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A Story of Grace

Be prepared. This is a very different post. This post is straight from my heart.

There are a lot of things I have wanted to share on my website that I haven’t gotten around to, forgotten about, or have been scared to post because of the reaction that may entail.

Today, I want to share with you a piece of my heart that very few people have seen. I am doing this not to strike a reaction or even because it’s therapeutic, I want to show you, my brides and readers, friends and family, what makes me who I am. Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of why I am a wedding photographer and so very passionate about love!

I smile and tear up a little every time I see this video or watch Up. You see, my husband is a very special man. You know he stole my heart.

When we were dating, he showed no fear in meeting my family even if he did travel 375 miles on a bus to meet me and my family all at the same time for the very first time. Let me tell you, this boy had guts! We were introduced over the phone by a mutual friend and met for the first time 3 months later, that is when the bus ride came in.

Now to get to our very own Up story.

When this movie came out, I don’t remember it being very well advertised or I wasn’t as well ‘connected’ as I am now. Either way, I had never heard of it. My family was planning a trip to Pennsylvania and Matthew, my husband, was planning on coming from Long Island to go with us. I found out I had to work and didn’t end up making the trip. Guess who decided to travel with my family to meet my extended family by himself for the very first time? You would be right. Matthew, the man on a mission to show my family he was the guy for me, went to Pennsylvania to meet my family and he made a fabulous impression.

While they were in Pennsylvania, they went to the theater and watched Up. Yes, they got to see it before I did. Both my brother and Matthew called me, at different times mind you, to tell me that Up was the story of us, Matthew and I. From that moment on, I wasn’t allowed to watch previews or sneak peeks of this movie before Matthew could watch it with me. I had to wait until it came out on DVD!!!

We FINALLY watched it and I loved it! If you know us, you know how much we our personalities are similar to the characters. Well, it quickly became ‘our’ movie and was watched frequently.

Matthew even proposed as we stared up into a clear blue sky, pointing out cloud shapes. I love him!

Every time I watched it though I would skip the part where they realize they have lost their first, and only, child. You see, this was always my greatest fear.

I had never wanted children. Matthew you knew that from the first time we talked. It’s funny how a man you love can change your mind and your dreams quickly  to coincide with his. He told me very early on that he would never set foot in Disney World until his kids were old enough to take. This being a much bigger sacrifice if you knew he lived 20 minutes from Disney at the time. I, of course, thought that was the most adorable thing and I soon decided that I may someday, far in the future, may want kids too.

Back to my greatest fear. After giving my husband the joy of knowing I wanted children as much as he did someday, I began to realize all of the things that could go wrong. I worry by nature, so I go through all of the worst case scenarios. My greatest fear quickly became a miscarriage. Carrying a life and beginning to fall in love and then realizing I would never meet them.

I would skip this part of the movie because I never wanted to realize my fear. I always thought God would protect me from such heart ache. Our kids would be happy, healthy, and wise. Miscarriage was not in the plan.

6 months ago, we received wonderful and beautiful news. We were pregnant! After 2 years of marriage and waiting so patiently, we were going to become parents. Something we had been longing for for over a year! We knew we should wait to announce, just in case, and so we waited. We told only a few of our closest friends and family. We went to our first doctors appointment and everything was amazing. We couldn’t hear a heartbeat yet as the doctor said it was probably still a little too early to do it in office and we scheduled our first ultrasound. We waited ever so patiently and we waited some more. The day before our first ultrasound we decided to announce. We were bursting to tell and everyone had assured us that I was perfectly healthy and everything was just fine.

Everyone was so excited for us. It was wonderful!

We went to our ultrasound on a Friday afternoon, receiving phone calls every few minutes from my mother wanting to make sure we shared every last detail 🙂 We got there and the technician was a 4th year medical student, who knew what he was doing, but even he was a little unsure when he couldn’t quite get a picture or hear a heartbeat. We thought the monitor must have been on silent and that the baby must be hiding. The tech called in the resident and she did the same things and still nothing. They told us to go down for blood work while we waited to hear from the doctor.

The doctor had already left for the weekend and the on call doctor talked to us on the phone. The only words I really remember from that conversation were muddled. Your sweet baby should be 9 weeks along but is only showing up as 6 weeks…this happens sometimes…it is hard to say but…there is no heartbeat…

I grasped for words. Praying she was wrong. That everyone was wrong. There was no way, we were going to live the part of the story I had skipped for so many years. I wasn’t going to let it be true.

I had never seen my husband cry. It is safe to say we both cried, even wept, enough for the rest of our lives.

My greatest fear had come true and we would not be meeting our precious, sweet baby.

It has taken me many months to come to terms with that sentence. There was a time that I did not think I would get past that statement.

I would not be where I am today without my Jesus. If you had told me 5 years ago, even 6 month ago, that I would be a successful wedding photographer, 20 weddings this year (woot!), with a wonderful husband who loves me and a sweet baby in heaven, I would have stood there mouth open in disbelief. You see, Jesus is the coordinator of my life. He has perfectly orchestrated every second, minute, and hour of my existence.

If my first love, at 17, did not shatter my heart, I would never have fallen in love with Jesus and found that He is the perfect love. I would not have been ready for what happened next.

If He hadn’t made it clear that I could not afford a $36,000 a year private college, I never would have gone to a smaller Christian school and met one of my very best friends. She would not have introduced me to Matthew and I would have never married the love of my life, who lived 600 miles away. Safe to say, we never would have crossed paths without Jesus’ perfect plan and I would not have been ready to love him.

If I had never gone to my cousin’s wedding 2 years ago with my camera, I would not have fallen in love with capturing love at it’s very brightest. The husband, I almost didn’t meet, would not have told me that I had a gift for capturing love and I needed to open a business that would allow me to do just that.

Without the love of my Jesus, I never would have understood why He sometimes takes things away. He had not even allowed me hear my sweet baby’s heartbeat. Not even once! It’s just that simple. Sometimes things are too difficult to understand. That is where a great amount of trust comes in to play. I am not very good at trusting anyone with anything. Let alone trusting that everything is going to be ok when something horrific happens.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ephesians 3:1-8

That is really why I am writing this to you. I trust Jesus. He has provided so many things to me. Things I could never understand. Some things that I love dearly and some memories that I wish would disappear. I now know Jesus did not allow me to see or hear my baby because He knew how much that would have destroyed me. God always protects! We decided to name the sweet gift God had given us, even if it was for such a short time. We chose the name Grace, yes it is a girl’s name, because of the meaning behind the word. It speaks of God’s love and mercy towards us. How He spares us from pain even though we may still feel a bit of it.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love {God} never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

The morning after we found out we had lost our sweet baby Grace, we booked a wedding. It was a hard day then, but it started a whirlwind of bookings and meeting so many wonderful people! You see, the wedding we booked that day we would have had to turn away if we were still pregnant as it was 2 weeks before my due date. I am not saying I would rather shoot weddings than have a baby. I wish every day that we could somehow still be pregnant and be having a baby in July. What I am saying is that everything happens for a reason. I will never understand why, but I trust my Jesus. He knows exactly what I need and when.

Maybe we were not ready to have kids. I know no one ever is, but you get what I’m saying. Maybe our precious baby had a terrible illness and would have lived a life of pain. We will never know until we get to meet in Heaven. I am so excited for that day, you have no idea! I know, whatever the reason, my Jesus loves me and my little family VERY much and I will do everything I can to share my story!

Just like Carl and Ellie, we are living a life of love together. Matthew and I work side by side every day shooting weddings and engagements and enjoying the love we get share. Everything happens for reason and we are so excited to see what happens next!

Think back through your life. Do you see God’s hand working in silly and crazy ways? Thank Him! He made you who you are in all the joys, pain, sorrow, and laughter.

Enjoy life!

I know this hasn’t been filled with pictures, so enjoy my reasons for becoming a wedding photographer and loving what I get to do every day 🙂

See the rest of their gallery next week!

  • Erin - April 9, 2013 - 10:04 am

    This was beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • MMPhoto - April 9, 2013 - 10:17 am

      You were one of the reasons I decided to share this story early <3
      Love you!ReplyCancel

  • KERISSA Hollenbeck - April 9, 2013 - 10:36 am

    What a beautiful story brought tears to my eyes. You have a beautiful love for one another. May God continue to bring you many blessings in your marriage. Love you guys!!!ReplyCancel

  • Bianca Slivinski - April 10, 2013 - 11:47 am

    Debby,

    That is such a beautiful story and I’m so overwhelmed with emotion that I can’t even describe it. Needless to say I was brought to tears. I’m so glad you shared this story. I never knew how you and your husband met. That is the cutest most sweetest thing! And you’re right, we may not understand it at times, but God certainly has his ways.
    God bless you and your little family.
    <3ReplyCancel

    • MMPhoto - April 10, 2013 - 8:21 pm

      Bianca,

      Thank you so very much! You have become such a sweet friend 🙂ReplyCancel

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