We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an
urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are
    homesick most for the places we have never known.  

 

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This year has been a great adventure! So many of our prayers have been answered and we have been shown an abundance of Grace, so much more than we ever could have imagined. Our family has grown and we’ve seen so many wonderful place and done some incredible things. We have enjoyed another year together on this earth and for that we are eternally grateful!

2015 will mark our eighth year of marriage & our fifth year in business as full-time photographers. Those are milestones to us and we are counting our blessings. As we approach another year, we take time to reflect on where we have come and where we hope to be. We ask, “what are we doing this all for? What is the point? Is creating pretty photographs and raising a family enough?” These questions and more are brought to the table and as ideas and goals are tossed onto the drawing room floor, I come to the same place of unrest.

It isn’t that none of it isn’t good enough, rather it is the opposite – our life is so good and yet we feel called to be apart of something much bigger. The wanderlust hasn’t silenced, but grown louder over the last few years. That feeling of wanting more is dangerous one and can lead to discontent and an anxious heart longing for the next best thing. Where can we go next? What experience can we have that is better than the last one? What can I buy that will make my life better? I too often ask myself these questions, not only in my personal life, but also for our business. How can we continue to strive to be more and yet be happy with where we are?

We’re called to be content, in times of both plenty and hunger, abundance and need – in every circumstance – and yet be diligent stewards of what we are given. This tension is where we live; striving to follow the Jesus’s teachings. I cannot even begin to understand all the plans that God has for us, but we prayerfully move forward with hope that He will continue to write His story through us. We are his letters. 2 Cor. 3:3. And as we continue to tell the stories of others, we are constantly reminded of our own, which was bought with a great price.

So we must continue to glorify God with what we have been given and look for new ways to share His Good News! Our greatest adventure on this earth is living out His commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might and love one another: just as I have loved you. LOVE IS OUR GREATEST ADVENTURE! 

So when feelings of wanderlust arise, I need look no further than the person next to me to experience the adventure that comes from loving sacrificially. Right now Katie and I are in the season of raising and teaching our six children. They are our mission field, one day we hope they too will go and fulfill the Great Commission. We seek to cherish every moment we have been given with these little souls and we cannot wait to see how God will use them for His purposes. Lord willing. We are being shown how much work there is yet to be done in our own lives; a work that will take an eternity. One day, we pray God will give us a new harvest.

While God’s creation is truly AMAZING and it all points to His awesome power, taking it all in and serving our family isn’t why we are here. We are called to a higher purpose; to love and point others to Christ, making disciples through sharing the Gospel of His life, death, and resurrection. I pray that our life and our work is doing that. We want what we do to be a blessing to others and showcase the majesty of His wonders in all our lives.

Thank you for allowing us to be apart of your journey and we hope you have a blessed New Year filled with many more opportunities for adventure! God Bless & Happy New Year.

Warmly,

 

The Stokes

 

  1. Casey Smith says:

    Gorgeous photos and beautiful words and family. I find a lot to relate to in your words:) Thank you for sharing!

  2. Stephen says:

    Beautiful post! Both the images and the copy. May God bless you this year as you seek to honor him in all you do.

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