As I reflect on the past year I think about all the things that have happened in my life with my marriage, business, family and it all goes back to The Truth. In what ever I do I need to seek Him first and the rest will come.
First off, we bought a labradoodle – Hokie. Taking care of a dog is not easy, but it brings us an abundance of happiness. To know that I am going to walk through the door and this little guy is going to shake in excitement and his tail is going to go fiercely in circles like a helicopter is such a joyful feeling. There is a fulfillment in taking care of a living creature and knowing that he has to rely on me (even when he eats my Nine West black heels). I sometimes ponder the idea of taking care of a dog and how it compares to taking care of a child. Do you get that same kind of satisfaction in taking care of a child? I think so. I have asked many moms about hard it is. They all say the same thing, “Its hard but extremely rewarding”. A dog has sparked my interest and wonder about mommy hood but as for now, I’m happy with my husband and a dog . . . one day.
Thanks Anna Marie Atkins for the picture!
The second year of marriage seems to be harder then the first, and I’ve heard its the other way around but I’m okay with that. Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nothing traumatic has happened to make it harder, it just is. We are learning more about each other and learning to love better. When you learn to love better you have to let go of yourself a little, fight your selfish desires, and give up the fact that you think you are right all the time. Honestly I need to tape that saying to my head “What would Jesus do” because I need that everyday.
I have watched my husband closely this year and learned a lot. I’m reminded daily that a personal relationship with Christ is the first and far most important thing over anything else. – – You get up and go straight to your Bible because if that word is not in you, it’s not going to come out of you. I’ve always known how important the word is but watching someone else thirst for it every morning is truly inspirational. Marriage is hard and beyond rewarding. To know you have your best friend there for you 24/7 is the most comforting thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my friends but relaxing at Barnes and Noble with my husband is on the top of my list. Because he is constantly growing in his relationship with Christ he is able to love me better and in turn has helped me to love myself more.
I feel as if God has been silent a little throughout the year or maybe I just have been distant. I think I have been so consumed in my business that I have put God on the back burner (thats super hard to admit). It seems as if I use to talk and I could hear a more audible response. Now, I feel as if I am talking, pausing, and asking God, “Where are you?. . . Did you hear me?”. The Bible says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” This means a WHOLE HEARTED DEEP YEARNING TO LEARN ABOUT GOD AND ASK HIM FOR THINGS THAT WILL GLORIFY HIM. I think I have been doing a few slight taps with my finger tips. Don’t get me wrong I am in constant conversation with God. I absolutely love to pray but what kind of relationship is that when it’s a one sided conversation all about me? I’m in two Bible studies and go to church but what is any of that if I am not seeking a deep intimate relationship with him? Or striving to grow close to him in my alone time. We can NEVER stop learning about God- He has many chambers to his heart – – it’s endless. You could read the Bible a million times and still learn something new about God every time. What I am really trying to say is this – God doesn’t want a little of us, He wants ALL of us. When we are so consumed with God, and in His word, I truly believe our eyes and ears will be open to His answers & his closeness.
Speaking of God, I think I almost touched Heaven this year (go ahead call me a nut). It sounds crazy but lets be real, it’s just THAT close. My 95 year old grandfather was in the hospital with one thing after another. His health was deteriorating rapidly. I decided that I needed to say goodbye and stop avoiding it. He was in an out of consciousness. Even though he had phenomena and all the liquids he swallowed would go into his lungs – He just wanted coffee. A sip of nice, hot coffee. He would take a sip and breath out saying, “Ahhhhhh” and smacking his lips. He fell asleep after the coffee and woke up with a burst of energy. When he awoke, he spoke of a “trip” he had just went on (believing this was 100% real). His smile was from ear to ear and his eyes were beaming. He explained how he was “Being pulled on a chariot of horses into a castle and was sipping wine with this man who he didn’t know”. After that I had to hold it together because I KNEW. I knew Heaven was in that room. He was on so much pain medicine because his body was shutting down. At one point I looked at him when my aunts were having a conversation and he was just staring at the wall ahead in “Aw”. I KNEW what he was seeing (as I sit here I get a little teary eyed) – I understood. He was on his way to Heaven and the line between Heaven & earth was becoming very thin. I knew he was seeing angels. As I walked out of the room I began to cry. I turned back around, walked back in, kissed his head and I said, “You have inspired me so much Pa, I love you.” He died a few days following.
I wish if I could have done anything different in life it would have spent more time with my grandparents and had the knowledge that weren’t going to be around forever. No one tells you these things when you are little, you just think they will be there your whole life. I still have one grandparent alive – my grandma. She is alive but has Alzheimer’s. It hurts to see her, badly. She has no clue who I am so I have avoided it, sadly. My aunt said that she walks by her room every night and can hear her praying. She may not have a clue who anyone around her is but HER SOUL DOES and that gives me comfort. The Holy Spirit is in her & I cling to that hope.
In August, we got a call from our landlord that said the lady who owned our house had passed and they were going to put the house on the market. Our jaws hit the floor and we scrambled. We prayed a lot, and didn’t hear a “no” so we went for it (trust me, we are going to have to cut out a lot of going out-to-eat for this one). It’s a lot to buy a house, in fact BEYOND SCARY. You literally sign your life away! But I must say it feels good! It’s a new chapter in life and a new trust in the Lord.
Owning a business for a second year hasn’t come easy. There are so many challenges STILL. I’ve learned that all I can do is give myself GRACE to continue to be better and always have a desire to learn & grow. The most important thing I have learned and can’t emphasize enough to every other creative around me is – Put your blinders up and focus on truth. In the photography industry, and others there’s such a yucky feeling of comparing yourself. – – It’s constant. There’s an inner conversation with yourself that goes a little something like this. “So & so is booking so many weddings, they are doing soo good! Why am I not doing that? Why do I suck? I should just quit. ***TEARS*** No I AM good enough. I am going to keep going. I’ll try better. I’ll post more on social media, I’ll blog more, and THEN I’ll book more.” I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to myself and across the board. Well something hit me this year I realized THE TRUTH. My business and clients are NOT my doing but God’s. The most important reason I have a business is to glorify God. That fluff and drama that tries to weave it’s way in around is just a distraction. If I am doing my best to glorify God, exalt his love, and always give the praise back to Him then I am okay with where my business is. I do the possible and He’ll do the impossible. As Lacrae says in his song Background:
“I can play the background, because I know sometimes I get in the way, so won’t you take the lead.
It’s evident You run the show, so let me back down.
You take the leading role, and I’ll play the background.
I know I miss my cues, know I forget my lines
I’m sticking to Your script, and I’m reading all Your signs.
I don’t need my name in lights.
I don’t need a starring role.
And why gain the whole wide world, if I’m just gon’ loose my soul.”
HOW FREEING IS THIS!?
God’s my CEO, I’m not. I’m living for an audience of one. – –Thanks Pete Bowell!
So in conclusion, I grew a lot this year and screwed up a lot too. I had to forgive myself. I learned what real GRACE is. Even though I didn’t dig as deep into the Word as I would have liked – God meets us where we are are. When I don’t know what else to do with life I just pray & it calms my anxiety. Sometimes I get scared living in this world of darkness and heart break but then I come back to the TRUTH. The TRUTH melts my fears away & brings me joy. Christ reminds me that I am just traveling through this world and this body is a little hub. Although while I’m in this hub I need to honor it by working out more and cutting back on the sugar. 😉 With my business, loved ones, husband, and more I need to always seek Him first and the rest will fall into place how HE desires.