SETTLE AT THE WESTERN LIMITS - Amber Chestnut Photography

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I’m Amber, the face behind the camera...or the computer. I am a photographer and graphic designer. I previously called the east coast my home (Virginia and Georgia) but have recently moved to Washington state…and I am loving the PNW! 

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IF I LIVE AT THE EASTERN HORIZON OR

SETTLE AT THE WESTERN LIMITS

AUGUST 3, 2019


So I have thought about starting a blog for a long time. I have been wanting to start a photography education blog or even just a blog to share my photos, and I honestly don’t know what this will be in the future…all I know is that when I started to write a little piece about what God has done in my life the past year, I realized I had A LOT TO SHARE, and it wasn’t going to fit in a social media post. There was so much that God has done in my life this year and I wanted to share it in hopes of encouraging someone else and to show the POWER of God.

So here it goes…Almost 2 months ago, we found out that Avery (my husband) got a job as a student pastor in Washington…STATE! This was scary and wonderful news all at the same time. A year ago, I would have NEVER thought of moving that far away from home, but what I didn’t know is that this past year, God was preparing me for this move.

About 10 months ago my husband accepted a job in Georgia as a student pastor. THAT WAS A BIG MOVE FOR ME THEN haha. That moved me 12 hours away from my family. But I trusted God (after putting up a bit of a fight), and we did it! My husband moved in September and I waited until December to move because I was teaching and didn't want to leave my students hanging. The Lord provided in BIG ways during that whole process. I didn’t have a job lined up for when I moved to Georgia because I was still focused on my current teaching job, but the school decided they wanted me to finish the school year out as a virtual teacher…ALL PRAISE TO GOD FOR MAKING THAT HAPPEN! I was thrilled because I was able to finish the year out with my students (just in a little bit of a different way), and I didn’t have to worry about finding a new job yet.

So I make the move to Georgia right before Christmas. After I had been in Georgia for about a month and half, Avery was asked to resign from the church. WOW DID THIS WRECK ME. Why did God move us 12 hours away for Avery to no longer have a job!? I prayed and cried and prayed and cried…and prayed and cried. I didn’t understand. And just to be clear, Avery was not asked to resign because of any moral or Biblical issues…it was merely a difference of personalities and a lack of chemistry. But how could God possibly use this in a good way? I was at the point that I had zero control. There was nothing I could do to fix this. I didn’t have a plan…and that’s not like me. I plan out everything, but I literally had no more control. So I came to a point where my only choice was to let go and let God. I had to ENTIRELY put my trust in Him because I couldn’t do anything about the situation. We went months not knowing what was next. We went months living on one income…and we were only able to do that because God was providing for us and had a plan.


"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS." THEREFORE I WILL BOAST ALL THE MORE GLADLY OF MY WEAKNESSES, SO THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME. FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST, THEN, I AM CONTENT WITH WEAKNESSES, INSULTS, HARDSHIPS, PERSECUTIONS, AND CALAMITIES. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG. 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10


About 3 months later we see a glimpse of God’s plan for us. A pastor from Yakima, Washington contacts Avery about a student pastor job. My initial thinking is no way this is actually going to happen…I mean that is the other side of the United States, but the whole time Avery kept saying that was where God was going to send us next. So Avery makes it through the beginning stages of the interview process and the pastor and his wife decide they are going to fly out to meet us. That was the point where I finally started believing that this could actually happen. The surprising part for me was that when that hit me, I was okay with it. It didn’t totally freak me out like I would’ve thought. Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly had my worries, but as the process continued, God kept showing me little ways that he was going to make this work. Every time I prayed to God in worry and fear about a part of this plan, God showed me how He was going to provide. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to continue to teach virtually which meant we wouldn’t have insurance or any income for a month. But God had a plan. I didn’t know how we would be able to afford to move all our stuff 3,000 miles across the country after having only been on one income for 5+ months. But God had a plan.

We finally go visit Yakima, Washington and Avery accepts the job as student pastor. I was certainly still nervous about a lot of things and definitely sad to be moving so far from family, but I was excited to see God’s purpose with everything that had been going on the months before. It FINALLY all made sense. I would’ve never given thought to the idea of moving to Washington prior to moving to Georgia. Georgia was a baby step for me…God’s preparation for me for something much bigger.


IF I LIVE AT THE EASTERN HORIZON OR SETTLE AT THE WESTERN LIMITS EVEN THERE YOUR HAND WILL LEAD ME; YOUR RIGHT HAND WILL HOLD ON TO ME.
PSALM 139:9


Now, I would love to say the move to Washington was a fun adventure and we had no bumps in the road…but God was still working on my trust in Him. So we had everything planned out. The moving truck, the costs to move, who was driving what vehicle, when we were moving…all the details. And then I break my ankle about 2 weeks before we leave…and then I find out I have to have surgery. First off, this disrupted our driving plans. I was supposed to drive my car to Washington…but I broke my right ankle. Secondly, how were we going to afford the move after my surgery!? Before my surgery, we were barely going to have enough money to make the move. We felt like we were trusting God then with what we had, but after my surgery, we were practically broke. BUT GOD CONTINUED TO PROVIDE. We ended up receiving a check from our health insurance for a reimbursement from 2016 the day before we left for Washington….for $2,000!?! Like seriously, God was showing us His miraculous power there. I couldn’t believe that. Our families also helped in HUGE ways that we couldn’t be more thankful for. GOD PROVIDED EVERY STEP OF THE WAY AND PROVED HIS POWER.

So Avery, our dog, and I take 9 days to move across the country in a 26-foot moving truck with a car connected on a trailer. We squeezed tight, because I still had to keep my ankle up. Our bathroom breaks were not quick because Avery either had to pull my knee scooter out of the back of the truck or I had to hobble on crutches. Avery devoured an incomprehensible amount of sunflower seeds to keep himself awake. When we arrived at hotels, Avery had to make multiple trips to grab our luggage, cooler, and dog food because I couldn’t carry anything. It was not an easy trip or the trip we had imagined. But we had the experience of traveling through 12 states together, visited some friends along the way, saw epic mountains, drove over a 20-mile bridge, saw the beautiful red rocks of Utah, experienced the Niagra Falls of the west (Shoshone Falls), saw thousands of windmills, listened to hours upon hours of the Wally Show, and arrived in Yakima SAFELY. God provided.

This has been the hardest year of my life. I realize that this experience is nothing compared to what other people are going through. But this past year God worked on the most stubborn part of me…my need for control. I have always had a plan, and I really haven’t had much trouble following that plan. But God wanted me to trust Him and His plan, and I am so thankful for the way God has worked on me this past year. I will forever look back at this time in my life and remember that this was when God wrecked me in a beautiful way.

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