Swimming Back To Shore

I don’t remember when I first began to feel the tug.

Like the feel of your feet in the cold ocean’s edge, the beginning pull of a wave’s call back into the ocean. At fist, it is slow and then suddenly a rush, as your feet sink further into the sand. It is a relentless, thing, this pull. Some days, it feels like I just woke up and felt it for the first time. And other days, it feels like it is all I have ever known. But it isn’t, necessarily.

At one point, this was the indefinitely long-term plan: this expressing myself with camera in hand and making a living doing so. After all, I had left a well-paying career job I’d gotten my master’s degree for. Except, I really hadn’t left for just that reason. I had left to put what I could into this thing before the next chapter – our starting a family. I wanted to give it more than I knew I could then in a full-time office job. I wanted to give it more than I imagined I might be able to once we actually had a child. I just wanted to give it my all, and so I did. Then, even as we began our journey towards life as three and then welcomed our daughter into the world, I found that being able to do as little or as much work as I wanted to still wasn’t… enough. But not “enough” in the way that you might be thinking.

I remember sitting with a friend over lunch, my daughter in her infant carrier sleeping away, and having the courage to say it aloud. That is, to say there was something about this work that didn’t feel like it fit quite right any longer. To express just that beginning tug away from this world of operating, of being, of spilling out my creativity and contributing to our family. At first, I thought it might just be “the industry”; so, I just stopped caring. I did the work because I love my clients and want to make them happy, not to impress anyone else. But, still the tug persisted. So then, I thought it might be the type of shooting I was doing so I limited my portrait availability even more. Still, the tug. No matter what I seemed to try, I couldn’t escape this nagging that I couldn’t yet make sense of. It was maddening.

Soon, the tug became a riptide.

In the late spring, life cast me into one of the more confusing seasons of my vocational life that I had ever known. What was I to do? I kept asking and not hearing. I felt helpless. To quiet that feeling of standing there with your ears and heart and hands open to the sky, being met by the void, I just kept on. I continued shooting and wondering, I stopped blogging and still wondering. All the while still trying to fix something without knowing exactly what was broken.

My days are filled to the brim with one child somehow making space for two children. My husband’s job requires more of his person than ever before so that when he comes home, he needs. Too, despite all of my fears and lack of understanding of what is to be with it, my desire to just write words on pages and beauty out of the ordinary with what creative energy I have left at the end, or beginning, or middle of every day is… overwhelming. Finally, I couldn’t keep pretending that, for me, this business fits into this life anymore. But how do you quit something like this? How do you move forward when it seems almost illogical to do so? How do you survive a riptide?

You either swim out, parallel to the shore, or you let it carry you until it stops. Don’t fight it, because that’s how it overcomes you. We fight and kick against the current, only to end up with nothing left in the end. I was almost there. In the midst of my calls for help, my struggle for the shore, I spent a few days in a place that made every bit of sense to me despite my lingering questions in my heart. There, my flailing quieted and I felt that riptide spit me out into the deepest of waters.

At first, I was so afraid. Even now, at times, I still am. I look down and see the depth and I am wondering, how will I do this? But here I am, swimming back to shore. Telling anyone who cares to know that I am stepping away from this work of photography to pursue God’s call on my life in this moment. I have no idea what this means except that my hands are open and my heart is full. Out here in the deep ocean, I feel myself breathing after months of gasping for air and working against the current. I have no plans exactly, except to serve my husband, cherish my time with our daughter, prepare for the arrival of our son, to look for God’s call in my every day and to respond accordingly – with words or simply action.

Speaking of words, I owe so many thanks to so many people for what this season has been for me.

To every one of you who has trusted me with your memories these last five and a half years, my expressions of gratitude could never begin to describe, truly, what it has meant to me to have your trust, your friendship, and your support. I love that so many of your memories are now my memories, too.

To you who have encouraged me along the way, thank you for giving me a reason to believe in myself in ways I never thought possible. To those who went so far as to tell me that my words, even more than my images, mean something to you – bring you here – call you back, “thank you” could never be enough. Honestly, that, more than anything has kept one of my greatest dreams alive in the creative center of my heart: the part of me that I have already felt expanding as my head and heart space is taken up less and less by other things.

To my photography peers and friends who have kept me going, with teaching, sharing, referrals or just simple encouragement, thank you and I wish you continued success in your businesses.

To my friends, old and new – my creative and inspiring sisters, who have embraced me completely in my flailing and seeking, whether for the last two years, these last crazy six months, or even just a few weeks ago at conference: you have given me the courage to finally hear so clearly what the next step was and to take it and I love you so much for that.

To my family, always, for going along with every crazy step the Lord seems to bring in my life that I follow after and never doubting my ability to do just what I was meant to.

My husband, ultimately, is the reason I have this freedom to close doors and open new ones and I will spend my lifetime thanking him for how selflessly he provides for our family, for how deeply he believes in me and the dreams God has put in my heart, and for always making that known to me despite my stubborn insistence that it is any other way. And too, for convincing me that even the smallest thing I do here at home – with my heart, with my hands, or with my words, is worth more than the greatest sum of fans a photography business could ever bring me.

Logistically speaking, my website, my Facebook fan page, and this blog will transition, of course, but over time. Anyone who contacts me inquiring about a wedding or session has been referred out to some of my favorite, most trusted photography friends here in the area and will continue to be so. I have communicated with all of my current clients with open sessions or weddings left to shoot, simply to prepare them for this announcement and get them settled on my calendar. My hope in this, is to simply have clear expectations and boundaries for myself and my family as I make this unique transition, especially with a bit left to fulfill in the way of work.

And that’s that.

So here’s where I feel like I should be able to wrap this all up in a pretty bow. Like, “look for this blog series to hit next week!” or “can’t wait to get started on landing a book deal!” or some other version of “watch me do my work!” but that’s not what this is about. In time, I may write more here or somewhere else or who knows where, but for now, I’m serving and loving and writing because I know that’s what I was made to do.

What happens with it all, in the end… well, that’s up to Him.
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November 1, 2013 - 7:46 am

Sarah Moses <3 Praying for you in this time of transition!

November 1, 2013 - 8:32 am

Jody Gray So proud of you, sweet friend for taking this leap of faith. It just made me think of the Indiana Jones movie (I know, I know, don’t laugh ha) where they are close to getting the holy grail and they have to take a “step of faith” high up over a canyon which looks like if they do they will fall to their death. Indy still steps out with all of his doubts and low and behold, he is sustained and walks across. God has the way paved for you. All you have to do is step and he knows the rest of the path. Again, so proud of you. Can’t wait to watch where God leads you on this next journey.

November 1, 2013 - 8:55 am

Melissa Awww~ So proud of you!! Meeting you a few weeks ago even for a short while was a blessing. I look forward to seeing how God directs your future steps.. 🙂

November 1, 2013 - 9:07 am

Kate Whitmore So proud of you!

November 1, 2013 - 9:41 am

Heather So incredibly blessed by you… always. You are awesome!

November 1, 2013 - 9:42 am

Leigh Kramer Good for you, Kristine! It is scary but it is wonderfully brave and freeing. Who knows where God will take you next or how he will use this time in your life.

November 1, 2013 - 9:55 am

Kristin Ungerecht Love this. You have a writing gift, my dear! So excited for you and proud of you for laying this down in obedience. I know it wasn’t easy. Thanks for being honest and brave in your sharing here!! 🙂 xoxo

November 1, 2013 - 10:55 am

Heather Kristine, I have been where you are in one way or another and continue to edit and shift as life and its seasons naturally do. The Lord calls us out to new and different things while He does His work in our hearts… I see this in your life and cheer you on from the shore today!

November 1, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Sarah Goodwin oh my stars Kristin. So well written, I could hear you saying it. I admire your leap of faith to follow His call and plan for your life. I think we all left the conference with more than we ever anticipated and it’s changing lives. I cannot wait to see what your future holds 🙂

November 5, 2013 - 8:40 am

Aunt AnnaLeigh Dear Kristine,

Congrats, on your choice of family over fame. You will never be sorry for spending as much time as you can with them. Take it from one who now knows just how fast that time will fly by.

Thank you Cliff for giving her the time needed to be with your children and to be there for you at the end of a busy day.

I am sure you, Kristine, will notice the extra time you have in your home will allow you to save vast amounts by being able to shop for and prepare less costly meals. You might even find that you will have time, once the children are a bit older, to sew much of their clothing. This I know as cooking, canning and sewing is how I managed to spend more years at home than I might otherwise have done. However, please be aware, you will become a target for VOLUNTEER jobs in your community. That can easily eat up much of your home time if you let it.

Not trying to preach, just passing along some of life’s lessons.

PS. Hope Virginia liked her quilt, I had great fun creating it.

Love Aunt AnnaLeigh

November 7, 2013 - 4:01 pm

Wendy Cunningham I am so proud of you. I know how difficult this was for you. And I am so thankful for the small amount of time I was able to spend chatting with you in October. I can’t wait to see where this takes you!

November 29, 2013 - 10:44 am

Sarah I’ve read and re-read this over the last month! I’m so proud to be your friend (and always have been). I really appreciate how willing you are to be honest and do what God’s calling you to do. I cannot wait to see what these next steps for you will look like even though I’m a little sad to no longer have your photographs in my newsfeed!

December 29, 2013 - 11:26 pm

Kayla Wyatt I am recently engaged and on a tight budget. I was wondering what the prices were for engagement and wedding sessions. Thank you so much.

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