The Day I Got My Life Back | Portland Photographer
One HUGE step that changed my world, forever.
July is always a big month for me, and by big I am not referring to a busy time for business. Yes, business is going amazing, and I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am to be able to continue both my passion and what God has in store for me. But July, in my own “inner-circle” is a month of walking on eggshells and wondering what life might throw at us next. As July 1st rolled around, I sat chatting with my best friend and we laughingly joked, “awe crap, it’s July.” Through nervous giggles, I know we both felt that pit in the bottom of our stomachs, as we prayed that by the grace of God, we would get through this July without the “normal” life changing events that always seem to occur in this summer month.
July has been the toughest month of my life for the last 4 years. Past July’s have brought the death of my son Leo, the early birth of my son Enzo, my almost dying twice, and now it has brought me to the point of ending my 8 year marriage. What is with the month of July??? As I spoke to my best friend, we hugged and said, “dammit, we will make it through this month, GOD WILLING!” prayed a prayer, and faced whatever July had in store for us head on.
I didn’t know what God had planned for July 2013, but I clothed myself in His armor, and by His grace, I’ve made it this far through July… just a few days left of this gnarly month, but for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am filled with hope, love, and a feeling of peace that has completely over-taken my soul. God has me RIGHT where I belong, blessed to be part of the right peoples lives, and blessed with a clarity about life that only He can bring.
I’ve attended Living Hope Church for 8 years now, and despite a short “we’re on a break” period, I can honestly say, that there is NO OTHER CHURCH that I could call my home. Living Hope rocks my world in many ways, but it is their mission that keeps me on my toes because they will do anything to reach that next heart for Christ. For years now I have watched thousands baptized during “spontaneous baptism” services – because in my honest opinion, you don’t need to be on a list or interviewed to pledge your faith to Christ. This outward sign of your inner commitment is something of an indescribable nature. I remember sitting and watching, feeling God on heart to take that walk towards the pool so many times, and for so many years. But I never did it. I never got up out of my chair. I’d leave ashamed, desperate for this experience, and also wondering why it weighed so heavily upon me.
I sat alone in church Sunday, July 13th at 11am. I worshiped, I prayed, I listened to John speak of Jonah in the belly of a whale. And I cried. Tears that had been waiting to fall for so very long were finally free to pour out of my heart and soul. I was led by the spirit to get up out of my chair and walk to the baptism pool, and I did. As I stood in line, waiting to enter the pool, I broke down completely. When did I allow others to dictate my walk with God? What a revelation! And here I was, completely surrounded by the Father, knowing full well that I had been preparing for this day, for this exact moment, and here it was.
I walked away, all on my own, knowing full well what I had just done, and was prouder than ever. I had finally surrendered everything to Him without the worry of what others might say or think. Jeans sopping wet, I stood with others who had just experienced the same experience, toweling off as much water as possible before heading home. Next to me, a family of 6 had been baptized together, and I smiled in awe of them; knowing the enormity of the experience they just shared. With my shoes in hand, and feet on a cold floor, I walked out of church with my head held high. Reaching my car, I laughed knowing it would be one wet ride home, but I didn’t care. I felt the sunshine on my face, and its warm enveloping me like His arms, and I was completely whole again.
Looking back on past July seasons is always tough for me…. and frankly they might always be. But to have this experience to add to my list of “July Events” is something I will cherish forever.
So here I am, completely broken, but made whole in Christ, ready to keep moving forward on my mission to touch the lives of women everywhere. Knowing that God has blessed me with the gift of photography and to see how He has chosen to use to me to breathe life into other women is beyond my comprehension. I am more blessed than I’ll ever truly understand, and revel in knowing that this is just the beginning of what God has in store for my life!