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Oh, Hello.

October 23, 2017

Hi.

Welcome.

Wow HI!

 

This is exciting.

I wish I could see you face to face & you could see the excitement radiating off of me!

 

I don’t know how I got here but so thankful for the doors that opened and the ways God provided.

 

 

WELCOME TO THE NEW FACE/WEBSITE/HOMEBASE/BRAND of

 Only by His Strength Photography!

 

** insert HAPPY dance**

 

I started working on this project about 8 months ago… (I know… that’s a long time but I am perfectionist with a vision… I’m a 2 wing 1). My little hobby was turning into a full blown business and clients were running my way! (PRAISE!) It was time for an update and to take steps towards a strong future for the business and myself. After prayer and vision dreaming, I decided to run towards my dream of expanding and continuing my business. This plan included a new brand, website, portfolio, equipment, second shooters, legal things I have no background in (ha but not anymore!) The list kept going but through it all I saw how God provided in the past and made a way for the future. His hand has been in every step and I am sober in the work that He did that was beyond my control or imagination.

 

Hang with me here… I want you to hear this. It’s a part of my story and Only by His Strength’s story.

 

A few summers ago, I received a position in a Leadership Institute as an intern for a communications department. Honestly, I did not want to be there. I had other plans and thought God was leading me to serve in the National Parks through a non-profit. However, His plan for those few months was different than what my stubborn mind had planned. The internship turned out to be different than my expectations and pushed me out of my comfort zone professionally, artistically, and personally. I learned the importance of a team and the value of a leader with a strong vision and the passion to take people with him. I saw this played out and amazed at how this church equipped their leaders. While I imagined working primarily in photography, I ended up focusing on graphic and web design. Friends… I had NO experience in this. Yet, I was thrown into the beauty and mess of it all and spent many late nights of trial and error. At the time, I did not see the point or the value of the experience from a technical standpoint. I was growing as a leader and in my faith but I didn’t see the purpose for the design experience. I left the internship confused and frustrated as I added graphic design and web developing/design to my tool belt.

 

Fast forward a few months, more and more clients are coming my way and I gained invaluable experience working for an established photographer. She saw potential in me and poured her wisdom onto me. This photographer gave me space to grow and gain experience with her guidance and mentorship. She exemplifies the phrase, “community over competition”. For that, I am forever grateful.

 

Around this time, I had been wrestling with the direction I wanted to go with Only by His Strength. I knew I needed a new face for the business and suddenly I knew why I had been placed in that internship. So now I had the tools but what was going to be the heart of Only by His Strength… What was next? At one point in time, I uttered the words, “I will NEVER be a wedding photographer!”. God was probably laughing down at me…

 

Gosh, things have changed. God put a love for LOVE in my little heart and for the people He sent my way. He showed me the beauty of marriage and its eternal purpose. He brought beautiful souls onto my path to teach and model my heart to reflect His. He gave me a joy for His people on their way to marriage and showed me the beauty of a marriage that reflected His love for the Church. But it is more than just a couple’s love... He gave me eyes to see the love between a family – those just starting and those firmly rooted & established. To see the laughter in their eyes, the little hands clinging to the safety of a parent, the joy in the eyes of new moms & dads, and the beautiful gift of new life. He put a passion for family in my little soul and gave me a beautiful picture of what He designed it to look like. Then, Sweet Jesus gave me excitement for the seniors as they approached a new season of life and the ears to listen to their stories – the milestones, the fears, the dreams.

 

How amazing is our Lord? He put specific loves and passions on my heart but then equipped me to use it for His Kingdom and to bless His people. Only by His Strength was birthed from a dream of a shy high school graduate but I had no idea that it would lead to so much more. How could I ever doubt His goodness or plan? How could I ever question His hand in it all? But what a story of His faithfulness and sovereignty. I’m thankful I am not in control and my plan did not prevail. I get to capture LOVE between people and hear their hearts. I have the opportunity to capture a moment in time that will last a lifetime and more – one that will be a testimony for generations to come.

 

That is beautiful. & man, I love it.

 

Thank you for reading this (long) blog and hearing a small bit of my heart. Here’s to all God is doing in and through Only by His Strength and the many celebrations to come!

 

xoxox,

Alena Hope

 

 

 

 

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