This is about to get real.
If real leaves you feeling uncomfortable, now is the time to walk away.
I believe with every fiber of my being that each part of my life is linked and leaves thumb prints all over the place. There is no area in my heart that is isolated. This is especially true for photographers.
Regardless of the equipment we sport, our heart is the true lens with which we see the world. It’s my heart, dear friends, that needs sharing.
Before I begin, let me tell you: I’ve struggled for 6 months with whether or not I should allow this into my professional life. But as I mentioned before, there are just some things that bleed into every part of a person’s being. This is no different. I am not looking for sympathy, but understanding. I want to share with you how my heart (and in turn, my lens) has changed. Please know, I not only have permission from Tyler to share…but his full support.
You see, this week holds many things for my family. We will celebrate Tyler’s 29th birthday and my sweet Truett’s 4th birthday. I cannot tell you how full my heart is with thankfulness! These men are 2 of the 3 most important people in my life. They are worth so much celebrating!
This week also holds something else for me.
On September 8th, we loaded our boys up and rushed to a very exciting doctor’s appointment. We were going to hear our baby’s heartbeat again. This time, Truett would be introduced to the newest seed of joy in our life; a baby that was due to arrive on his birthday. I wish I could say the day turned out as ordinarily as we’d expected. Unfortunately, we found that we would not be meeting that sweet babe. I learned that day just how devastation and numbness can coexist.
The next 3 weeks were filled with some of the most intense emotional and physical pain I’ve ever experienced. It also began a journey that would leave me raw and completely ready to be remade. At times I thought I would be left as a bitter woman who knew nothing but anger and resentment. Other times, I thought I would simply cease to exist in a meaningful way. I’ll spare you the details, but know this – it was not the last time we faced that heart-breaking news and we are no closer to growing our family at this point.
We are, however, so much closer to being the family that God has written for us.
This week will undoubtedly hold a stark reminder of what could have been, but it also holds a reminder of what has been going on in my heart these past 6 months…
Through all of this, I’ve been clued in to a very simple and often missed truth: There is a level of joy that requires sacrifice and sorrow is often a prerequisite. Would I ask for this season in my life to repeat itself? No. I think the bigger question is: Will I allow this season to pass without bearing fruit? Again, the answer is no.
There is nothing within me that has been untouched. To think that I can compartmentalize myself as a woman and then a mother and further more a photographer would rob myself of the “…perfect work…” that the Lord is completing in me. I am under no assumptions that I will be a perfect woman, wife, mother or anything else when this season has passed. But of this I am sure: the work that God is doing will be perfect. It will be completed. It will leave me rebuilt.
It’s the rebuilding (do not confuse this with repairing) that has and will continue to transform me into a better wife and mother, as well as a photographer. I can say with complete honesty that I am now able to see the “precious” and “extraordinary” in the “ordinary” that I may have missed before. I still have hurt. I still have healing to do; but I welcome it. To do anything else would make the past 6 months a waste. I simply can’t let my missing pieces be a waste.
What does this have to do with OrangePeel?
It has changed how tightly I hug my boys, how deeply I love my husband, how closely I guard my heart, how freely I give my love, and how I see the joy taking place around me. Through the deep ache I still house within myself, God has freed me to truly soak in the joy that is found within the Everyday. It has altered how I not only see but also capture the ordinary moments of a family and the secret joys on a wedding day. For this, I am left feeling so humbled.
Before I go, here is what I’ve learned through all of this about “doing life” with those around me…
To embrace the joy (and sorrows) in the life of others while enduring your own suffering is a choice. It’s a hard choice. It means swallowing the gut wrenching tears that find themselves in your throat. It means never comparing your hurts to another’s. It means letting go of how someone may have overlooked or minimized your hurt in order to help them carry theirs. It means truly (and I mean TRULY) dying to yourself so that the love of Christ is made great during the joys and trials of another. I’m not going to kid myself and pretend that I’m going to nail it every time…but I’m going to try.
I’m so excited for wedding season to start for us. I can’t wait to see daughters look to their mothers for the perfect placement of their pearls. I can’t wait to see the twirling that every flower girl is compelled to do. It will nearly burst my heart to see fathers pat their son on his back before shedding a tear when they see that boy, who surely just learned to ride a bike, stand as a man promising his forever. I’ll soak in the aunts and uncles and old friends who hug in celebration after years apart. I can’t wait. I just can’t wait for the joy and all the things that it will be wrapped with.
So, if you happen to see me out of the corner of your eye and you catch a glimpse of a tear, know this: I am not sad. I am overflowing with thankfulness that I have been privileged to share in those little moments whose sum is what fills our lives with the simple joy that makes the bumpy roads bearable.
Now that I’ve poured every bit of my heart out in the hopes that you will truly see how important the joy and moments of others have become to me…I’m off to spend the week celebrating my boys…