Leigh Ann goodin photography

Light up the sky.

BLOGGING.

Blogs. I like reading them. They’re pretty cool, for the most part. I like the ones with good stories, good for a laugh or a few tears the best. The ones with pretty pictures. The ones not so cluttered with ads you may as well just hit that little X at the top right corner and move on with your day. Writing a blog is a whole ‘nother story. Blogging on a perfect (or imperfect) wedding day? No problem. Pretty portraits and a feel-good story about some cute kids? Easy. But writing, really writing, and sharing your heart with others? No thank you. I live in a world where someone is always judging someone else for something. Or everything. Mom shaming is a thing. Social media has placed us all in a comparison trap. “I’m not as funny as her. I’m not as good of a writer as him. I don’t have anything to say that anyone cares to read. People will judge me.” (Isaiah 54:17)

But that’s the problem with the devil, you see. He plants evil thoughts in our heads and our hearts and gives us EVERY reason in the world, in heaven and hell, to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). And the closer you get to God, the harder the devil pushes. He did a number in my life before I even knew spiritual warfare was a thing. And now that I know that it is, and that my God is bigger and stronger than anything the devil can throw at me, I try not to listen to him anymore. (Ephesians 6:11-17).

So here goes. Blogging to blog! To put my heart on the big, messy sleeve known as the internet. Because God said so. He put the idea of a blog in my head and on my heart just after my son was born in March 2015. I obviously pushed that to the back burner real quick. A newborn plus all of life’s other responsibilities? Nope. My spare time was going to be spent napping and soaking in snuggles. The thought would pop into my head randomly. Blog. Just do it. Just sit down and write something. I even had a list in my phone of some of the topics I could share. The best ideas always hit me when I’m snuggled in my cozy bed, drifting off to sleep. Sleep would trump the nudges for a long time.

Fast forward to almost a year ago, when I watched a webinar from the people who would quickly become my favorite photographers/educators. Their advice, their classes, and their inspiration has yet to steer me in the wrong direction. I feel certain it’s because they are listening to the Holy Spirit. And their big advice regarding your website? Blog. Five days a week. At least. Blog to an invisible audience. Blog to the people in the future who you could help when you, and they, least expect it.

So I’ve been pushing this whole blogging thing to the back burner for awhile now. And it’s time to move forward. To let God use me and to not be afraid. Because He will. He has in the past and he continues to everyday. In ways I never saw coming! With that being said, I am proud to introduce to you, Faith Based Fridays! Little nuggets of truth, stories of faith, and hopefully a bit of inspiration. Hopefully you guys will get to know me better, and hear/see/read my heart. So without further ado, here’s my first one:

LIGHT UP THE SKY

It was October 2016. My marriage was falling apart. So far apart that I was convinced nothing could heal it. I had a 19 month old son I just wanted to do the best for, a house I couldn’t afford on my own, and a husband that I just couldn’t get along with. I had read a Facebook post from an old friend who had gone through the same struggles with her husband prior to that. She was done. Over it. But God told her, if your husband asks you on a date, you should go. And she was obedient. She went, and that was the beginning of the end of their separation. I remembered this when I won tickets on the radio for front row tickets to see The Newsboys, The Afters, and Zach Williams. These aren’t musicians that all the teenagers are screaming about. They aren’t on the top 40 lists, because they’re Christian artists. So the combination of lack of friends who I knew would want to or could go, and the combination of that still small voice convinced me to invite Josh. But I was a fan of the God’s Not Dead movies and I knew their concert would be fun and it would at least get me out of the house.

There were all sorts of reasons not to go. The biggest may or may not have been that the season premier of The Walking Dead was that night, and we would learn who’s head was at the end of that bat (darn you, Lucille). When we arrived, they couldn’t find the tickets. Turns out they were listed under my maiden name. Then, they didn’t indicate that we were the winners of the front row seats, and of course no one just believes you when you tell them that. We made our way to the top  because it was general admission, and we were there 15 minutes before showtime. All the while staring at the pairs of empty seats that filled the first five rows for the contest winners. I was bummed, but Josh reminded me we should just be excited to be out on a kid-free date that we didn’t even have to pay for and enjoy the show.

If you’re not familiar with The Afters, and you’re probably not, they sing a song called Light Up The Sky. It was their big single, the one all the crowd knew the words to. The one that got them up on their feet and raising their cell phone lights as high in the air as their arms would allow. Of course we were up on our feet too, and I was waving my cell phone as well. But my light was off. Josh nudged me and nodded toward my phone, asking why my light was off, and I reminded him my phone flash had not worked in well over a year. I went to show him, and on the light came. What? I just tried this last week. No luck. Baffled, I turned back toward the stage, swinging my almost now-lit-up iPhone 6 back and forth, singing:

Light light light up the sky
You light up up the sky to show me
That you are with me
I I I can’t deny
No I can’t deny
That you are right here with me
You’ve opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That you are with me

When stars are hiding the clouds
I don’t feel them shining
When I can’t see beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I’ve almost reached the end
Like a flood you’re rushing in
Your love is rushing in

Light light light up the sky
You light up up the sky to show me
That you are with me

After this band was over and we were seated, awkwardly half talking through an intermission, trying to ignore the fact that we weren’t even sure we could be married anymore, I tried my phone light again. No luck. That little sucker did not even flicker. Over the next couple days and that week I sporadically tried my phone light. I turned the phone off and on. Updated software. Nothing. And I knew it was God. Only God. He was showing me that He was and is sovereign. That He and only He can do anything. I knew God could heal our marriage, because He split the sea so people could walk right through it. He could and can do anything. But did I want to let him? I didn’t, but I knew the best thing that could happen was God’s will. I knew Josh had been praying for God’s will over our marriage, and I was reminded that one of the most life changing prayers I learned to prayer was that God would align my heart and my own will for my life with His will and plan for my life. I was reminded of something God had told me He wanted me to do in my life, something He had only told me the January before. Something I now knew I could not and would not accomplish without Josh by my side. Without God the center of not only our marriage but the center of both our hearts and our lives. And a sermon I’d heard which included the thought that if we do not fulfill God’s plans for our lives, that it can and will affect others. Did I want to stand in front of God one day in heaven and have to face the fact that I turned away from His plan for me and followed my own, lesser plan? No. Not at all.  Not one bit. I had to let it go. My pride. My fears. My pain. Josh’s problems. So I decided I would.

So for the last year, God has shown me He can and will work in my life for His and my own good. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s strong and growing and better than it’s ever been. You’ll have to stay tuned for more.

So no matter what giant you’re facing, whatever mountain is too big for you to climb on your own…let it go. You don’t have to. Let God move that mountain for you. Walk in obedience and watch His plan come alive and rock your world. Don’t sit in your little pity party and come up with the plan you think is better. I promise you it’s not. Let God wrap you up in his arms and turn your broken phone light on and remind you that He’s in control and that His plan is better than anything you could ever imagine for yourself.

 { These pictures are proof that I do indeed document my life with a cell phone most of the time, so please forgive their quality }

Posted in: Personal Stories

September 15, 2017

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