Fourteen young ladies come out of the two houses.
They live there temporarily, when they’re not living with a relative or in a foster home or as a runaway. In these houses they are fed, clothed, cared for.
And on one special day last November, they are about to be framed.
It is Jenna’s idea. These girls aren’t a project to her or a ministry opportunity.
They are real people; they are young friends.
So on this Tuesday a professional makeup artist shows up at the ranch to give free makeovers. A stylist to give new hairdos. And a photographer to make it permanent.
As the mother of the photographer, I get invited to tag along with Jenna and take pictures, too. I knew she’d developed her own friendships with the girls, including one in particular, and I am excited to meet them all myself.
Like most teenage girls, they giggle through the make-up and hair sessions. They gawk at the changes in each other. They haggle over who will wear what, and the stash of extra clothes brought in gets divvied up.
Then it is time for the pictures.
One by one—and then sometimes two by three or four—they strike a pose and flash their best smiles or serious looks for the camera.
Then in no time, the afternoon is over and we pack up our gear, hug goodbyes, and drive away.
But it’s not over.
Later that weekend, as Jenna begins editing, she calls me with excitement. The pictures are turning out great. The girls show up as gorgeous.
Despite perhaps years of pain, of abuse, or of neglect, beauty and hope still rise to the top. It looks different on each girl, but it’s definitely there.
The final step comes a few weeks later in the mailbox. I open the package of fresh photos—printed 5x7s of faith that someone cares and that someone is worth caring for.
Jenna matches each picture with a frame. Then carefully wraps and ribbons and later gifts these photos and more to the girls to be amazed at their own beauty.
What will each girl do with her photos?
Some will probably go to boys, some traded among each other, and some probably tucked away in the next packing box as they move along to the next home.
But I pray that the memory of that day in November day travels with them wherever they go. That when they see their pictures, they remember that they are loved, that they are valuable, that their life is framed with purpose.
In a frame, things look more official. More real. More permanent. This is who I am; can you see me?
Life never stays static. But catch a fleeting moment at the right time, and it brings more than pleasure for the day; it carries stability and confidence into tomorrow.
Take the shot, freeze the moment, and capture a memory. A memory of a day getting made up, dressed up, and photographed. There may have been tears before (and bruises—I saw some) and tears after, but on that day, I saw smiles and heard laughter.
That was caught in the photo, in the frame, and hopefully in the heart.
A single day can last much longer if it’s framed properly.
In the daily lives of these teenage girls, already marked by impermanence and uncertainty, moments need to be captured forever.
On that day, we celebrated the moment. The girl. The life.
I hope they will remember. I know I will.
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What’s a favorite moment you have framed in your house? Please share in the comments.
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