Winter is a tough time for photography in my opinion, locally at least. We don't get a ton of snow around here, which can leave the mid Atlantic a little dreary looking. I don't mind it personally, but it isn't quite as photogenic. Maybe that's an excuse.
It's been a while since I've posted a blog or anything. I can't say I have any really good reasons. However, just like with the seasons, winter sometimes roll into life.
For reasons I can only chalk up to the fact that we live between Genesis 3 and Revelation, it seems that some people, myself included, tend to fall into things like sadness and depression a little bit easier than others.
It is a comfort to know that the Bible is filled with people that went through darker times of life. Sometimes it was by their own making as in the case of David with Bathsheba. Others it was because of things outside their immediate control as in the case of some like Paul in his despair of the Corinthian church, or some of the many perils he endured. Even our Lord wept, even in anguish in the garden.
Even some more modern heroes of the faith like C. H. Spurgeon dealt with depression for much of his life.
Of course we have to be careful. Scripture is very clear on the sin of worry and such. Grief, sadness, times of trial, are not sin in and of themselves. However when we begin to question the goodness of God, then we are entering into bad territory.
Where am I going with this? Frankly I think it's simply that I have found myself to be in a rut of sorts. I've kind of lost my way.
I don't know what happened in my case. I suppose it's a great deal of "me". Laziness, lack of trust, even my own pride. Yeah, I can definitely look at the sin in my life as reason.
Things of this world, this year especially, have been hard to swallow. It's easy to get angry, and sometimes it might even be righteous anger. But it's also easy for that to turn into bitterness, and a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God.
But I don't want to act like I've got it together, or that I have all the answers. This is my second draft of this, and the first was a bit more 'open' perhaps. But I do want to be open here. Transparency is something that I've been confronted with recently.
Check out this video on Youtube from Wretched Radio.
Again I'm not writing this presuming to have the answers, I have none outside of Scripture. I do however want people to know there is hope in Christ. I know I struggle with this fact at times, I'm thankful for His grace... Oh I hate that I presume on His grace though. Yeah, transparency, right?
So a winter season in life? Yeah I suppose so. As in Psalm 88, the only Psalm I know of that doesn't have a 'happy ending', I guess I am unsure of the outcome of where I'm at. But I do know, at least in my head, that there is hope in Christ. And I know that He is growing me.
But instead of talking about this more, I really just want to share some helpful resources with you. I'm sure some reading this are going through something similar. Others probably know someone who is.
Eric Davis wrote a great article on the Cripplegate, here.
Tim Challies at his website also has several great articles including this one, here.
A couple months ago, I wrote an article about pressing on. Looking back at past moments, but not staying there. This is somewhat of a part 2 to that.
There are moments in life that stand out more than others. I can't say I understand that, but it's just how it is.
The most important moments in life, the most impactful, are the most memorable. Things like marriage, birth of children, a new home, even a new dog are among those moments.
Sickness, death, hardship, sadly those are also among those moments.
In these moments we can experience times of growth, too.
My photographic journey began almost ten years ago. On vacation with friends, I took some casual family photos for them. I had learned some basic tips on videography composition a little while back and applied that to my shots. For some reason they loved it.
They were not great photos, but it made them happy and gave me some encouragement.
However it would be a few more years before I'd really want to pursue photography. Oh, I tried portraits and youth sports photos, but it wasn't my cup of tea. And eventually my camera made it's way to a dusty corner somewhere, and I didn't really think much of it
This was actually the second photograph in a series of shots I took in the spring of '14. For whatever reason (providence), I gained a slight re-interest in photography. With this particular shot, I had recently read an article on how to get 'sunstars', and while stopping by the house for a moment to get something, the low sun caught my eye.
I tried the tip for the sunstar (think I used f/22!), composed the shot, and here it is.
There's pluses to the shot. No it's not going into a museum that I know of, but it received some accolades from my friends on social media. That was enough to encourage me to continue. That was a pivotal moment I think for photography for me.
A few months later I went on another trip to the beach with those same friends from before. A couple mornings I pushed myself to get up early for sunrise. I had been quite inspired by some shots of the beach by one particular photographer, and I wanted my own shot of the ocean.
This morning I woke up and pushed myself to ride my bike up to the beach, carrying my camera bag with me. However upon arriving, I was greeted by grey skies.
It appeared quite dismal. My patience was non existent.
Oh but then it happened. Keep in mind I never really experienced great stormy sunrise skies. The sun started to shine through a small clearing on the eastern sky. It was exhilarating for a few moments, most excitement I ever had with photography up to that point.
It was a lesson for me. Patience, trust in God's timing, things like that. But that was the best shot I had ever taken at the time.
The years went by. Life happens. Opportunities come and go, some taken, some missed.
I can't lie, photography has been a source of challenge for me. Yes the actual photography itself is a growing process. But the personal things that have arisen during the time have been much more of a challenge.
It seems that the lessons I learn, I almost immediately forget. Anyone else do that?
But it does cause me to think about boasting in weakness, because it shows God who is so strong. And His grace, amazing.
Finally, though there are loads more photos I could examine, this one here is my most recent 'best shot' in my opinion. The jury is out on that, but for me the experience and result exemplify my journey with photography. Personal struggles, weakness, total inability, yet a faithful and true and sovereign God who loves me.
Our lives are made up of moments, big and small, and I believe we can learn continually in them. But to learn rightly our eyes need to be on Christ, and our minds in His Word. Like Paul in Philippians 3:12-14, we can't rest on past success or dwell in past failures and pains. Our moments do not define us. Those in Christ are defined by Him and His righteousness and His worth.
Who knows where we go from here, but here's to moments that bring Him glory.
The cathedral group overlooks the snake river as a fiery sunset lights up the sky. To the north, cascade canyon empties into Jenny lake, and to the south, death canyon to Phelps lake. Grand Teton rises majestically in the middle, with several other of the highest peaks in the park, dominating the skyline.
I am thankful for the faithfulness of God and for His mercy. This has been a year of learning His attributes, yet not just knowledge, but a real having to fall upon them.
The more I grow, the more I realize I have so much to learn. But experiencing His love and mercy towards me, however undeserved, the more I realize how much I need Him.
The Christian walk is a paradox.
This particular evening of this photo was unexpected. The trip was coming to a close, and I was ready for some Chinese food. Jackson Hole has some of the best Chinese food in my humble opinion. But being so close to the park, I had to say goodbye to my favorite place outside of home and among believers.
Despite knowing the crowds would be ever present, I suggested we just go to Schwabacher's Landing, a very beautiful, peaceful, but popular location in Grand Teton National Park.
Schwabacher's is located at a calm stretch of the Snake River that winds through the valley below the Teton range where reflections of the mountains can be seen glimmering in the water. Ducks, beaver and moose (I've yet to see one there in person) visit the area.
Despite the plethora of photographers, I thankfully found a spot overlooking the river, with the cathedral group, which is the central section of peaks in the Teton range, sillouheted by the setting sun.
The sky quickly lit up like fire both towards the peaks, and towards the east. It was a beautiful evening, and a gift. It causes me to think of Gods kindness.
I may cover His faithfulness in more detail in a future post, but for now I just want to look back at that trip and the gifts of God.
Photographically it was almost perfect for me. But one thing I lacked was courage and love to witness much. But I am thankful for an opportunity the next morning as we were leaving to return home to at least share something.
We got to spend some time in the shuttle from our car rental to the airport talking to a young family from the south. Once the shuttle moved, that's when it hit me (not the shuttle, a thought), share a tract. Thankfully I had in my wallet some fun tracts from Living Waters. I prayed and had to force myself, but when we stopped at the airport I shared the tract with the families little girl. The tract is an optical illusion, so I figured I'd do a little 'magic trick'. I think she liked it, and I gave the tract to the mother.
Yeah I know, it's not the most exciting or dramatic story, no one got saved on the spot, no revival, but I trust that God in His faithfulness will bring about whatever fruit He chooses in that episode.
I wish I was more faithful, but His faithfulness is perfect.
So it was a trip where I got to experience first hand several of the attributes of God, a theme that seems to be prevelant this year for me. I'm thankful.
Honestly though is the character of God not experienced always? His goodness to all, His grace in salvation? His majesty alluded to in a sunrise, even His wrath displayed in reminders of the fall and the flood. His love, His mercy, all shown to us that He has saved by grace through faith in Christ. To God be the glory, for He is faithful.
No I suspect this is not, if the Lord in His grace sustains me and doesn't tarry, the end of me talking about His attributes, but it seemed right to post about the last few hours of my recent stay in the beautiful and inspiring west.
"Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."
“Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org”
by: Jeremey Voit
Jeremey is a photographer based in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. He loves travel, nature, and experiencing and sharing the beauty of God's creation.