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A letter to the Restless

A letter to the Restless. Aka… a letter to me. 

Over the last week, I’ve progressively gotten more and more fearful of what is to come and the unknown of it all. Do you blame me? Ugh, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Which is why I am writing this: A Letter to the Restless. 

COVID-19. Pandemic. Unknown. Restlessness. 

 It doesn’t help that I tested positive for the flu type A Tuesday morning and have little to no energy to do anything but scroll social media…. Only making my soul more and more restless. 

As a photographer, I have experienced and have watched my dear friends in the industry go through complete chaos. The brides we love so dearly are forced to change or cancel their big wedding day plans completely. Behind every broken-hearted bride is a team of vendors gripping to just hold on to their businesses. As a photographer, we are left powerless and helpless. Wanting to serve our brides and love them well, but completely unable to muster up any sort of control to save their big day.  I had a close friend in the industry call me earlier this week to ask for advice on how to serve her brides best during this time. Just that morning she received a handful of calls requesting refunds that totaled roughly $17,000. That number is almost half of what she makes in a year– leaving her restless and fearful of complete financial ruin. Restlessness…

Glacier National Park View

Three of my closest friends are nurses and are showing up on the front lines daily. Each of them picking up extra shifts and floating where they are most needed. As the case numbers rise and personal protection gear becomes more and more scarce it leaves everyone restless.

 

My family owns two local restaurants here in Chattanooga and are doing everything in their power to stay afloat and to pay their people. Cloud 9 Cafe in East Gate Mall (owned by my Mom) and The Acropolis near Hamilton Place (owned by close family friends, so not blood– but for sure family). Both of them are currently still functioning with their normal business hours, but are offering online and curbside pickup. Holding on and trying to stay open as long as possible. Restlessness continues to fester as more and more strict and necessary mandates are put in place. Restlessness…

 

I could go on about my teacher friends, my friends in higher education administration, gym owners, etc.. You name it… At the end of all their stories is that same restlessness.

 

For the past week or so as I anticipated the restlessness that would be to come, I felt like the Lord was telling me to write again. To write to tell you that even though restlessness surrounds us that there is still hope and assurance for us if we want it. 

A letter to the Restless

A letter to the Restless

 

Back in the fall, I made plans to co-launch a photography workshop with my friend and photographer, Sarah Larae. We found the perfect 55- acre horse farm and paid the deposit, and started to plan out content to focus on the client experience, lighting techniques- especially off-camera flash, and, ironically, self-care. We hyped it up on our social media platforms and started gathering handfuls of interested photographers who were eager to jump on our early bird email list. Something wasn’t sitting right with me though. Something about it just didn’t feel right. Sarah and I had multiple conversations trying to figure out the root of the lack of peace about the workshop launch. Could it be fear? Humm… Fear that we won’t sell all the tickets? Fear that we will lose a lot of money? Fear that….. Not really. I wasn’t fearful. I just felt like the Lord was directing me and saying to wait. Sooooo. Painfully I explained to Sarah that I didn’t really have much of an explanation other than I felt like we needed to wait and that something about the week we had planned for was the wrong timing. Then I jumped on Instagram and briefly and vaguely said that we were no longer going to be hosting the workshop as planned and that more information would be shared in the future. Swallowing my pride, I stepped out in obedience … hesitantly. Ugh. 

 

For months now I’ve been dreading the arrival of the dates we had picked out, March 30- April 2nd, 2020. I’ve gone through every potential scenario in my mind of why the Lord told me to wait and not host on those dates, but I NEVER thought it would be because of a pandemic sweeping the globe. About a week ago it struck me when I was sitting in my car and listening to the radio reporting about COVID-19. As the restlessness swelled inside of me I was moved to tears realizing the enormous amount of stress and frustration and financial ruin the Lord had protected us from by telling me to wait. And how even though I hesitantly and almost begrudgingly stepped out in obedience and halted our workshop, God was faithful. This is another undeniable moment that I will forever lean on when my faith seems weak and worldly doubts try to snuff out the light and hope of Jesus. 

Sunset over Smoky Mountains from Max Patch

A letter to the Restless

“Okay, Ryn.. That’s great that the Lord spoke to you and protected you, but that doesn’t help me and my restlessness…” 

Here is what I hope that you will take away from me sharing my story. And some songs to play on repeat to help calm your restlessness.

  • God is faithful and present

He is working even if we don’t see it, He’s working. Even when we don’t feel it… He’s working…. 

 

  • You can hear from Him too.

God promises us that as we lean into Him He will lean into us. He is inviting you into a relationship with Him. Read His word. Find a bible. Ask me for a bible. Google a bible. And read. Seriously, if you want to know Jesus intimately, and the plans He has for your life and how much He loves you– intentionally read His word. Quiet

 

  • Stop thinking about the future and simply ask Him, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”

I asked the Lord this and he told me to write. And then confirmed it several times as I dragged my booty…. Ugh.  In Acts chapter 9, Paul (technically Saul) asked God this question and Jesus told him what he wanted him to do right in that moment. Currently, most of us have NO IDEA what we should be doing tomorrow much less next week or next month. In studying Acts I was reminded through the story of Saul on the road to Damascus that “this is often the character of God’s direction in our lives. He directs us one step at a time instead of laying out the details of the grand plan all at once.” (Enduring Word) Rest assured that even though we don’t know what is ahead of us individually, as a family, nation, and globe, we can rest in knowing that He is ultimately over it all. He will provide. 

 

  • Stand up.

Drew and I were on our coaching call with Joe, our transformational coach just chatting about everything going on and Joe left me with a couple of thoughts, one being… “Contribution helps us break away to opportunity.” If you are feeling helpless, contribute somehow and opportunities will arise for you to continue to pour into people around you. How can you be a source of peace and encouragement to your community around you during this time? Hope is more contagious than fear. Stand up and contribute…Stand Firm

 

  • You can trade your restlessness and have peace and assurance too.

There is a reason you are reading my blog today. It isn’t just by chance or even that you are a loyal friend of mine who always reads my blogs. I am confident that the Lord is using me to encourage you. My friend recently gave me a book called “Seasons of Waiting: Walking by Faith When Dreams Are Delayed” by Besty Childs Howard.  Towards the end of the book, she reminded me about how God gave the Israelites manna from heaven every morning, with the instructions to only take what they needed and not store up for the future. If they did collect more than they needed it would spoil. The Israelites walked with a daily dependence on God. We too need a daily consistent dependence on God. We are all in an enormous season of waiting right now. How long until COVID-19 stops spreading? When will my kids go back to school? When will I make money again? When will I be able to get married? When will there be a cure or vaccine for the virus? When… when… when…. So many things we are all waiting on. I encourage you to ask God to reveal himself to you. Ask Him to provide. Share with Him your restlessness and your worries. Lay them all down and surrender them. He can do “far more abundantly than all we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) Besty Childs Howard reminds us that, “ You can bring Him your bread and fish, or lack thereof, and ask Him to feed a crowd of thousands. You can look at your future without a clue how God will meet your needs over the course of a lifetime and trust that He will. But you have to wait for Him to reveal his provision day by day.” Just like He provided manna for the Israelites day by day, He will provide for you too. Rest in this peace and assurance. My Hallelujah

 

  • Pray.

    The scripture encourages believers to pray even if you don’t know what to pray for. Even if you have no words and only tears, pray.  “And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)

 

If you don’t know Jesus: I invite you to reach out, ask me questions, share your thoughts with me. I would love to share more of my story and more undeniable moments I’ve experienced with you and to pray with you and for you. 

 

To my fellow Christians: This is not a time to stay seated on the sidelines. This is a time to stand up confidently seeking opportunities to love your neighbor, remember and remind people of the goodness of God, and to share your story. Oftentimes we don’t feel like our story is anything special, but God gave it to you to use. When we share our stories with others and share where our source of strength comes from it can help sustain people in their own stories. It shifts our perspectives and reminds us that “God is faithful” and may motivate them to seek Him… I challenge you to be a voice and seek opportunities to calm the restlessness of today by sharing the only one sure cure for the restlessness we are all feeling today:

 

29 Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me (Matthew 11:29 TPT).

 

Day by day + manna every morning. Together resting in peace and assurance instead of drowning in restlessness. ❤️

 

Come, Lord Jesus, Come. 

A letter to the Restless

 

*These images are from my travels all around the world! Glacier National Park, Secceda in Italy, Max Patch in North Carolina, and a Tennessee creek right outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

 

I am a Tennessee based wedding photographer who loves capturing couples who are recklessly in love. Check out some of my wedding work here!

  1. c Russell says:

    beautifully written and amen!!!

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