Sunday, May 17, 2015

Emily & Zack // An Engagement Session

About two years ago, Jon and I announced our "retirement" from photography.  We closed up shop and stopped booking any new sessions- especially weddings.  We were going through new seasons in our life that we knew we needed to focus on and put all our efforts into.  This past year I said yes to photographing only a couple weddings, and Zack & Emily are two people we knew we just needed to say yes to.

I've known Zack for as far back as I can remember.  He was my younger brother's best friend growing up and since then has grown into an amazing, hilarious, passionate man who not only disciples my husband, but looks at his fiance, Emily, with eyes I've never seen a man look at a woman with (like, ever.  IN MY LIFE).  And Emily returns his stares of deep love with these eyes insanely full of grace and adoration I've ever seen someone look with in return.

Emily and Zack have something I've seen few have in their beginning stages of love- they have this deep inward love for each other that comes out in a way I can't seem to explain except, hopefully, in these photos.  Zack with his quick wit & Emily with her contagious smile & laugh make for one of my most favorite couples ever!  Like, ever!

The reason I chose to debut their photos on my personal blog is because these two are very personal to me.  And if there's ever characters in a movie where you are like, "that, why can't that be real?" well then, these two are them and as real as ever!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My second chance for Mother's Day

I'm sitting in a corner at our local coffee shop celebrating my Mother's Day.  It's really 5 days away, but our day Sunday will be a day we'll be serving.  So I asked Jon for only one thing this Mother's Day.  I wanted a day to myself.  A day away from the responsibilities of taking care of someone else other than me.  I just wanted to be ME.  I felt justified in that request.  I felt I needed it.  But I'm sitting here, after a day of shopping at stores without having to worry about a toddler melt down or a public restroom potty break, feeling unsatisfied.  And I know why.

One of the stops on my adventure today was a Christian Bookstore because I had a gift card and I heard of a book I really wanted to read, You and Me Forever by Francis & Lisa Chan (visit for more).  I grabbed the book and started reading the back:  "100% of the net proceeds from this book will support various ministries including those that help provide shelter and rehabilitation for thousands of children and exploited women around the world."

There are women and children around the world exploited and I'm sitting here sipping a $4.50 cent blended coffee because I believed I deserved a break.

Please listen here because this point is vital.  This isn't about the break.  It's about my deserving heart for the break.   I don't believe in guilting.  I don't believe God guilts.  I don't believe in shaming.  But I believe in the conviction of the Holy Spirit that sets a heart a part from the ways of this world for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  And this was why I was unsatisfied.

I had been setting comfortable in a "me" focused world.  In fact, I even encouraged it.  Just hours before I sat writing this post, I was sitting with my phone documenting my "ME" day.  It feels good.  And it is good.  But I don't deserve it.  I don't have a right to ME.  In fact, I have a right to death, both death in my sin and death in my physical life.  As one who so deeply desires to follow Jesus to the heart of what He came to live, die, and resurrect for, I get it backwards so many times- I focus on me and what I am due, like a mother's day where I don't have to play mom, instead of focussing on Jesus who came to rescue and save moms around the world broken physically and spiritually because of the evil seeking to destroy them.  And I praise Jesus that mom was me!  But my time of being rescued is finished.  He has called me from my sin and into a life that says Go.  Disciple.  Serve.  Love the unlovable.  Care for the orphans and widows.  Heal the sick.  Profess my name.  Live fully in me.

So although I am so thankful my husband gave me time- to get away, to do whatever I wanted or needed to do- my reasonings missed the joy of what fully could have been enjoyed.  Thankfully my day isn't over yet.  Because I get this chance, to sit undistracted and write you, because I so want you to know if you're a mom already called into grace, you are now called into a roll bigger than anything you have ever known.  The call of motherhood is great.  It is a call that faces discipleship face to face.  Our call to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) has been given to us in our homes.  Our children are the disciples we get to raise up.  And even more, we have the call to walk alongside other mothers Jesus is after.  The mothers everywhere, in our neighborhoods and in our world, to pray for, to fight for, to defend, and to speak the WORD OF TRUTH for the Glory of God.  

This mother's day, I deserve nothing, but I have been given so much.  I've been given a second chance to face eternity and head into the straight and narrow, and show my little disciples that the Kingdom of God is the greatest investment.  I've been given a chance to get a glimpse of God, apart from the noise, and his heart for mothers everywhere- and a chance to do something about it.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Fault In My Friendship

I sat in the pew with a heavy heart.  I was so focused on trying to be real and honest that I had done so at the expense of other people.  As my Pastor challenged us to be speakers of life, I knew that I was just as guilty of speaking death at those I was so angry with for doing it to me.

I've been on a journey in going deeper in relationships with people, and as I thought that journey would show me the fault in our culture's view of friendship, I've been made more aware of my fault in my view of friendship- which smacked me right in the face- and it was painful.
As we've become a culture shifting towards #liveauthentic and being honest and raw, I believe that I've allowed that to be an excuse to be "real" at the expense of others.  My conversations that started out with how I'm struggling with this or that would lead to how I was justified to struggle that way because of what so and so did, or how that person was treating me.  And I began speaking negatively of those I was praying God would bring me to unity with. 

God is faithful to answer our prayers, sometimes it just looks different than we think they are going to look.  As I prayed for unity among believers and deeper relationships rich with discipleship, God was going to start with me, and with the way I spoke about the people He loves so dearly.  And dying to ourself may look like praying for those we're mad at or those who have hurt us in a way that lays our hurts down and lifts that person up, because they are the love of God's heart.  He created them in His likeness.  He created them for a purpose.  

As we dream to dive deeper into community filled relationships and cultivate a heart of a company filled life,  let our conversations be always full of grace and may our words about each other be words of life.  

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be.  Can both fresh water and salt flow from the same spring?  My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?  Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."  -James 3:9-12