As you can tell by the fact that we’re sharing his newborn session along with his 8 week pictures, it’s been an exciting ride! Tons of cuddles, midnight feedings, and unimaginable amount of diapers have been the biggest part of our life’s story these past few weeks.
But as we adjust to our new normal (and Josiah’s Memaw comes over to play with him), new content is hitting the blog!
Every time I look at Josiah, I see more than just our precious baby. I also see years of prayers answered in his sweet smiles and eyes shining with life. So many years, so many people, so many prayers.
God has been faithful through them all.
Almost 8 years ago, we began praying that God would bless us with a baby. Life was vibrant and we adored our growing business and life adventures, but our hearts dreamed of a family. Three years later, we found out we were pregnant. I’ll never forget that day and the joy we felt!
We were in Savannah, GA for a long weekend getaway around that time. We visited an amazing little church on Sunday evening and enjoyed worship and fellowship with them. As the pastor announced that yet another member of the congregation was expecting, he joked about not drinking the water if you didn’t want to get pregnant.
Just for giggles, I made sure I drank the water. It couldn’t hurt, right? Little did we know that just a few days later, we’d see the double lines we’d been praying over 3 years for.
What a happy time! We couldn’t wait to tell our families and best friends. We were so excited that we started collecting baby items to stash in my hope chest.
A few weeks later, our baby’s heart stopped beating. It was the most devastating day of our lives. I remember coming home from that doctor’s appointment and wandering around the house in a daze, feeling completely numb. In that moment, I truly didn’t know how life could possibly go on like “normal”. While we fully believed that God had a plan and that His will was being done, it was still inexpressibly hard to say goodbye and continue on. Losing a baby is a grief that never truly goes away.
I still dream about our baby. He is so very loved by us and by His Father in heaven. Knowing that he is worshipping at our Father’s feet and that we’ll meet him someday in heaven is one of my heart’s most precious treasures. Tears still flow as I hold him in our hearts (and as I write this), but I can see even more clearly now how God has used our story for His kingdom throughout these years.
To describe all the ways losing our baby has impacted our lives would fill many pages. It’s given us a much deeper way of walking alongside others in grief, waiting, and hope. We’ve learned more intimately about opening our hands and surrendering to God.
We navigated through those times, still with scars but filled with peace because of the hope we have in God.
In the meantime, we decided to be thankful for the time we had to be flexible. We dove into building our photography business, learned about real estate investing and started two investing companies, traveled all over the world, and found endless opportunities to serve the church and the community with our time and energy.
All the time, we rested in our Father’s love and waited (mostly) patiently for His timing.
Three years after we said goodbye to our baby, we found ourselves twice blessed. Oh, the complex emotions of joy, fear, faith, and doubt! Joel was my rock as always, but my heart trembled with fear that we would have to relive the crushing experience of miscarriage again. If I could go back, I wish so much that I didn’t let the fear steal the joy of those first few weeks. But God worked even through my struggles, and I saw more clearly what it meant to put my trust in Him who directs the future.
As the weeks went by, God peeled away layers of fear and doubt to bring about a deeper joy. I felt His nearness in a new way. More clearly I saw how everything is upheld by His hand, no matter how little or great my faith is in each trial.
In the meantime, we both took advantage of our time together and prepared for our new baby. We traveled to Vancouver, Victoria, Alaska, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and many other places where we marveled in God’s diverse creation. We dove in and built up our photography business to an even more luxurious experience. Creating content, mentoring and encouraging other entrepreneurs, and mastering new skills gave us mile long to-do lists. Along the way, we looked for ways to serve our church and our community.
God answered prayer upon prayer. Josiah Ashton Palmer joined our family on January 22nd. He’s a healthy, happy little boy and so loved.
Words can’t even describe how thankful we are and how much he’s loved. And every time I see his face, I remember how many prayers brought us to this moment.
God is faithful, He is good. He doesn’t always write our story in the way we “think” He should, but His ways are so above ours. Through the pain, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I believe our journey is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
Josiah’s newborn pictures became one of my favorite parts of this story. One of our good friends happens to be an amazing newborn photographer. She took a rest from her business when her family grew, but she breaks out her camera for newborn snuggles for some of her friends.
Ashley and her husband Matt are dear friends from our church, and they walked with us through this journey. Their encouragement and the example of faith that they’ve been to us throughout these years has strengthened us in many dark times. We’re so very thankful for them and their friendship, and having Ashley and Joel photograph Josiah’s newborn session was incredibly special.
Welcome home, Josiah!
All dressed and cute to pick up Grandma Van Vuren from the airport.
We needed to take some pictures for a project with Huntsville Botanical Garden, so we brought along Grandma and Grandpa Van Vuren and made it Josiah’s first family outing!
Lots of newborn snuggles with Memaw Palmer.
Aww! We love you, too, little buddy.
It was time for our March session at the Botanical Garden. It wouldn’t be complete without our little assistant! He got to meet the sweet ladies in the HBG facilities rental office, and he was such a charmer! Smiles for all of them.
Sweet Josiah, you are Mommy and Daddy’s most wonderful gift. We can’t wait to see what God has planned for you. You’ve made us grow in so many ways already. You are so loved!
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