This is a special post today…it is a post for a contest that I have entered. The wonderful photographer Amy Wenzel is giving away a seat for her May workshop and she is asking us to answer the following question:
“Tell us how you love, serve or inspire other people in your life, and what attending the workshop might mean for your photography journey. You don’t need to have a business to enter. Whether you are a pro, semi-pro or hobbyist with an SLR, I am so, so excited to hear your story!”
Amy, this is quite a question…How do I love, serve or inspire others in my life?
If I do indeed love and inspire others in my life, it is only by the grace of God and His work in me. Where do I begin? It was many years ago…when I was only about eight years old, that I sat in a Sunday school class and asked that Jesus come and live in me and help me to be good. I asked Him to forgive me for the things that I had done that were wrong and then I said “Amen”. In the years that followed I studied my bible and prayed and tried to live a life that would honor Him. Then came a kind young youth pastor that caught my eye and apparently I caught his! He had just been diagnosed with lymphoma and had finished radiation treatment when we started dating. When we became engaged, I remember my father asking me how I would do if he were not to live long. My response…I would rather have him some than not at all. We were young and full of inexperience, which at times provided us with highs and other times lows, as we ministered together over the years to follow. Our marriage lasted 12 ½ years. He died at age 38, not of cancer but of massive heart failure. I was left with two beautiful children from him, a 5 year old daughter and a 9 month old baby boy. Many people asked “How did you get through it”? My answer, by God’s grace I just placed one foot in front of the other. The outpouring of love on our family only made my faith stronger in the Lord. It wasn’t long before my children and I made a move back home to California to be closer to my parents to help me raise these children. And as many do, I got into another relationship far sooner than I should have and married very quickly…placing my children and myself in an eight year struggle…which finally ended in divorce. If I can say anything, it is this…God is a God of GRACE. Once again, I needed His forgiveness…but my heart craved his GRACE. It was during that eight year struggle that I realized how much I needed to know the Lord in a true life changing way. One would have thought that being a pastors wife would have done that, but it is life’s heart ache that tend to bring one too their knees more than anything else.
It was after my divorce that I became serious about photography. I poured my heart into something that would bring beauty and good memories into my life and the lives of those that I touched. Then I was truly blessed…with a man to love me the way that a man is to love a family…and for him a family that came as a package deal. This wonderful man has encouraged and supported me the entire time that I have been on this journey of becoming a business owner and an artist. Photography was in a way a “life saver” for me. It continues to give me something to pour myself into that’s productive and pure and provides me a way to give to others. Every day I am in a pursuit to become a better artist. To take better pictures straight out of the camera and to edit them so to present my clients and friends with something that they can treasure for years to come. To God be the Glory.