Today is a very special day. I don't get too "real" here on the blog, and I'm okay with that. This blog is a place to show images, tell stories of what I do on a day-to-day basis, as well as a place to help photographers and wedding friends. But today is different; today I am going to be real.
I was never really religious growing up. I didn't go to church. I never really prayed (by "really" I mean I just prayed to keep me out of trouble when I did something wrong, or I prayed for things out of greed). My parents didn't force religion on me. The first 18 years of my life I had few cares in the world, and none of which had to do with why I was on Earth. I didn't get it.
It was shortly after I graduated high school that I had a real encounter with what God was all about (big shout out to one of my favorite people that the Lord placed in my life, Greg Stone). Instead of rule-maker, I discovered a God who was all about love. This was totally weird to me because I didn't realize until that summer that having a real relationship with my creator was possible. I was a smart kid, but didn't know such basic things about life.
Looking back from that point, it was so clear to me where God had been in my life, mostly protecting me from situations I was too immature to deal with by myself. I see my path, and realize that without Jesus protecting and guiding me (without my knowing), I would be an extremely different (and extremely lost) person.
Since finding Jesus that summer, I have grown and matured, and made mistakes and fell, and grown and matured some more, and am on the path to becoming who Jesus made me to be. God has used me to reach out to others (through YoungLife, for which I volunteered as a leader for 7 years, and other ways) and I know my past was instrumental in that. So, for my entire life I am entirely thankful.
As any Christian, I am not perfect. I am very fallible. I am tempted, selfish, and judgmental. On the other hand, with God's help I resist temptation, am selfless, and can love as the Lord loves. My favorite thing about Jesus is that he took, and takes, my sins away. He forgives me easily even when I don't know how to forgive myself.
I love Christmas for so many reasons. But most of all I love it because it celebrates the person who has guided me my entire life, taken care of me when I didn't know I needed caring for, and died for me so I could be forgiven of all the stupid, crazy things I have done.
Happy birthday, Jesus! Only on your birthday would we give gifts to other people. Always so selfless.
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