Are you ready? There is a lot to read and see in this post! I probably should have made this multiple posts... but I'm so eager to share with you all what is going on in my life right now! Not to mention, people are more likely to read a post when pics are included. Since I've been pretty slack at included pics in the past posts... I have definitely made up for that here! :)
To be honest, I'm not sure where to even start! Hopefully I can get everything I have to say in words you will understand. Everything below is a very personal revelation and some touchy struggles of my own. God is really working in my life right now. Its amazing because my life and the priorities I once had have completely changed over this past year. For so long I worked myself to death. I took full pride in the business "I" worked so hard to get. I became obsessed with my work and the "fame" that I originally wanted to come from it. It wasn't enough to just book enough weddings to pay the bills and maybe then some. It was becoming more like a true obsession with being the best of the best! I wanted brides to choose me, and be the best out there! I wanted I wanted them to see what I have achieved in 5 short years of being in business. I took pride in knowing that at just 21 years of age I managed to get my work featured on a double page spread in Sports Illustrated Magazine. I took pride knowing that I was able to start my own business and successfully build a company at the young age of 22. And from there, I was slowly becoming a more worldly person as each day passed.
Now, before I continue on... there is nothing wrong with having your own business, or working hard to excel. However, I know for certain that there is a VERY fine line between excelling in life and becoming obsessed and prideful. Although I feel I have brought myself back down to earth and been slapped back into reality over the last year, I also know now that this "claim to fame" was not for me! I have been working myself to death... and for what? I have nothing of importance to show for at the end of the day! No real gain from anything that I have worked so hard for. I have lost my sense of joy, I used to LOVE what I did. Now, its simply become something that I must work harder and harder at each day. The level of competition has grown and I have to work harder, become more competitive and more [worldly] to stay afloat. Over the past week since taking some time off to reflect and pray about my life... I've realized that my life has gotten out of control. Knowing that we have a baby on the way, and feeling God tugging at my heart in a new direction... I'm feeling His power again! And I must say, I get far more joy from Him than anything else in life!
There is a song that has been inspiring me over this past week!
You Can Have Me by Sidewalk Prophets
This song has touched me in a way that no other has in quite some time! It has brought me to a place of surrender! Knowing that I am at a place where I can finally let go! I don't know what His plan is for this life I live day by day. But I do know the direction I'm going in isn't how He has me to live it! I'm at a place where I believe it if its His will for me to surrender my business, my goals, my passions - then that's what I will do. This life is not about me, its about Him and glorifying Him!
Now... I'm not saying that I am going to throw in the bucket and call it quits. That is not my plan (for now at least). After all, we still depend on my paycheck at the end of the day. My plan though is to change myself first and foremost and go back to that ultimate joy! The One who brings a smile to my face, who holds me close and wraps His loving arms around me for comfort and protection. My mighty savior who has and is rescuing me from this world that we live in temporarily. I am so desperate for Him and want so badly for my life to glorify Him! And as of right now, my life is not glorifying anyone by my selfish desires. This past week I started reading a book by Mary Beth Chapman (Steven Curtis Chapman's wife), called Choosing to See.
It takes a WHOLE LOT for me to want to even pick up a book, much less read it. I won't lie. I'm usually not a big fan of reading unless its inspiring to me and life at the moment. Well, I knew they had adopted and I'm obviously inspired by anything related to the subject. Plus, I knew about the tragic accident that sent their precious child to heaven. For some reason, I wanted to read the book to learn more on what happened that day. And when I started reading this book... I quickly realized that I did not care to know the details of that tragic day, I wanted to learn more about this woman who so much reminded me of myself! It was scary how much I felt like I was her and she was telling my story! Now, there were obviously so many differences, but more similarities in personalities, our obsession with perfection and everything else. It was crazy. To say the least, I am learning quite a bit from her journey through life. This is definitely a MUST READ! Even if you are not adopting, very little of this book is actually about that. This is just a truly inspiring book to read!
I have some really special things I am planning to work on over this next year. I'm really excited about them and praying that Christ will be truly glorified through them! Now, back to my struggles above. I am planning to take on fewer weddings (A LOT LESS), and focus less on trying to be the best in this industry! I enjoyed my job so much more when I didn't focus so much on this. I plan to spend more quality time with my husband, getting more in the Word and having my quiet time with Him, taking up a new hobby and getting involved more with serving our community! Knowing that we have a baby on the way, I want to become more involved in other things and focus on becoming a mom and setting a strong example for this baby. I'm so excited to see what God has in store for my life!
Okay... hopefully by writing my honest and REAL emotions, thoughts and feelings above, it has inspired you to look at your own life and surrender it back to God! Also, I wanted to share with you some other beautiful parts of my time off work. Richard and I headed to Asheville this past week for a nice getaway to celebrate his 30th birthday, and just enjoy some quality time together! We had a great time and I'm so blessed to have him in my life to support me, love me unconditionally and to make me smile! Welcome to Asheville!!! We went to the Biltmore House and Gardens and really had a great time! Check out some of our adventures!
The temp there was 68 degrees the first day around 11am... it only got up to around 74 the rest of the day! It was perfect!!!
This was one of my favorite shots that Richard took! I love it!
How would you like to wake up to this every morning?? Crazy beautiful if I must say so myself!
Probably one of my favorite parts was the mega sun flower field! It was rolling hills of sun flowers everywhere! It was stunning!
At sunset. We didn't make it out there in time before sunset (not taking into consideration the mountains block the sunset). Oh well, still like the concept! haha
Happy 30th baby! I hope we have MANY more years of celebrating to come! I love you with everything I am! Thank you for an amazing weekend away!
Thanks for reading and hope you all have a great week!
Until then, Brantley