Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving

I woke up and started my normal routine. I made coffee and then got cozy in my favorite chair next to the fireplace. I spent some time thinking and then praying (maybe I should reverse the order) and then I did some reading and more praying and then I clicked on some worship music and sang a bit (scary thought I know - I'm glad it was just me and God and he may have even snuck in the ear plugs - who knows!)

...but it was there that God really broke me down...and I've been praying for this because I think I live a relatively emotionless life. It's weird to say but it's really true and I think there's a reason for it but never the less it's hard sometimes. I layed there in front of my fireplace crying. Wondering about all the things I don't get to experience because of this life that God has given me. Wondering about having a family and kids to share today with. I admit I felt a bit deprived. Sad that I was alone.

So I left. I went to this spot at the beach where I used to go in college and I took some books and my journal and spent the afternoon just reading, thinking and praying.

I came home a couple of hours ago and pulled out the meal that I picked up from the supermarket yesterday because I knew most restaurants would be closed today. Cooked it up (it was a Stouffer's roast turkey breast), opened a bottle of wine and had Thanksgiving dinner.

It was during dinner that I came to the place where I think God was leading me all along...and that is that I'm incredibly lucky. I really feel that way, and I am so thankful for the life I've been blessed with. These are the best days of my life. And in five or ten years when I'm married and have a few little kids running around I won't be doing the things I'm able to do right now but ya know what - I'll still feel like I'm living in the best days of my life.

I am excited for those days but what I realized today was how easy it was for me to think about what I didn't have and when I did that I lost the ability to be thankful for what I do have. If you're not living in the best days of your life - change your life! ...Or change the way you think about your life! You have the power to do both.

For the past couple of years God has had me be alone, and maybe that will continue, I dunno, but through being alone I've been able to focus all my time and energy in one area and hopefully accomplish some good and help some people. I don't know what the next stage will bring but I'm thankful for all I have learned, the people I've met, and the life I've been priviledged to live.

I'm thankful for you and for the ability to share my thoughts, feelings, and Thanksgivings with you.

Yours,
DJ

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on dude! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Ricky said...

Hey there DJ, thanks for sharing! This is the first Thanksgiving that I haven't been with my family but I went to town in the kitchen and my girlfriend Melissa and two other friends, Nicole and Julia (twins) came over and we celebrated Tday at my place. It was a wonderful day, way too many things to be thankful for.

I had a dose of family this morning. I shot a portrait session at Hendry's Beach and to see the love they had for eachother (their last Thanksgiving in SB, they're moving to Boston) was an amazing thing. What a great day!

Let's see, things to be thankful for... Family, friends, good health, the future, and YOU for creating such an amazing community for all of us to get together in!

Ok, I feel like the little girl in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory that blew up like a blueberry! I'm going to go roll over to the couch and try to breath!

Take care! Talk soon! Maybe even see you soon!

Ricky

PS. Happy Thanksgiving OSP!

amber said...

well dj...broken is the best place to be. it really puts you in a postition to totally surrender to Him. you are more willing to be used and guided...exactly where He wants you to be. and when he has you alone, broken, and surrendered thats when he is able to do the most amazing work in your life! and even though you feel lonely sometimes...see it as Him teaching you to be more reliant on Him. when you feel like you have no one else to turn to or who understands you...He is wanting you to turn to Him. this is your time to grow closer to Him and let Him work in your life so you can be prepared for the life you desire for the future. my only expertise in this is it is exactly what i went through right before i met mike, my husband. i had to be broken and willing to let him guide me before he could bring me to the place he had for me. i will keep you in my prayers and i hope you allow yourself to stay broken and vulnerable to Him. it is good :)

Mike LeBlanc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike LeBlanc said...

DJ,
Check out my post on OSP - Giving thanks. What you expressed (more or less) mirrors my thoughts exactly. Remember to give thanks, even in the midst of trials. May we all stay yielded to the One who gave us life, and Life everlasting!

Mike LeBlanc
4HisGlory Photography

Anonymous said...

Hey DJ!

You're totally invited over for Thanksgiving dinner anytime btw.

Great post - sometimes we forget why we're doing it. Sometimes we just don't see what or who is right there in front of us.

~matt

Shane Snider said...

Hey man,

Happy Turkey Day! I know I'm thankful for all you've sacrificed to be a leader in our industry. But you should feel like you can unload sometimes and do some things for yourself. At this point, I don't think anyone could accuse you of being selfish...

Now, go eat some pumpkin pie.

Adam Mowery said...

David, it's so awesome to me that you spent Thanksgiving day with the One we should be the most thankful for! I know at times it may seem like your alone, but it is in those times that God draws you near and whispers in your ear! Every day with God is the best day of your life. God's kinda like the gift that keeps of giving! That's what I love about Him, He's the most gracious and giving person I've ever known! I'm so glad that I can be who I am, with all my mistakes, and God just cant help but love me. How could I not love Him back? Anyways, hopefully one day our paths will cross, I'd love to get to know you! Have a blessed week!

Dream Photography said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

It’s so strange, yet beautiful how God leads us thru experiences we might never choose for ourselves. It is not our lot to question, but our lot to be obedient and submit.

It’s always refreshing to know - he sees the whole picture.

Pastor Joe Barlow said...

I remember in college taking dates with God. They were awesome times. He always met me. Then I remember toward the end of college the "grace" to stay single lifted and it was time...
I remember the days well of where you are and what you're going through.
Jer. 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
You're on the right track: a tight relationship with God makes an awesome marriage and family life.
Be blessed!

Keats Elliott Photography said...

I spent thankgsiving away from my family as well. Not being able to do the "usual" or "required" put me in a position to unexpectedly experience something amazing. I walked into a room of total strangers in the home of some friends of friends of mine. In this past this would have felt heart breaking to me. But this year, it was truly a blessing. Two of the guests were from an orphanage in Uganda and were here as part of a choir tour to raise awareness for their country. This was their FIRST thanksgiving. It was such an amazing thing to witness this day of "ritual" and "routine" through the eyes of someone so completely in awe of it. It really touched me. After reading what you wrote... I realized how many thanksgivings and holidays I have "slept" through. These kids from Uganda really woke me up to the "thankgiving part" of the day. Wow!

They played bongo drums and guitars after dinner and taught us songs... I don't know what to say - I feel so blessed and awake and thankful for the unexpected in my life.

I am trying to walk lighter...and today feels like a great first step...

Thank you for sharing yourself and your path with us.

ps -- can you help me. One of the boys - Soloman is staying an extra two weeks to find a college to play soccer at. I know this is something you know a little something about :)

Mark Miller said...

DJ,

Reading your post, this is the song that came ot my mind. Perhaps it was one that you sang today? I've highlighted the lyric that I think really realted to your feelings

HUNGRY (FALLING ON MY KNEES)

Hungry, I come to You for I know You satisfy
I am empty, but I know Your love does not run dry

And so I wait for You
So I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You're all this heart is living for

Broken, I run to You, for Your arms are open wide
I am weary, but I know your touch restores my life



About 6 years ago, I spent a long time wondering why I couldn't have a wife and kids, why He kept me alone and in sadness, when I could seem to meet someone, wondering why I even existed.

Then, during a sermon at my church, two visiting preachers gave a sketch. One of them sat in a chair feeling in pain, miming being hit and wounded, whilst the other (God) circled around, apparently doing nothing.

"God, why are you letting this happen to me?" the seated one said

"My child, I have so many things planned for you that I need to mould , shape and strengthen you"

(I've paraphrased a bit beacause my typing's pretty poor)

Around the same time I caught a film on TV, that I'd never seen all the way through before - "It's a wonderful life". I think everyone knows that film. If you dont - go buy and watch it this Christmas.

These were my turning points in my heart and mind. I reilasied that my needs for a wife were not, at this time, what God wnated.

About two years later I married the girl who had the desk next to me at work (her journey was equally as painful).

David, thank you for all you are and all you do. You are a good man whose heart belongs to the Lord.

Praise God!!

Mark

Anonymous said...

Thank you... my man. It is great that you put yourself out there...

What you have said and the others said here with this post has done a lot for me... It may not have answered any questions of all I have going on... but i know what I must do...

BTW, your best days are still to come...

Jason

Anonymous said...

David,

I echo the words, sentiments and scripture of some of these others. My prayer this week has been that NO MATTER what difficult times we go through, we can always have the utmost of gratitude for Christ sacrficing Himself on the cross for us--for YOU, for me...As I teared up reading your post, one thought that came to my mind is that marriage/family is not immunity from loneliness. What you DO have is that personal relationship with your Creator. You will never have true loneliness whether you're single or married. You are a step ahead of most men I knew/know in their late 20s. God does have plans for you. You could have your pick of any woman out there--when the time is right, one lucky lady will indeed get the prize when she finds the fine Christian man in you. Stay strong in the Lord--persevere. And be blessed!

Carole Foret

OpenSourcePhoto said...

You guys are so wonderful! Thanks for all the words and prayers...and keep on being thankful even though it's not Thanksgiving!

:)

ron said...

DJ - I know how you feel. It was a few years ago now but I was heading back to Colorado and I was driving through the night and into my birthday. I remember crying out the window cause I was lonely and said "it's my birthday does anybody care?"
Well, He does care.

I think that these seasons of the soul are so necessary because they help form who we are as people. The mistake can be that we rush these times. Wait patiently.

As a side note, the next year I met my wife to be and this coming January it will be 19 years we have been married!

DJ - You have a lot of people praying for you.

ron

Jasmine said...

Deej, I'm a little late wishing you a happy thanksgiving, but reading your post made reflective. I'm sad you spent the evening along, but if that's where you heard God, then it was a perfect day! A thankful day.
I'm thankful for you and all the other amazing people i've met through OSP...I'm a better person because of y'all :)

StacyC said...

DJ - thanks for sharing your life with us. I hope you really know how thankful all of us are for you - you are a blessing.

How good it is to know a God that will never leave us alone. He is kind and he is NEAR.

Lloyd said...

A happy thanksgiving to you. Thank you for all the stuff you've taught me... it's been INVALUABLE and there's no way I'd be taking my business to the next level without your willingness to share. I'm serious, I've advanced at least two years worth in 3 months using what I've learned from you.

Well, I've always been told that God doesn't usually act directly on you... He works THROUGH other people. And right now, I figure He's using you to help so many others like me. And some day, He'll drop such a wonderful surprise on you beyond your imagination. (Who knows, maybe Rebecca St. James will knock on your door ;)

Thanks for the reminder to be thankful. And thanks for being a willing worker for God.

OpenSourcePhoto said...

Lloyd! Do you have inside information on that! If so let me know so I make sure to answer the door. :)

Anonymous said...

DJ,

It's always an encouragement and blessing when gifted industry leaders such as yourself will tell (the world) that you sat praying, whorshipping, seeking, and broken before God.

Be encouraged in this season! (life, not the holiday). God has anointed you, even beyond the camera. Just as you sat on Thanksgiving thinking, reflecting, I wonder how many David Jay photo albums circulated through out homes as newlyweds gave thanks for the memories that you helped to capture!

Be blessed!

(and if you feel family-sick next year, you can keep my 3 boys for the holiday! They wore me out!!!)

Sarah Barlow said...

DJ, at first I was mad when I read this cause you could have been with us!! And it definitely brought tears to my eyes to read all this... But as I kept reading I knew that you were exactly where you were supposed to be!
I know that God has such an amazing plan for you and that time with him is priceless! :)

Sarah Barlow said...

OOPS!! That was supposed to be sad* not mad! :)

Anonymous said...

DJ,

Thank you for sharing with us. I love reading your blog, because it's always so inspired and challenging. Your words encourage introspection and growth and they are such a blessing!

I hear what you're saying about being single. Thank God, I've always been pretty content on my own, but my brother has been longing for a family of his own since he was like 18. He's going to be 25 early next year. It's always rough when your plans for your life don't match up with God's plans. But the beautiful thing is, God's plans are PERFECT! You may be on your own right now, but you have created such a solid foundation with your Father that nothing will be able to shake it later on.

God bless you, DJ. I'm positive that the plans God has for you will blow your mind and rock your world! I just hope I'm around to read about it!

Anonymous said...

David,
You bless me more and more everyday with your integrity and humility. Ron Storer and I have been talking the past few nights and he had mentioned a few things like this. We both have been praying for you.

My wife and I are in a transition phase in our life, with a new business, a baby due in Jan and multiple other things. I found myself too, in a place of vulnerability and brokenness. These are the places I yearn for. It was then when I remembered a story about a missionary and his wife who had really changed the face of a city with the work God had intended for them. This work came with great persecution. This eventually ended in the loss of the husband’s life. The point of this is that when the wife was interviewed after his death she spoke something that just broke my heart (in a good way) and spoke to my spirit. She told the interviewer that she said in her heart and with her mouth that "It was well with her soul" referring to her husbands death. Wow..what a testimony!!

My point is that regardless of how alone you felt or how difficult your trials are, I’m so glad that you trust Him and spend time with Him. So many times I get busy and caught up with my life and the things He has me doing that I forget to stop and curl up on Dads lap and listen to His heart.

Two nights ago my wife couldn't sleep and I put this song on that is a modern day recording of the old Hymn "It is well with my soul". Its on the CD called PASSION :How great is our god. It’s sung by Shane & Shane. This is by far the best recording ever of this song. I played it on repeat about 5 times. I found myself once again just in a place of worship saying out load "It is well with my soul!!".

I’ve had many places in my life where I thought things should happen a certain way or at a certain time, but He always has His perfect timing for everything, for there is a Season for everything. Let it be Well with you’re soul and thank you for being an open man of integrity.

In Him,
Damion.

Chelsea Hudson said...

DJ, our pastor here in Berlin recently spoke on the "blessing of singleness." One of the points he made was that the time a single person has to spend with God, uninterrupted, undivided time, is truly a blessing and a treasure. And is fleeting. When I read your post about your Thanksgiving Day, I found myself feeling a bit jealous... I am a happily married woman with a beautiful almost one year old daughter... but I miss those times with my God. I miss those times of uninterrupted communion with Him... I miss those times of laying on the floor crying and journaling and just BEING. Sure, I know I can get a babysitter, I can go on a retreat, and so on. And I will. But it's not the same. Paul tells us that a married man/woman is concerned about "earthly responsibilities" and how to please their spouse. Its just the way it is. Its the way the Creator set it up. I know you have probably heard this talk a thousand times... but it is all perspective. YOu find yourself longing for a family and marriage... I find myself longing for those "undivided" times with God again. I wouldn't trade my family for anything in the world, though, and I accept that communing with God has changed. It can still happen, and does, but in a different way. But I am glad I had those times when I was single. They are treasures to me, and I hope yours are as well!! You are blessed!

Kris said...

DJ, I too spent Thanksgiving without my family. Instead I was with my future in-laws. I too, until this past year was in your shoes. Being single is a blessing. I waiting for God to bring me the right woman after being in so many disasterour relationships and he did just that, and I am so happy for that. He will bless you!!! I love how open you are about your faith. That is so refreshing and is so uncommon. I wish you all the best and God's continued guidance and blessings. You are a true role model. Keep it up bro!!! Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Sarah Renée said...

I'm so glad to have read this blog, DJ! I love it when God puts me in that place before Him. Those moments alone with God are so irreplaceable and unmistakeably timed! Rejoice in singleness! Haha, do you remember how we texted about this before? :) Paul thought so highly of the single life he encouraged us to take it for a lifetime! I'm glad that your eyes are open to enjoying this day--once you're on to the next stage in life, you can't step back from it...both now and then will be such a blessing in its own time. :)

Dawn Davis said...

I felt so sad for you to read your words, but then I realized that you are where you're supposed to be. You've got everything going for you and it's not about what you don't have and you know that. You are an amazing man, DJ, you will be blessed with an amazing woman when that time is right. And kids... well, they change everything! Enjoy every single moment as it goes along... life goes by too fast! ~ Dawn

CrystalOH said...

Dj, just read your post! And as most of the comments have said...some of us have been there, some of us are still there and some of us will soon arrive in that place. Contentment is not a gift! Contentment is something we learn. And as most things that sculpt our character...it's not an easy lesson. We all experience those funks of life but remember that "the Joy of the Lord is your STRENGTH!" Our enemy is fierce and will stop at nothing to steal our joy along lifes journey. (he knows he can not steal your salvation because you belong to the King of Kings) So your joy is his target. Life goes fast then we ever realize..enjoy the moments of life now because before you know it they will be a memory! Love you heart buddy! Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Holmes... be careful for what you ask for. I'm very proud of you for making the absolute most of your time being a single man. You will undoubtedly find the love of your life one day and those kids will come....

But know this.... You are not entering happily ever after land when those days come. The challenges set before you as a husband and father will require all you have to give and days can be very dark.

I sit here today planning on going home and getting the Christmas decorations ready to hang with my two boys... and some time this week, a knock will be on the door by the local Sherif. I will be getting divorce papers served to me.

We started out as a young loving couple dedicated to serving God, a storm hit, we've never recovered.

I just say this to say.... Walk strong my brother. You are doing well. Do not fret for the days ahead for those days will come. You have the rest of your life to get there and continue doing what you are doing now because the freedom you so enjoy, will be replaced with a responsibility that is wonderful and taxing all at the same time.

Love ya DJ.

ckayser said...

Hey DJ! Thanks for sharing your deep, heartfelt experiences! Times like you experienced on Thanksgiving really are gifts from God. It's so important focusing on how blessed we are and not on what we don't have. I live 1000 miles from my twin, my brothers and parents, and I miss them dearly especially on holidays like Thanksgiving. Letting that bit of resentment of not being with MY family is something that I consciously have to work on, and only God is comfort. He keeps your focus on the right ways.

Be Blessed!
Claire Kayser

The Professional Photographer Show said...

DJ being a guy about your age I'm usually not into the sappy stuff, but this really got me. I made me feel good, and want to learn to be more content with the things God has given me...

Gav

Davina said...

I'm a little late to this post.

DJ, you are so open to whatever comes to you. I'm in awe and inspired by what you've shared. Thanks for your perspective.

What a great Thanksgiving. I love that I got to hear about so many other peoples' Thanksgiving. Keats...I love the idea of walking a little lighter. (it's time for me to try that).

So many people are thankful for you DJ...I'm one of them.