When I thought about writing a blog about 2018, I actually didn’t know where to start. The obvious answer is to start at January 1st and to chronologically tell the story of the year. But I so often feel like time is ambiguous and truly there is no beginning and end, there only is the present. Your present breath, your present brain wave, your present emotion. How precious each passing moment is, and how lucky am I that I get to freeze time?
I guess it’s true what they say, time really does fly by when you get older.
Last year, I hadn’t really thought about my goals and my growth as much as I do now. I was pretty comfortable rolling into 2019. I had a beautiful life on paper – a renovated home, and serious boyfriend, two loving pups, and business that was growing year-over-year, healthy friends, healthy family – honestly, what more could a girl want?
Little did I know, a girl could want so much more, more than she could have ever dreamed.
Late in 2017 I felt more than ever that I needed to understand who God was. I was being pulled into this spiritual voyage with no map and no gauge on where this journey would take me, but nonetheless I dove into the unknown.
In early 2018, all of my conversations with people turned into God conversations, asking question after question and still not fully understanding who it was that He was. After taking all my questions, a friend of mine suggested I get my first bible. So I did. Every day in my down time I was either in my paper bible or in my bible app, just reading, researching, diving into all that He was about and coming up only for a few short introspective breaths.
It wasn’t too long after swimming with God alone that I attended my first church service. With tear-soaked cheeks, I felt what it was like to be fully present with Him and I had never felt so convicted in my life.
However, I knew I couldn’t do this by myself. I was ready to declare my love of Jesus through baptism (I briefly spoke to my pastor about this), and more than ever I wanted a group of women to help me grow in my faith. As a new believer in everything He is, I knew I would need help navigating, and perhaps I could find some people with a working compass. I began to pray out loud in my car, in the quiet moments of my house, alongside a couple friends – even though I felt better when I prayed, I wasn’t sure if what I was doing did anything. Is God really hearing me?
On Tuesday, May 8th (Tuesday’s will never be the same), I woke up feeling incredibly anxious. It must have been 6:30 in the morning, and all I could think about was the struggles in my relationship, our dying pup Kooper, and everything else life was throwing at me. During this time, I was reading a book by John Eldredge called “Walking with God”, and in it he explains how he hears from God and how he is able to see everything He does in his life. I still couldn’t fully grasp this phenomena, but I tried some of the tactics John uses in his book.
I sat down at my office desk and just started to pray.
“Dear Lord, what is it you want me to hear today? Where is it you need me to go? I am yours, I surrender to you.”
I would repeat these questions and fall silent, waiting patiently to hear from Him.
Moments later in my tears and in my silence I hear, “black crow”.
I thought, “well, God…I either really want coffee from Black Crow or you want me to go there.”
I immediately sprung from my chair, found decent clothes and my shoes. I grabbed my keys and went. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, if anything, but I was faithful.
I took a deep breath outside of the Black Crow coffee shop before opening the door to go in. As soon as I was ready, I opened the door and looked around and what seems like a second later, here comes my pastor walking up to the front of the coffee shop. We recognize each other and are stunned.
He asks, “What are you doing here?”
I said, “I’m not sure exactly, but I think you have something to do with it.”
It wasn’t long before I recounted my morning to my pastor, and in those moments I think he realized we needed to schedule my baptism, and soon. In his amazement of how God works, he says, “I have some people I want you to meet.” My pastor led me to a group of faithful women, who meet every Tuesday morning for a bible study at Black Crow. I instantly burst into tears as I recount my story again to these girls, and we all praised God for how He moves.
I didn’t fully know God until I heard him that morning.
I knew he was faithful, but I didn’t know how faithful. I knew it was possible that He heard me, but would He deliver the deepest desires of my heart? I knew in those moments at Black Crow that my life would never be the same.
In the months to follow, my faith grew stronger and my life as I know it now began to blossom. But in the same token, my life also started to fall apart. My relationship wasn’t working, and before Thanksgiving, we had to say goodbye to the best dog and mama’s boy there ever was. The lesson I have learned, and in many cases am still learning, is that life is not promised to be easy when you live it by faith, but God will remain faithful and will use your trials and tribulations for your growth.
In my growth this year, my creative work has shifted. Every wedding I photograph now has so much more meaning. Every family I photograph that has children does well to remind me of the little miracles they are. Every photograph I take reminds me that all we are promised is the here and now.
So really, my 2018 blog recap is so much more than my favorite images.
These images are a reflection of how I see God moving in people’s lives; in the little ambiguous moments we call time.
Time still feels like one big swirling rollercoaster filled with mountains and valleys, twists and turns. The incertitude of it all will still be something I struggle with (I know I can’t be the only one who will continue writing 2018 well into 2019), but I am so thankful that my “job” allows me to enjoy the moments that could otherwise pass me by..
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. All of my couples, my families, my individual clients who trust me with their moments and their memories. I am forever grateful God has led me here, and I am so thankful that you are here to share it with me.
Here’s to another growth-filled year y’all! Cheers!