This semester, I’ve been working on a photography project about signs/experiences from God.
Tonight, after a busy and gray day, I trotted into church, Bible in hand. A few minutes in, I spoke out about how recently, I’ve truly been missing someone. The longing for their presence has been constant and a little disheartening. I’m healing, right? Why am I feeling this way and when will it stop? I ask for a prayer request for myself. Class moves on and my mind eases. At the end, I asked two ladies to share any story they have about a sign or experience they had that they know without a doubt was God. After they shared their stories with me, they both asked me how this project started.
I’ve been thinking about it recently and it all started because I went through a breakup earlier this year. After the breakup, I couldn’t do anything. I was lost. I was searching. I was so sure that he was a part of God’s plan for me– that we should be together. Confused and heartbroken, I started reaching for God– calling out to Him like never before. I was listening to worship music all the time (which, if you knew me, I liked worship music alright, but not much). I was reading devotionals and the Bible and attending church any time the doors were open. I even started going to additional worship events. I wanted to be close to God. I wanted to know what He wanted for me. I thought I knew before, but I only knew what I wanted. I didn’t want to make that mistake anymore.
I started learning about Gideon and how he asked God for signs. And I started learning about Ruth and the disciples and how they did whatever God said. “Because you say so, I will.” [Luke 5:5] I became incredibly interested in how God guides. I started questioning if any people I knew may have had a sign from God like Gideon did. And I started having moments myself where God brought me confirmation.
When this semester started, we could pick any topic to photograph. Whatever we picked would be what we spent a whole semester focusing on. I picked signs from God. Literally. I chose to photograph churches and their signs. That did not work out at all. Then I started asking people to tell me their stories and I would make their portrait and record their story– this did not work either. After my second disappointing critique, I spent about three weeks trying to decide if I should even continue. Part of me wanted to keep going, the other part of me just wanted to give up. Finally, I decided to compose a photo based on the story but I still wasn’t sure how to incorporate the actual story. One morning, while preparing for class, the idea came to me. I stepped out of the shower and BAM! it just hit me. I decided to ask people to write their stories in a book. (I know that this idea came from God). So here we go again, third try is the charm, right? Right! This critique went excellent and everybody thought I executed the project well. So that is what I have been doing and where I’m at now.
After I left church tonight, I was driving home, with so much on my mind. Thinking about my breakup and thinking about this project and as I drove, God gave me a thought. If the breakup had not have happened, not only would I not be as close to Him as I am now, but I would not be doing this project. Tears welled up in my eyes and I cried; it was a happy cry! A thankful and praising cry! An understanding cry! The whole reason I was inspired to do this project in the first place was because of my desire to know what God wants for me. Because of everything, I have been able to glorify God and witness to others that I might not have ever attempted to witness to! I’m comforted to know that I am being used in this way. It makes me know that all of my struggle was worth it.
Whenever I start feeling down about the way things ended, I just remind myself that God has a plan. And if I allow Him to, He can use my trials as triumphs for His kingdom.
With love and grace, think about how God has used you.