Last Tuesday, I packed up my suitcase and embarked on something I had NO idea would change my life. Along with my friend Rachael, I headed south to Rome, Georgia for the Pursuit 31 Conference at Win Shape. Pursuit 31 is a group for Christian women creatives and this is the second year that have held a conference. I arrived there only knowing one person out of 140, so I was pretty nervous. Although I’m extroverted, it’s still a little overwhelming going somewhere fo
r the first time and only knowing one person! I have never done any professional development in my career and I knew this would be a great balance of God talk and work talk. I just didn’t know it was going to rock my world!
It’s really difficult to put it all into words and I don’t even know where to start. First off, I was like a giddy little kid when I got to meet some of the amazing women I follow and are constantly inspired by. For instance, I just stared at Mary Marantz and said nothing, talked too much when I met Promise Tangeman, and pretty much ran to Katelyn James and told her I was her biggest fan and we should be friends because we have so much in common! Seriously?!? I’m such a nerd!
We spent all week listening to successful business women, who I aspire to be like, speak about how they got where they are. But you know what? It was always about how God brought them to where they were. The bold steps of obedience that they took and the way God did crazy things with their faith. It was never about their own success and accomplishments, it was always about God finding them in their brokenness or His calling on their life that they followed.
By the end of the week, I realized several things that come full circle and tie together:
#1. I haven’t allowed God to be a part of my business in a long time. I treat it as my accomplishment and not as a gift from God. Although I love my job, I haven’t been happy most of this year. I have been clinching my fists and holding on so tightly to it, when I should be letting God direct the steps. I want to be used and I desire for deeper relationships with my clients, but I am holding myself back. Think of all the awesome things that could happen if I would let God guide my business! It gives me chills to think about it!
#2. I work all the time. I put it above my family, my friends, and the things in life I enjoy. During one of our sessions led by Lara Casey, Emily Ley, and Gina Zeidler (three amazing women!), they had us make a list of things we enjoy; the things in life that make us come alive. Everyone in the room put their pens to the paper and I just sat there and stared at my empty page. Nothing immediately came to me and it really frustrated me. I really do love my job, but I have made it my number one priority and I don’t spend time doing things that make my heart happy.
#3. I have let infertility define me. For three years, it has taken over my life and my emotions. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Yes, I have grown and God has brought us to the awesome journey of adoption. But infertility still rings loud in my head and I started believing the lies that I am not good enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m not capable of being a mother. At one point, I believed God had forgotten me and my faith in Him was dragged through the mud.
THANKFULLY I faced all those things this week! It’s time for change. It’s time to be obedient. It’s time to believe. It’s time to find my identity in Christ. It’s time to be brave.
I don’t exactly know what the next steps are. But I’m praying God will show me and that I will follow. I have some things I feel like He is laying on my heart so I’m excited to see what He does with that. Lara Casey said, “In the Bible, God doesn’t say ‘Follow your dreams.’ He says, ‘Follow Me.'” I’ve spent too much time trying to follow my dreams as a wedding photographer and I quit following Him on this journey. Bob Goff, the author of Love Does (great book, you should read it!) spoke and was crazy good! He challenged us to quit being polite to Jesus and agreeing with Him, and do stuff for Him! I want to do stuff for Jesus. I want my business to point to Him. I want to take my talents and abilities and put them to use for Jesus. I want my story of infertility and adoption to point to Him. It’s all in His hands anyway, right?!
Whew! I told you it rocked my world and this is only skimming the surface! Thanks for taking time to read what’s on my heart right now. 🙂
I’ve posted some photos, and ironically most of them are iPhone pics because I just didn’t want to touch my camera much this week. Win Shape is gorgeous! It felt like a 5 star vacation resort and we were well taken care of while we were there. I made some new friends and cried a lot of tears. It was amazing to be surrounded by 140 women who share in the same passion and goals. It was an amazing three days. Now it’s time for change.
My small group full of amazing ladies!
We got to spend some time with Mary as she gave us posing tips with a bride and groom. I learned so much!
My new friend and accountability partner, Sabrina!
We also got to do a styled shoot with Katelyn James as she gave us tips and tricks to shooting wedding details.
Last day with new friends!
“We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast.”
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