Hope you're having a great week! Today I am excited to share Holly Van Lanken with you as the Flourish Flock Feature!
I connected with Holly through Tuesdays Together Atlanta- part of The Rising Tide Society. When I was the guest speaker at last year's April get together Holly took pictures of the event that I just love... and I've since enjoyed connecting with her on Instagram and cheering her on!
I'm sure y'all will be encouraged as she shares her heart below!
Share where you currently live:
Share where you grew up:
Share about your family/your job/living situation:
I am a former High School Spanish Teacher turned Wedding Photographer.
Share your favorite book and/or podcast:
I still love all of the Harry Potter books - they’re probably my faves. For podcasts, anything by Gimlet Media - if you need somewhere to start, listen to StartUp or Mystery Show.
Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:
My favorite bible verse is Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“
My favorite CS Lewis quote - “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Share your favorite beverage: coffee always
Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:
This part is really hard to write, as I’m sure it is for anyone. We’ve all experienced losses of some kind whether big or small and I’m not sure if this is the biggest loss, but it is definitely the one on my mind today. On the day that I’m writing this, it is actually the one year anniversary of the death of my uncle. He was killed while on duty working as a security officer at Union Station in Denver last year. The trial was last week. There’s something too about how one death reminds us of all the others - whether those I knew personally or perhaps the parent of a friend. When one hurts, we all hurt.
Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and support you while you are healing:
Choosing to forgive and to not be bitter is a big choice to make. For me, reading scripture, prayer, and remembering who God is is key. He is my only constant in this ever changing world.
Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:
In Ecclesiastes 3:4 it talks about how there is a time and a season for everything, “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn; and a time to dance;” For me, all of those things can take place on the same day - weep, laugh, mourn, dance. It’s hard and confusing to know that in life there is both/and - possibly even in the same day. As a wedding photographer, I celebrate and rejoice with my couples, but I may also need to weep and mourn with others. Right before Christmas, I attended a funeral and then afterwards went to a tacky Christmas sweater party, which seems so contradictory. That may be way too much for anyone experiencing a great loss, but I do think it’s important both to reflect on those feelings of grief and to also say yes to invitations of joy. Also, as friends of those grieving, we should be reaching out to spend time together doing the things we enjoy, knowing that the person may decline, but to keep asking anyway.
Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:
I feel like these experiences have brought me closer to the Lord. It definitely causes a reliance on him. It’s brought other relationships closer and a deeper understanding that earth is not my home. My home is in heaven and that is something to look forward to.
Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:
Don’t go it alone. Talk about what you’re going through - to a counselor, a friend, anyone. Don’t be afraid to admit how you feel, even if it’s not how you think you “should” feel.
And, here are some links to a couple posts Holly wrote while she was grieving/ reflecting: