faithbooking, my friend renee & life’s unexpected turns

© Tina Vega Photography

I photographed a Legacy Session on Saturday that has deep roots for me.  Renee and I first met at a Hosanna faithbooking crop many years ago; when I received her registration information for the crop, the last name jumped out at me.  Turns out she was married to someone I had attended grade school with a very long time ago – someone I rode the bus with but didn’t really know.  Many would call it “coincidence” that she ended up at the crop, however I do not.  (You will find my take on the C-word HERE.)  Though I wasn’t sure why God had connected the two of us, I knew He was involved.

© Tina Vega Photography

Renee ended up joining the bible study I was in and we became friends.  She, too, had experienced the pain of pregnancy loss and had given me the most beautiful book as a gift:

renee book

We talked about our babies being in heaven together and reuniting with them someday.  [I was so touched by it that I blessed many other mommas over the years who had also experienced infant/pregnancy loss with the very same book.  Renee planted that seed.]  It brought great healing to my soul.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

In 2010, Renee was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.  After months of chemo and surgery, it looked like she was cancer-free.  And then something unexpected happened…

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She got pregnant!!!  It wasn’t even on the radar after all she had been through; Renee was certain that season had passed.  Seeing her pregnant momma tummy, gave me such joy.  Pure and utter joy.  It was a tremendous blessing.  A gift.  I prayed, as I am sure many others did, that God would protect that tiny baby for the duration of her pregnancy.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

Shortly before her son’s due date, I asked Renee if I could photograph her family and share her story on my blog.  We were working to make that happen when Renee’s life took another unexpected turn.  Nodules were discovered on her lungs and her doctor thought it best to deliver her son as soon as possible. 

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He was born healthy, whole, and strong despite the early delivery.  A gift to be celebrated!  That was one year ago October.  Just days later, she received news that the breast cancer had spread to her lungs.  Now Stage IV, the cancer is incurable.

Which means each day is a gift to be celebrated. 

© Tina Vega Photography

I had the honor and privilege of photographing her son’s baptism last weekend.  And it was a day full of wiggles and hugs, smiles and love.

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

And pizza.  😀

© Tina Vega Photography© Tina Vega Photography

I said at the top of this post that I knew God was involved.  He still is!  Smack dab in the middle.  As mentioned HERE, God has a purpose and a plan – for you, for me, and for Renee.  My reminder for the ladies at each faithbooking crop was that our time here on Earth is limited.  Make the most of each moment.  Live with intention.  Love with purpose.

© Tina Vega Photography

Rejoice in today!

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