I'm so excited to share some amazing guest posts from other bloggers living life on a mission with you all while I'm out of town so much this month! Be sure to check out their blogs and leave them some love!
Jennifer is a phenomenal photographer and musician who just so happened to attend the same college as I did. She moved into the dorms about the time I was moving out of them and we had different majors so we actually didn't know one another very well. But our common love of blogging and missions has ignited a friendship that I'm very thankful for. Make sure you check out her blog, where you're sure to see her love for photography and people as well as hear what the Lord is doing in her life.
First of all, I want to thank Kerrie for having me on her blog today! She is always so encouraging! I actually knew her in college, but we never really connected until we both started blogging later on! :) I'm honored to be here to share a little bit about my journey.
I few months ago everything I knew changed drastically. Out of the blue I heard the Lord tell me to quit my job. I had nothing lined up. I wasn't sure what He was up to, but I knew I had to obey. So I quit my job that very same day. After 2 agonizing months of seeking His will for the next step I finally had direction...photography. Believe me, I thought it was so strange. I knew He was calling me into something for His glory, but photography? But as clear as day I heard him say "Use it for Me. This isn't yours. I give it to you know and I can take it away." With excitement I bought a camera and started out on this new journey. I quite literally had nothing else. For the first month or two I felt so elated. This was one of my dreams and now it was finally coming to fruition. After a while this question started to plague me, growing stronger with each passing day: How do I use this for Him? The details and necessities for running a business became abundant and I wondered if this is what He wanted. With no clear answer I continued moving forward.
Thankfully, the new year brought with it fresh vision. I was at a conference called Passion when the revelation hit me. I was sitting in my seat listening to the stories of those who are enslaved in our world today. I heard lots of statistics, but the stories…they pierced my heart. This particular story was about a young girl from Europe who was set up on a blind date by her friends. Innocent enough, right? Minutes into the date, the guy drugged her drink. He pretended that she suddenly wasn’t feeling well and took her outside. No one suspected. He threw her into the back of his car, bribed the man at the country’s border and was gone. No one even knew where to look or what had happened to her. It hit me that this could happen to anyone. It became personal. That girl could have been my sister. She could have been my friend. Suddenly she was no longer a number in a statistic. I heard her voice, I saw her face and I felt her pain. Then, I knew.
The purpose for setting me on this road became clear. I have all the tools for story-telling in my hands. What I capture and the things I write can make a difference. Sure, I love engagements, weddings and everything else that I’ve been doing, but now I know that my art has a greater cause. I have been given this business, this platform in order to share the stories of those without a voice. These tools I have been given can fund rescue for those in darkness. I thought of Ethiopia and all the stories I heard while there. I knew I needed to go back, this time with my camera and lots of blank sheets of paper. I talked to my husband about it and we both knew we should go and do this together. I was filled with trepidation as I pressed the “send” button on the email to the director of the mission trips, but the reply was only confirmation. The why of my calling had fallen into place.
But what about the how? That is where I have found so much of a struggle. My flesh and the Spirit within me wage war. I'm ashamed to say that far too often I have gotten more caught up in creating a successful business and refining my art than seeking to glorify God. If I don’t surrender my desires of how I want things to be, they will and do consume me. I have to remember that I’m not in this for me. I must seek Him for everything. I know now that this is always going to hard.really hard. In a field of self promotion I’m sent to do the opposite…to promote Jesus and to share His compassion for the least of these. That is not how it goes in most of the photography world, especially in wedding photography. You capture pretty people with money, not the people most of the world tries to forget. This revelation for my life is beautiful paradox. I don’t feel worthy to even write these words because I have failed to much already. Still, the point is not for me to be able to do this. I can’t. He has the power to do it in me, if I’ll only let Him.
Beautifully said. Go over and visit Jennifer Blair Photography and learn about her upcoming mission trip to Ethiopia and see how you can help!