Updated: Jan 16
How do you come to know something much less become an expert at it? Is it studying, hands on experience, some combination of both but with varying levels of credibility? How do you determine the value of something? How do you find your calling? How do you know if you're good enough at something or proficient in a field or qualified? My family is in the midst of a major life change. The last 6 years of my life, (10 for my husband) were swept up in a whirlwind of moves and major life events, including the birth of 4 children, living that military lifestyle and all of it's gusts and ebbs. That chapter, cliche as that phrase is, is coming to a close. We're transitioning out of the military, moving back to the states from overseas, and Aaron is applying for jobs in the civilian sector for the first time in his life. There are so many unknowns. We've both been searching our hearts and questioning what we want this next chapter to look like. I was feeling a pull to find a way to contribute to the financial situation of my family. With so much change happening so quickly, and nothing being guaranteed, I began praying fervently that The Lord would reveal to me a path to put my talents and passions to work for my family. That saying, "a jack of all trades and a master of none" felt like a verdict on my start and stop, this or that, career path that has taken many different turns in numerous directions and disappeared altogether into the roles of both wife and mother. I can make a beautiful balloon arch for a 1st birthday party, cook a delicious meal from scratch, I've been a makeup artist and I've sold insurance via cold calling for State Farm. I'm proficient at many things but I've mastered, it seems, practically nothing. HELLO Imposter Syndrome. How is it that a 30 year old woman who has moved 8 times in 10 years, birthed 4 children, survived several deployments, TDY's and separations, losses, wins, career changes countless times and weathered some serious lows, personally and relationally, would wake up feeling like a total loser more days than not. Funny how once you start praying about something, The Lord goes to work. Funny how we use the word funny to make light of something that's actually profound and beyond explanation.
I can't begin to explain to you all of the ways God pours out his love for me in tiny little displays, revelations, conversations and sometimes by directly putting something into my mind or on my heart. One of these little moments came when my SIL and Brother had missed their photo session because they were quarantined due to COVID. (Anyone else wish those two words were no longer part of daily discussion?) My SIL asked me if I could take a family picture of them for a Christmas Card and I decided to give them a whole shoot. I don't know why I thought I could pull it off or what possessed me to decide to do it, but I did. I spent a little over an hour with them coaxing them into different prompts, making silly noises and being goofy to get their kids involved and excited to be photographed and stayed up way too late that night editing all of the photos on lightroom on my phone. You know, lightroom, the app my friend, Ellie, taught me to use just last year to make an "aesthetic" IG feed. I've modeled behind a camera, I've paid for countless photo sessions for my family, I have a nice camera that was gifted to me several years ago, spare batteries, two lenses... MOST IMPORTANTLY, and I capitalize because this deserves emphasis, I prayed specifically for a career that I could love, enjoy, be passionate about, meet new people, touch their lives, that would be a hobby for me and be something that I'd be naturally proficient at. What happened over the course of that week was like a meet cute in a film except it was me and the career that's been calling out to me for a decade that I never even considered pursuing.
I flippantly brought up photography with my husband one day, shortly after that photo shoot, and the more I talked about the potential of it, the more I was witnessing God pour out His answer to my prayers through my own words. Photography is something I love. I've been collecting photographs to surround myself with for as long as I can remember. They're a comfort to me, a companion to the lonely moments of my life in different stages, now in the moments where motherhood consumes me, enemy lies tell me I'm unworthy, a relationship has disappointed me, or I have just plain failed (myself or someone else), (just some examples). My Creator speaks to me through little photographic reminders of really special moments of my life. He breathes life into those dark corners of my mind and heart through pictures. In my younger days I loved modeling, bringing creativity and artistry to life. I love taking photos and capturing real moments. My penchant for attention to detail has always been a personality trait others either admire or abhor. I curate experiences decorating and designing backdrops for birthday parties and baby showers. There are so many reasons this makes sense that I can’t believe it took me so long to see it. I really enjoyed editing the photos and I enjoyed delivering them to my client, (my SIL who just wanted a couple family photos for christmas cards and had no clue that she was the catalyst for this wholehearted leap into this business). I think I bugged her for a week for feedback to gauge weather I was kidding myself or if they were at great as I thought they were. I'm seriously a words of affirmation girl.
In one week I set up a social media presence for this new venture across just about every mainstream social platform, (biting off way more that I can chew but setting them up anyway for a later date when I've got this thing figured out). I started creating a website. I took online courses to refresh what I'd learned about photography back in college when I took that one semester elective course on film photography. I listened to podcasts while I showered, drove the kids around, cooked dinner, folded clothes or cleaned any number of messes 4 kids 5 and under could make. Flash forward to this session I'm sharing here today. I almost backed out 4 separate times. Imposter Syndrome was knocking on all the doors trying to gain entry into my psyche. I found myself on my knees again, praying, begging for the confidence to just do it. I cried the night before begging myself to just be braver, be stronger, be more confident, have faith. The enemy was hard at work on me. But God. Every time I drafted that text to back out. Every time I thought about putting it off until I was more ready, more prepared, more... something, God filled me with determination to see it through. And I did. I showed up. I did my best. They're not perfect. I know that. But I learned, I faced my fears, I showed up and I did the thing. There's no guarantee I'll find success in this field but I already found success by proving to myself that I can try something new and be uncomfortable and that at the end of it I get to claim a feeling of accomplishment and gratitude that is of much greater value than what I had initially set out to gain. While I was focused on finding a way to earn money God revealed to me that His purposes are greater than mine, His plans are better than mine, His Heart is for me and my good and His glory. Whether or not I find "success" (Worldly standards), or not, I have gained a confidence money can't buy and a peace that only comes from growing closer to Him as I'm sanctified toward the purpose and calling He has for me. Maybe this is it. Or maybe it's just another step in the process. God has given me everything I've asked for in this season, and more. Enjoy these photographs and please feel empowered to give feedback. I want to hear what you have to say! That's how I'm going to grow. Thank you!