Before coming to YWAM Brisbane, I was running my photography business part – time. I enjoy photographing families, children, teenagers, and weddings. After a while, I started finding my creativity was lacking. I started to not enjoy my job. People would ask me if I loved what I did and I always said I loved it. For a time it was great because I got paid doing what I enjoyed, taking photographs. However, what many people don’t see is the business side. I found that the more I tried to please clients, I found I was getting more frustrated because the more I tried, the less I was able to do. Clients wanted things done for them and they were never grateful. Clients were trying to ask for discounts on already discounted sessions. I found myself farther away from God then I ever wanted to be. I used to see nature and/or a senior photograph and be able to put a verse or an older hymn to the photo. I found myself struggling with that. My nightmare came true. I started to hate my work. I started to not see God in my work. I found that I was just pumping out work for people. I was getting exhausted. I was burnt out. I was in a rut. I needed to find something that would refresh my love for photography and most of all, to see and know God in and through my work.

As soon as I found Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Brisbane, I knew right away this was something I had to do. I honestly thought this was the only Discipleship Training School (DTS) that had a photography track. This was up until I got to Brisbane. I found out there were others. Clearly there is a reason God led me here to Australia.

While studying in Brisbane, I have started to see God again in my work; don’t get me wrong, it is not like God was never in my work. He totally was AND still is; I just didn’t ‘see’ Him. My focus wasn’t on how I can honour and glorify Him, but it was how can I serve and honour my clients. I was focusing more on them, rather than on God. Through YWAM Brisbane, my focus has been completely shifted. I now am focusing on how I can honour and serve God through my photographs so that I am able to tell a story, but a story that will now and forever include God. The projects that are assigned are difficult, but the assignments are sparking my creativity again. I am finding that I look random subjects and am able to see something I never saw before.  I am more open to trying new things, specifically editing and different ways to photographing subjects.

It has been amazing to see God strengthening my ability to not just photograph people, but also nature. I want to be able to tell stories with my photographs. I want the world to be able to look at my photograph and see God in all that I do. I no longer want to just photograph because I have to, but because I want to honour and glorify God.  

Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men
— Proverbs 22:29


Written by Lydia Van Meppelen Scheppink (MAD February 2017 student)