December 18, 2013

looking back // words

pc: ashley

"There are years that ask questions, and years that answer." - Zora Neale Hurston

Last year, around this time, 2013 was looking pretty great. I felt like God was going to do something HUGE. I didn’t really have any plans, but I had a *feeling.* Lots of prayers, and lots of hope filled the last few days of 2012. I chose the word “free” after the quote, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Living in the freedom of Christ that is mine through the gospel. Not fearing what other people might think or say, not fearing what stepping out in faith might mean for me. 

And a lot of cool things happened in 2013. I went to Passion, photographed Cimorelli, went to England for a month, shot my first “destination” wedding, things that I thank Jesus for. Opportunities I had that came only from Him. And I am grateful. But this past year didn’t go exactly how I thought it would.

I grew a lot this year. I grew closer to Jesus, and learned about who He is and what He’s done for me. I learned more about how God has a PERFECT plan for my life and how He is so good in everything He does. A lot of questions came up, and slowly, I got answers. I’m still getting answers. When I left Passion, my heart was on fire for Jesus. As the year went on, a lot of my plans that seemed so *right* turned wrong. For a lot of the first six months of 2013, I was confused. Confused about my path as a photographer, and as a person. I didn’t know where I was going and that scared me. Ever since I was 15, my main goal in life has been to be a wedding photographer. When April hit, there was a fork in the road. I had a choice in front of me. What do I do with my life? Where do I go next? I tried to figure it all out on my own. Make decisions based on what I thought was right, and by the end of May, I was burned out. I had gotten Lyme’s Disease, felt emotionally tired, and the fork was still staring me in the face. *Insert mental picture of a metal fork with eyes.* 

Fast forward to July 8 and I was on a plane to England. That month overseas was so refreshing and exactly what I needed. I journaled, prayed, read God’s Word, took long walks and *thought* about things, deep things. Conversations with my good friends, and family, and a lot of “oh I’ve been thinking about this all wrong.” I came back with a completely different mindset. One that says, “I can’t do anything alone. I have no power inside of myself to change anything, I NEED Jesus. I need Him every day, every moment.” I’ve been repeating that to myself since then. Reminding myself that I can’t do anything alone is true freedom. Freeing myself from the legalistic view that I need to do something in order for something to happen in my life. Jesus does it all. He works in me and molds me to be more like Himself when I let Him. When I let Him do it all, He does. And He has. So freedom? It’s different than I thought at the end of 2012. But it’s so much better. It’s much more freeing than I thought. Isn’t God cool? 

And now, with 2014 only a few days away, life is so different than it was last year. I am a completely different person. As I have been praying about next year, God has laid a lot of things on my heart. Exciting + big things that I can’t wait to share. This year, I feel different about these things. I feel more at peace about them. I think, no I know, that they are from Jesus. 

I think 2013 was a year with a lot of questions, and 2014 is going to be filled with questions as well, but I think have more answers. I’m so very excited to see what those answers are. I’m not sure yet what my word for 2014 is going to be. Still thinking about it. In the mean time, are any of you doing the "word of the year" challenge? This will be my third year doing, it's such a cool tradition.

After Christmas, I'll be back with a few "year in review" photo posts. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday! 


Olivia said...

so cool ellie! you found what you need... (what we all need) Jesus. :) i can't wait to see what this year holds for you (and me!). xo

Carmel Elizabeth said...

Would you mind if I borrowed this posting idea for my blog? I've been wanting to share this year, my One Word Journey and all that entrails, but I hadn't found a good way to explain it until I read this post. Beautiful words, Ellie, and a touching story. You've inspired me, if I may say something so blatantly, and that doesn't happen very often, you know? Anyways, just wanted to let you know. :) Hope your Christmas and New Years are blessed!


Alexxus K. Farmer said...

yes! one word for the new year + a list of goals is SO much better than a list of "resolutions". i guess, in my mind, resolutions give the impression of doing something in your own power. and that's where we go all wrong. Jesus does it all.

Megan said...

okay so you're totally gorgeous