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”
Hiking alone in bear country is a little nerve wracking. It's probably not the most advised idea in the world, but being a landscape photographer it kind of comes with the territory. During such an experience, you have a lot of time to pray and you might take advantage of it, because if you're like me at all, you're probably not going to be all that calm.
This particular morning began early, about 2:45 A.M. An hour and a half drive or so later and I was dropped off and ready to hike, sort of. I'd never been alone in grizzly country at 4ish in the morning so I wasn't sure how to feel.
But as I began to walk I got a chance to pray and think and frankly, repent. The day before was the flight in, and it was a long day. I was grumpy and anxious for a lot of it. The details of the trip were stressing me.
The irony of it is that I spent a portion of the flight looking in my Bible at the goodness of God.
I'm sure we've all heard the phrase, in some form or another, "God is good always, and God is always good". It's nice, catchy, but I hope we take stock in what we're really saying.
"The LORD is good to all,
And His mercies are over all His works." Psalm 145:9
Knowing this, I still fret and worry and struggle. Details.... Does anyone else worry about the details?
Yet God in His infinite wisdom works them out. In spite of me. And this particular morning as I hustled and slowly stopped being afraid of Yogi, for a brief moment, my mind returned to the goodness of God.
Yeah no patting myself on the back, it's not like it lasts. But in my seeming inability to trust in His goodness, He is still faithful.
He in His goodness blessed me with a beautiful and solitary place. I could hear the bugle of elk, see the fog rising above the lake, and the first hints of light on the face of a distant mountain. He even kept me from falling into freezing cold water, and from getting attacked by a grizzly. You might laugh, but both were thoughts I was thinking!
And that was just the start of the trip, and the blessings continued. I don't know why other than to say that God is good.
But is He not still good in the darker times? He is. And as I usually do, I seem to go back to Romans 8:28... You should know this one by now from reading my blogs.
He works all things for what? For good.
Ephesians 1:3 tells just how good He has been to us.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,"
And of course, He displayed His goodness at the cross, providing salvation for those that would believe.
So do I still worry? Yeah I do, and I fret, and I get lost in the details, and I need His help to overcome, desperately. But God is good always, and He is always good.
"Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation."
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.