Today's Ruby is the adorable Aubree Edwards! Aubree and I attended Abilene Christian University together, and had many of the same classes – which meant encouraging each other through many photography, graphic design, and drawing projects! Aubree is currently putting her artistic skills to work and using them to build authentic, invested relationships with the people she meets... God is certainly using her kind soul to express His love!! (Side note, how adorable is her pup, Willow?! Too adorable. That's how much.)
Tell us about yourself! Hii! I'm Aubree and I'm a photographer from Plano, Texas and married to my awesome man, Jared. I work at an electric company as a commercial photographer. It sounds kind of boring, but I LOVE it. It's really taught me so much more about my trade and I get a chance to work with some really great people and awesome equipment (and TRAVEL!). Aside from my day job, I'm a wedding/portrait photographer slash graphic designer. God has seriously blessed me with my job and I couldn't be more excited!
What inspires you? Well, this is difficult for me to pick just one thing. I find inspiration in so many things! Beautiful photographs of beautiful people with stories inspire me every single time. I love that a photo can tell so much of someone's story. People are fascinating and everyone is different. It doesn't matter who or what the photograph is of, but just as every photograph is different, so is every viewer. Something that can touch every one in a very unique way is beautiful to me.
What are your gifts and talents? This is a hard question. I don't quite know how to answer it. But I have always been a very emotional person. I feel everything. All the time. Thats partly why I love photography so much. I can take a photo and evoke every kind of emotion. Or I can look at a photo and instantly connect with it. Feelings can sometimes be debilitating and can seemingly cause more problems than not, but I think it allows me to connect with people on a deeper level. I feel what they feel, cry when they cry, love when they love. Empathy is my strength and weakness.
How do you use your gifts to serve others? When I was in college, I was a bartender. I absolutely loved my job. Not because of the awesome food and drinks, but because everyone from any walk of life could walk up to my bar and just start talking. That was the favorite part of my day. Listening to stories. I don't know if I made any sort of difference in anyones life by listening to their stories, but they definitely changed mine. It's made me even tender hearted towards everyone. I think my ability to feel what those around me are feeling so intensely allows me to just be an understanding friend who is there to listen and empathize with them. My goal is to continually use my gifts of connecting to people to show them the love and acceptance of the Lord. I am by no means good at it yet. I am so selfish and my heart is constantly hardened every time I get hurt. But with the help of the Lord, I hopefully can make some sort of difference.
What would you do if you had nothing holding you back from your dreams? I would love to travel the world with my husband, Jared and take photographs of anything and everything. I don't know if I want to do that before we settle down and have a family or after, but I do know I would love to do it someday and publish the photos in a book.
Tell us about a season of suffering that lead to good things in your life. So it's difficult to pin down a season of suffering that lead to good things. But I can tell you how my suffering has lead to good things! I am married to the most wonderful man in the entire world. He's so thoughtful, silly, kind, weird, nerdy, handsome, and about a million other awesome things that I could write about for days. But he is human. I am human. And we are both very broken and flawed. Through our relationship we have had such heartbreak and such beautiful joy. It has shaped me into the lady I am today. But the thing about being yoked with a human being, is that without Christ firmly planted in the center, we will most certainly fail. Satan is powerful. He is sneaky. And he is convincing. He can and will use anything and everything to bring down a marriage. And the more you strive towards Christ, the more he tries to take you out. Satan has attacked our relationship. And he will do it again and again. But the one surefire way to stop him, is to put your faith in Christ.
"May you be richly rewarded but the Lord, The God of Israel, under who's wings you have come to take refuge"
- Ruth 2:12 -
With every attempt Satan will try to break you, Jesus is there a thousand more angels, shields, and love to protect you. If you let him. My suffering has lead to trusting in that power more and more. I am constantly reminded of his power when Jared prays for me. When he is kind instead of angry. When he is tender and sweet with me. When he gently keeps me accountable. None of that would be in our marriage if we hadn't gone through suffering together and chose to take refuge under Christ rather than fall into Satan's lies.
Share your proudest moment. One of my proudest moments was very recently. I was in a terrible work situation when I first graduated. I was very bitter and had no passion. I stopped taking photos or designing anything outside of my job. It was draining me. I had already given up in my head ever doing photography on a professional level. That had always been my dream, but no scenario I created seemed to work out. But then I had an epiphany. It doesn't matter. I'm not the important one here. Who am I to question where God has put me? How can I complete any mission from him (or even be still enough to hear what that mission might be) if I'm bitter and unhappy with my current situation? The answer? I can't. I can't begin to be molded into the person God wants me to be if my heart isn't open to it. It doesn't matter if i'm upset with where i am. My purpose isn't to be happy, make money, or to be the best in my field. My purpose is to work for the Lord. To be a tool for his kingdom. To make the absolute best of where I am and to be happy about it. To love everyone around me. Encourage. Not to contribute to Satan's plans. After coming to this realization, I had peace for the first time of where I am supposed to be. My career doesn't matter. My passions and my goals will align with God if I'm listening for his sweet whisper. When I felt this peace for the first time, God threw me a curveball that I couldn't believe. Through a friend of a friend of a friend, I got a text about a commercial photography job. I had no idea what it was, but I ended up just emailing my contact about it. A week later, I had 1 interview and an unbelievable job offer. It wasn't necessarily my dream job, but it was a start. It was the first I had ever felt both terrified and excited about a position. I didn't know if I was meant to take this job or not, but I decided to go for it. And that is my proudest moment. Taking the leap of faith into the arms of God. Trusting that he would lead me exactly where he wanted me. It turns out that I truly do love my job. Even when I feel under-qualified and insecure, I'm happy and excited about the challenges. God is so good!
"I feel my purpose in life is to..." I kind of just answered this in the answer to the last question, but I'll elaborate a bit more. My purpose is to work for the Lord. To be a tool for his kingdom. To make the absolute best of where I am and to be happy about it. To love everyone around me. Encourage. It's pretty simple when you read it, but dear goodness it's the hardest thing I've ever done. And I do it so poorly. Every day is a struggle. I think that is everyone's purpose; to love like christ. But the way we are called to do it is unique to everyone. I hope that I can do it through photography. That I can make that connection with people I photograph. Hear their stories and share my love and passion for Christ. But God only knows where I'll end up. I think right now, since it is what I'm doing, that is my current way of living out my purpose. But I think it will most likely change as my passions develop and as I continue grow in my walk.
The certain truth I know is this: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.
That verse is very often used, but not soaked in. In our walk we have one thing that is true. God's Promises. If we don't hang on to them and actually put our TRUST in them, how can we call ourselves followers of Christ? If we don't trust our Father and his promises to us, how can we live out his purpose for our life?