Reuniting with God | Personal

It’s 1:15am and that’s not good. I need to sleep because I have two small children who run me ragged (in the BEST way!) and this is my only chance, but too much is on my mind and I have to write. I just journaled what I thought was 3-4 pages and counted a final 9 total..within just minutes, I wrote furiously and from my soul. I wrote like I did back in 1999, the last time I felt connected to something bigger than me and believed in God. It has been 16 years since I felt that way. That’s a long time.

I remember going on this church retreat and feeling like wow– this is IT. There is something bigger and I feel it! I believe in it! Finally, I connected like the deepest and most powerful soul shaking connection. That was the last time..16 years ago, that I felt that way.

When you throw up a wall for one heavy reason, and then you experience heavy after heavy after traumatic, you just start losing reality with what was on the other side to begin with. You build, and you build but forget what you starting putting that thing together for in the first place. What was on the other side has been missing from my life for so long, but some of the extremely dark days of my past showed me more of the devil than of any God and I wasn’t able to let him in. I argued with Mike that this is all about science, not God. I prided myself in all of the knowledge I had to prove it wrong.

I was so, so lost I looked up one day and thought– how did you get here? And I know how I did, I just wish I would have been able to let Him in instead of blame Him or not believe in Him because of the scary moments of my life. It started with not the best memories at home in high school growing up. I watched family members leave this world by their own choice, rocking my world and ruining my perspective on life. My distancing from religion really peaked when someone drugged my drink in college and I experienced a hell I can’t even put into words without having a mental breakdown. I will never forget the movie on the TV while I laid on the floor…I have publicly bawled just at the sight of it before. I have gotten sick from the memory of the night over and over. I am so afraid of men and I just can’t seem to shake it. I will never forget thinking how I trusted that person earlier in the evening. I still can hardly breathe writing this. I’m scared. I can HARDLY say the word, 13 years later after that happened. I have daughters now..and I just can’t. But that was the biggest moment that pushed me. Why would that happen to me? How can there be something so good and pure that’s supposed to protect me, or that was my definition of God then..how can he exist?

I know..things just got heavy..click here to lighten the mood!: Elliebell’s belly laugh 🙂 

Years later..in a relationship with a person that too had their issues but had a really abusive way of emotionally toying with me because of their own insecurities. I love you! I don’t love you. Let’s go to the movies, I want to break up. Oh you want to break up? I want you back. Well WELCOME MIKE into this picture and all goes well..and even better, he gives me a reason to stop burying myself early and love life again. This man changed my life!!! And ANYONE who knows him loves him because he has the kindest heart! He’s not mean, he’s not sarcastic (pretty much my least favorite quality, I know I have a lot of sarcastic friends..y’all are okay I guess hahah!), he’s kind and real and loving. He puts me first, he’s the reason I’ve done what I have with my life and the reason these beautiful girls are here. But..he wasn’t enough to make me believe again. That had to be from within me.

Then Cammy was born..and my only thought in that 2 year period before Ellie was born was “there has to be something bigger, there has to be a Heaven because I HAVE to see her again some day” and then when Ellie was born…I KNEW there was a Heaven. I did. I just didn’t know about God, Jesus, etc again yet.

I think this is a good time for “Ow, my eye” – to lighten the mood again haha!

Turn the time forward to October. I was just going about my day, doing a little morning coffee and saying hi to the local photographers here around 10am and I get a blog comment notification on my phone from a non-existent email address, made up only for the purpose of writing something really harsh and staying anonymous. It actually managed to suck one entire potentially productive day from my life while I managed to look up recent emails and match all the same server info to someone I knew. They may have won that time from my life, but in their haste to bring me down..they gave me something INCREDIBLE that day when a beautiful lesson came from all of it! I emailed someone I loved and trusted more than anything and was told that sometimes these things happen… and they said to me” I think sometimes God allows those people into our worlds to remind us of how thankful we should be for all of those people that love and support us day in and day out.” They also said to me, “I think you have to share both your victories and your struggles to totally be relatable and you do that so well!” and that’s what I needed to be able to finally start to move past these experiences and reconnect with something HIGHER.

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Lundy Photography ^

Would I have loved and appreciated Mike if it had not been for the bad experiences prior? I wouldn’t be married to him, wouldn’t have my daughters, my business, or being living in the Outer Banks. All of that kind of amazingness in one life?!! That has to be something greater than me!!! And then– we experienced Disney..and let me tell you. The timing was ON POINT. It was life changing and I am pretty sure we will all be in Heaven just like that together one day. It was the best week of my life besides their births. It was life changing and PERFECTLY timed and I believe it was for a reason!

I have a new and clear perspective — I feel so free, so fresh, I drove down beach road two days ago after Cammy’s ballet class and the warm sunshine was beating through the windows on a cold day, and I just started crying. I cry all the time, but it was a release. I knew it, I was given this beautiful new hometown for a fresh start and to start believing again. I know it will be a journey, but I am already remembering slowly where I left off 16 years ago. I know who I am, I know what kind of a heart I have and what kind of a live I strive for…and I feel like this new journey has the ability to enhance a life that I felt was at the max capacity of happiness possible. I can’t WAIT to start down this new road!! PLEASE let me be the first to admit I haven’t been the most perfect person at ALL over the past decade or so and I’ve been cold, mean, judgmental, lost but oh my gosh I was just so broken for so long. And hurting like hell from so many things. I can’t wait to love others with even more intention and see what kind of relationship I’m able to develop after so long apart from this religious connection. I have a feeling it will be even stronger and better than ever!

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Like we talked about at the conference…THIS is a story of TRIUMPH. I’m not kidding when I say some days I didn’t know if I would make it through or not and I wasn’t concerned about whether I’d wake up the next morning. And now I’m raising two little girls that are going to change the WORLD with their incredibleness!!! I have the best husband, I live in my dream town and I have my DREAM JOB! My brides have changed my life, and my colleagues and mentor students mean the world to me..I will always be there for ALL of them! LIFE IS GOOD, and it’s safe to say God is good!!! So many people are going to be shocked at hearing me say that, haha, but I promise you – it comes from a place that existed years ago, and I’m so glad to have it back.

Thank you Katelyn James for being the light at the end of so many people’s tunnels, for being so much more than a mentor, wedding photographer, business inspiration..thank you for always taking time to be a friend when I need it the most. You are changing so many lives it’s unreal. You are really beautiful to so many of us, thank you!!!! I love you always!!! 🙂

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LundyPhoto_Hedgepath-12Lundy Photography ^ 🙂

40 thoughts on “Reuniting with God | Personal

  1. AMEN!!!!! Love you, girl! I’m so so so happy that you’re finding in peace in your hurt and letting God take it! So incredibly happy!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 If you ever need anyone, you know you have a huge support team! Love you and so happy!!!! 🙂

  2. Amanda, thank you for sharing something so personal. That took a lot of bravery and it’s one big step to taking your power back from the people who have tried to take it from you. I wanted to share something I heard at church a few weeks ago “I don’t know why God ‘lets bad things happen’ but He knows what it’s like to suffer”. I just thought you needed to hear that. Every time you feel heartbroken or upset about it, God is too. He loves you! And we all do too!

  3. Amanda!!!! I am so so so proud of you and your vulnerability in all of this. Your heart is so pure and genuine and since I met you in person this past weekend all I could think about is “man, something seems so different about her”. And this, this is IT!!! The journey won’t be easy but it is SO worth it. You have an army behind you rooting you on girlfriend! It makes me teary just thinking about it! Love you and your sweet heart ❤

  4. Oh gosh girl this made me cry!! I have prayed for you and you are right, God is so good! Sometimes it takes something so hateful and ugly (which was the work of the devil) to show us something (or someone) so beautiful and selfless. Jesus knows your pain and your sufferings and it hurts him to know that you are in pain! Lay it at his feet girl, bc he is so good and his mercy and grace is abundant!! ❤ you sister!!!

    Sam

  5. Amanda, you have NO idea how much I Love you, how proud I am to know you and how INCREDIBLY thankful I am to God for giving you the strength and courage to step into the sunlight. This post has me near tears because it shows who you are in the purest form and I gotta tell you…Darling, YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL. I’m so excited to see where God takes you from here. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 🙂

  6. AMANDA!! You have no idea how many lives this blog post is going to touch!! I am HONORED to call you a friend and SO PROUD of you!!!!!! I can’t wait to watch the Lord shape 2015 and see all the amazing things that are going to come from it!!!! YOU ARE INCREDIBLE!!!! xo!!!!!!

  7. Welp! I’m in tears. Not just because I love you to death… but because there’s something so emotional about seeing God draw his children closer to Himself!!! The beauty of all of this is that He’s been present through your story, just waiting for you to run back to Him and I’m just so excited for what the future hold for you and your family!!! Trusting in God’s grace and presence and power in your life is the GREATEST gift you can give those beautiful girls:) I love you so much girl. so so much!

  8. Wowza, girl. When I responded to your email this morning – little did I know. You are…..no words. 🙂 Just when I thought that you couldn’t get any more fabulous – you share your history (in a triumphant way, right?) and your past and your struggles in a way that is sure to be such a game-changer for those who can relate (and even some of those who can’t, but needed to hear something victorious, today)….you are THAT for them (and for me). *Sigh* Plus…cmon – Ellie’s belly laugh? Seriously.

    Stay true and beautiful, girlfriend. I am SO glad that I came along when those walls were torn down. Now gimme. Gimme gimme gimme. 🙂 XO

  9. I always feel closer to God at the beach – it’s no wonder you found Him again in OBX!! Look at you turning tragedy into triumph and inspiring others to do the same! And isn’t it awesome when you look back and realize God was there all along, walking right beside you, making sure the bad things weren’t the end of the story for you?

  10. Love you and your heart!! Someone also once told me if we were never given challenging times and days we would never appreciate the good days and wonderful things given to us by God! Challenging times put all your blessings and beautiful life into a crystal clear perspective. YOU ARE an inspiration to everyone you meet. Love you!!!

  11. I am just praising God that He continually pursues us! I am praising God that you have found your way home to Him! It is so evident how mich you love. Mike and your girls and you have just given them a precious gift a wife and mother who will now live in the light that is Jesus, my advice not that you asked for it, is now pursue Him , read His words He left us the greatest love letter ever written, listen to music He inspires it blesses the soul, and like you already seem to be doing hang out with others who love Him. Not only will you be blessed but so will your loves as you well know the littles are like sponges. Lastly I am so sorry for all the hurt the enemy threw your way it truly hurts my heart but I must say my one meeting with you was delightful, you have a genuine goodness. May God bless you greatly.

  12. Ahhhh!!!!! I just want to come give you the biggest hug right now! God’s grace never leaves us, no matter what goes on in our lives, He stands by our sides in even the darkest places. I am so, so thankful to know you and call you friend. Your story is such an inspiration, and I thank you for being so brave today! God is SO good! LOVE YOU! XOXO!

  13. This post is so touching – I’m so amazed at your strength and this post is going to inspire so many other people! It was wonderful to meet you this weekend, and you and your daughters (and Mike, too!) are such a light!

  14. I know that this must have been so hard for you to share and write, but I’m so glad you did! Your story is definitely inspiring, and helps others like myself continue to have faith in our own personal journeys to finding and having a relationship with God. He’s doing big things in your life, and I am so excited to follow your story!! xoxo.

  15. Wow, so excited for you, Amanda! Life isn’t always easy, and this feeling that you’re feeling now? Sometimes it wanes a little bit…but that’s okay! It’s about finding JOY and PEACE in ALL circumstances and trusting that God is ENOUGH, no matter what is going on or how we feel. Our present happiness, lives, circumstances, jobs, health…none of that is permanent…take comfort in knowing that GOD is the ONLY constant and He wants to give you good things and love the heck out of you! Gah. So happy for you! I’ll be praying for you, and for your little loves to come to know Him, too! 🙂

  16. Amanda, thank you for sharing such a real and vulnerable post! Reading this really blessed and encouraged me today!:) You are such a strong and incredible person and I’m so excited to see what the Lord is doing in your life! You have so many people behind you praying for you and cheering you on in your journey!!! I love you and can’t wait to see you soon!!!

  17. I’m a believer too have been since 2006. I was raised in a Christian home, went to private school and church every Sunday but due to falling off track (teenage rebel stuff lol) I never truly lived my life as a believer until then. There have been times if I’m being 100 percent honest that I have wanted to turn away from God. When the man I thought I would marry broke my heart 3 years ago I wanted to run away from God and never look back. Thankfully, God loved me enough to surround me with wonderful loving people to pray for me and lift me up. Since that break-up I’ve finished nursing school, got my RN, made wonderful life long friends, and ran a half marathon in the process :). All that to say you are pure sunshine and thank you for putting us all in tears ❤️

  18. Amanda, you are such an amazing and person!!! I am so happy that Mike came into your life and now you have two sweet little girls. Love you girlie!!!! xoxo

  19. Amanda,
    I read your blog (Friends with Jessica Carrithers) love your photography, but have never commented. This post brought me back to a time in my life were I questioned my relationship with god. When I had my son it solidified my relationship with Jesus in every way. God (our father) does our best to lead us, and show us how to make great choices, but also gives us the choice to decide our path. It is much like your relationship as a mother to your girls, you can lead them, and try to protect them from the world the best you can, but in the end you cannot save them from every heartache and pain. Just like you are there for your girls when they fall down, god will be there for you in your darkest days, as support and love. I never saw it this way until after I had my son, so hopefully this helps a little 🙂 So awesome your story and sharing publicly such a personal story. I am sure you have inspired many to take a look at their relationship with Jesus, and that is Beautiful 🙂 Awesome post.

  20. You are so strong and such an amazing woman, wife, friend, and momma. ❤ Thank you for sharing your stories, and please continue doing so, because I know so many woman, including myself, are so inspired by you. ❤

  21. Amanda, this was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart, for your vulnerability. And know that there are so many people here on the other side of the computer cheering you on and rejoicing at the renewed work God is doing in you.

    • I knew quickly after meeting you, that you had something I needed. You literally glowed from within. I knew you had to be walking with Christ. I remember asking you if you were Christian, and you never specifically answered that particular question (which may have been too personal on my part, you sought me out at the event to offer me help. Later you ministered to me over the phone.I can not adequately convey how much your lengthy and personal email meant to me. Besides being artistic, you have a strong comforting, healing aura. I am glad I met you and would love to hear you speak sometime,

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  23. God is not going to let you go. What you have endured is extremely difficult. You have inspired me and I don’t even know you. You are in my prayers. Wishing I was living in the Outer Banks and photographing too.

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