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Personal, Whatever Wednesday

January 10, 2018

2017 Highlights and Lessons Learned | Kingsbridge Photography

Without a doubt, 2017 was the most exciting and happiest year of my life. It was a year full of love, and mostly happiness, but yes, also pain and sorrow. So many changes happened, and so many memories were made. Today I am sharing some of my highlights of 2017 and some lessons that I learned along the way!

For us, it was a year of plenty. For so many others that I know, 2017 was far from that, so I don’t take this for granted. God’s plan for every person is different, and although His plan is always good, it’s not always easy. But although I know the pain of the lows, I don’t want to feel guilty for the highs. It was an amazing year for our little family, and I am rejoicing!!

2017: The Highlights

  • Shot my first beach wedding
  • Started referring to myself frequently as a “we” because I am no longer alone
  • Matt and I were each other’s first Valentine
  • We got to see my two favorite bands perform together
  • We spent many times at our favorite lake, Lake Jocassee
  • Fell in love
  • He fell in love back
  • Performed at The Peace Center with my former choir
  • Traveled to Dallas, Chicago, and New York
  • My students gave a phenomenal spring recital
  • Performed at Orchestra Hall in Chicago with my former choir
  • The love of my life asked me to marry him
  • I said yes 🙂
  • Bonded a lot with my MANY soon-to-be nieces and nephews
  • Made special memories with my soon-to-be brothers and sisters-in-law
  • Met my photography idol, Katelyn James, and attended her workshop
  • Planned a wedding in two months and found the most perfect venue
  • We both had our first kiss
  • WE GOT MARRIED
  • Had the best honeymoon in the lowcountry
  • We moved into a house
  • Traveled to Maine with my HUSBAND
  • Went FULL TIME in wedding photography
  • THAT SOLAR ECLIPSE HOLY COW WHAT
  • Hosted some family dinners at our home
  • Learned to cook
  • We completed Whole 30
  • Went on a few hiking adventures with friends
  • We spent a lot of time with our families over the holidays
  • Spent our first Snow Day together
  • We went to Christmas at Biltmore and celebrated one year together
  • We saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and even dressed up for it
  • Put up our first Christmas Tree
  • Experienced the magic of New Year’s Eve with the man I love

 

 

2017 Lessons Learned

1. There is a reward at the end of waiting

When I was younger, I thought a lot about getting married. I knew what I wanted, and I was pretty sure that since what I wanted was “good,” that God would just make it happen. I was so sure that I would marry my first boyfriend 2 months after graduation and have kids before I was 24 (yes, it’s okay to laugh at that).

What I didn’t know back then is that God still had a lot of work to do in my heart. He had a lot about me that He needed to change. He still does, I’m sure. But most of all, He wanted to draw me into a more intimate relationship with Him and to show me that He. Is. Enough.

I sought the Lord in prayer many times to bring me a godly, humble, and kind husband that would gently lead me and help me be the person God intends for me to be. Meanwhile, I went on with my life. I studied, I performed, I learned, I built relationships, I traveled. But I still wanted a husband. For a long time, I felt like He wasn’t answering my prayer.

When Matt came into my life and I knew he would be my husband, I couldn’t believe it. What I had hoped for was finally happening. Sometimes I still wake up and can’t believe the life that I’ve been given. I am grateful for Matt every single day, and I don’t want that to ever change.

2. “Only One Life, ‘Twill Soon Be Past, Only What’s Done for Christ Will Last”

On October 4, my beautiful and sweet grandmother fell and broke her hip. She headed into surgery, and the doctors did a half hip replacement. For most people, this kind of surgery wouldn’t be a life-threatening situation. In fact, my grandmother actually had a whole hip replacement on her other hip about 15 years ago. So she wasn’t new to this kind of thing. Unfortunately, my grandmother wasn’t most people. She had advanced dementia.

Over the next few weeks we watched her decline quickly. She simply didn’t have the strength or the mind to recover. Most of the time she didn’t know what was happening to her or where she was, and sometimes she didn’t even remember who we were. Eventually her body began to shut down, and she passed away on October 31.

Those weeks were the toughest weeks of my life. There were nights when I would cry and cry and all Matt could do was hold me and tell me it was going to be okay. I didn’t realize until then how much I loved her and valued my relationship with her. We were always really close.

After she passed away, I started to think about her life and everything that she accomplished. On paper, you wouldn’t think that she did all that much in the world. But I know that she is going to have many rewards in heaven!! Everything she did was for others. She was a true servant, a real lady, and a loyal companion. Her life goal was to honor the Lord, serve others, and cherish her family. And that she did.

Her life was a life lived for Christ. I was reminded of the poem that reads, “only one life ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” I want my life to be like that, and I am so thankful to have had my grandmother living that by example for 24 years of my life.

4. I am selfish to the core

Wow, this is starting to get long… So I’ll try to keep the rest of these short. Anyways… everyone says that when you get married you realize just how selfish you really are. You can’t hide your problems from your spouse. All I have to say about that is this: everyone was right.

5. There is a purpose for suffering

Why did my grandmother suffer for weeks in the hospital not knowing what was happening and experiencing so much pain? Why did two sweet ladies I know lose their husbands around Christmas? I can’t tell you all of the reasons, but I do know this: “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). There are so many reasons that God might allow His children to suffer: to make us long for eternity, to draw us closer to Him, to rid us of idols, to use us in the lives of others, or all of these at once. But God’s word is clear: your suffering matters, and He will not leave you alone in it.

6. God answers prayer

I just want to share a quick story with you. It also involves my grandmother. One day I misplaced my wallet and couldn’t find it anywhere. Since I lose things all the time, I didn’t think much about it. After a couple of days, I called my mother-in-law and asked if it happened to be at her house. She said it wasn’t, but that she would pray I would find it. I immediately remembered something my grandmother once told me. She said whenever she loses something, she would “Go to God first.” Often she would spend hours looking for something and then finally pray to God to help her find it. Usually after that, what she was looking for would turn up quickly. So she chuckled and said she should save herself the time and just go to God first.

I remembered that, so immediately I prayed that the Lord would help me find my wallet. Not 10 seconds later I got a voicemail on my phone from a guy saying, “Hey, we found your wallet in a park in Greenville and we found your business card with your number on it. Call us back so that we can return it to you!” I’m not joking, it was that quick. Matt was able to meet up with the guy and get my wallet back safe and sound, with nothing stolen.

7. Success is not determined by how many weddings I book or how many social media followers I have

This is something I’m still learning and working on in 2018. I recently had a conversation with Matt about what “success” means to us. I’ll spare you the details, but we decided that for us, success is glorifying God in all areas of our lives. So now instead of asking myself, “how many weddings do I have booked?” or “how many Insta followers do I have?” I ask myself “How am I glorifying God in my business?” or “How am I glorifying God in my marriage?” etc. God determines my success, and no one else. And God says that He is pleased when I obey His commandments, love my husband, love others, and renew my mind in the Word.

2017 was a wonderful year, and I can’t wait to seek God more in the year to come! 2018, let’s do this!

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