in the background. It was fun, loud, and colorful in that studio!
Right off the bat, Faith seemed to be a little upset (her mom warned me about this). But we continued with make-up hoping for the happiness to come...
When Faith's make-up was done, we were so excited for her to see herself in the mirror. But we certainly weren't prepared for what happened. Here is how Sarah described it on her blog:
"One moment from the shoot sticks out in my mind that just utterly broke my heart in two. One I will not forget. Faith is very self conscious. She has not looked in a mirror since the day we entered the hospital. When we handed her the mirror she put her head back a little with no expression on her face and tears just start rolling down her beautiful little cheeks. She did not want to tell me what is wrong, but finally I got it out of her and she said "Mommy, I am fat." My heart hurt so much for her. Her face is very swollen and she has gained a lot of weight due to steroids. We all told her that she looks so amazing and she is not fat, but very swollen from steriods."
My heart sank. This was a tough moment on the entire group.
In the emotion of the day, Bryan (shown below) brought out a little something for Faith to enjoy.
...A polaroid camera! And the funny story here is that Faith had JUST asked me why my photos didn't come out of the camera when I shot.
After the reveal, the next 30 minutes looked like this...
And because of that little camera, we started getting smiles like this...
The rest of the shoot went much better! We captured some special moments with the family....
...which was such a blessing. I knew the Faith we were with at the beginning was not the real Faith. It just took some time to settle in.
And as Faith's energy was winding down after a few hours of shooting, Trinity's was still goin strong:)
We called it a day and started packing up the clothes, accessories, make-up, and yummy cupcakes. And as Sarah led her family to the car, we snagged one quick pic with Faith:)
Sarah wrote this on the blog recently:
"Today was filled with many tears and lots of pain, but more than anything thankfulness that she is breathing and is close to me. I love you God for letting me have her today. Please bless us with many more days together. And God if it is not too much to ask please heal her, so that I don't have to miss her."
I can't begin to understand the pain she is going through. But something came to me after shooting that day. A song. One of my favorite songs, "how he loves" by John Mark McMillian, also performed by The David Crowder Band. It's so comforting to know that no matter what we're dealing with, what crazy things come our way that seem to shake the ground below us, that God has a strong and steadfast love for us. He's consistent. He won't fail us or leave us. If you've never heard the song, please listen to it real quick. It's not long. The message is so strong and written by him the morning after his best friend was killed in a car accident.
Sarah, your family is in my prayers as well as the prayers of many friends of mine. I believe in miracles.
To make a donation to Faith's family, go here.
Please continue to follow Faith's journey and pray for their family.