I’m here today to talk about the importance of change. The one thing that I teach my children when we’re preparing for a marriage in counseling is to always give your spouse the ability to change every 5 years and to not adapt to the “old” person they used to be. The bible constantly talks about change and one of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11 - or I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord...to give you a future and a hope. Every plan that God gives us, every perfect gift takes perfecting. Every stage of life, each month, each day, each minute God is perfecting the gift that He has given us. #change
When I first started photography, I never knew all the people that God would allow me to encounter and/or pour into. Every single person’s wedding that I’ve shot, was a direct assignment in which I am beyond humbled and grateful for. Photography to me isn’t just a job, it’s an opportunity that I get to capture and freeze a moment in time. Every single moment that I look back on, I am reminded of not on their day but the experience that I had during that season and how God has allowed me to grow.
When I shot The James Wedding/Renewal; I was new. I was still learning my camera, my flash, lighting, posing, etc. If I could give myself any advice 10 years ago I’d say; "keep your head up Rae" - "you’re going to be so great later on." "Not only does God see it, but I can see it as well." "You’ll be stuck in a rut for a little minute, but it’s not a death sentence." "It’s God talking to you Rae, showing you slowly the changes that will be made, and giving you that same room to grow that you have instilled in your very own children."
I am so grateful for Natasha + Darnel; for giving me not just the opportunity to capture their moments, but for believing in me when no one else did.
The date: September 16, 2011. The setting was a garden. Do you know what happened in the garden? A wedding was formed. The very first wedding. Adam + Eve…...The trees were plush, the grass was green and the surroundings were bright and it felt like a new day going from Summer to Autumn #change. In case you are not aware, the number 16 in the bible means love. Are you catching all of this??? Was this day not divinely appointed???? Of course it was...because He knows the plans He has for all of us.
The colors of the wedding were the most vibrant I’ve ever seen. Golds, Purples, Wine. All royal colors. All colors that were used in anything royal. As I am running back and forth, I can feel the expectation of the crowd, they’re looking and waiting, anxious, & excited, and emotional because in a few - they know that the queen will grace their presence. That was the "Feeling" I felt at their wedding. #expectation
As Natasha was changing from her “regular” clothes to her wedding gown, again I was reminded of change. (The white wedding dress has a two-fold significance. It is a symbol of the wife's purity in heart and life, and in reverence to God. It's also a picture of the righteousness of Christ described in Revelation 19:7-8. Christ clothes his bride, the church, in his own righteousness as a garment of "fine linen, bright and clean.")
Even as I write this blog; I can visualize them pulling the gown over her head, me crying, and me trying to help as she yells, "Rae get your camera and zip me up at the same time." Mother Katherine came over to help dress her daughter and was like Araebia, did you get the picture and I was so shocked that she knew who I was because I had never met her, until that moment..... #change At that moment, I knew I was a part of the family. You can only calls someone's name that you know. “CHANGE”… that moment changed from not just being their photographer, but becoming a part of the greater cause #family.
“Did you know the story of the Bible begins and ends with a marriage? Marriage matters to God.”
One of the most important things to keep in mind is how a photographer approaches your day. Is he/she just taking pictures? creating art? or Is your photographer passionate about photography or simply just doing a job? If you want something special you need to find an artist that loves photography and will combine skill, talent, and heart to capture your special day.
The date was December 21, 2009 when God showed me the vision for His business for me. This has always been my approach. Am I doing a job? And am I allowing for change in my business? The answer is yes and still is yes! It’s easy to get caught up in the world that we live in and forget that we are in this world, but we are not of this world.
As you can see in the images below; my old style. This is the style that most photographers learn when they first start out. Simple, elegant, true to color and timeless. Show ten people the same photograph and you’re likely to get ten different interpretations. Because we all look at life through the lens of our own experiences. Natasha + Darnel has gone through good times, bad times, tough times, fun times, loving times, and strengthening times, but the one thing I can say is that they are the epitome of 1 Corithians 13.
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (there were so many times when I have literally watched Natasha want something so badly, but waited on God nad her husband to make a move, no matter how important she felt it meant to her. Love is patient)
- It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (I have watched Darnel give up things that meant the world to him, just so his family could have better or just to have. Love is not self-seeking)
- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
- It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I remember a Christmas party, a guy THOUGHT he was going to disrespect Natasha and I’m not going to lie, the guy was taller than Darnel, but he PROTECTED HER...with Holy Ghost boldness. Love always protects!!)
- Love never fails. (After 18 years of marriage, they are going strong. I mean come on….Darnel was just up with her a few days ago at 3am supporting her business. LOVE NEVER FAILS!!!)
As Natasha walked down the aisle; I remembered how nervous and excited she was. She literally just went through 2 different hair changes, 3 makeup changes YET she still pulled through, the same way she does with anything she encounters in her life. Two out of the three sons walked her down the most gorgeous set of steps while the other met them half-way down. (By escorting her down the aisle, a father says, "I have done my very best to present you, my daughter, as a pure bride. I approve of this man as your choice for a husband, and now I bring you to him.) Although this was a vow-renewal, her boys took the responsibility of giving her away to her husband and letting him know, dad...we still approve of Gods choice for you and mom to be wedded in Holy Matrimony. Guys, I’m literally crying at this point of the blog. They gave her away KNOWING DARNEL WAS THE BEST CHOICE!!!!
To this day; I have never shot another wedding as unique as Natasha + Darnel’s. She made sure that every detail was hand-picked by her to create a moment in time that if and when her images circulate this thing called the World Wide Web; you will know that it was HER day because of the unique style. Today; our portraits are STILL geared to our customer’s unique style and personality. With change, I was able to uncover what God was trying to show me from the very beginning. A style that would allow me to capture the most important moments from beginning to end. My main goal is to please the King, and by doing so, our customers- turned- familys’ photos are handled with honor and respect, giving you the best possible service in return for the opportunity.
As you will see in the images below in the “The James Wedding” to now...my style has dramatically changed. But life has also changed with me. When I shot The James Wedding, I was married to my best friend for 15 years not knowing that that same year would be MY last year married. I knew times were hard for us, but I never carried that into her wedding. I never bought a somber presence to her special day or anyone else's. I allowed the #change to take place "within" no matter how hard it was. It was never about me, it was about Natasha + Darnel + The Lord.
Don't ever feel like you are not worthy of change. Don't ever let the enemy tell you that change isn't good. Don't ever let the enemy STOP or block your destiny. The Lord would never have us be fearful of the world that is changing around us and would never have us be fearful!!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! Don't give up, never give up.