Right after announcing our engagement on Facebook, the place where all good news goes viral, Jake received a message from a friend of his offering to help us out with engagement pictures. When you meet, get engaged, and get married within a 3 month period, there are certain things you kind of expect to forego. Engagement pictures were on the list of things I thought we wouldn't fit in. And here it was, the opportunity to preserve this moment in time in picture form. Anyone who really knows me knows that I am all about preserving moments, places I have been, and meals I have eaten... with pictures. Check out my 100+ Facebook photo albums for proof.
We scheduled a photo shoot for last Saturday. Jake and I spent the day shopping for new clothes, and at the end of the day, Jake had several bags of new things and I had nothing. It was a typical case of "When I don't need something, I find a million things I want. When I need something, I find nothing". I had a few outfits in mind, and I went home to try them on, only to find that my lunch on the patio at Gloria's had left me with a weird, noticeable tan line that would not work with my favorite shirt. My Plan B dress had gotten about 4 inches shorter than I remember it, and was more fitting to be worn as a shirt than a dress. In my frustration, I quickly dressed in an outfit that I did not love, grabbed my makeup to be finished in the car, and headed to go take engagement pictures.
Our photographer, Jennifer Smith (click her name to check out her work!) is super talented and was incredibly fun to work with. Posing for pictures is awkward to say the least, and Jake and I had difficulty keeping a straight face. We would never make it on America's Top Model. But we walked up and down the streets of Deep Ellum, and we had a great time trying to look natural. Jennifer had great ideas, and she laughed right along with us as we laughed at ourselves. And in the end, I had such a good time that I completely forgot that I was not wearing a cute new outfit.
Last night was a weird night. Jake and I received some bad news, and we were sitting around consoling one another and trying to figure out exactly what to feel about it. We both checked our messages and found that Jennifer had finished editing our pictures. Within an hour, we had an email with almost 20 pictures of our fun afternoon in Dallas. And they were awesome. We do not look like supermodels. I don't think I am sucking in my stomach in even one picture, and it shows. We are laughing in most of them. As I scrolled through the photos, I took a break from the tears, and we laughed. Simple gifts. Jennifer didn't know that we needed those pictures just then, but God did.
I don't believe in coincidence. I believe in the providence and sovereignty of God. I also believe that James 1:17 is true when it says that every good and perfect gift is from above. And so, in the kindness and thoughtfulness of others, I get to experience the goodness of God. And over the last few weeks, I have experienced it. Perfectly beautiful wedding invitations. Origami crane folding (and buying, Becky!) friends all over the country. Running across the words "I Love Julie" scrawled into a concrete sidewalk while taking engagement pictures. Towels perfectly folded by my handsome soon-to-be-husband. Praying friends that are just one phone call or text away. Simple gifts. And I am incredibly thankful.