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I am a Christian. I am also a seasoned military wife who struggles with falling in love with her community, only to say goodbye a few years later. Similar to many other military spouses I know.

In 2013 I was invited to an amazing church in Great Falls, Montana. Solid Rock Bible Church, the place where people aren't perfect and they don't pretend to be. Definitly check it out if you are ever there.

When we left Montana, it was at a time when I was hurt deeply by the friend who brought me back to church. Someone I trusted and shared a lot of my life with. The story has too many dramatic details to share, but basically I didn't know if I could trust finding another church only to find more people who would cause more trauma and pain.

Two years later living in Colorado Springs, I had fallen into a spiral of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and a fairly big crisis of faith. I had visited Discovery Church Colorado a couple times but never got involved. My best friend finally said it is time, time for me to step out in faith and go to a small group. Little did I know it would change everything.

I found my tribe through Ann Voskamp's The Broken Way. It taught me that every good and beautiful thing in life breaks open to give an abundance, including us humans. These girls spoke life into me, they encouraged me, they are REAL with me, they show me so much grace, and they affirm what God is doing in my life. I have never in my life felt so incredibly supported by a church, let alone a church of this size.

Photography was intertwined into my past hurt. I didn't pick up my extremely expensive camera for years, at least not professionally. Until I was introduced to Ashley who believed in me. My first day she used one of MY photos on the church's social media page and I couldn't breathe, that is how little faith I had in myself. I still doubt myself and have moments where I allow the enemy to take control of this gift I have been given. Here is one thing I know, if God has a plan, he will squash the enemy's power effortlessly.

I am still not ready to make photography my livelihood. God and I are slowly working on that. I trust he has a plan and I am along for the adventure. How can I not be!? He gives me these beautiful challenges and allows me to show his story, through other humans, in my photos. What!? I have never thought I was actually good at any one thing in my life. I am always knowledgeable and good enough for most of the things I tackle... but for someone to trust me to capture these moments, of the first week back, after three months of quarantine 🤯 plus I would be the only photographer 😱 talk about an opportunity for satan to weasel his way into. In fact as I write this, doubts keep creeping in... but I am called to share my story, because church trauma is fierce and REAL, and I know God sees one of you in your own pain. If so, please reach out, I would like the opportunity to pray for and/or with you!

I keep asking God how I am supposed to say goodbye to another beautiful church community. He keeps reminding me of his promises. For seven years I have been stumbling through my love of photography. For seven years he has shown up and pushed me to learn from some amazing mentors. My hope is in the truth that when we leave in a year, this won't be the end of the story. The truth is, the story is still being written and we have the opportunity to soak it up while we can.

Quarantine, and this virus, may have taken away from the special time left I have with this community at Discovery Church. It doesn't, however, have the power to ruin whatever God's plan is. AND at the risk of sounding like I have a big ego... These photos are my soul's proof that his plan is WAY better than my own.

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"What's from the heart, reaches the heart, friends."

Friends, I am confident I don't have the right words for all that we are experiencing. What I do know is what I have experienced.

As someone who has been pursuing personal growth and change, these past few years, I will say it is a dark, twisty, messy, and very ugly process. It looks a lot like kicking, screaming, and sobbing. I would assume the same is true for a country that is being stretched passed its comfort zone.

I have been contending with the trending 2020 phrase that I have heard from so many, "I just want to go back to normal!"

THERE IS NO NORMAL ANYMORE! Covid 19 is a catalist that has exposed too many wounds to turn back now. The new normal isn't even real or tangible anytime soon. This is a river of rapid change that we are trying to navigate together, with life still screaming around us.

Change takes time, change takes an abundance of GRACE and PATIENCE, for both yourself and those around you. Change takes a hard look in the mirror and awareness. Change takes letting go of denial and blame. Change takes ownership, responsibility, and a whole lot of self control.

This isn't going to be a comfortable year... it may not even be a comfortable decade if we don't start putting in the work now.

🖤 I felt like sharing my heart after reading this post on Facebook by Teaira Carlton.

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Today we watched Star Wars. I had tears in my eyes the entire movie. Change happens when we choose it. Change is scary. Choosing to be involved with others who are also choosing to change their life for the better, is pretty scary. What a great message for me to watch to start 2020 off with remembering why I made my own choices that changed my entire life in 2019. Great things come when we confront the things that scare us. Everyday is a choice to be better than I was yesterday. I am not always amazing at choosing wisely, but I am driven to pursue what I know is right for my future and my family's future. What I have learned is, you are stronger than you think you are. #beaforceofchange

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