It’s been awhile since I sat down to write a blog post, and even longer since I tried to write one this meaningful. Perhaps, like so many others, I have come to the end of one year, preparing to start the next, and have these deep moments of reflection and planning. This year seems so similar to past ones in that sense, and yet it feels so completely unlike anything I’ve felt in past years.
The last time I wrote here, I spoke of a new journey I felt led to start. At the time, I had very little idea about that journey, only that it involved a desire to give and to serve. That was about five months ago.
A lot has happened since then, both in my business, in our home, and in our country and world. I’m sure you could say the same. Five months gives a person a lot of time to think, to live, to experience, to grow. Our family experienced the joy of moving into our “long term” home. We lived through a few bumps and bruises, and were grateful for nothing too serious. Business got busy through the beautiful autumn months, and we celebrated another holiday season together, thankful for each other and for the many gifts we all gave and received.
We also witnessed a lot in our city, in our country, and throughout the world. We watched the news, like all of you, and we discussed politics and current events with each other, and with our children. We saw wars continuing around the world, suffering endured by too many, and poverty striking everywhere and anywhere.
Throughout the past months, I have come to recognize a few things. Our lives are so blessed. Our children are healthy, we live in a beautiful home, in a beautiful community, with wonderful people- a place where our children run safely, and are free to speak their mind and be whoever they want to be. We are rich beyond our needs, so much richer than so much of the world. We never want for a meal, or for a bed, or for medicine when our babies are hurting.
Unlike so many, we are never questioned because of who we are, because of the color of our skin, or who we love, or what God we serve. We are free, safe, rich.
This is a gift, to be sure, but one that has led me to question a lot of my blessings. Why me? What can I do? How can I take who I am and what I have, and use it to serve those who are not as fortunate as I?
These are the questions that have met me on most mornings, the questions that have kept me from writing. Instead of writing, I’ve been reading. A lot. I’ve been praying. A lot. I’ve been studying, and seeking. After all, the God that I trust promises me that if I seek, I will find.
I am just at the beginning of this journey, but I have discovered this. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48)
I believe there is a reason why I’ve been given so much, why we’ve all been given so much. We are not blessed simply to enjoy what we have. We are blessed so that we might become a blessing to others. We are given gifts so that we might then give to others. We are loved so that we might love others. Life is so much more wonderful when we give more of what we have.
So how? How can I use what I have to give to others? How can my gifts, my skills, my passions be used to help others, particularly with respect to my craft and my business?
First, I would like to change the way I run my business, logistically. My hope is to create a business that works to serve moms- all moms. There are too many moms out there who long to have beautiful portraits of their precious families, but who simply cannot afford the luxury of professional portraits. My desire is to create a way for ALL moms to have the portraits they can treasure. My heart longs to serve those moms who have never enjoyed the portrait experience, who could never afford such an indulgence. I have a plan to make that happen, through a complete commercial and production restructuring, and through special monthly events. More details are coming, but I have never felt better about the future of JLP. People will probably think I’m crazy, but maybe that means I’m heading in the right direction.
Next, I am planning to incorporate more of my teaching and coaching into the business. In the coming months, I will be working overtime to create a variety of teaching pieces for specific groups of women. Why women? More on that in the next blog post, but anyone who knows me knows that I have a heart for my girlfriends, young and old. I was made to connect with other women, and my heart longs to encourage my sisters. What specific types of women? Again, more in the next post.
As for what kinds of resources I’ll be creating, well that’s the exciting part. Again, looking to serve women who can’t afford the luxury of expensive portraits, fancy workshops or courses, my plan is to offer loads of free resources, along with plenty of invaluable yet affordable workshops, courses, communities, books, and more, all online and easy to access, all available to anyone. I can serve women, both locally and globally, by teaching them the things that I know. This idea makes me giddy! I can create, I can give, I can help.
I have already begun organizing my ideas, and I can’t wait to get started. I can't help but believe this is only the tip of the iceberg in what I can do to serve those around me, and I hope to come up with more and more ideas as the months go by. I anticipate a lot of late nights (or rather early mornings!) in the future as I begin writing and creating, but I’m so excited to give my time, my skills, and my knowledge to serve others, rather than myself.
Would you like to join me on this journey? Perhaps you might find help in what I hope to offer. Perhaps you might be inspired in some way to serve others in your own unique way. Or perhaps you’d like to come alongside me so we can serve together. Either way, come join me. Let’s help, and serve, and give to others so that we might all enjoy our gifts.
And don’t forget to check out the next blog post, where I’ll share a little more about the “why” and “who” behind my “what” and “how”.