If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that about 2 years ago, I started dabbling in photography.
When I first began, I found I loved taking macro shots -- extreme closeups. Usually of flowers. And though that has evolved into taking other shots of mountains, skies, oceans, animals, and most recently, people, I still relish shooting nature macros.
As I would examine the flower macros, I would see not only the beauty, but the minute intricacy of the world we are blessed to live in. And, the more I shot, the more in love with the God who created this amazing world I became. The more overwhelmed I became at the abundant love He has shown us by creating all these beautiful, intricate, amazing things and letting us live among them.
In short, my photography made me fall even deeper in love with my Savior. And, like one who is smitten, I craved more. And so I shot more pictures.
Over time, the collection of pictures that I thought were "share worthy" increased as my skill increased. I paid more attention to the things "real" photographers do -- composition, lighting, and a few other things too. But in it all, my passion was to bring God to the people. That sounds sort of Black Panther, but I truly felt that if someone who didn't know God could see his majesty in my photos and realize that something, someONE greater than ourself created all that -- and LIVES!!! Well, then my desire for my photography would be fulfilled.
And so I stepped out of my comfort zone. And gave some of you my photos as gifts. I felt shy and unsure about it. But, since those of you who where gifted with the inaugural images are family, I figured you HAD to like them! (That's one of the rules of family, right? "Thou shalt love all gifts given within the family.")
And I shared with the world -- or at least those who stumbled upon this blog.
But recently, I was feeling there was more.
I felt a sense of anticipation, but couldn't put my finger on why or, what I was anticipating.
And, I felt fear.
There is a song we sing at church by Jesus Culture called "Burning Ones." There is a section in it that really speaks to me in regards to photography:
"So let this love be like a fire
Let my life be like a flame
Fill my soul with Your desire
Let my passion bring You fame"
Shortly after Christmas, I remember thinking to myself, "Yes. That's what I'd like to do. Use my photography bring God fame." But that was as far as it went. A thought. Something to take back out and examine later.
A couple weeks later, I was sitting in a class offered by our church. Our pastor said something along the lines of, "If you have a dream and it won't go away, consider that it might be from God." (That wasn't the ah-ha moment, so don't get all excited yet.)
A couple weeks later, a guest speaker at our church was talking about how if we want to see change in our world -- if we want people to know God, then WE must make that happen. He handed out a card that had Isaiah 40:3-5 on it as well as: "If the world is going to see the glory of God, it's on us to prepare the way. How can I make God accessible to the people He has called me to reach?"
It started me thinking.
But, still no ah-ha.
Somewhere in between those two events, CraftyGirl and I went to our local Farmer's Market, which was having an extended season -- the Winter Market. We visited with friends, sniffed soaps, tasted everything from kale, to kumquats, to whole wheat cinnamon buns and generally had a good time. (Still not the ah-ha moment. But, I promise, it's coming.)
Kapow! All the things I'd heard about a dream from God, and making God accessible, and my feeling of finding and loving God through photography, and wanting to use my passion for photography to burn for God seemed to gel into an idea.
A scary idea.
The type of idea that can only be described as requiring a leap of faith.
Like a smack upside my thick head, I finally knew the way God wanted me to reach out to His people. The way he wanted me to make Him accessible to the people He has called me to reach.
"Use your photography to introduce Me to people. Then tell them about My great love. And mercy. And grace. Share Me."
"But, Lord! People might not like the photos. They might laugh. They might not want to hear what I've got to say." (There was more weeping and gnashing of teeth and a lot of attempted bargaining, but I'll spare you the details!)
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
And when I got over my selfish focus of how this would affect ME, I got it. (Here's the ah-ha!)
This whole photographic journey is not about me.
It is about Him.
And so I applied.
And was approved.
And scurried about like a crazy woman on a mission. A Photography Mission. A Missionography.
And I set up a booth at the Farmer's Market. Selling photography. GULP!
I talked to people, using the photos as a gateway for a conversation.
And shared the love of Christ with them (knees shaking, but the courage of God strengthening me.)
Shared the reason I take photos. Talked about His majesty. His grace. His abundant love.
And even invited a guy to church.
And, though this isn't about me, I did receive overwhelmingly positive feedback on my images, which made my heart flutter. I don't know why I doubted.
Of course the feedback was positive -- it's God's creation. And His blessing.
I had a variety of images to choose from, in several different forms, and sold several. I would have been completely satisfied to simply be there to share about God, but the sales were the icing.
Some photos were just the image, and some had scripture on them.
I had someone say, "I think you should do more with scripture. I'll be back next week for more."
All I can say is Amen and Amen!
The blessing and sheer joy of serving obediently leaves me speechless and really smiley.
I'll be going back this weekend to again set up my photo booth.
Won't you pray that I might be strengthened to bring the Truth to a lost world?
And won't you pray that possibly one ear might hear, and one heart might accept Him as Savior?
And won't you pray that God continue to use me to serve Him, and that I follow in obedience?
And, if you're in my area, won't you come see me at the Farmer's Market?
We are Your burning ones.
We are consumed by You.
We set our lives apart.
We are consumed by You.
So let this love be like a fire.
Let my life be like a flame.
Fill my soul with Your desire.
Let my passion bring You fame.
Let my passion bring You fame.