“It’s a God thing…”
This last weekend, we photographed my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. Before leaving that morning, I told Grant that I was nervous about this session because, not only are they my parents and I wanted to make sure we gave them really good photos, but also because I wanted to be sure they would have a good time and not melt in the heat. Taking anniversary photos of a couple who has been married for 40 years could’ve been very difficult, but not with these two. My parents flirt with each other all the time and I love that!! It not only makes it super easy to photograph them and get genuine smiles and connection, it’s just such an amazing example for what a marriage can be like. Honestly, my parents are an example of what we want for all of our couples, as well as for ourselves! We want long, fulfilling marriages for everyone that will be wrapped up in love, and sprinkled with flirting. 😉
At one point during their session, my parents got out of their car (after taking a much needed AC break from the 90 degree heat), and were smiling and laughing like two young people that were about to get married. I may have asked if they had been making out, and they laughed and said they were just so thankful for their life and marriage. You guys, they had spent that break praying and thanking God for their marriage. They told us, “it’s a God thing,” because it’s the only way a marriage for that many years can be truly beautiful, fulfilling and full of love.
I think it’s only fair to share more of my parents’ story in case you think it’s only been sunshine and roses. My parents were married on March 15th, 1980, and moved from Missouri to Colorado for the first several years. During that time they had two children. Their second was born with Down Syndrome and congenital heart defect, and initially they were told she would only live for 48 hours. She had open heart surgery at a very young age, but she has now lived to be in her mid-thirties, proving that God had more for her. This all happened in the first 4 years of their marriage. They moved back to Missouri to be close to family, and there had eight more children. They suffered several miscarriages throughout that time. Little Ricky (named after my dad), was their ninth child and was also born with Down Syndrome and severe congenital heart defect. He would only live 5 1/2 months and then was taken home to Jesus. You can read more about his short but meaningful life here, written by my dad. They’ve experienced the death of a grandchild, Ella Violet, and the pain of watching their daughter and son-in-law go through suffering and grief. Over the last few years, my mom, who is super healthy and used to run 7 miles every other day, has dealt with 5 strokes that were really unexplainable for someone in such good health. Despite all this, they still always point everything back to Christ and are daily living out life in glory to Him.
Life for my parents hasn’t been easy or without suffering, but because of their faith and belief in God, their marriage has flourished and grown in ways that others will never know. Suffering like this and losing a child ends many marriages, but I am so thankful that God held my parents together. And like they said, “It’s a God thing.” God is the one to hold, protect, care for and love us through life and all glory is given to Him.
There’s so much more that could be said about my parents, but I know that they wouldn’t want this post to be all about them. Instead, they would want it to display Christ and His work in and through them. I think their life is a perfect testimony of how God can create beauty out of suffering, and how He never leaves His children to suffer alone. He is the only one who can truly bring happiness and joy to a marriage. My parents’ relationship is truly an example of what Christ meant for marriage to be. Their marriage reflects Christ and I’m so thankful that each one of us (their children) get to witness that and strive for it in our own marriages.
I hope you enjoy these photos from my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, and if you’re married or engaged, may this post serve as an encouragement to you! Marriage is a great and amazing journey and the joy these two have is perfectly seen shining out! 🙂
Dad & Mom, thank you so much for always showing us Christ, and for showing us how beautiful a marriage can be no matter what you go through. We love you so much!!
Florals: Sugarberry Blooms
Artwork: Virginia Graham Designs
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