There was a time, not so long ago, when my life was quiet. I had so much passion and so few outlets for everything bursting from my veins. Now it seems the exact opposite is true. I have so much noise in my life, so many ways to give and serve and do…more than ever before in my entire life. Before I was begging God to open doors. Now, I wouldn’t mind if He shut a one or two. Before I felt like a like a dam trying to flow anywhere and everywhere it could…mostly still, yearning for movement. Now I feel like a rushing river, splitting off a million different ways…wondering if I have enough to fill all the channels. They’re just different seasons for different purposes in His plan.
I was going back over my old blog recently and was struck with the transformation the past 5 years have brought. God has been so good – that is the overarching theme to my story. That doesn’t mean things have been easy though. In fact, I’d say the opposite. He’s put me in places that forced me to grow, and sometimes I even felt like I was thrown to the lions with a single sword I’d never used before in my life. You see, not so long ago I was a very different girl, struggling to understand God’s plan. I had nothing, but Jonathan really. My hands were empty and my heart was full of longing. Then the Lord abruptly put me on the path I’m on now. He told me to quit my job, start a business and give everything I had away when I had so little. But He has been a faithful guide. He didn’t leave me alone, even though I felt a deep silence and solitude often. He strengthened my hands and my heart. He said “go” so with only trust in Him and nothing else I went! I struggled. I fell. I failed. I lost my way many times. He asked me for more than I thought I could bear. I found out that I wasn’t enough, but He is more than I could ever need. He showed me confidence in who He made me to be, even though my path was nothing like my prideful, selfish heart wanted. His love bound me up and held me into Him.
Four years ago this week, I started Jennifer Blair Photography with so much fear and insecurity, but also a blind trust that God would be true to His word. God has used this journey, this business as so much more than a mere business. It’s much deeper than a career or income. I look back overwhelmed because there was a part of me that just knew I’d never make it. If I could tell myself 4 years ago all that God was going to do, I wouldn’t have believed it…well, and that would make faith irrelevant and faith in God is the whole point. By God’s grace I’m not the girl I was 4 years ago. God has taught me a confidence in Him, and thereby confidence in who He made me to be, that I wouldn’t have if not for trusting Him with this endeavor. He’s shown me doing what matters, His ways and greatness with Him, go beyond what the world says is the definition of success. He showed me that I can work, strive and do everything humanly possible to move forward but it is Christ that builds the house. I labor in vain apart from Him. I have worked and it has come to nothing; He has taken my nothing and worked miracles. He also taught me that sometimes His best is found through the crushing of my dreams, through hurt, pain and suffering. I’ve been broken more times than I care to count. Even in those times, He brings a wholeness and teaches me more of Him, molds me to be more like Him…and I find those are the sweetest times of my life.
Then He gave us Eleanora, our bright and shining light. She fills up more of my heart than I thought possible. She is crazy, beautiful, challenging and a mystery. Because of my incredible love for her, and the immense propensity for my human heart to distort what is good, I have to constantly keep my mind in check by God’s word. She’s the biggest outflow in my life right now…and yet there are still more split offs than ever! I can’t help but laugh at the plans of God sometimes. His ways are far beyond my comprehension. Give me a daughter AND so many of the other opportunities, just when I have the least time for them? Yes, this is where His path has led. Through one impossibility after another He is enough. He’s been there in the loneliness of the dessert pool, and He is with me now in the raging sea, with currents pulling a million different ways. In every season He is faithful and in everything He will bring glory to Himself when I surrender my life. Even here, as I feel yet another season coming like the tide I know He will lead as He has always done so lovingly. Regardless of what may come, He is worth it. He is enough.
“I gain Him – sensing my losses, not losing my senses.” – Jim Elliot
“But I count my life as no value to myself, so that I may finish my course with joy and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” – Acts 20:24
“The Christian’s victory is not over others, but over himself. His sword is drawn, not to slay his fellowman, but to slay himself. He wins by losing. He triumphs by being defeated. He lives by dying. His crown is a crown of thorns. His throne is a Cross. His weapon is not strength, but weakness.” – F. J. Huegel
“Anyone who seeks to find their life will lose it, and anyone who loses their life for my sake will find it.” – Matt 10:39