Friday, December 02, 2011

Who Knew Being a Christian could be so stinkin' exciting?

For any of you who have been with me on this blog through some of our adoptions, you know that our lives used to have a lot of exciting, mountain moving God stories. But the past two years or so...not so much. It wasn't that God wasn't working in our lives, it's just that He was doing quiet things in our hearts and helping us through the mundane.

Who made up the word, 'mundane?' Even the word sounds boring.

And well...mundane isn't my favorite place to live. However, sometimes God knows that we need a rest from all that adrenaline that He pumps through us when we get to see Him in action in big ways.

Lately, I started to really miss those mountain-moving days.
I might have even whined a little bit to God about that.

And I might have even asked Him for a bit of excitement to change my dishwasher emptying-laundry folding-bathroom cleaning days. Not that I don't appreciate the fact that housework in American is so much better than sweeping a mud hut. But anyway...

Well, He decided to spice my life up a bit and I'm tellin' is SO FUN to be part of some action again! :)

I have to go back a few years to put this all in context, so bear with me.

A few years ago, I entered an essay contest on a whim. The prize was a free photography workshop with a well-known photographer in another state. I entered at the last minute and then forgot about it. My essay was NOT my best work. At all. (I say this so that you can fully appreciate what God did later...)

The winner was to be announced on a certain day and I actually forgot until the email reminder came. I began to read the post and was completely shocked to find that I had won!

No way!

After arriving at the workshop location, I had dinner with the photographer who had offered my prize. I was completely floored when she shared with me how she had chosen me as the winner. She said that God had put it on her heart to offer one free spot at the workshop because there was a person that He wanted there and that person could not be there any other way. So she made the offer and then started to get submissions. As the essays poured in, she got overwhelmed because they were all good and she had no idea how she would chose just one person. She began to pray that God would make one person's essay stand out and do a little dance in front of her so that she would know. And then she read mine...and God made it known to her that I was the one.

Well...I was completely humbled and in awe that God would go to all that trouble to put me there. WHY?

When I went, my goal was to learn to take better pictures of my kids. That's it.

I remember sitting there for those two days wondering why God had sent me. I was surrounded by professional photographers who all had their own businesses. And there was l'il ole me with my entry level camera.

By the time I left, a seed had been planted. That seed was to start a photography business. So I went home and studied.
And studied.
And practiced.
And studied some more.

And this year, I have been in business. God has sent me client after client in the most amazing ways. Not too many. Not too few. Just enough.

Even though I LOVE the job, I was still wondering...."God, why am I doing this? How is this furthering Your kingdom? Because isn't about making money. I want to reach people with Your love and let them know they can be in a relationship with you that will change their lives."

And there were other things...negative thoughts like, "What do you think you're doing? You're 47 years old and you have 10 kids. Do you really think you are going to start a business?

But here is where it gets good. You've been waiting for that, right?

I'm in a Bible study group and the author of our study challenged the group to a community service project. We had to choose a group of people who is often overlooked and show them in a tangible way that God loved them.

Many ideas were discussed...all of them good. How would we choose? We didn't know.

One day I was talking to one of the mom's in my group and mentioned my dream of going to a foreign country on a mission trip, taking family photos, printing, framing them and giving them to people. She had grown up in Honduras and she told me that she would have LOVED to have been able to have a photo of herself as a child.


Then the next day, she sent me an email that basically said, 'Karin...we don't have to wait to go on a mission trip to take those pictures! We can serve the needy right here in our community. We could do it as our Bible study group project!"

I was totally excited. She shared it with the group and it was instantly decided that it was the project we were supposed to do!

We have been full steam ahead because we wanted to do it before Christmas. It hasn't been a smooth road. There have been many twists and turns--and even now, the road has forked and forked so that I'm not sure WHO is going to get photographed next week. But God knows. And I know He will show us.

But here is another very cool thing...

I 'just happened' (yeah...right) to see a post on a fellow photographer's site this week about a charity group that was doing...THE SAME THING. Only they were doing it on a much bigger scale. They are even doing their photoshoot world-wide ON THE SAME DATE as we are. And they had put together a very well done video.

It turns out that God has been stirring people up ALL OVER THE WORLD with the same mission.
1. Find someone to photograph who would normally not be able to afford it.
2. Take their picture.
3. Print and frame their picture.
4. Deliver it to them.

That is EXACTLY what we had been planning to do. And now we find out that God told another (much more famous) person to do the same thing. God was already at work...we were just supposed to hop on the train. (If you have done the "Experiencing God" Bible study by Henry Blackaby, I know you are cheering, 'Yes! See where God is already at work and then join Him!') This group even had some of the same ideas about providing snacks, delivering the gifts, etc.

And now I know why God sent me to that workshop a few years ago. He wanted to include me in something He was doing. Had I not gone, I would never have had the confidence to attempt portraits of anyone except my own children. But now, I can use my new-found abilities to help spread His love to those who might not otherwise hear the Good News.

God is just so cool.

I wanted to post this so that some of you might be able to go join an event in your community. Many of the photoshoots will be happening Dec. 10th so you still have time to volunteer. They need greeters, snack makers/servers, administrators, hair stylists, photographers, etc. The name of the group is Help-Portrait. You can go to their website HERE. At the top of their page, click on the video. You will be moved. Maybe even to tears. I am posting it below for those of you who don't get the blog via email.


Lori said...

Oh, Karin!! I LOVE this so much!!

What an encouragement this is to seek the Lord to show me where He is at work around me...and how He wants me to get involved.

I can't wait to hear more of your adventure!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for making me aware of this...Jesus said, "don't hide your light under a bushel"...the light in these peoples eyes and faces is no longer hidden...I'm so thankful that you and other photographers have been drawn, by God, to do this for others!

If that isn't Christmas what is?

Lisa said...

SO great! Its true...anywhere you look there are ways to bless people with our camera. What a gift!!

Love how God works. Its totally scary and fun and exciting all at the same time!

If you think of it, please say a quick prayer for us as we finish up the licensing process for foster care. I'm not the adreneline junkie that you are, so I really need God to be in all this. :)

deb said...

This is awesome Karin! "Who Knew"

sara said...

karin, this is awesome and you just showed me a way that I can serve a single mom at our church! thanks!

Tesseraemum said...

This is SOOO AWESOME!! I used to take wedding pictures and some portraits for folks who couldn't afford a "big" photographer. I loved it! My camera died and I couldn't afford to replace it. This is something I can do for our new Hope Center! Our town/several churches is opening a community center and this would be a great outreach!

Chris said...

Very cool!
off-topic, how is Zoe's leg doing?

Kim K. said...

what an awesome adventure. I'm so proud and happy for you, Karin. Your photography is amazing and what gift to be able to share it with others.

Anonymous said...

nice opinion, thanks for sharing...

Rachel said...

That is so amazing! I love when God works like that and pulls people together and places them in exactly the right spot to make amazing things happen for Him!

Anonymous said...

This is really awesome to read. I love seeing how God works these things together so that his purpose can be fulfilled. Very inspirational.

Rebecca said...

I love it when you can look back and see the hand of the Lord at work! And what a great project. Family pictures are such a treasure. And I do hope you get to go out of the country as well. I got to go to Kenya this year and the kids in the slum were so thrilled to see pictures of themselves on my digital camera. I wished that I had had a polaroid to that they could have had a picture to keep

Anonymous said...