Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lord, Set Eternity in my Heart ::: Looking Ahead to 2011

The last month or two, the song "Make Me a Stranger" has particular stuck out to me. I'll be driving around town... and a CD will begin to play it... or I'll be in a conversation with someone ... and the other person will bring up the song:

"Make me a stranger on earth dear Saviour, Make me a stranger more like Thee, Help me keep my focus on heavenly treasures, and not on earthly things it may be..." —Mac Lynch

I hardly know how to write in pen what my heart wants to say, but here goes...

The journey of my life in the last year and a half has been one big rollarcoaster and one change of events after the after.

A year and a half ago I knew where God was calling me. I was ever so certain of what the future looked like. (Well, kinda.) I was certain that it was God's calling on my life to be a missionary. No, I didn't know where or how, but it simply was. I knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt. For as long as I can remember, my life song (hymn) has been these words: "Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee, Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love, at the impluse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee, Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King, always, only for my King. Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee, Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne, it shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee, ever, only all for Thee."

But then God allowed something heart wrenching to take place in my life. It shred my heart into a thousand bits. I'll never forget going to to the corner of a particular room, kneeling at a worn & tattered chair, and sobbing. "God, WHY? What have I done? I'll do anything..." In my tears, I telephoned my mother, and said, "...but I know that if God can do it for Jim Elliot and Hudson Taylor, he can do it for me." She choked up, and I continued to cry. In the months that followed, God chose not to do "it" for me.

Over the next few months, I began to build blocks of bitterness and fear (of being hurt again) around my heart. I made up my mind (all in silence to the whole world around me) that I was not going to ever feel or love another person again, unless I knew I could truly, really trust them.

Around that time, God firmly closed the door me for to go overseas as a missionary.

In my pain and hurt, I thought, "Well, what else do I have to loose? Looks like I have to dive into portrait & wedding photography now!" At first, it was very, very hard to realize that I would not be going overseas again -- atleast in the foreseeable future, but as the months faded on, as my wedding bookings doubled, and I began to investigate and learn from world famous wedding photographers, my heart began to leap. My selfishness took a leap too. :-P People began to praise me for my incredible wedding photography. My heart soared in the admiration of people's praise. These people believe in me! ...and I held the ridiculous notion that maybe I one day could be the next world famous photographer. Oh, Christian photographer of course!

The work began to stream in. The photo editing became an endless chore. Brides sending me hate mail. ...and my business was failing. FAST. Then one night when I was close to giving up, a relative called me up, and basically said, "Don't quit. You've got it in you. I believe in you!" Just those words alone pumped my heart so full of pride that it left me "floating" for a while. ;-) Yeah, maybe I can become a world famous photographer -- in time!

As the weeks came and went, my business too was failing. I couldn't keep up, and I seriously began to wonder, "Um, can I actually do this?" And I began to question myself if I was really meant to be a photographer in the first place.

Over the last couple weeks, God has had to take me to such extreme places of humility, and extreme embarrassment (on my part). I've painfully realized that my life calling is not to be the world's best, most famous wedding photographer. Which brings me to this announcement for Leah Christine Imagery:

Leah Christine Imagery is no longer booking weddings.
*for an undetermined amount of time

The truth is, is that the Lord has reminded me lately that I am HIS. I am no longer mine. I no longer have the right to dictate my life, and do what I want to do.

In the very beginning of my photography career, God called me to use my photography to aid in the advancement of His kingdom. (NOT my kindom!) And God has restored that vision again.

And so, I am shifting gears. I am changing "lenses." No, I'm not saying that I'll never, ever, ever photograph another wedding again. I'll still take portraiture. But my whole reason for being a photographer is no longer to make a name for ME. I am not capable of being great. HE IS, because HE is great, and worthy, and awesome beyond anything you and I could ever imagine.

Life is short. Eternity is real. Soul's are perishing without Jesus. And tonight, I earnestly cry out, Send me, Lord Jesus, if Thou wilt. I am willing to go overseas again... for Jesus. I am willing to be lonely and alone... for Jesus.

And yes, though it may cost me the most heart wrenching pain, I am willing to have my very heart's dreams chattered again... if it will bring honor and glory to His name.

I'm shifting gears for 2011. I'm giving God the keys to my business. And I am super stoked to see where He's going to take it.

(And a little birdie says that in the last couple weeks, a couple different opportunities have popped up for Leah Christine Imagery to use photography on the mission field in two countries in the coming year. But nothing is final yet. Just hopes and possibilities.) ;-)

Can I geniunely cry out tonight, "For me to live is Christ"? Or is it something else?

"For me to live is _______________"
For me to live is not be the next Jasmine Star (though I love her work and admire how fast she has progressed in only 4 years.)
For me to live is not to have the man of my dreams pursue me to ends of the earth.
For me to live is not to have the best camera equipment.
For me to live is not to have the best of everything.
For me to live is not to have the admiration of all the world.
Here am I, Lord. Send me...
Set eternity in my heart!



Samantha R. said...

You are courageous; even if you don't think you are! :)
I believe in you and I know that wherever God leads you, you will do well. Because He has given you the talent do glorify His name.

Nicole said...

I stumbled across your blog I am not even for sure how, but I wanted to let you know what an encouraging post this is. I too have had my plans dashed but have to come to realize that God's ways are so much higher than mine. I know that with your attitude of trusting God and keeping Him first, He is sure to bless!
-An aspiring photographer!

Kate Maxwell said...

Oh my goodness Leah - what a stud you are! It takes so much faith to diverge from what you may have thought your path should be in order to follow God - and your life will be blessed because of it!


Hannah said...

Wow, it is so awesome that you can be so transparent and open! I just started a photography business a few months ago called Rejoice Photography, because of Phillipians 4:4. But, sometimes I wonder if I should take the verse off my facebook page because it might be making people not interested in my business. But thanks for this post because it encouraged me to continue to share my faith through my business! Blessings in wherever the Lord leads you!! :)

gabrielle bass said...

Wow. This was truly moving. I usually don't read blogger blogs because they take forever to load..etc..but I came across your work on Facebook and decided to check out your site. I love photography too and want to be the best I can be. I am just getting started and I appreciate this post, this confession..touched my heart. I am now asking God how I can use my photography to aid in the advancement of His kingdom.

Light & Love,

Eva said...

Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

Young's Literal Translation (YLT)

10I have seen the travail that God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it.

11The whole He hath made beautiful in its season; also, that knowledge He hath put in their heart without which man findeth not out the work that God hath done from the beginning even unto the end.

12I have known that there is no good for them except to rejoice and to do good during their life,