I am a photographer.

blog_051715_rocks

I bought my first DSLR 3 years ago. My best friend from high school had become this amazing and highly sought after photographer, and I desperately wanted to learn how to capture my own children the way she managed to capture hers and coutless others… At first, it was just a desire to document our family and not to build a business or become a professional.

Over time, though, I found an incredible amount of joy in coming alongside friends and filling my frame with pictures of their sweet families, too. There was this nagging feeling that maybe I was supposed to do this photography thing on a larger scale than within my own little 4-person world.

But it took a little while for me to gather the guts to take that leap.

From childhood, I have always been tempted to place my value and identity in other’s opinions and views of me. I wish I could say that as I grew into adulthood I grew out of this habit. But I didn’t. My perspective of myself continued to be molded by the impressions, comments, and opinions of others.

When I got married and became a youth pastor’s wife, my desire to make sure everyone was happy and pleased with me grew even more.

People sometimes put pressure and expectations on those in certain roles without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s done intentionally, but often not. For the most part, I don’t think people ever meant to burden me with expectations or judgments. I think I heaped those burdens on my back myself.

blog_051715_calebI was a youth pastor’s wife.

And I didn’t realize how deeply I had allowed that role (and the expectations that I thought came with it) to control me and consume me until it was no longer what I was. It was so much a part of my identity that when Matt (my husband) first mentioned leaving church ministry and becoming a Navy chaplain I instantly revolted.

“But I’m a youth pastor’s wife!”

Somehow, God managed to open my heart and my eyes to see that entering into a new role wasn’t such a bad thing. There was, in fact, life after being a youth pastor’s wife. So now?

I am not a youth pastor’s wife.
I am now a chaplain’s wife.

This time, however, the role feels entirely different. I don’t feel bound to meet an imaginary list of expectations, or to live up to somebody’s high standards. I feel freedom to be the woman God has called me to be.

There is a point to this long story.

blog_051715_flowersFor three years I have been practicing, learning, and loving picture taking. But I have never felt like I could call myself a photographer. Calling myself that would mean that others have the opportunity to ascertain whether or not I actually deserve the title… What if I’m not good enough? What if no one likes my pictures?

Just like the imagined list of expectations I felt dangling over my shoulder as a youth pastor’s wife, I had built this list of expectations that I thought would be required of a ‘real photographer.’ And it terrified me.

But thankfully, the same friend whose beautiful pictures inspired me to buy a decent camera in the first place, has now given me a different perspective on what it means to be a photographer.

I love taking pictures. I love hanging with friends, old and new, and laughing together as we document their life, their loves, and their momentous occasions.

I cry through my lens as I watch service men and women grab their babies and their lovers for the first time in months.

When I’m out and about I am constantly looking as if through the lens of my camera, imagining what kinds of shots could be taken in each and every circumstance and scenario.

So really, it’s time I just admit it.

blog_051715_backpackI am a photographer.

And if I could leave you with one piece of advice from the journey that has brought me here, it would be this:

Your dreams and passions are not silly, and you don’t need to be afraid to say them out loud.

Something inside is telling me that this is just the start of something kind of awesome. Let’s be in it together, ok? If you need a cheerleader to inspire you to go after your passion, I’m there. If you need someone to help you take that leap of faith, give me a call and I’ll give you a nudge. And if you need someone to take your pictures, you just let me know.

After all, in case you haven’t heard,

I’m a photographer.

 

5 Comments

  1. by Carrie Ziebell on June 2, 2015  1:44 am Reply

    So proud of you.

  2. by Stephanie Kane on June 2, 2015  2:36 am Reply

    You are beautiful inside and out!

  3. by Jessica Morales on June 2, 2015  2:35 pm Reply

    I love your spirit!!! So happy for you and your new adventure! You are a magnificent photographer:-)

  4. by Anita Neveu on June 2, 2015  7:04 pm Reply

    You are such a beautiful person inside and out...it is such a blessing to see you do something you love...

  5. by Stacia on June 3, 2015  5:08 pm Reply

    I love this post, and I admire your courage in striking out on a new adventure. You have so much creativity and beauty to offer the world. I wish you all the best in this new endeavor!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.