Fully Exposed

It always amaze me when we can reflect on our lives and see that God’s purpose brings use to the incredible place we’re at, right here, right now.  For months, God has been pulling on our hearts to speak to those who need to hear they’re not alone in the struggles they face as newlyweds, couples and parents, so we’re listening.  

As wedding photographers we are honored to capture moments for clients who share some of their most personal and intimate moments in front of our cameras.  Moments when tears flow and there is no fear of what others think of us.  Moments of pure joy and laughter that can’t be contained.  Moments when their soul is completely and full exposed.  

With social media, we often scroll through everyone else’s life and see how “put together” our friends are.  As our world is crashing down, we see husbands and wives, laughing when we can't even talk to ours.  We see kiddos being born when we fight to conceive.  Friends are buying new cars/homes all while we’re in foreclosure and don’t have the money to get through next week.  We compare ourselves when we can’t see outside of our friends highlight-real.  

"Be careful about wishing you had someone else's life, you may not want to go through the breakthrough that they have."  - One Extraordinary Marriage

We’ve received the text or call of pure hopelessness that a marriage is falling apart.  Shame is consuming the couple.  They question why they’re "the only ones who don’t know how to make it work”.  We’ve prayed over you, we’ve cried when you’ve cried and we’ve told you that we’ve been there, we get it, we understand your pain and just listened.

After almost 9 years of marriage, we’ve been on the side of pure joy without a care in the world and for 3 years we had no fear of losing everything because we had everything.  We’ve lost our entire life savings because we dove into a business which took our home, left us not knowing how to feed our kids, not knowing where we’d live and caused a divided between us.  We’ve been through dishonesty, addiction, questioning God and his intent for us.  We’ve doubted & been mad at God.  We’ve yelled at Him and we’ve walked away from Him.

This year has taken us to a completely new level.  We’ve learned how powerful shame is.  It will take you to lows you never thought possible.  It will cause you to lie to the people you love the most.  It will make you doubt yourself, question your worth, build walls and create distance.  It will rip you apart if you aren’t willing to fight to stay together.

Many of you know we attended a marriage retreat last year.  The first speakers placed a bare tree, dormant with no leaves, broken branches and exposed on the projector screen behind them.  They went on to talk about how there are times in our lives when our marriage goes through seasons. 

Spring brings great joy, a new start, birth of life all around, gorgeous blossoms.  Summer brings deep greens, shade during the heat, storms that will shake you and rainbows after the storm.  Fall which brings incredible change of color, cooler days filled with cuddles, new smells, and then there’s winter.  Winter is when everything falls off, the tree is bare, fully exposed, you see broken branches, you see the damage that came from seasons before.  As she stopped to collect herself from crying, her voice broke and said, “This is where our marriage is.”

You could hear a pin drop.  

My heart skipped a beat, I started to cry and thought “someone else feels like ME?”  After 8 years of marriage, another business owner who has “everything” is broken? Not only are they broken, but they were being honest with their brokenness.

During that week, we broke more than I could’ve imagined and were brought to our knees like never before.  After 3 years of marriage counseling we were finally being honest.  Honest with ourselves, honest with each other and honest with God.  We were fully exposed and it sucked.

I heard a song a few weeks ago which triggered this post.

“I know you’re able I know you can, save through the fire with your mighty hand, but even if you don’t, My hope is you alone.  I know the sorrow, I know the hurt would all go away if you just say the word, but even if you don’t my hope is you alone.”  Mercy Me, Even If

Whatever season you’re in, we want to encourage you.  If you’re in spring, cultivate what you have, continue to take care of the blossoms, continue to allow the water to feed your souls and create strong roots.  If you’re in summer, use the shade when it gets hot, don’t let the storms rip you apart and be willing to see the rainbows.  If you’re enjoying the change of fall, cuddle up when it gets chilly, play in the leaves, see the beauty God has placed in front of you.  

For those of you who are fully exposed and are in winter storms, don’t be afraid of the freeze.  Be willing to look inward.  How can you warm your heart and chip away the ice?  How can you clean up the brokenness?  Do you need to let go of broken branches from past storms that are cluttering your life?   

Be willing to take the first step to be the change you want in our marriage and you'll be surprised at the change you'll see in your spouse.