One of my favorite days of 2015 occurred while photographing this incredible engagement session in the heart of the Dolomites mountain range in Italy. This shoot literally almost didn't happen due to a long list of setbacks including rain and severe fog the day of the shoot. None of us gave up on God's plan though, and because of this shoot, I now have the most amazing friendships I've ever had.
While reading my devotional a while back I came across a passage that really spoke to me about some feelings I've been having lately.
Proverbs 27:7 reads "One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet."
I feel like this can be applied to a lot of things in life, but one thing really made me think. This year I have been so consumed with business that I completely forgot to put God first. While I had a very successful year of business and travel, I was left still feeling a bit empty and unfulfilled. I didn't feel fulfilled because I didn't let Him fill me up. Instead I turned to friendships that seemed great in the beginning, but when they started showing signs of destruction I let them continue because making new friends takes work and it's nice to not feel alone when you're working day in and day out on a business. Especially if those people are in the same industry and understand how it feels.
It doesn't mean that these people are bad people, just that they aren't the right people for me. There are a lot of factors to be considered when it comes to the relationships in our lives and it's important to know what you need and what God wants for you in any kind of relationship. A relationship that doesn't bring out the best of you and constantly causes you to doubt yourself is definitely not the kind of relationship God wants us to invest in. A friend should bring us closer to God, they should empower us to be better people, they should not be afraid to call us out when we make a mistake to our face and help us to see our faults. They should stick around when your ugly side comes out and help you through hard times. A real friend is someone who is there for you in every way, openly and honestly with a lot of forgiveness and grace.
When we feel empty because we have not allowed God to fill us up, even these destructive relationships seem worthwhile. Let us instead focus on the Lord and let Him fill us up and make us whole, so that the people we attract are the right ones for us. If we focus on nurturing the good relationships we have with both God and our true friends, we will no longer wish to waste time on the ones that bring us down. No matter how far away your true friends live, make time for them. Take extra time out of your day to give them a call. Go out of your way to visit them whenever you can. Write them a hand written letter once in a while to let them know that you care. These are the people that are going to help you reach the potential God has for your life. Be kind to the rest, and everyone you meet, but don't let them take you away from what is the most important.
This shoot was inspired by Simone's favorite German quote:
"Wenn Du einmal Kummer oder Sorgen hast im Leben, dann geh wie jetzt mit offenen Augen durch den Wald und in jedem Baum und in jedem Strauch, in jeder Blume und in jedem Tier wird Dir die Allmacht Gottes zum Bewusstsein kommen und Dir Trost und Kraft geben"
Which translates to: "Whenever you have grief or worries in life, go with open eyes through the forest, and in every tree and every bush, every flower and every animal you will see what is the power of God come to consciousness and it will give you comfort and strength."
Melanie & Florian's Relationship:
Once day, after Melanie moved to a new town in Middle School she saw Florian at school. She found him very attractive and kind. They got to know each other better and discovered that they really liked each other, but unfortunately had to part ways as they moved to other cities. 5 years later, they found their way back to each other and Florian asked her out on a date. Melanie was not sure if she was ready to commit to a relationship at the time, but she liked Florian and they dated casually for over a year until finally making it official. In April 2016 they will have been together for 6 years and their love is so infectious it had us all smiling and laughing all afternoon despite the cold rain. They have the kind of love people dream about. Thank you for letting us capture your love Melanie & Florian. It was truly one of the best days I've had in a long time!
Styling: Simone Gebsattel | Hair & Makeup: Angela Nunnink | Photography: Tulle & Grace | Film Lab: Film Box Lab