First Family Photos {For Those Experiencing Firsts This Season}

It might seem small to some, but to us it was huge.

Family pictures.


A friend posted on Facebook that her friend, a photographer, would be in town for the weekend and had openings to take family photos.  And something in my heart said…you should ask.  My best friend said…you should do this.

I did…and through a series of God events, someone gifted my family with a photo shoot.  (Thanks whoever you are!)

It was hard.  I am not sure exactly why; it just felt weird having pictures made with three people.  (We made it four by putting my niece, Chloe, in a few!)

Firsts are always hard, friends.

The first family photos after divorce.  The first Christmas after her death.  The first birthday without him.  The first ….{insert your first here}.

But in His strength, I pushed through, resisting the urge to hide under my covers.  I smiled. I laughed.  I held in tears.  My heart filled with pride as I watched Sarah Beth (aka amazing photographer) take pictures of my children, but I also hurt for them.  I couldn’t be more thankful for my new version of family, but an ache of “this isn’t how it should be” will (I think) be ever-present.

If you’re about to experience a first, God knows.  He understands.  He will be there.  And most of all…He loves you.  He wants to hear all about it – your laments and your thankfulness.

Always remember Paul’s words in his second letter to the Corinthians:

9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Praying for your firsts!

And thankful for these pictures…










  1. These are such beautiful photos of a beautiful family. Many, many blessings to you this Christmas.

    • Thanks, Beth! What I didn’t include in the post is…how opposed I am to pictures of myself during this season…I’ve gained lots of weight over the past year or so. So putting a pic out there could be a whole other post;) Merry Christmas!

  2. What a beautiful family!!

  3. You people are beautiful. Inside and out. Wish you could come live with us for our last 3 weeks here. Miss you already!! xoxoxo

    • Right after my divorce, the church I went to was taking the pictures for the new directory. I knew it would feel weird and I hated that it wouldn’t be a “family” picture. It was hard. Only a divorced/widowed person could understand the feeling and emotion behind the scenes. But in reality, this was my family. Just me and my son. And I am so thankful I did it- I cherish that picture of the two of us!

      • Thanks for sharing this, Missy. As I go through these little things, I have conversations with myself that sound like this: “Sarah, you’re being ridiculous. It’s only a picture. You need not be so sensitive. And, shouldn’t you be over it by now?” And then I read a comment like yours, and it’s like a huge exhale. I realize I am not crazy…that others have and will feel this way…and it’s ok. Even “normal” 😉 Thanks for the encouragement!!

    • I miss you already too! But, I am expectant… I feel the 29th is going to be AMAZING! Praying for that day already:)

  4. Sarah Gross says:

    Very beautiful photos. I know exactly how you feel. And believe it or not, the “way it should be” feeling won’t be ever present. This is the way it should be now. This is the real true family. The way He wants it. Filled with love and caring and honesty. I know first hand what you are going through and I’m here to tell you that you are worth it. You deserve this wonderful family that you have created. Your hard work. Your dedication. Your guidance and love. Hannah and Owen know that you are their soft place to fall. You their shining light and always have been.

    • Sarah…I am so glad you took a few minutes to share this with me. I gain hope and encouragement when those who have gone before me say “it won’t always be that way.” “This is the real true family.” To remind I am worth it. I am their light. The one who guides them spiritually and loves them well. The one who picks them up when they fall – the one they talk to about deep heart stuff and surface funny stuff. I desire deeply to lead them spiritually. THANKS!

  5. This post makes me teary – I remember our first photos here – not at home in Oklahoma & although it’s not at all the same, it’s kinda the same. I love your heart sweet Sarah. And… how beautiful you look.

    • Brittany…When I considered “firsts,” I never considered this one: how it must affect a heart to be away during the holidays – how something as simple as a picture in another country can make our hearts long for something else. It IS the same…hurting hearts. I never try to rank order suffering because for the one who is suffering – it hurts – plain and simple. I love you, sister! Still praying for you daily too!

  6. Your children are gorgeous just like you! Praying for you friend. Love you.

    • I appreciate each prayer, Paula…and I think of you often. Actually, every time I see chocolate;) Love you! Merry Christmas!

  7. Great pictures. My your family have a blessed Christmas.

    • Thanks, Sue. You may be in Texas, but I consider you a mentor – a steady one who I know is always there:) Merry Christmas!

  8. Malinda Blevins says:

    Hannah is beautiful and Owen is so handsome!!! Hope you have a blessed Christmas.

  9. You will always treasure these! It felt uber-brave to have family pictures made during my single mom years and I know how “off” you must have felt. I’m so glad that you pushed through! I look back on those photos and remember how we became such a team during those days…a trait that will keep us forever bonded.

    You are beautiful and your children gorgeous. Put it in a frame!

    • Thanks, Missy! I love hearing from those who have gone before me. It’s so encouraging. My kiddos and I are a “team” – thanks for reminding me of that. We depend on each other in ways we never would had to without divorce. Which reminded me…to keep looking for the good. To keep finding the ways in which divorce is making them and me better. To ignore all the stats about divorced kids as if my kiddos don’t stand a chance – because they do!

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