Thursday, March 8, 2012

40 Days....Day 3....Fear of the Unknown

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight."

I can hear the VBS song echo in my head as I recite this verse. For serveral years, I was the director of the summer VBS program at the church where my husband and I served as youth ministers. I would spend several months preparing and planning for one week of service. Let me rephrase that...15 hours of service! It seemed like so much work for such a little bit of time. It reminds me of preparing for a wedding day. You put so much planning and organizing into one day, only to see it gone and over in hours.

This verse, Proverbs 3:5-6, seems so simple to say, but so difficult to apply to my life.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart" Well heart is hurting and damaged and broken. How can I trust you with all my heart when my heart feels like it does? How am I supposed to trust You when I can't even trust the people around me?

"And lean not on your own understanding" Oh God...I know I have a problem with admitting that I need help. I am so quick to just do things on my own rather than seek Your will and Your plan for me. I pray that you will help me look to Your Word for guidance.

"In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Straight God...really? Because right now, my path feels like an obstacle course full of potholes, road blocks, and dead ends.

I realize how sweet this scripture is to me when I put it all together and speak it over and over again. You can't have the second verse with out the first. You can't have a straight path unless you are trusting Him with your whole heart.

I never set out to do photography as a business. I never thought that people would hire me to come share and capture their precious moments. But God did. I remember praying with my husband and asking Him to open or close doors. There were times that I would literally scream and cry because I would work my butt off doing tons of sessions, only to see bills still go unpaid. My husband and I felt like we were treading water in the deep end, praying and hoping for God to send us a life preserver.

About 3 years ago, we began to pray together. I quit my full time job and went back to school to finish my degree. We didn't have a clue how we were going to pay for it or how we were going to even make it month to month. But I knew in my heart that it was time to do this. I walked into the admission's office at Florida State College of Jacksonville. Filled out an application and met with a guidance counselor. She went through my former training and employement. She read that I had been a high school journalism teacher and that I was a photographer. She then handed me a copy of The Campus Voice Newspaper, the college's school publication. She also gave me the contact information for the advisor and then explained to me that they were in need of photographers. She then goes on to tell me that their staff received talent grants for their work and that if I were to be a part full time, that I could get my school paid for.

My stomach felt like it flipped inside out. It was at that moment that God opened a huge door for me and said, "You have trusted me with your whole heart. This is the path that I have prepared for you." For the next two years I was not only the photographer for their newspaper, but was also their Editor-in-Chief. While I was there, I managed to also have two beautiful children and even graduated with academic high honors. Our newspaper flourished and I gained so many opportunities to grow and mold into a better photographer.

Had I not stepped out on faith and trusted my God then, I don't know where I would be today. Sometimes we have to be like Abraham. Abraham was told by God to go. He didn't know where he was going, because God hadn't told him yet. He didn't have a map, but he knew that God would lead him and show him the way. Sometimes we have to seek God's will in places that we wouldn't normally look. We have to allow Him to lead our path and make it straight, but we can't do that without trusting Him with our whole heart.

Now am I saying, quit your full time job and buy that brand new 5DMarkIII that is about to come out? No, but what I am saying is, place yourself in a position to grow and be moldable. Allow yourself to be used by Him. Allow Him to open doors for you and be willing to walk through them when they are opened. And when you are faced with a closed door, seek His will and guidance. He will make your path straight. If it's God's will that your photography hobby becomes a buisness, He will make it very clear. Because as much as it looks glamourous from the outside, there's a lot more that goes into actually owning a company. Owning a successful photography business is more than just taking pretty pictures.

I am still praying about my path. When I decided to go back to school to get my degree, I decided to get my masters in education, not a degree in photography. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about changing my major to graphic design or photography. I pray and I ask God, "Why would you bless me with so many photography related talents and opportunities if you want me to go a different path?" I wonder sometimes if maybe there's something coming in my future or my family's future that I must need to be ready and prepared for and this education degree will be the answer. I don't know and I don't have the answers right now, so I pray and I read God's word and it says in Psalms 27:14, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." So I wait.

Here is a link to one of my favorite articles I wrote and photographed for FSCJ's The Campus Voice Newspaper. I received 2nd place for this photo story! And the best part...I got to take pictures of Tim Tebow when he was still in college.

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