Lately, this movie quote keeps popping up in my mind:
“Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to.” from the movie “Miracle On 34th Street.”
So much so I’ve decided to share my story from last year. Last year 2012 around this time, life started throwing some major curveballs my way and I and my faith were tested in ways I never expected.
It began last year around this time with an exciting wedding weekend: SHOOTING 3! back to back weddings in 1 weekend, 3 different states! I was pumped and ready to rock all of them! The day before my first wedding, all my camera equipment was stolen from my hotel room. When I realized what had happened, it felt like someone had punched me hard, and all the air was sucked out of the room.
BUT I had weddings to shoot and I’m a professional, so instead of completely losing it (what I wanted to do), I started calling the local camera rental stores and booking equipment – thanks to a kind, firm talk from my sister. I then called the police and it turns out one of the policemen Andy John was also a wedding photographer, and he kindly offered to lend me his equipment and furiously started making calls to BorrowLenses to see if they could overnight some equipment.
It was a whirlwind of a weekend as I shuttled between 3 states, but I shot some of my best work that weekend partly due to the adrenaline but also the fact that I’m fiercely committed to delivering for my clients. No. matter. what.
I spent a few months filling out lots of paperwork, traveling to all 3 states but eventually everything was resolved. My faith grew bigger, and I learned that the equipment doesn’t define or make me a great photographer. It’s just stuff that can be replaced. What defines me is: Me. My faith. Mostly, it’s all credit to God.
I’m including some of my favorite images from a family portrait session last year because they remind me to PLAY especially during stressful times: let go, surrender to Him, show love and continue to dream.
A few weeks after the stolen equipment incident, I celebrated my birthday on 9/15 doing what I love: photographing a wedding with Natarsha N Wright as my second shooter. What a blessing she was! I was still using rented equipment, but the fear and uncertainty of not knowing what the future held was melting away. I was trusting God with what seemed impossible.
In the midst of all that was happening, God told me (when he talks, it feels like a strong feeling/intuition to do something) to uproot and move away from my current home. That was hard. I loved my spacious townhouse near the water. I didn’t understand why he was asking me to move, and I didn’t want to do it. BUT I did. I looked for a new place and a few weeks later moved to a smaller, quieter home 2 blocks away.
Two weeks later, Hurricane/ Superstorm Sandy the deadliest and most destructive storm of 2012 hit New Jersey and my old town home. My town was right in its path. I remember the night it hit: the clouds were a fiery pink red, all the car alarms kept blaring and the winds thrashed and howled all night.
The next morning, there was no electricity, my neighbors’ cars had spent most of the night floating in several feet of water up and down the streets from the flooding, those with basements had started placing drenched furniture on the sides of the street. I remember how my friends and family texted me and I couldn’t text back because with no electricity I had limited cellphone battery life, tried to ship care packages to me and how every day along with everyone else, we would wait in line for 2 hours just to get a 30min cell phone battery charge, wandering the streets trying to get food, Gov Chris Christie’s mandated 6pm curfew, how cold and dark the house was with no heat or electricity at 6pm, having to force myself to sleep from 7pm – 7am.
I also felt incredibly blessed by the outpouring of love and support by new and old friends and my family, OH! how I love my family. I was blessed that despite my unwilling attitude to move, I moved and narrowly missed the impact of hurricane Sandy. My old place and my old neighbors were flooded with 11 feet of water. I share this story to tell you that with God, all things are possible even when common sense tells you there’s no way. You can and will make it.
The last few weeks this year have revealed lots of unexpected changes all at once, and I’m a little anxious; my natural inclination is to grab the reins and stop the domino effect (sorry for the vagueness, I’m just not ready to share), BUT I’m remembering the importance of faith and God’s love. Good things are coming! I declare and believe He’s making a way for the new, so I’m holding fast to this quote:
“Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.”