G Family

I'm not a writer. I love to read well written words, and wish that it was a talent I could call my own. 
But honestly, I stink at grammar, and it takes me a day and a half to come up with a well composed paragraph. So I will keep it real and say this the only way I know how. With sincerity and heart.

Today Shantel Gehring survived her third open heart surgery in two years. She is a wife, and a mother to four beautiful small children. She is an example to anyone that meets her. To love life and to live it to it's fullest. Her open approach to life is warm and welcoming. 

A week ago I woke during the night thinking of Shantel and was left with the urge to call her in the morning to ask her if I could take pictures of her with her family before her upcoming surgery.

Today was that day.
She left her children this morning not knowing if she would see them again tomorrow. 
She went into surgery hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. 
Everything that could have been done was. Her only "to do" was to have a family picture taken.
She had actually told my sister in law (who didn't say anything to me) that she wanted someone to use her camera and get a family shot before her surgery. The next night I woke up thinking of her. 
As Shantel put it, it was an answer to prayer. A tender mercy.
Not only for her, but me. 

I left this home feeling like this play of events was not only for them, but for me as well. 
Service has never been something I am great at. It doesn't come natural to me and I often have good intentions and don't follow through on them. Six months ago I had a very real and hard realization that a lot of the things I wish to be different in my life are actually my fault. I came to understand that through service, I would be able to improve myself where I know I lack.
Life has gotten the better of me, and I am not sure I can say I have done much in regard to helping others. This clear call, this desire that woke me in the night not only fulfilled her wish, but it strengthened my heart as well.

The thought that I felt prompted to do this was a little unsettling to be honest.
I know it worried her husband. I wanted to reassure him that everything would be fine. That this was possibly for my benefit. Tonight I feel like I can do that. I sit here fully optimistic that God is real. He knows each of our needs. And he meets our needs through others...


Ashley said…
Gosh. You've got me in tears. You have a real talent. These pictures tell such a sweet story. What a treasure.

As for you, I think you are far more giving than you think you are. It's too bad we are all so hard on ourselves.

What an amazing gift you've given Shantel and her family. I just love these...
Unknown said…
I'm in tears too. That was amazing Jess and you are an incredible person. Such an awesome gift you gave them!
Casey Martinez said…
Yup, I'm all choked up this morning too...that being said, I think you are a better writer than you realize and I just love how honestly you share what you are learning in life. I could use to take a note from your book in that regard. BEAUTIFUL pictures of a lovely family and an ever so strong and courageous momma. Really what you have reminded us all of...what she has reminded us all of is that life is a gift and a tremendous blessing...one that I haven't felt in quite some time and every day is a present to be cherished. Thank you for that reminder and God Bless her speedy recovery!
gina bina said…
You are perfect Jess and a wonderful example to others and myself. What a beautiful experience for you and this family. Such incredible women in this world!! xo
Amanda said…
Well it's a good thing I haven't put on my make-up yet this morning. I am now a blubbering mess.
I agree with Ashley. You are much to hard on yourself. You are a great writer, many of the things you have posted here and on instagram have impacted me or my day. You are also SO giving. This thing you did for Paul and Shantel is HUGE! I have benefited from your kindness a few times myself and I think you may be forgetting all the little kind things that you do for others.
Andrea said…
I am totally in tears!!! The photos are amazing and beautiful - no surprise with such a fantastic photographer and gorgeous subjects. I love it - I love the story behind it and think everyone involved - you and Shantel and family are amazing!
Toni444 said…
Yes, my friend, I think I'm a good story for me and many others.


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