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Jacksonville Senior Photographer // Scarlett Lillian Seniors: Loving God With All My Soul.
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May 1, 2009

Loving God With All My Soul.

So yes, one of the things I talk about here on my blog is my faith. No, not everyone agrees that I should combine business and personal. No, not everyone thinks I'm a perfect Christian and they are quick to point out my humanly errors. I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a perfect Christian. And that's the beauty of being a follower of Christ, through the grace of Jesus, we aren't expected to be perfect. That's exactly what He died for. Our imperfections. What God cares about the most is loving Him with our all.

But lately, I haven't been talking much about my faith. And really, it's because I have to confess, I've been in a weird phase with it. It's not that I gave up on God, but when you go through something traumatic like losing a parent, your faith gets shaken to the core and the love you have for the Lord is truly tested.

You question everything you've ever believed.

Is God truly good even in the bad? If He really loved me as my Heavenly Father, why would He take away my earthly Father before he could even walk me down the aisle, and leave my mom alone? If this is supposed to strengthen my faith, why do I still have moments of bursting out in tears at the thought of it all?

Last night, I finally broke down and told Mark what I didn't tell him about our recent camping trip. He went off with the boys on the lake to go fishing, and I went on a long hike through the trails in the hills. I needed to get away and simply cry out to God in a place where no one else could hear me, away from it all, in the middle of the nature He so beautifully created. Everyone has told me from the beginning that the 6 month anniversary of a loved one's death is the hardest, but honestly, now 2.5 months in, I'm starting to feel it.

It's like, I KNOW my dad is gone, but it's hitting me that he's REALLY gone.

He's NOT coming back.

I keep catching myself wanting to call my dad up and share with him cool things here and there. Like being featured on the PocketWizard website today. Hot dang. I'm actually making something of myself, I loved making him proud with each step forward my career took.

But I can't share that with him anymore. :-(

I used to love going over to my parents house, walking in the back door, meeting my dad in the kitchen for a hug, telling him the latest business success I achieved, and him grabbing my hand, then my mom's, then Rhett's paw for our ritual family "circle dance". It was so cheezy, but I truly loved that moment of taking a few seconds to celebrate life and all God had blessed us with in that moment. I've never seen so much joy in my dad's eyes than those frozen moments of time when we all danced in a circle and sang our "do to do to do" song.

But since my dad has passed, my mom and I haven't done a circle dance since. It's like, that circle is broken and it just doesn't feel the same doing it without him. I know my mom and I should continue the tradition, but it's just that feeling of being stuck. Just like how she can't be inspired to continue her blog. She even tried to start a new one for a new beginning. She's tried to write, but no words fill her heart to share.

So yes, all this challenges my faith. I've never felt more distant with God in our relationship, and that scares me. So that's why I needed to get away on that trail in the hills and just cry out to Him. And cry over missing my dad. I try so hard to hold those tears back in everyday life, but moments like that moment in the hills just come spilling out in that sobbing way that you can't control and can barely breathe because the tears hurt so much. I just sat there on the ground in the middle of the woods and tried to feel His arms around me. And as much as I would have loved Mark's arms around me comforting me in that moment, it was a moment I only needed God's, to find His sweet embrace again.

But then, in His perfect timing, as He always proves faithful in, tonight my mom came over to drop off her dog as she ventures off on a road trip to NYC with her brother. She's been taking a lot of trips lately, and I'm glad she has the chance to get away and refresh her soul. Anyways, she brought me a gift from one of my angels here on earth. Her name is Donna and she's a friend of my mom's who has always been like an aunt or a Godmother. She's one of those people who I've never heard say a bad word about anyone, and she carries so much joy in her heart because of the passionate love relationship she has with Jesus. For no reason at all, she sent me a goody bag with all kinds of girly things and also included was a book called "Loving God With All of My Soul." It's a small book, but the back of the book said everything I can't wait to dive into read:

"According to Jesus, the most important thing anyone can do is to love God. But what does it mean to love someone we can't see or touch? And how can we obey the command until we understand it's meaning?

With All My Soul explores what it means to love God with all aspects of our being-- heart, soul, mind and strength.

If we simply claim that we love God without understanding what it means, our spiritual experience will be shallow and unsatisfying. But as we discover that God loves us all of the same ways that He wants to be loved, our love for Him grows deeper and higher, and we become satisfied in the safety of His embrace."


The safety of His embrace. Reading this means so much more now being IN love with an incredible and wonderful guy whose arms do embrace me with so much love and safety and feeling that tangible feeling of how God loves us like that and so much more. So I'm looking forward to the journey ahead through this book to help me get back on track with my love relationship with the Lord, and how I can learn to love Mark that much better. Like the cliche saying goes, it's about the journey, not the destination, right?

Also, something I want to share with the women photographers who follow my blog, I'm attending an AMAZING retreat in August in Oregon called Be Thou My Vision. They are still accepting registrations and offering a $25 discount if you sign up by June 1, so if you are looking for a great getaway to connect with God and some amazing Christian photographers (like my girl Heather Thorne!), check out the website at:

http://www.bemyvision.org

I hope to see you there!!

And I want to leave you with a beautiful song called "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" that Danielle and Jay had sung at their wedding ceremony. I was in tears listening to it behind the camera, and just the simplicity of how truly deep my Father's love is for me, how undeserving I am for it, but how grateful I am to be loved by Him now sharing glory in Heaven with my earthly father.




I also love love love this worship song, "Lifeline" by Brooke Fraser, for these kind of moments.

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15 Comments:

Blogger Julianne & Greg said...

Isaiah 41:10 Do not be afraid for I Am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I Am God. I will strengthen you. I will help you I will uphold you with My Victorious Right Hand

May 1, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger TIffany said...

Scarlett ~ Thank you so much for sharing your heart in this post. It's so good to know I'm not alone in the struggle of faith after loss. You are such a blessing whenever I read your blogs and Twitter posts! Thank you for being you!

May 1, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger J. Marie said...

I wish I could find the words to bring you the comfort you need. Going to God with your frustrations, fears, and sadness is exactly what He wants us to do! We struggle and question our faith at some point in our lives. I pray that you will find the peace and answers you are looking for, Scarlett. Hang in there!

May 1, 2009 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger kelly said...

sitting here tonight my heart resonates so deeply with your grief journey and the questions that arise about God...

the reality of my husband's death continues to come in random moments...some days i feel some peace, other days there's such a void.

what makes God so amazing is that He allows us to have questions, He sits there with such patience, grace, love.

i always am prayerful for you when i read your blog updates...whether it's about your art, your life or your faith. it's a beautiful mess isn't it?

May 1, 2009 at 11:39 PM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

Scarlett,

Reading this today had seriously touched me. Its been a little over a week since I witnessed my uncle leave this world. It was a humbling and beautiful thing to witness, but has left me empty and hollow inside. I too am at the point where Im questioning everything, why would God let him hurt so much, why would God take away my dad's little brother... I have no answers and really no feeling.

All I know is everyone keeps telling me to take it one day at a time. One day it will hit me, one day I will be ready to really grieve, but right now, my way of grieving is to shut down.

Its weird that you write you had to get out in the beauty of what God created to talk to him, that is exactly how I feel. I need to sit, by myself, somewhere that God's beauty is all around. I need to feel it, to see it...

Your writing, even though you probably can't see it, is helping you deal with the pain and grief. And by writing it out, you are helping SO many of us who have no words to say what is going on in our lives.

Thank you for being so open about your life. I hope we can all find the safety of his embrace again.

May 2, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Farrar Four said...

Sweet Scarlet! My heart aches for you. I pray that God will be your comfort in this time. I know He WILL be, but I pray that you will feel His presence all around you in ways that you would feel your earthly fathers presence. There is NO way to fill that void and you will never stop missing him, but I pray that those moments when you miss him most you will feel HIS presence and you will find comfort.

Love you girlie,
Annie

May 2, 2009 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Jackie Beale said...

it's a wonderful thing that we have the priviledge of prayer, to communicate with our heavenly father, our life line. God does not take people away, it's this imperfect, wicked,and sickly system of things that we live in now that makes us suffer. It started in the beginning with adam and Eve and sin has trickled down from there. Like you stated, God sent his only beloved son to die for us and give us hope for the future, to give us back that lost paradise, to give us purpose in life. My mom passed away when I was only a child and I find comfort in Revelation 21: 3 and 4. I hope you do to :)

May 2, 2009 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Gwendolyn Tundermann Photography said...

I know you wanted to celebrate your father's life (and it was beautiful how you did that) but it IS okay to mourn and it IS normal to question everything you believe in when your world has been shaken like that. If we never had moments of weakness when would we experience how His love gives us strength. As you explore all the questions that are in your heart right now you relationship with God will become stronger.

May 2, 2009 at 11:59 AM  
Blogger Scarlett Lillian said...

You are all sooooo amazing. Thanks for sharing your hearts in return. I've been meditating on the verses you provided soaking up His words this morning. I appreciate your love in Christ and your encouragement!

May 2, 2009 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Kyleegirl2 said...

That was hard to read, and i don't even know you, i'm just another person who reads your blog...I'm really sorry you have to miss your dad! I lost my little brother almost 4 years ago, and i'm sure it's even worse losing a parent. My faith is just now starting to get strong again. You're in my prayers,love, kylee

May 3, 2009 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger Laura Lu said...

hugs, my sweet friend. i love seeing what God is doing in your precious heart. i'm here praying. i'm so happy you decided to go to the retreat.

love ya, girl!

May 3, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

Hello Scarlett,

I have been following your blog for some time and find it truly inspiring.

I believe you did the best thing by getting off by yourself and talking with God. It is when we are alone that we can hear Him and feel Him the best.

I have been and will continue to pray for you and your family during this time.

Thanks again for a wonderful blog.

May 3, 2009 at 7:40 PM  
OpenID Caryn said...

Scarlett,
God gave you Mark and your Mom and your friends at this time. God did not give your Father cancer and did not take him. I know your pain and when my friend Shannon died recently from breast cancer leaving two small children I had a small crisis of faith too... I read an AMAZING book called The Shack. I HIGHLY recommend reading it. (on the plane maybe?) It has helped me more than any other book save the Bible. God loves you and so do so many others.
caryn

May 4, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger Brooke Turner said...

Brooke Fraser is my absolute FAVE!! I always get excited when I see that someone else loves her too. My other favorite songs are CS Lewis Song, Arithmetic, and Shadowfeet. Her lyrics are so incredibly soulful!

May 5, 2009 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger Scarlett Lillian said...

Yep Arithmetic is my all time favorite. I'm saving that for a wedding song! :-)

May 5, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

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The images on this blog are the property of Scarlett & Stephen Photography. Images may not be reprinted without the permission of Scarlett Lillian.
However, you are welcome to use them for personal web sites such as MySpace, Facebook, etc with the link back to this blog, and keeping the logo on the photo. If you would like to use the images for any other purpose, please contact Scarlett Lillian at scarlett@scarlettlovesstephen.com. Thanks!

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