I love doing senior pictures. It’s such an amazing time in someone’s life and so unique too. The satisfaction of accomplishment mixed with the anticipation and excitement of a future full of possibility, there is nothing quite like it.

A senior session is even better when it is with someone I know and whose family I just love to pieces. Hannah is the oldest of seven siblings and one of my daughter’s dearest friends. Their family is a little bit larger than ours (by two) and they also know what life with autism is like. But it’s not just those common factors we share that make Hannah special…it’s the person that she is.

Hannah comes from a military family and I watched her come into our small community at the beginning of her ninth grade year. Not only was she leaving the homeschool life but she was also entering a class of a mere thirteen students, most of whom had been together almost all of their lives. How much courage must that have taken? To be the new kid who had to make a place for herself and make friends? But she did it with a quiet strength of character and genuine grace.

I have seen her navigate difficult situations and seen the fruit that is born from doing hard things, and doing them well, blossom in her life.

We have come to know and be blessed by her beautiful heart and know that great things are in store for her as she prepares to pursue a nursing degree in the fall.

Like most people I tend to contemplate that otherworldly creature of Proverbs 31 mainly within the confines of wifery. After all, the famous passage begins with, “An excellent wife who can find…” but I think it is important to note that King Lemuel was relating what his mother had taught him as a child about the kind of wife he should look for. Meaning that there were qualities he should search for in a woman and not that she would magically come into being when he placed a ring on her finger.

I say all of that to say, dear Hannah, practice being that woman today, nourish her attributes now. The seeds have been planted in you all of your life but now you must tend and cultivate them in ways that you never have before. Continue to be trustworthy and diligent. Look for the needy around you and care for them just as you have those around you when they have been in need of a faithful friend. Clothe yourself with strength and dignity and laugh in the face of adversity when it comes your way because you have no reason to fear. Open your mouth in wisdom and let the law of kindness be forever on your tongue.

In a way it is only fitting that this chapter of your story ends with the weird and crazy quarantining toilet paper shortage of covid19. All of your life He has added layers of humor and adventure to each page, allowing each line to reveal His love for you. Follow after the One who formed you and has called you, Hannah. Trust in His plan and seek Him first above all things and everything else will fall into place.

One last thing. I read this Elisabeth Elliot quote for the first time when I was your age or thereabouts. It probably isn’t new to you the way it was to me but I leave it here for you to tuck away into your heart and mind as you move boldly into your next chapter:
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.”

Be different, Hannah, wherever He sends you. Not for the sake of being different but for the sake of shining His love and light into the lives of those around you just as you have been doing in this corner of the world.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you. And congratulations on a job well done!


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