Oh hey there. What’s that? You’ve been wondering just where I’ve been for the past few months? Ahh I know, I know… things have been a little quiet here on the blog since we got married in May! That was partially intentional. We’ve been LOVING the newlywed life, spending time with each other in the evenings, going on weekend trips, cooking dinners together, and trying out every bottle of red wine we can find at our Harris Teeter down the street. One of my biggest fears coming into marriage was that I was going to struggle with balancing my business and my home life (aka, Justin was going to walk through the door expecting to hang out with his wife and I’d be working on my laptop until late hours of the night). Thankfully, I haven’t really struggled with that. When I hear the key to our front door slide open the lock, I close my laptop (sometimes a little too passionately) and go running downstairs to give Justin a big hug, a kiss, and ask how his day was. And then I usually get to work on dinner, start cleaning the house a bit, go for a bike ride, workout at the gym, etc. before sharing a meal on the couch (we love watching/discussing TV shows while eating… it’s probably a horrible habit!! Haha!) with a glass of wine in hand. It usually ends with us curling up under a blanket and relaxing together until it’s time for bed! I’ve come to find that I really don’t like not going to bed when Justin does… and the three times I wasn’t in bed when he was, I was staying up blogging!!
Before we got married, I just always blogged before bed! I don’t know why… maybe because I had just finished that day’s work and had all these newly edited and delivered photos to share… maybe that’s just when I felt most creative… or maybe I had just procrastinated all day and had to get a post up!! Well, I haven’t done much late-night blogging this summer since getting married, which means I haven’t done much blogging in general! If I’m being honest, for the past few months, I haven’t been sure about the future of my business. In complete transparency… for a while I wasn’t accepting future wedding bookings. Just a month ago, I was really close to closing the doors of my photography business because I didn’t think it was the best decision for our life together. Ugh. It was hard. And if you’re a close friend, you know I’ve been struggling with this for close to two years now. It’s a long story… but entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily the easiest, safest route. It requires a lot of time, energy, resources, and wisdom that sometimes feels WAY beyond our years or expertise. It’s been the definition of a roller coaster… an adventure for sure, and an exciting one at that! But definitely extremely hard and trying at times. I didn’t know if I wanted to risk introducing that into our marriage.
On August 3rd, I was sitting in a swanky office in DC, a newly purchased and freshly ironed Calvin Klein button-down tucked into my pleated gray skirt, resumes in hand and butterflies in my stomach. This was it. It was the fourth and most likely final interview for a position I’d been pursuing for months with an incredible organization. A full-time, high paying job with a plethora of benefits like health, medical, dental, life, disability insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and professional development opportunities. This was what I dreamed of in high school. A job that made a difference and only asked for 9 hours of my time on week days and never on weekends. A entirely different future that I’d been talking about for years was literally at my fingertips. Yet when I got the call a week later offering me the job, my stomach dropped.
A couple of days before that final interview, I started a new devotional on the book of Ruth (total “coincidence” that She Reads Truth just happened to have that book next on the schedule). To make a long (yet absolutely incredible) story short, I’m just going to share a few excerpts from my journal during this devotional that explored the story of Ruth, her redemption, and God’s ultimate provision for her life:
While in an unfamiliar place, Naomi was stripped of things that were beloved to her, but she ultimately grew closer to God and lived out His plan for her life because of it.
Naomi was bitter and knew in her head that God was sovereign, but she didn’t believe in her heart that He would really make things better.
Circumstances change, but our God does not. I am not named by my circumstances, but by the Lord. My God will place me on a firm foundation. He is faithful through it all.
Ruth’s dedication to Naomi and the Lord resulted in her redemption. Ruth’s cup overflowed from God’s provision for her. She took a leap of faith, and he met her there.
Ruth, the poor Moabite widow from a land that worships another God, became royalty in the eyes of the Lord because she chose to follow Him, leaving everything behind.
This was all God’s story, God’s hand in the happenstance. What appeared to be coincidence was actually God’s hand continually at work.
God is either the ultimate provider, or not at all. We must choose.
God’s provision is a vehicle to His perfect will.
Our provider – Yahweh – is always present, giving us what we need to guide us home. What he gives us, guides us. FOLLOW.
The day I got my job offer, the devotional’s author had some interesting words to share on that day’s devotion…
Stop. WHAT?! Is anyone able to connect the dots here?? I was speechless. I immediately sent it to Justin and to my mentor, just blown away by how relevant all of this seemed to be for me in this very important season of my life that would determine where I would end up years down the road. I was trying to decide if I should leave this growing business God clearly led me into (for what I thought was just a season) for something safer, more secure, more predictable, more comfortable. A choice that was simpler, more clearly defined, easier to pursue.
After almost 9 months of not hearing from God, He showed up louder, bolder, and with more passion and words than I had ever been able to experience. Here He was, telling me that yes, the choice was mine. I was free to walk whichever way I desired. But if I was to embark down the path that terrified me, the path on which I’d felt the most alone I’d ever been in my life, He wouldn’t leave me. He was going to walk with me, lead me and guide me, and most importantly, provide for our needs. My heart, my life, my spirit, my faith, my business suddenly felt like life had been breathed into them again. In the midst of studying the story of Ruth’s redemption, I met God again, and He saved me. I was redeemed in every possible sense of the word.
The morning after that important final interview, I had my first sunrise engagement session. Mind you, this was before the revelation I just described above. I hadn’t gotten the job offer yet, but I was convinced that was the choice I was going to make. Driving to this engagement shoot, I felt a new level of positivity and excitement. I hadn’t met this couple, but we were shooting at the county fair, so I knew it was going to be pretty cute. I was not prepared for just how awesome and incredible it was.
I instantly connected with Sam and Charlie. We had similar stories and they were SO adorable. They reminded me a lot of Justin and me last year when we were going through our season of engagement. They were so happy and SO in love. And something surreal happened… we had three hours of perfect golden hour light on what’s normally a bright and hot summery day. THREE HOURS of perfect light. This means that there was just the right amount of cloud coverage to keep the sun beams at a soft enough level to shoot in open space and have it still look absolutely beautiful. This has NEVER, ever happened in my near decade of shooting portraits. It was almost… supernatural. When Sam and Charlie changed into their second outfit, I noticed Sam had a tattoo on her back, so I asked to see it. I pulled back her hair and read the words…
“Behold, I am with you always.”
Jesus’ own words. Right there in front of me in the form of this incredible Christian couple whose story I already loved and now was even more in love with. I’m not kidding you when I say that even the animals were smiling in their photos!! Just WAIT until you see! Jesus was breathing life back into my business and my heart in the most beautiful way… and this was just the beginning.
So where does that lead us? Where am I now? Did I accept the job offer in exchange for the world’s definition of the promise of safety and security? Or did I decide to take a leap of faith to pursue serving others in a way that uses the talents and passions I’ve fostered and grown over the last few years?
You’ll just have to wait and find out… but I’ll give you a hint: There’s some REALLY EXCITING news coming soon…