It’s been a year since I blogged. I thought it was a milestone and time for an update ;)
Life has changed in some respects and in others it has continued to moved on. However, truth be told, it’s really been a four year journey, not just one. Two years of unraveling. A some small thread here and a large hem there. It’s been two years of mending. One stitch at a time. This has actually been one of my favorite visuals when I’m struggling with the healing part. I can actually see God’s hands stitching my heart together. It’s calming and reassuring.
Many have asked, “So how has it been since stepping away from a successful photography business?” It’s like breaking an addiction. There’s good times and hard times. There’s things I miss and things that I positively do not. And time does make it easier.
Throughout this past year, I’ve still photographed some of my clients - those who were brave enough to ask and those who emailed after crying about it (you know who you are...thank you. You made my entire year). I miss my people. I miss the clients that impacted my life without knowing it. I miss connecting with new people who have something to teach me. I miss capturing families in their finest and cutest moments (or even in their not-so-finest moments). I miss seeing my photos hanging in frames on the walls of my best customers. I miss the ahhh... moment of conquering a 2 year old in the midst of a temper tantrum and getting the perfect shot. I miss moms leaving my house thinking we got nothing and getting the email of unbelief when they see the proofs.
In hindsight, I see that I had a gift that God gave me and I abused it. My sister-in-law and spiritual mentor once said that the best gifts from God in our personalities and lives can be some of the biggest stumbling blocks in life if misused. I think that sums up the last many years of my life. God’s gifts became stumbling blocks. Have you ever stopped to think about that?
You are good at something. You receive compliments, kudos, pats on the back. Pride is built up. You actually start to think you are something and literally forget the hand that feeds you. Remember the verse “Pride comes before a fall.” Stumble. (Or in some cases, a crash.)
This past year has been a campaign to get back to the grassroots by stepping away from a lot. I’ve stepped away from more than photography. I’ve stopped excessive volunteering and involvement outside of my home. I’ve quit blogging, obviously. It wasn’t necessarily one decision that I made to do that. It was something that was placed on my heart at different times and I followed it. God was revealing areas of my life that were causing identity and priority issues. It’s been a healthy thing for me and I’m finding myself returning to some of these things but with a different approach.
So what’s happened this year? Last April, I started working full time at the Publishing company in the Marketing and Accounting facet. Summer was relaxing and wonderful with beach days and a super great nanny to help when I went to work. Our family enjoyed a camping trip to Leelanau, one of Michigan’s gorgeous places. Mark and I joined a church that we absolutely love with every fiber of our bodies. We are so blessed to be there. We’ve joined two couples Bible studies that are comprised of some amazing people that have already impacted our lives in countless ways. Football season was a family affair. Mark loved coaching this season and connecting with his players on a new, deeper level. (Football is really about more than football.) Christmas was wonderful this year as we down-sized and focused on family times. January brought a new year and a bright new perspective on life. Another corner turned as we closed another year in the history books. February went out with a crash. A car crash that is. Scary stuff. God’s hand was all over that. Honestly. 50 mph head-on collision and walked away with a couple stitches on my knee, a terribly sore sternum, still-visible bruises (after 5 months), and a SUV instead of a van. March brought us another child. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s an exchange student, does that count? Christina arrived from South Korea with her smile and jumped right into the middle of our family. Literally. She’s 10 so falls between Ellie and Isaac. She’ll be with us until next June. Another Spring Break down to Florida with Mom and Dad. It was gorgeous weather and even better family time. We arrived home for Ball season. Three kids. Three teams. We love camping out at the ball fields...lots of hot dogs, winter coats, and Cherry Heads. School finished and we left for a family vacation within days celebrating our 14th anniversary with the kids in the sun and fun. That’s been our year in a quick recap.
In the last year I’ve also learned a LOT. Here’s a list for you to chew on:
1. The computer doesn’t call my name anymore.
2. Life is beautiful even when it gets ugly. You just have to search for it harder.
3. I have more freedom working full time outside the home than I ever had while doing photography at home.
4. Submission in a godly marriage is much easier when you fully respect your husband and trust him.
5. Saying “no” can be easier than you think and it’s like a muscle. Exercise it and it will be easier to use.
6. You see the gapping holes in your character when you get a taste of your own medicine.
7. When you make yourself vulnerable, you finally realize that you really aren’t alone.
8. My kids have a new mom. I’m thankful that they are still young enough to maybe not remember the old me.
9. Grace is hard to accept. For me it’s been harder from people than from God.
10. Never say never. Not because you don’t want to be wrong, but because this will become the area the enemy will challenge you.
11. Your true identity is found inside you not outside you.
12. Playing Scrabble with Mark on the back deck while sipping some red wine is one of my favorite dates (even though he beats me ALL the time.)
13. Contentment is a choice not your circumstances.
I continue my journey. I hope our paths will cross. If you are looking for a photographer, you can try me.