There is so much weight sometimes in the littlest things. The date Oct. 8th is like that for me. It is my brother's birthday, my brother who would have been 36 today - if he wasn't taken too quickly from us through a vehicle accident just days after his birthday. Today is Oct. 8th, and while I tried my best not to let it completely deter my day - once a year, it usually does. I found my morning cuddled up with my five month old baby boy with little smiles from his dreams and I thought to God, I wonder if babies aren't actually dreaming but they are revisiting Heavenly places and somehow their spirits and hearts are enjoying our friends and family we so desperately love.
But just like all of my crazy thoughts... I released the idea and started about my day. I am a mother of three beautiful children, and along with that a full-time wedding photographer in sunny San Diego, CA. While alone my status can sound so 'cushy' - the reality can be more of a mess, more real.
We moved here after listening to God and believing He was awakening our hearts to something unknown to us, unexplored - something we longed to be a part of, bigger than ourselves and so we finally obeyed. Without knowing a soul, a friend or acquaintance we packed our bags and headed south - to the unknown. We are pretty friendly in nature so we quickly became friends with as many people as we could and found an amazing church to get plugged into.
Our network for shooting 'weddings' well, let's face it - anyone -- was obsolete. Nothing. We were on ground floor and working our way up. Our rent had doubled from the grand town of Portland, OR and we were definitely walking 'by faith'. Chris had a job transfer that went bad as well and for a year we survived on literally nothing. With (two) kids we were at a loss of what to do except survive. We were constantly mad at God, upset and hurt. Why did He bring us here? What is this all for if we cannot even help ourselves.
We put our heads down and poured out our hearts. We decided to become real with others. We don't care for the facade of the 'game', who's living better... life is way too short. Luckily, God was there and He has carried us through.
Around two months ago we received a notice that our landlord was going to sell his condo unit and wanted us to move out. We had been searching for somewhere to live for awhile and while things seemed unreachable at the time, after we were aware we would HAVE to move - they moved further into the distance. Again, we were counting and calculating budgets and praying for God to intervene. Talks started to occur - why are we here? What is our purpose? Should we pack up and leave... it showed up again. The darkness. The confusion... the doubt. THE WEIGHT and it comes with like... all of its suitcases and starts unpacking in your head, in your heart... in the conversations you have with friends, conversations you have with yourself. Then today hit and in a random attempt to find something in my email search while I was working -I ran into an entry from seven years ago-today and knew even though the WEIGHT began unpacking in my heart... while I was reading these journal words, while I was listening to this worship - I started packing his boxes up... I started lighting them on fire and I started to burn with the REAL fire, the desire to increase my authentic love for Him, to draw in and to let that effect the world around me - DESPITE ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, the weight fled. It is an illusion to stump us from action for our purpose. Rid it. Rid the clutter it has thrown in your mind, in your heart... pack the thoughts it has leaked into your mouth and speak truth and only truth that comes from His words into your life.
It is in these moments that I know God exists without a doubt because nothing - nothing could have spoken to me more than these words. This is NOT my story... Life will happen. Hurts will come and yes for goodness sakes, it is haaaaaard and no one understands and no one will... and the more you try to explain the pain, the hurt, the tears... the questions - the anger, the more you realize God is still good. He is still God and He is still in control.
Do not lend your ears to the lies that tell you your story is not extraordinary, that you aren't enough, that He cannot use you in the ways you have dreamed. Feed your soul, feed your heart and you remain confident that He creates things of His glory and nothing small. He is a great God and I expect nothing less than Him using me for a purpose far greater than anything He has ever shown me.
"I reach out, and You find me in the dust... and you say no amount of untruths can separate us. I will rejoice in the simple gospel. I will rejoice in YOU."
Journal entry: Oct 8th, 2008
"There is never paid great honor without the demand of great challenges, There is never paid a great respect without the demand of a great sacrifice. You will never reach what has been purposed for your life without constantly stretching yourself beyond the limits your mind has created. You will find yourself falling, you will find yourself failing and God-willing you will find yourself continually getting back up again - because you were destined for this fight, crafted beyond your comprehension for this journey. Your struggle is not your end. Your despair is NOT your story. You will rise, you will remain. You will gain hope from the smallest sources and when everything else in you cries out for you to be finished and quit you will stand your ground - and you will conquer because, you were made for this. You cannot be talked out of it, that is how you know your purpose is greater than your darkest moments. This is why we should count our trials as joy. Gain perspective.”
"Thank you, Lord, for all the blessings in my life you know, the ones that bring tears to my eyes."