Beauty From Ashes

Meet Erin. I had the pleasure of photographing and getting to know this amazing woman. She was absolutely the picture of patience and grace, and it was obvious that the Lord is at work in her life. Here is her story:

I recently attended The 2015 Relentless conference With Bethany and Michelle and I must say I was truly inspired. I'd like to share my story with y'all.

First of all my name is Erin Braziel, I am 22 years old and I must say I've gone through far more then any 22 year old should ever have to experience. If you were to ask anyone they would say that 2014 was by far the most heartbreaking and hardest year of my life. I had basically lost all hope in the Lord, well that was until the 2015 Relentless conference.

My story started in May of 2014, I was pregnant with my second child of whom we did not know the gender yet. My husband and I were extremely excited as any parents would be. I had just had an ultrasound and we were planning a gender reveal party. I'd been having some problems with feeling dizzy and fainting, but the doctors told me that it was normal and I had nothing to worry about. While at work one day, I passed out and fell to the ground. After spending time in the emergency room the doctors told me that everything was fine with the baby and me, and they basically brushed it off, but my motherly instincts told me otherwise. On May 22, just a couple of days before we were supposed to have the gender reveal party, my pregnancy took a turn for the worse. I had gone to the bathroom and felt something strange, the sac of my unborn child was protruding. I was only 23 weeks and 5 days along, what did this mean? What was going to happen? I was rushed to the nearest emergency room and was told that I had an incompetent cervix. Aafter being in the hospital for 2 long and pain-filled days and the doctors doing everything possible to keep my child in longer, we welcomed to the world our son, Ethan James. Born 16 weeks early, he was nowhere ready to take on the world. He fought to stay but just 10 minutes after being born our son took his last breath. After the loss of our son, my husband and I both faced depression. But for the sake of our beautiful daughter Bella, we knew we had to be strong.. Like any couple would, we took it day by day. In July of 2014 we got the news that we were pregnant again, of course we were scared but oh so excited. Things were looking up.

On August 29, 2014 we had gone out of town to visit some family like we had done every weekend and our 1-year-old daughter, Bella decided she wanted to stay the weekend with her grandparents. On August 31, 2014 I had left our house to go pick up Bella and my husband chose to stay home. We had gotten new furniture so he wanted to get everything set up. When I got to my in laws house I decided to stay and visit for a while. Around 3:00 pm I received a call saying that my apartment was on fire. After not being able to reach my husband, his grandparents and I rushed back to Lubbock to check on him only to find policemen, reporters, and firemen surrounding my apartment. There was broken glass every where and the outside of my apartment was black. But my husband was no where to be seen. After hours of waiting and begging for answers and being questioned by detectives, I was told that my apartment had suffered 100% smoke damage; everything was lost. Not only did my family lose all of our belongings, but the unimaginable happened. I was told that my husband had committed suicide by a single shot to the head. My life instantly fell apart. I collapsed and I could not breath, I was lost and confused and angry. How could God take not only my son but my husband as well? I cried every day for weeks, but I knew I had to be strong not only for myself but for my daughter and my child on the way. And that's what I did. I took life minute by minute, and day by day. Here I am today, my oldest daughter is now 2 and I have a two month old healthy baby girl. I'm in my own apartment with my 2 girls and we are making it. By the Grace of God, we are making it. I am now in the process of getting back into school to make my girls proud. If it was not for my beautiful daughters Isabella and Emmalyn and my family I would be no where near where I am today. I Will continue to grow and be the strength my girls need. I WILL be RELENTLESS. Thank you all so much for the inspiration!

Posted on August 1, 2015 .