March 5, 2015
I’m not sure I’m going to ever hit ‘publish’ on this blog post. Sometimes blogging for me is just a huge release. It’s a way to get everything out of my head and heart quickly. Typing is quicker than writing and its more of a release for me anyway… so I blog. I have blog posts written that I’ve never shared because I don’t feel like I have needed to share them with the world — they did their job by just letting me get things out and I felt better! But this… this is something I think I may want to share. I may just publish this one…
At a very young age I was very enthralled with God and wanting to know all about him and Jesus. My mom taught me as much as she could, but we never went to church as a family (until I was a teenager). My dad grew up Catholic and my mom grew up Methodist and the two just don’t really coincide, so we just didn’t go. When I was young (I’m talking elementary school young), my friend Brittany invited me to go to church with her to experience God and her family was very welcoming of taking me with them. So although my mom taught me as much as she could about religion, the Bible, etc., my friend Brittany was really the person that introduced me to the bigger picture. I went to church with her and her family and I loved it!
Fast forward to my adult years… I had a test of faith when my relationship of 5 years ended. It was definitely a blessing that it ended and I was the one to initiate the ending of that chapter in my life. But it left me with such a weird feeling so I started going to church every sunday by myself. I remember talking to my mom about it and asking her if it was weird that a young 20-something girl go to church by herself and if I would feel weird and alone. I’ll never forget my mom saying “you won’t be alone, you’re going to worship and God will be sitting right next to you.” So I went. And again, I loved it. I literally went every Sunday and felt His presence every time. Even if I went out on a Saturday night, you better believe I was at church the next day — tired, hungover, whatever it may have been, I went. At the time I wanted to be alone in life…alone as in single. I didn’t want anymore relationships with men because they had all been negative, controlling, and just bad. So I wanted to learn how to stand on my own two feet. I once heard at church, when you want something from God, you have to just give it to Him and release it. Release it as in, not think about it anymore and fully know and fully trust that God will give it to you. Almost a ‘demanding’ way but without the negative side of being demanding. So I prayed to Him and in almost exactly my words, I asked him to take my life into His hands. Guide me where you want me to be Lord. I trust that wherever you take me in this life is where YOU want me to be. Choose my husband for me. I don’t want to choose him. If I leave that in your hands, I know I’ll marry the right person that I can spend forever with. Give me a husband when YOU are ready to give me one. I’m at your mercy God. In all things, I’m at your mercy.
I prayed that and I fully released it. I felt good afterwards. I may have cried a lot while I said that prayer that day around 7 or 8 years ago, but when I was done talking, I felt good! I 100% put it in God’s hands and trusted that he would do all of the things I asked of Him. I didn’t worry about those things anymore because I released it to Him (and He did indeed give me the man of my dreams). This isn’t to say I haven’t had times between then and now that I’ve had faith testing moments or moments where I have wavered a bit from God. Literally I cry every time I say that last part. That I’ve wavered from Him. Will He be mad at me for saying that out loud?
In September 2014, my childhood friend Brittany, who introduced me to God and made me a church goer, passed away a few days after a horrible car accident. This was a HUGE test of faith for me. I was so mad at God. SO angry. How could He do that? How could He take such a pure, beautiful, amazing, kind, selfless person from this earth? I remember after my sister ran down my staircase at my home saying “she’s gone Jami…” just screaming out loud “WHY God? Why!? How am I supposed to believe in miracles? She was supposed to live. She was supposed to get married and have babies…” This was a tough moment for me. But what was even tougher was walking into the church for her funeral…the same church she welcomed me into with her family when I was a child. The same church she helped me to become closer to God in. How could this be? How could it be that the last time I was there, was with her learning about how amazing God is, then the next time, as an adult, saying goodbye to her? I just don’t understand how or why that was happening. To be honest, I still don’t fully understand it but I know that I’m not supposed to understand everything. I’ll admit to distancing myself from God a little after this accident — it was just somewhat hard to believe. Here we are 5 and a half months later and I feel Him trying to work His way back into my life. I can almost hear Him knocking on my door telling me its okay to come back. This may seem weird to some, especially if you’re not spiritual, religious or have any sort of relationship with anything bigger than we are. I usually never waver away but I guess some things hit harder than others and naturally make us take a few steps backwards.
Another huge faith tester was back in October when another photographer put the blame on me for something I didn’t do. It’s one thing to truly believe in your own heart someone did something to you, but to tell so many people within our industry, blabbing away to everyone after I have repeatedly said “with all my heart, I did not do this”… its just wrong. She was nasty about it. She was negative, she lied and she continued to TRY and make a bad name for me. Shame on her. I had to do a lot of praying on this one and I’ve finally come to the conclusion several months later that God puts ugly people in our lives so we can learn to appreciate the good, the positive and the TRUTH!
I’ve had a few other tests of faith since, but they were small and quickly “fixed” in my eyes. Over the past several weeks I have felt a yearning to start talking to Him again, a void in my heart that needs to be filled (Him), and I’ve done what I can to fix that. I’ve started talking to Him again and it feels good. I feel horrible about wavering…wondering… not being as Christian-like as I should have been. It’s not something I’ve ever discussed out loud with anyone — they’re always just feelings I try to work out myself.
Sundays are my husbands day to sleep in (I get Saturdays). One Sunday when I got up with Aubree, I was reading some things online and I’m not even sure how I got to this specific webpage on that day, but I did. It was the scripture about Salt and Light (Matthew 5:13-16). It was one of those passages that stopped me in my tracks and made me want to really understand it in its entirety. So I did… I researched it and I LOVE what it stands for. I encourage you to look it up as well! In short however, it is God saying that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The salt of the earth is meant to represent the good, the positive, the KIND people and the light of the world is meant to represent those of us who shine our light on others and help to spread the word about our amazing God. To me its all of those things and more. We know that salt is healing and light is positive, warm and embracing, so this passage made me feel healed and warm. I’ve never made a decision to get a tattoo of something so QUICKLY in my entire life. But I decided right away — this will be on my body, so I can see it daily and remember that I am always supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world! God wants that and I’ll give that to Him! There’s so much negativity in this world today, Debbie downers, mean people, liars, etc. I’m learning that I can’t control those people but I can control the effect they have on me.. on my heart, my day, my overall well being. I’m allowed to remove those people from my life in order to create a better well being for not only myself but for my family.
I will be the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World…because thats what our amazing God wants for each one of us.
I actually feel SO much better after typing this all out. It feels good to get it out. I cried a lot while writing this… mostly at the thought of God being upset with me for wavering but our God is a forgiving God. How lucky are we?
Design by Brandilynn Michelle | Photography by Jami Thompson Photography
Outer Banks, NC & Virginia Beach, VA Photographer
Jami, this is an amazing blog post! It takes a lot of guts to admit our faults in life! I hope you don’t mind but I shared your story with a friend!
Hi Ashley! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Reading your comment made posting this blog worth while!! And of course I don’t mind one bit!! :) xo!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story ! You are a gem :-)
Aw, thank you so much! <3
Jami, as you grow you amaze me more and more! I love the woman you are becoming and it brings my heart such joy and love to know how much you have grown in your heart and with the LORD. There are alot of negative people in this world and I feel sorry for them. I am so proud of you and I am lucky to have you as my daughter. When you were little your dad and I would always say – “she has such a big heart”. Kyle is lucky to have you and you to have Kyle. . . remember I told you be PATIENT and GOD would bring you your husband – and he did. You have been blessed to also have a healthy beautiful baby girl. She is the love of my life and thank you both for her!! Please continue to follow your heart and always walk with the LORD. XXOO MOM!!!
Thanks Mom!! Love you :)
I was water works during this post, but I appreciate you opening up about your faith and talking about Brittany. I now believe Brittany guided you to me/me to you when I won your giveaway on Instagram. I cannot wait to meet you and learn more about you. XOXO Again, thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad it touched you! Brittany has guided me a lot in this life and so much more here recently. I can’t wait to meet you either!! Xo!
I read this because I’m so intrigued by anyone’s story, I believe everyone has one! Some are just more forthcoming than others but I am so glad you shared this and I am so glad I read this. Recently I have had nothing to turn to, family and friends don’t understand, so I found God. And I was questionable at first, wondering if putting my life and faith into someone else’s hands was a good idea… because well I love controlling everyone and everything around me. But once I did let Him into my life, and I was completely honest with Him and myself, things started looking up and I had serenity. I may have not had all the answers, but I was at peace with knowing it was in His hands and not mine. Thank you for sharing!!
I’m so glad this could mean something to you :) Thank you so much for reading, xoxo!!
Jami, I am so deeply proud to say that you are in my family. You are a beautiful person that is deserving of all of the wonderful things that have happened to you the past few years. I understand how you have felt in your anxiety over a wavering faith and I have felt this way at first. God would not be mad at you because we are not perfect and he knows this and loves us despite all of our flaws, even if they come at the expense of Him and our faith. Life is not fair but God is so gracious to us! I love you! XOXO!
Aww Deandra thank you so so much. I love you for what you said :) You’re such a beautiful person as well and I’m SO blessed to call you family!
Oh Jamie, how I needed to hear this today! I don’t always read your blog but was lead to read it today (a nudge from God, no doubt). I had to stop several times to get through the tears. Thank you for your honesty & transperancy about your feelings & sharing this story about our precious angel Brittany. Just as God used her to start the ripple effect, he continues to use you to touch others. Brittany’s legacy continues to live on through friends like you! Continue to follow God’s lead & be a blessing to others. Again from a very grateful Mom!! Love you!!
I’m so glad God nudged you to read this one, Anita. And thank YOU for welcoming me with open arms and taking me to church with your family. You all started my journey which lead me to my relationship with God. Brittany was beautiful in every sense of the word but her ability to bring me closer to Him will always be my favorite thing about her. I love the Newcomb’s!!! <3
This was an absolutely beautiful post.I enjoyed every second of reading it!
Thank you so much Martha! Thanks for taking the time to read it :) xoxo
Jami, this is beautiful and I am so glad you shared.
Thank you Donnetta :)
I was curious to see what your tattoo was going to be and the story behind it. It’s always amazing to hear stories with people who have come to faith and lose and come back again. I know my father in law had lost his faith and as he grew older he researched a lot of different religions to see which was best for him until God lead him to the Catholic church. Then last year at Tidewater College there was a guest speaker I went see, I’m not going to lie, but I went because it was extra credit for a class of mine. I think God lead me there because it was a very inspirational life this guest speaker had. To make a long story short she was a surviver from the Rwanda genocide. Lost her faith until the last minute when her life was in real crisis and prayed to God, she then studied her faith again. If you are interested she has a book that started her journey into sharing her story to others, her name is Immaculée Ilibagiza. In a personal note, I’ve questioned God through out my teenage years as well, but I still prayed to him asking questions. For example, I prayed all the time that if I ever got married and had my first kid that it would be a boy first. I really really wanted to have a boy, because I’ve always wanted an older brother to look out for me. I know he answered it when he came into my dream the first couples weeks I found out I was pregnant and he revealed to me that (Mason) was going to be a boy! Just little things he does make me remember that he does listen.
I know you went through some trials, and you’re right that God was testing you for all those times in your life. I believe all the hardships are his way of testing our faith in him. Just like putting God in control in choosing the guy you were meant to marry, and as far as I’ve seen it’s been so wonderful for you. It’s always nice to know another peer with the same values and ideas as you, and I’m glad that while reading this blog, you’ve just become more of that wonderful person I’ve already seen you to be. :)
P.S. If you ever want, I can take you to our church. We’re catholic so we go to Holy Spirit here in VA Beach. It’s a great parish, the mass is always so relatable to whats happening in my life every week. If you ever need someone to talk to about faith and I would love to be there for you. Before Michael and I got married through the Church, I had to go through a lot studies to be an understanding Christianity, and know the values of family and life. :) Anyways, that scripture is a great choice for you!
Thank you so much Jannine for taking the time to read this and tell me your story also :) I’m grateful to have met you!!! Thank you so much, xoxo!!
This brought tears to my eyes. you truly have a huge heart and I know your friend would be so proud of you. You’re an inspiration to so many, Jami!
Thank you so so much, Jenn!!! So sweet of you to read this and comment!! xoxo
So, it is almost 1am and I can’t sleep. Highly unusual since I started using oils. So, I’m cruising FB and see your blog post. Now that I’ve read it, I’m lying here wondering if I can’t sleep because God wanted me to see your post. Thank you for sharing. It was great and it has me thinking tonight. I love Him but often get so busy that I forget to draw near to Him as I know I should. I need to make more of a concentrated efoort to be the salt and light. ♡
Little nudges from God are very real :) Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, Beth!! I’m so happy you want to make an effort to be the salt and the light more :) xo!
Hi Jami, My name is Terrie, I am Anita Newcomb’s sister and Brittany’s Aunt Rerrie! Thank you for sharing your story. We truly never know how someone touches our life or how we may touch the lives of others….we only pray through all of it God is truly working through us for his glory. I know God (with Brittany by his side) are looking down and saying “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
Hi Terrie!! I remember meeting you at the hospital back in September! Your last sentence just made me completely lose it. Tears streaming down my face. I can only hope thats the case! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this :) XO!
Hi Jami! My name is Shannon, and I am good friends with Terrie – Brittany’s aunt. Look how you (and Brittany’s life/legacy/purpose) are reaching out to so many while creating unity and relationships. Indeed, God’s will. It was refreshing to hear your story and your walk with God. It parallels mine in many ways and it was very comforting to me while reading. I could particularly relate at this very moment with your two most current points: experiencing the betrayal, hurt, deceit and blatant lies of another that immediately (and possibly permanently) skewed opinions and views of me (and my relationship with Christ, which is the most devastating) by so, so many leaving so much hurt; and secondly, experiencing the death just a month ago of a young, precious, loving and innocent young lady who touched more lives at the age of 17 (more than those spreading slander and pain ever will in their entire lives). Her death, her family, her celebration of life were life-changing for me as I swam in the ugliness of so many other people. Your blog resignated with me because I recognized during this month of the loss of Claire, that she was the Salt and Light and I want to circle myself – and my children – with more of her and less of the others. How Blessed you are to have had Brittany and the Newcombs to so boldly and courageously have stepped into your life at the time they did. Never doubt any action or outcome that has been derived from this – God threads it all together and will shine a light on His goodness, His purpose and for His Glory! So GRATEFUL for His angels, Brittany – and Claire…. God Bless
Oh my goodness, thank you SO much Shannon for taking the time to read this and comment. I loved reading your comment and it brought me to tears! You are so right though!! Prayers for you my dear, thanks again :) XO!
Hey JamI, I absolutely love ur post and am inspired.. im a new believer myself and enjoy learning about God. My teacher said when she first met me that I had the fruit of the spirit and there’s times ive wavered but hes always brought me back.. and right now im about to ha’ve my fourth son via csection and scared and try to remind myself daily that im Gods child and he will take care of me.. and I will be the salt of the earth and the light oof the world.. ur blog has really made my day.. thank u so much :) ps im Hailey Rich’s sis
Thank you so much, Heather!! No matter how many times we waver, He’s always there waiting for us…with open arms and a welcoming heart. He is so amazing that way. Best of luck to you on your 4th child and c-section!! Prayers you for my dear :) XO!
I was waiting for your blog to become available to read because I truly desired to know what the story was behind your tattoo. I was intrigued. I’m glad you shared this as it’s sparked a desire in my heart to allow God back into my life as more than just an afterthought prayer when I think I need Him. It’s been a long journey from where I started with my faith in God (I’m tearing up now) and I’ve more than wavered for a short period of time. I’ve gone so far as to not even pick up my bible, stopped praying over my meals, and stopped talking to Him daily. I let “my” life be the most important thing instead of letting His life for me shine through. When I’m stressing or when I’m at my worst, then, and only then will I think to reach out to Him. I’ve known all along, and have kept it mind (when I need to make myself feel better) that He has a plan for me, but I’ll say and think that only when I’m scared about the unknown and when I’m worried about an outcome (jobs, finances, etc.). He’s NEVER left me and I’ve never been without, but I only really see that after I’ve wasted so much time trying to cope on my own. While in the midst of reading your post I had an overwhelming feeling wash over me, igniting a fire in my heart to again make it a point to open myself up to the Lord’s presence and to seek him daily.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting :) It truly means so much to me!! I’m glad I could help ignite that fire within you — it was surely a nudge from God for you to read this!
[…] am so beyond grateful to each person who took the time to read my blog last week on A Test of Faith. When I wrote that blog, it was more of a way to get my feelings off of my chest. I didn’t […]
Jami, this is an awesome post. Like you, my journey to God has been a winding road. It is inspiring and comforting to see that someone else has had similar experiences and has come to the same conclusions that I have. When I first met you I felt a soul connection and count myself blessed to have you in my “sister circle”.
And if I might, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of folks offering support and encouragement when dealing with negative behavior. More times than I can count, I’ve held Isaiah 54:17 in my heart and mind.
Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post.
Thank you, Dana!! I am just as blessed to have met you :) I love Isaiah 54:17! So very true :)
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