When Jesus asks Hard Questions: Anxiety

I haven’t written a blog in a fairly long time. While in Nepal, I felt like God was asking me to pick up one of my loves again, and that is writing. I enjoy being able to tell a story and to encourage others through the words I write. So here I am. As I sit in my bed on the floor of Nepal, I am reminded of how Jesus pursues. He reminded me of this several times over my time trekking the foothills of the Himalayas to go share His love to those who don’t know Him.

Picture this: a group of 16 young adults trekking up a mountain, two throwing up every 20 minutes due to their bodies rejecting the food, a couple people with respiratory issues who were relying on an inhaler to catch a breath due to rapid elevation change, but yet they kept going. There is, to me, no other explanation other than Jesus pursuit of not only the Nepali people, but us, that kept us going. He gave energy when it was needed. He gave strength in weak moments, laughter in frustrating times, but most of all, love and grace. We trained leading up to this trip, but that only took us so far. The heat, humidity, and elevation were a lot more challenging than first anticipated.

Why do I bring up this story? I know more now than ever that no matter the circumstance, Jesus is there alongside each and every one of us, pursuing our hearts and helping us strive toward the goal before us. He longs to give us the desire of our hearts. We simply need to ask for energy, for strength, for joy, for whatever we long for. There has never been a time I was more desperate for God to step in, to intervene than our last night in that beautiful Nepali village. There was a massive storm. Thunder, lightning, and flooding filled the village. (Not to even mention the spiders larger than my fist that made their way in. And waking up to one right above my head…..no). I was terrified. Laying on the hard concrete floor, all I had was Jesus.  Isn’t that how we all feel sometimes? I think Jesus let me get to that point to show me that He is all I need. I didn’t know if we were going to survive the night. All I could do was fall asleep to the promise Jesus spoke to me saying we would be okay, that we would make it. I had nothing else to cling to. My anxious thoughts kept me awake half the night because I had a hard time giving them to Jesus.

The whole next day as we trekked down the mountain, Jesus and I chatted. I’ve allowed anxiety to rule my choices the last couple of years. Whatever my anxiety said would kill me, I didn’t do. And it was silly things, but my anxious thoughts would overtake me and nothing anyone could say would change my mind. In fact, I’d just get angry and shut down. This is not and was not what God wanted for me and my life. On the trek down, Jesus asked me to give Him my anxiety. The thing is, it’s the hardest thing for me to do. Anxiety has been driving my life for a while now, how can I simply let it go? I kept saying, “it’s not that easy.” I’d hit bushes and rocks with my trekking poles. “How can you ask me to give you my anxious thoughts just like that? It’s not that easy.” And that’s where I was reminded, Jesus pursues and he wouldn’t leave me alone once I gave it to Him. In fact, He’d be the one driving my life, giving me what I need to succeed. Did anxiety ever help me succeed in anything? No. It made me give up on a lot of things I love. It made me overthink everything. It made me a closed off person in relationships. It forced me to hide because it told me that everyone and everything is to be feared.

Am I completely rid of my anxiety? I don’t think so. I’m not sure what this next season will look like, but I know that I need to be reminded daily that Jesus wants my anxiety and he longs to give me a fear free life. I need to remember that a life with Jesus is worth pursuing because He first pursued us and my anxiety has no place in that life. I don’t want my anxiety to hold me back anymore, but to push me forward, never looking back. I want this trip to be a changing point, a memory to look back on and say that’s where Jesus met me in my anxiousness, grabbed my hand and pulled me out of it. He deserves all of me, not part of me.

Are Engagement Sessions Necessary?

So you recently got engaged…. Congratulations! I am so excited for you! This is such a sweet season of your life and as a photographer, I love being a part of a couples love story. There are so many questions that I have found a bride (and a groom) has. One question I recently got from a bride was if an engagement session was necessary or not. This was a good question and one I pondered for a bit before responding.

My immediate reaction was, “Eh, it isn’t necessary I guess. Only if you really want it.” And then a few moments later was, “Yes, of course! Why wouldn’t you?!” To be honest, I’m kind of torn when answering this question as well. A lot of photographers charge extra for an engagement session, but some don’t. So to answer this question the best I could, I came up with a few questions to ask you as a bride (or groom).

#1: What are your fears regarding getting your photo taken?

Basically I want to get to know what you may be afraid of when thinking about your engagement photo session. Is it posing? Are you unsure of what to wear?  Out of all the photographers I personally know, myself included, these are fears we take into consideration and we do our best to eliminate for you. If you aren’t sure how to pose, we’ll pose you. Not sure what you should wear to your engagement session? We’ll send you a style guide to help you.

#2: Are you afraid it’s going to cost you extra?

A wedding can get expensive and the last thing I as a photographer want is to tack on another cost. That is why I have taken it upon myself and included an engagement session in my Wedding packages. Not all photographers are the same, so you may find that some do indeed charge more for an additional session other than the wedding itself. I can’t speak for them. However, out of the photographers that I know, every single one of them wants you to have a great experience and is willing to work with you if needed. I say, contact the photographer you’re interested in booking and tell them what you’re looking for.

#3: What would you want the photos for?

What are you looking to get out of the session? I know that a lot of engaged couples want the photographs for Save the Date cards. This is a great way to send out Save the Dates, but it isn’t necessarily required. You can send a Save the Date card that doesn’t include a photo of you just as easy. It is entirely up to you and your taste. I have seen really well done Save the Dates with and without photographs. Personally I liked the ones with photographs better because then I can put them up on my fridge and have a picture to look at. Either way, like I said, it’s up to you and your fiance’s taste.

Final Thoughts….

Now, with that said, not all photographers are the same, like I have said before. You should always go with the photographer you feel most comfortable with, whose style you love most, and who has shown themselves to be worth your investment. Contact multiple photographers, meet with them, and decide from there. You’ll know exactly who you want to go with after doing so, or that is the hope and goal.

An engagement session isn’t an absolute necessity, but it is always an incredible thing to look back on. If anything, it’s great for memories of a sweet, sweet time. I’ve seen photographs of engagements themselves, a session later, and couples who don’t have one all together. You know what you want as a bride or groom and I hope this helps clear up some questions that you may have.

If you’re in need of a photographer, don’t hesitate to contact me. Click the “contact” page and fill it out. I will respond as soon as I can. I love to travel as well, so even if you aren’t local, I woud love to chat with you!