On the verge :: Personal


October 9, 2014

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 I'm a twenty something wedding photographer living in the heart of St. Louis with my sweet husband! When I'm not hanging with my amazing couples, I'm probably eating my way through the city with my love!  
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I'm Jessica Lauren

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It’s really difficult to write from a place of complete rawness and vulnerability. I title this blog post “on the verge” because I feel like I’m literally standing on the verge of a cliff, waiting to take a step into the great unknown. Yesterday marked my very last day of seventeen. This past year of my life has been a roller coaster of extremes. I’m not sure how the highest highs and the lowest lows can all come together in a conglomeration of one year of life. But somehow, that’s exactly what happened. I had the beautiful blessing of shooting the very first weddings of my career this year, seven to be exact. I can’t even begin to describe how incredibly grateful I am to those seven couples who gave me a chance, who gave wings to this dream of mine and helped make a crazy idea of owning my own business come to fruition. I successfully completed high school and traveled all over the United States. I led a beautiful small group of girls and was grown so much through the process. I launched a beautiful website and blog and began living and breathing this dream of mine. I made incredible friends through the photography industry which provided me with so much experience to work alongside of amazing people. I traveled to Washington state and shot my first destination wedding, and I attended multiple photography conferences and workshops. I photographed countless engagement sessions and began finding my niche and my passion in the photography industry.

And yet so many times it’s just not all its cracked up to be. Through this season I’ve also gone through a stripping. Hands down seventeen held the most heart-wrenching, lonely, and hopeless days I’ve ever experienced. I sobbed and ached and hurt because sometimes God asks us to do things that are gosh dang hard. And sometimes obedience is the most difficult process you will ever experience. But throughout it all, in every season, in every day, I saw the goodness of the Lord.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”

Psalm 27:13

 Oh, what a sure strong promise that is! God’s word was my lifeboat this summer. I could not have navigated the waters of deep sorrow and grief without His ever hopeful word. At the beginning of this summer, a sweet mentor of mine gave me a set of journals and Starbucks gift card. Who ever knew that’s where I would spend the majority of my days these past few months. Spilling forth my heart to the Lord on paper and seeing His promises literally come to life before my very eyes has been the most beautiful and rewarding hope that I have experienced this summer. I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to literally look back and SEE how God answered my plea on July 2nd and that heart wrenching cry on August 9th. Oh the joy that comes from sweet communion with Jesus. But even still, my joy felt lacking in so many ways. I felt like a completely different person. A stranger walking around with a plastered smile on my face because I had to be okay. I had to be tough and I couldn’t let people see the hurt.

Yesterday morning as I had my quiet time, I literally said the Lord “I am so tired of faking my joy. I am so sick and tired of acting like I’m fine when my heart is so completely broken. Why do I feel so hopeless?” I’ve been crippled by fear and my the thoughts of my mind over this summer. I’ve been broken with worry and heartache. I’ve been paralyzed with doubt and uncertainty and questions about the future. And you know what my Jesus says to me?

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.”

Psalm 131

He says to me, “Jessica, stop worrying and being anxious and occupying your thoughts with yourself. Stop. You don’t know everything and you can’t handle everything, that’s why I’m God. Some things are too great and too marvelous for your understanding so stop worrying and start trusting My plan. Calm yourself. Find your peace in My Presence. Quiet the anxiousness of your heart. Still your mind. Put your hope in Me. Stop believing the lie that life is hopeless because I never told you that. You aren’t listening to my promises, you are listening to the lies. Believe that I am enough. Enough for right now, and enough for forever. Start fresh today.”

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

There is hope – oh joy – is there sweet hope in the name of Jesus. And as the bittersweet year of seventeen comes to a close, I truly believe that I am on the verge of something greater and more beautiful that I ever could have dreamed of. I believe that I am on the verge and God is calling me to take the step of faith and trust Him – fully. Not half way or withholding certain areas of my future, but fully and completely and wholly IN. Because I wholeheartedly believe the truth of Ephesians 3:20-21 over my life.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Comments +

  1. This is beautiful, dear. It’s so easy to put on a façade and pretend that everything is perfect when we feel especially broken, but as you continue to seek the Lord, He will lift you up. ❤ He has big plans in your future and he’s molding you for them now!

    May God bring you a special blessing today and throughout the year. “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”

    Happy Birthday! xo

  2. Oh, I love this! And you! So glad you shared your heart!!

  3. Hannah Elise says:

    love your heart, Jess. thanks for being raw and real. praying for YOU and He has only the BEST in store for your life. have a beautiful day and know I’m over here celebrating you!! thanks for being an inspiration and keep clinging to Jesus. He is all we need.

  4. Olivia says:

    Oh Jess, so beautiful and true to even my own heart! I had a good, but broken year of sixteen last year. I can see myself in parts of the same shoes as you and thinking same thoughts. But God is so big and has so much out there for me (us). I need to always remember to be open to it. much hugs & love! xoxo

  5. Emily says:

    ohhhh sis. please lets just somehow have the opportunity to walk through a season of life together! so much of what you shared has or currently does resinate with my heart and i pray through these challenging valleys that we will continue to proclaim the goodness of the Lord. his faithfulness throughout all generations! love you and happy birthday!!! yay for being legal and getting to make all your business things OFFICIAL in YOUR name!!! woohoo!!!

  6. April Crahen says:

    i am so proud of you. It takes real courage and obedience to be vulnerable and put your heart out there. Please know that you are loved. When you are going through life’s valley’s don’t forget to share your burdens with your sisters in Christ. Give us the opportunity to pray for you and with you. You aren’t supposed to do life on your own. Thanks for being Godly encouragement to my girls. God bless you.

  7. laurie says:

    I love this pouring out your heart and being real! I, too, spent a lot of my life putting on the happy Christian face when I was going through incredibly hard things and could have used support from Christian friends…if only people knew what I was going through. It’s sometimes hard to find that line between showing the joy of Jesus in our lives and being honest with where we are. I know we don’t know each other well but I have watched you from a distance this year and I’m proud of what you have accomplished and how you have grown. I’m grateful my girls have a good role model to look up to. Keep on going, girl. I’m excited to see where God takes you next!

  8. Soozie says:

    you don’t know me, all I can say is find strength in God. I had a lot of problems when I was 17, I was very unhappy about events in my life and where I was. A lot of struggles. But many years later, I am thankful for where God has me and thankful for what he knew was in my future that I couldn’t see back then. Whatever it is God has you going through, he has you going through for a reason, it will only make you stronger and wiser and more ready for what he has in store.

  9. Alaina Reeves says:

    WOW…just wow! In awe of this beautiful testimony. My heart is full of joy because of your faithfulness. So proud to say that I know you! You are incredible!

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