June 12, 2018

Matt + Claire | Daddy Daughter Mini Session | Raleigh, NC Photographer

Some friendships come from unexpected places and seasons. Matt’s always been there, but I’ve had the blessing of really seeing Matt for who he really is and enjoyed a deepened friendship as we’ve co-led a ministry at church and navigated our crazy lives the last couple of years.

Matt has always been the funny, nice guy that’s there for you when your car breaks down, when you need a helping hand or when you need to be cheered up—cause the dude is hysterically witty.  Mr. Steady. Mr. Chill. Mr. Give-The-Shirt-Off-His-Back-To-A-Stranger. He’s never making waves or seeking anything for himself, so he kinda stays below the radar. He’s been there for every one of my  breakups to offer a shoulder to cry on or to put a fishing pole in my hand to just–be.

This season of his life hasn’t been easy. Like totally some of the worst of all of the stuff life can throw at you. He’d be the first to say that he’s not a perfect man and has made a boat load of mistakes–but who hasn’t…ugh, that’s life for all of us!  Just when we think we understand our purpose, our direction, our life trajectory….just when we think we’ve righted wrongs and things are looking up–bam, the bottom falls out.  What you thought what was, just never was. Remember that feeling of being poured out?  Like…your heart is this finite well of love. When life demands it, you draw up  bucket after bucket of strength hoping and praying you never have to know what it’s like to see a dry bottom. Then–just when you think there’s none left to give, life demands you give it all?  That’s kind of what his season has been like. This is one of those moments in life that many men lose it and stay permanently broken…they’re hurt so they hurt others. We are all capable of doing that and have, but from what I’ve witnessed, Matt is one of those men that hold onto what is good and unfractured…what hints of God’s goodness and he continues to believe the best in people, in his future and lays the line and forges the way toward that life. He is an overcomer and has drawn on God’s well of goodness to fill up the emptied basin of his heart.

It’s in the tumult of life that reveal who we really are–what’s really in our hearts.

Matt’s heart.

A deep well of compassion, kindness, patience and love.  You don’t get the privilege to see the shape of it with regular glasses, but when he trusts you, he gives you the spectacles and let’s you see some of the jewels in the bottom of that well of his heart. They’re like gems that glisten when the sun hits it in just the right way. Not to be cheesy, but to be unapologetically  cheesy…when the SON causes them to glisten in just the right way, you see the treasures of his heart. Some of those gems are things like loyalty, faithfulness, compassion, eyes that see the heart and not the external, gentleness and more.

Don’t get me wrong…he can be a stubborn turd but truly—but the best of men.

He’s an amazing father. He always has been, but this season has served him well in one respect—it’s made him an even better father.

It was a blessing to capture a tiny glimpse of one of those gems–the Father’s heart. God’s heart for his kiddos is  expressed beautifully in Matt. God is our protector, provider, friend, steady and sure foundation–Matt is that for Claire. It overflows because when I am chillin’ with him, I feel all of that.

I think his future looks pretty bright.  God brings joy from mourning and beauty from ashes. There is much joy and beauty for Matt and Claire ahead.

I asked Matt to write in his own words what he loves about being Claire’s dad:

“When Claire was born, I was given and instant best friend. not the typical buddy I would go have a beer with but something different. Something so deep and real that it made me want to binge watch pony shows on Netflix with her and introduce her to all of the things that gave me excitement in life while I sit and watch like a school girl hoping that she enjoys them too. 

I get the opportunity to live for someone else. 

I love that I get to watch her grow up and develop a personality and sense of humor so similar to my own. 

I love that I know and understand what it feels like to love someone unconditionally.

As for what being a father means to me–

The groundwork was laid when I was just a kid for the kind of dad I wanted to be. It started with memories of watching my mom pack my dad’s lunch for work. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches  EVERY DAY. Through the eyes of a child, it was a gourmet meal. Needless to say, I remained oblivious to his sacrifices at the time. However, despite his diet, every time a birthday or Christmas rolled around there was an expensive bike under the tree for my brother and I. The following year an overpriced paintball gun just to name a few examples of my parent’s generosity and sacrifice. All coming from a man fueled by the daily “gourmet” PB&J. As I grew up, I realized the sacrifices my dad made for us and I unknowingly adopted a dream–my dream was to have the chance to take a PB&J to work every day just to give my family the things I never had.” 

Happy Father’s Day, Matt. Proud to call you one of my bestest best friends.




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