We all have a story to tell! Personal Connection is just one of the ways we share stories here at Circles of Faith. Ordinary women are doing extraordinary things for God. We hope Jennifer’s story encourages and inspires others to take that next step to what God is calling them to do.
IN OUR SPOTLIGHT THIS MONTH IS JENNIFER LEBO
Tell us your FAITH story.
I came to Christ at an early age, I remember praying with my mom at age six to ask Jesus into my heart. And, like many of us, I certainly wandered from the Lord and from my faith during periods of my life. It wasn't until after I'd gotten married and become a mother that my eyes were truly opened to the truth of Jesus and His love.
Watching my own children, loving them with such an intense love, I could catch a small glimpse of the love of my Heavenly Father.
I love how God uses my own children to teach me so much about my walk with Him, His love for me, and my desperate need for His salvation and daily presence in my life.
I claim the verse Jeremiah 29:11 for both my life verse and my children's.
"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."
His plans have included so many wonderful blessings beyond what I ever deserve or could ever have imagined. I will never deserve His love, His salvation, or His blessings, But I am forever grateful.
What does LIFE look like for you?
My family is the greatest earthly blessing I could ever imagine.
My husband is my hero and favorite person in the world, and together we have three crazy awesome little ones. No matter where we've been, or where we go, if I'm with these four, I'm home.
Presently though, home is on campus at a private boarding high school - The Hill School. We are house parents to a dozen awesome boys who are loud, sometimes stinky, and always amazing. My husband teaches math and coaches track and cross country here on campus, and, years ago, I taught English and coached field hockey. This is where we met, where we fell in love, and even where we got married (we literally walked to the chapel, then walked to our reception, then walked home-- how cool!).
I left the classroom to be a stay-at-home mom, which has been such a blessing to our family. As our children were born, I discovered a wonderful new joy--portrait photography. I photographed my children all the time, then my friends' children, then their friends' children. The more I shot, the more I loved it. So I committed to the craft and learned everything I could about the art of photography, and the business of it too. When the kids began school, I set out on the business path and launched Jen Lebo Photography.
Funny thing though, how God brings everything together. I never missed those teaching days, but something from my years in the classroom was definitely missing in my life. I realized God's awesome plan in all of it as He revealed in my heart my true passion, High school senior portraiture.
I love photographing families, babies, young children, my own children! But there is something very special about connecting with a high school senior, so ready to take on the world, yet so unsure of what's out there. I realized that I wasn't missing teaching teens, but I was missing connecting with them. Photographing them during their high school years allowed me the opportunity to spend time with these awesome young people and to show them how amazing and beautiful they are, to give them confidence to go out into the world and be all they’re meant to be.
My husband has been the tremendously supportive to me, and together we are learning how to grow a family, grow a business, and most importantly, grow a marriage. After more than 10 years of marriage, he is still my most favorite person to be with any day, any time. He's been my coach and my cheering squad through the start of my business; my partner and my better half through the parenting of our precious little crazies; and the love of my life through many years together.
Again, I am blessed beyond what I'll ever deserve, and forever grateful for it all.
How does community inspire your life?
Our family is blessed to be part of several communities. First, our home community is at Hill, where we live, work, and play. Our family enjoys the safety that this private boarding school campus ensures us, not to mention all the fun our kids enjoy with a field house, a track, and beautiful fields and gardens right in their backyard! Dinner most nights is in the school dining hall with all their best friends; not to mention the hundreds of high schoolers waving hello and joining in on the after-dinner games.
But if that's not enough, we are blessed with our kids' school community. We are fortunate to have an amazing Christian school in town and our kids love it there. I love the small community atmosphere. It feels more like a family than a school, as all the teachers know all the students and their families. I am not only allowed, but encouraged to walk my kids to their classrooms each day, to hug them goodbye at their desks, and wish them a wonderful day. And most of all, I love that my children are free to pray in school, sing of Jesus, and learn to walk in truth, There truly is no greater joy.
Our church family is our final community, one filled with joy and love. The best part is that many of our church friends are our school friends, and some of those are our home friends. Communities collide and lines are crossed and love is everywhere, What an awesome experience!
Where and how does the above all come together for you?
The more time I spend being a mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, in these precious communities, whether as photographer or in some other role, I am awestruck by how God's plan unfolds. It's hard to see each role in my life as separate, and I love how they all intertwine. I see how God has brought our family to thrive on a high school campus. I see how He has blessed us with our babies. I see how He has brought us to a town we're often surprised to live in, and I see His purposes.
God has put a passion in my heart for my family, for my husband, and for the teens we live with. I often see all three collide with my passion for photography. I see God use my photography to connect with our school community and I know this is not a coincidence. My work allows me to stay close with my kids during school days (I often shoot photos for their school), it allows me to stay connected with the teens in our Hill community, and it allows me to make my own hours so I can be with my family more.
Most importantly, my work allows me the freedom to use God's blessings for His glory. I see His beauty in all the faces I photograph. I pray before every session for His eyes and hands to guide me and for Him to show me His light. I pray for boldness as I share my work for His glory. I'm still working on that last piece, but thank God His mercies are new everyday.
The next year or two will hopefully be filled with big changes for my business. I pray to take Jen Lebo Photography to new heights as my children grow and head into school full time.
More than anything, I'd love prayers for guidance and wisdom as I strive to succeed in my business, yet maintain the balance at home. My family needs to come first, and sometimes that's hard to do when deadlines and obligations loom. I pray for God's wisdom through all of this. I want His plan, His will, and His wisdom.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
Live in the Philadelphia area a need a photographer? Check out http://www.jenlebophotography.com
You can follow Jennifer on Facebook at Jen Lebo Photography or Twitter @jenlebophoto. Also check out her blog where she share her pictures from her latest photo shoots and photography tips.