For those of you who know me, you can attest to the fact that I’m a dreamer! I have a huge imagination and find a lot of joy in thinking up different things to do/places to go. Dreams are a big part of my life, they always have been. The first 8 years of my marriage were spent making our dreams reality and we carved out a very fulfilling and wonderful life together. Last October, we had to let go of our life down in Sacramento, we had to let go of our plans we had made, and we had to move up here to Chico to start anew. I’ve never had a dream this big crushed before and it was devastating to me, to all of us really. I was so angry with God for taking us away from our happy life. We had just started going back to church several months prior to having to leave. We had developed deep, soul level connections with many people in the church and we were lost in confusion as to why God would lead us there only to rip us apart such a short time after. I guess He saw that we were ready to hear His truth for our lives. We didn’t belong in Sacramento, we belong up here in Chico with family. We need to be here for some reason, and we trust it’s a pretty big one. He’s changed me this past 8 months. I’ve never depended on Him for comfort, grace, peace and happiness before now. I’ve never felt the desire or need to seek His counsel and want to live FOR Him. I’m finally focusing on me and who He made me to be. I’m searching for His will for my life and have been extra-extra cautious with each step forward. I don’t want to get hurt again. I don’t want to have a dream ripped away again. I still feel lost in my path of Photography. From day to day it seems as though my confidence is shaken and I question if it’s His will and part of His plan for my life, or if it’s just another self-serving-in-the-moment hobby. Photography is the only place in my life I still experience fear on a daily basis, but it’s also the only place I experience pure joy and happiness. I’m afraid to believe in the hope that it’s a viable future for me and my family and don’t know which way to go or where to start.
A few months ago, during a roll in blog-hopping from one photo blog to another, trying to find inspiration and direction, I came across a blog that stopped me dead in my tracks called For the Love. They had JUST uploaded a video that showed a quick recap from their very first spiritual retreat/photography workshop and I was sobbing from the truth it spoke to my heart. The video was an answer to a silent prayer I had been saying for months. The creator of For the Love Workshop had put together a spiritual retreat/photography workshop where a group of Christian photographers came together in worship, prayer, community and classes. I watched it over and over again, shared it with family and a few friends – crying each and every time I saw it. There weren’t any details at that time indicating any future retreats but I knew in my heart I had to do whatever it took to go to the next one. Having the opportunity to spend a week with God, seeking his counsel and guidance for my life as a photographer/mother/wife/daughter re-lit the fire of hope in me. I am so distracted in the day to day noise that it’s virtually impossible for me to hear His voice answering my pleas to hear Him. I’ve never been this deep in faith before, and it’s still just skimming the surface. I’ve never wanted to go to spiritual retreats – they never seemed like the thing for me. Watching the video and reading the testimonies from For the Love Workshop has stirred up this strong desire and need to go. I’m torn between my logical and practical side saying it’s not the right time in my life and it’s selfish of me to want to spend the money and time to go to this, but there’s also the inexplicable feeling of need for me to go. It doesn’t FEEL like a frivolous/selfish goal, it really feels like a need. I need to go to this workshop/retreat in order to reach the next step in my spirituality, to regain my confidence in my ability to be a professional photographer, to meet others in God to relate and become friends with. When I found out that they’re having the next For the Love Workshop in Oregon, a 6 hour drive north, I started getting excited at the realization that it is possible for me to go since I originally thought they’d have it in Tennessee where the first one was! Since discovering For the Love Workshop, I’ve said to myself and everyone around me – if it’s supposed to happen, it will happen! I pray and hope that this will happen.
If you want to know more (or have a good cry too), check out the blog and videos: http://vimeo.com/1036325 & http://www.fortheloveworkshop.com/blog/ (for testimonials on the last workshop), http://www.fortheloveworkshop.com/index2.php (to view all the pics from the last workshop)