I can't even begin to start typing this post without tears forming in my eyes. Everyone grab a hankey (seriously).
While looking through the archives of one of my favorite photography blogs, Bippity Boppity Boo, I found a picture from the Nie Nie Dialogues, a blog by a woman named Stephanie Nielson. This could be THE most real example of true, unconditional love I have ever come across. Whitney (from b.b.b) summarized Stephanie's story:
Stephanie Nielson first started blogging when she was 23 years old. She blogged about her handsome husband Christian and her beautiful children.
On August 16, 2008, Stephanie and Christian were flying across Arizona when the small plane they were on crashed into the desert. It exploded on impact. The crash left Stephanie burned over 83 percent of her body. The fire seared the skin from her face, her legs, and her arms. It burnt her hands to the tendons. Christian was burned over 35 percent of his body. The flight instructor died.
However, despite her tragedy, Stephanie has continued to blog. For months she refused to post pictures of her new appearance. She blogged about her frustrations, her sadness, her constant physical pain, her beautiful children, but mostly about her incredible, loving husband who bathes her, supports her, and is a wonderful father.
After spending surgery after surgery in the hospital's burn center, Stephanie is often left nearly immobile after operations. Christian gets up with their children, brings Stephanie breakfast in bed when she cannot get up, takes care of breakfast for the kids, gets them to school, does Stephanie's two hour bandage change, her pads, medicines, wraps and ointments...this is all before 10am. What an amazing man to take care of his wife in this way, rather than hire a nurse. To really be there.
Stephanie and Christian have a love that people search a lifetime trying to find. Rather than tearing their marriage apart, the crash brought them emotionally closer together than they could have ever imagined. Stephanie is still adapting to her new life, but with the support of Christian and God, she remains positive and her inner beauty shines through her scars.
Through Stephanie's story I am reminded of what really matters. Talk about a frying pan hitting you over the head. Focus on the most important things in life: God and your family. Love unconditionally. Be self-sacrificing. Thank the Lord for blessing you with this amazing thing called life and everything else will fall into place just as it is meant to be.
Thank you, Stephanie and Christian, for being an inspiration and an example to us all. Yours is a life to live by.