When everything is great, but you aren't

I’ll be honest, over the last week or so I’ve had a difficult time walking in and experiencing joy. We have had so many good things happen, there’s no lack of things to celebrate, but I’m still walking in that fog. 

I’m a chronic fun-hangover-er. My friends and I deemed “fun hangover” a term for the sad feelings that creep in after a weekend with friends, holiday celebrations, a great date night, you name it. After Thanksgiving I had a fun hangover, but looked forward to Christmas. After Christmas I had a fun hangover, but looked forward to New Years. After New Years I had a fun hangover, but looked forward to the National Championship (go Tigers!). But now here we are, the slowness of January is here and there’s nothing up next. 

I struggle here. I struggle in the slow days, especially when weather is dreary. I struggle in feeling lonely when everyone has gone back to work or to school. Yes, having your own business is wonderful because it offers flexibility & you are your own boss. But, what no one tells you, is you spend about 80% of your time alone. 

In the fall of 2016, I walked through this same loneliness. If you’ve been around a while, you know that that’s the fall my best friend moved to Africa. I didn’t realize (or prepare for) just how lonely I would feel after losing my constant “coworker,” the friend who had a flexible schedule with me and could go to Starbucks or on a walk on a whim. I didn’t realize how much life that gave — to have someone who understood the toughness of owning a business, but who also could spend lots of quality time in a coffee shop or on a couch working with me day after day. 

Since she moved, I’ve been missing that more than I’d like to admit. Being alone most of your days is hard, and it’s so easy for the enemy to creep in. “You aren’t doing enough. You aren’t successful enough. No one knows you well enough to notice that you’re hurting.” Lies after lies after lies. 

I’ve been walking through that even more so the last two weeks. Feeling sad, lonely, and honestly just not cared for. It’s no ones fault, I’m really really good at putting on my happy face and putting up a front that I’m fine. I’ve always been that way. When I mention I’m hurting or I’m sad, I usually take my friends and family by surprise, because after all — I always seem fine and I always seem joyful. No problems here. 

Call it the fatal flaw of an enneagram 2. I don’t want to bring anyone down with my burdens, I don’t want to take up someone’s time telling them all that’s wrong with me when I could be listening and pouring into them. I don’t want to be a “problem,” or be someone that people feel like they have to fix. Anyone else an enneagram 2 and feel that way?

When walking through these seasons — I do two things. 1) I run away from Jesus because I think I’m fine & I can do this on my own. 2) I cling to Jesus harder than ever because I simply cannot do this own my own. Two very conflicting actions, but both point to Him. Both point me in the direction and lead me to clinging to Him every day. You know how we are told “with Christ you’re not alone,” gosh it’s truer than ever for me. I’ve found myself journaling more, praying more, and spending more time with God the last few weeks than I have in months. 

Friends, you aren’t alone. We all struggle, we all feel lonely at times, we all experience that sad cloud that continues to follow us around when all we want to do is shake it. 

I’m walking through that now, so truthfully, I don’t have much advice. All I can say is “me too.” Cling to the truth that you aren’t alone and He is the master planner of our lives, we don’t have to be in control and we don’t have to understand. We are called to love Him and obey Him, and through that He will bless us. 

“How wonderful it is to know that through all the things you have been through, in this very moment, God is still doing a glorious work within you.”

My hope is to always be transparent, even when it’s uncomfortable. I don’t share nearly enough, because again, I want to be a positive and joyful human — because I am through and through. But there’s beauty in sharing the struggles and the not so pretty parts. There’s freedom in the “me too” and knowing you aren’t alone. I’m walking into today and this week with a hopeful and expectant heart, asking God to move & clinging to His truth. I pray that you do the same today, this week, this month. 

“On the day I called, You answered me. You made me bold with strength in my soul.” — Psalm 138:3

*All photos by my friend, Chris Isham Photography.

2018 Behind the Scenes

It’s crazy to think that JNP loved and served 34 couples in 2018! With many wedding days comes many moments behind the scenes — some that are so tender & some that literally make me laugh out loud. This year would not have been the same without the girls who shot along side of me. Forever grateful for these friends and 10/10 recommend working alongside your besties. These weekends were some of my favorite simply because of who I was sharing them with. Without further ado, JNP’s behind the scenes of 2018!

From passing out bouquets to fluffing dresses. To showing MOH’s and mama’s how to put in the veil.

To chatting with our sweet brides & hanging with the best videographers. Oh, and taking a little dinner break to sit down for the first time all day, haha!

To realizing I am in fact, a tiny human standing next to groomsmen.

If you have a veil, you can go ahead and bet on a little QT with me under it with you and your cute new husband! All about some flowy veils!

To testing light in a million different scenarios.

To that one time KA had to re-pierce one of our bride’s ears (per the bride’s request haha)!

To making sure our bride’s dresses look absolutely perfect.

To making tiny new besties.

To hanging out with some of the best humans.

Thanks for sharing so many Starbucks coffees, wedding cake, and hours driving in a car. To every selfie, embarrassing moment, and laughing until we cry. This year would not have been the same without these gems!