A FAILED ENDEAVOR:
A few months ago I set out to build a community of birth photographers, with the hope of us having a safe place to decompress and talk after traumatic births. I had hoped for a community that could hold us all to higher professional standards, which would ultimately protect our job security, our clients, and the hospitals we're blessed to work at. I had hoped for a community without competition (I know I know, what a lofty goal right?!) But I did have that kind of community when I shot weddings. We all understood there was enough business for everyone. And even more so with birth. Babies are born EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I hoped for a community that celebrated and strived for INDIVIDUALITY. A community where we were hired because of our UNIQUE ability to be ourselves. I hoped for a community thriving with a genuine love to see each other succeed. A hope to build and better our businesses together through mutual respect for what we each had to offer. Nonetheless, I digress. Such a community wasn't possible. Or at least on the scale I was hoping for. And admittedly for the last week I've sat here on the other side of all of this with an ache in my heart. But today, I'm removing that hurt. I refuse to let these failings change my heart to want to help and love others, to want to build them up, or see them succeed.
MY PRAISE IN MY HURT:
But here's the joy. Here's my praise. Here's a silver lining. God has been moving in so many lives because of this "failed endeavor". Even though my heart has been heavy with hurt. Even though I've asked God "why" more than a few times these last few weeks. He's shown me so much love and encouragement in unexpected places. Old friendships grew deeper, and new friendships blossomed. The Lord pruned my community... It may not look like what I had set out to build, but my community and my heart are right where they need to be. Without this failure, without this trial, I wouldn't have these new rich and rewarding relationships and beautiful souls in my life. And I wouldn't change that for the world!
PAYING IT FORWARD, THE BIGGEST BLESSING OF THIS WHOLE MESS:
(Side note - Trying to tell this story anonymously is a challenge!)
A few months ago I was contacted by a woman who wanted to gift my services to her best friend. Her friends' journey to becoming parents was one of the longest and most difficult trials to becoming pregnant that I had ever heard in all my years of doing this. My heart was overjoyed to be able to capture this miracle for them. Their birth went off without a hitch. I posted a couple of photos on my page, and another woman commented. She had expressed her desire and remorse for not hiring a birth photographer earlier. I knew this woman. I knew her story. I knew her loss. She, nearly a year ago to the week, unexpectedly lost her baby at 36 weeks. Immediately I sent her a private message to see what I could do. Unfortunately I wasn't available for her induction date. But immediately I knew someone that might be able to. That photographer is Amy Hess. After speaking with Amy and finding out she was available, I got her and this mom in touch with each other. This is where it gets even better. I was contacted by my previous client, the one with the epic birth journey that had just been gifted their session. Well she saw this mother's comment on her photo. They also knew her story of loss and they wanted to repay the joy that was blessed to them with having their birth photographed, and offered to pay for this momma's birth photos. So I also put them in touch with Amy and they are now using her for their newborn photos! Two families have now been blessed with the gift of birth photography, by two different birth photographers in this town, with no other agenda but to LOVE these families. THAT is a silver lining if there ever was one. THAT is the community I hoped for all this time. The ebb and flow of love and generosity, to best serve families in our area!
Thank you Jesus for reminding me to look for the blessings in the seemingly messy days of our lives. Thank you Jesus for genuine friendships, new and old. Thank you for a "community" of people that want to work together to serve YOU, and your wonderful promises. Thank you for these storms Lord, so we can draw near to you, and see beauty in unexpected circumstances.
And thank you Amy Hess Photography for giving of your Saturday with you family to be there for this family and their Rainbow Baby. Thank you for your friendship and thank you for understanding and continually honoring this community!