A New Thing | Pursuit Conference 2016

Newness – there is so much of it in my life recently.

While ‘new’ is usually considered a good thing it isn’t always. With some instances of new there is profound sadness & loss. A new reality comes with the cost of mourning the previous reality. Sometimes that previous reality is one we wish to move on from, but sometimes it not. I’d venture to guess that in most instances, its most often a mixture of the two. I know that has been my experience. Profound loss & deep, deep sadness, entwined with moments of sheer joy. There’s a reason they say grief is a messy process – because it is. I think there’s a certain amount of grief attached to the loss of anything we love – be it a pet, a beloved vehicle, a person, a relationship, a community, an event. There’s always the fear of the unknown – of trying to imagine our lives without whatever it is. Our fear & grief are measured by the enormity of the role this loss played in our lives.

In the past year nearly everything in my life has been upturned. People I thought were mine forever have transitioned to people I used to know. Community I thought was forever, suddenly wasn’t. I’ve been told I’m ‘too much’ for some – that they’d prefer I go else where to allow someone else to ‘deal with me’. I’ve been told I’m ‘not enough’ for others – constantly falling short of the expectations placed on me. Its been a heartbreaking 12 months – a year I’ll never fully ‘recover’ from, if only because I’ll never be the same.

Yet, in all this newness, there have been constants. Family in my corner, friends standing strong by my side. One more constant in my world is the life-giving community of Pursuit. A group that started with photography & now is all about Jesus. I think each year that I’ve never been more grateful for them – well so help me if I’m more grateful after 2015, I’ll be impressed.

It is an almost foreign concept to have a community that could be competition, be anything but. When I try to explain Pursuit to those outside the creative industry (& even some within it) I get blank stares & confused questions. “It’s a what? For who? And you do what?”

Community is becoming more & more rare in this world & I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for this haven. In the past 4 years these women have become soul-sisters to me. Beautiful reflections of the Light of our Savior – in my dark & in my light – when the load is heavy & when its light – they remain. When my ugliness shocks & shames me – they don’t shy away. When I’m given an opportunity to reflect a little light back – they cheer me on. Its beautiful.

But, as with all things, Pursuit is changing. There’s a call to rest. While I have faith that this community is no where near done & that my sisters will remain – its still a season of transition. After 5 consecutive Pursuit Conferences at WinShape Retreat Center in Rome, Georgia, there isn’t another on the books currently. We’re in a period of waiting on the Lord. The verse for this year’s conference was Isaiah 43:19 – “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

A new thing. Wilderness. Desert.

So, for now, we wait & stand watchful for this new thing.

The Conference last week was nothing short of beautiful. It was new in lots of ways & a reflection of years past in other’s. Enjoy my iPhone walk-through (I didn’t take a single piece of real camera gear – it was so freeing).

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