(By Chloe Zuidema)
“To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him.”
- City Alight
Let me start by saying that as followers of Christ we have been called out, set apart, and given a job above all earthly professions. Higher than my calling to photography is my calling to Christ. HE is the reason I get up each day. HE is the hope of my life.
Our calling is to bring glory to God through the Son. As it says in the song I quoted above, or as I like to rephrase it in my head when I remind myself of it throughout the day “all glory to Him forevermore.”
My name is Chloe Zuidema, I was born in Midland Park, New Jersey and I am a photographer and videographer currently based out of Sarnia, Ontario. I have spent some time looking back on my life and seeing the many places where God has clearly directed me to where I am now. And I am so thankful for every place and circumstance that was so beautifully in his control and in His hands.
I remember having a pretty big imagination when I was little and I have had a love for art and photography since I was young. I think I was ten when I got my first camera and it was such a bad camera, but I loved it so much and spent hours on Youtube learning the basics. When I was seventeen, I shadowed my cousin Heidi and she gave me a lot of insight and help with getting my business started!
I can also say that I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the people that booked me and believed in me during those early years when I was not very good. I don't know if I ever really thought that I would be a part of these important moments in people's lives but my clients and sideline supporters have been so kind and encouraging to me throughout the years.
I filmed my first wedding when I was seventeen and ever since then, I have never looked back. God led my photography passions to Canada through the many inquiries that followed throughout the next few years. So with His help, I decided to get my citizenship, incorporate my business, and make the big move to Ontario. And I believe God has had His loving hand in it all.
I have been photographing people, places, and various things as a paid profession for almost five years now and I really do enjoy it so much. I am so thankful to actually love my job.
I have met some incredible people and been to the most beautiful places through this job. I get to be my own boss and I get to put my heart and soul into something that others get to cherish forever. It is a beautiful thing.
There is one story I can tell about my photography and the Lord’s testing of my faith. I got a call from a friend a few weeks ago who asked me if I was available the next day to photograph a two-week-old baby that had just passed away.
I won't lie, my first reaction was - absolutely not. No way. Not going to happen. I would rather photograph anything but that. I was selfish and scared and I didn’t want to be put in that situation even though it was the mother’s only hope for her to remember her only son.
But the Lord sent to me Hebrews eleven in my reading that week. This chapter is specifically about the incredible stories of faith and the people that the writer of Hebrews calls us to emulate.
I remembered the story of Abraham and Isaac when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son and I've known that story most of my life, but I don't think I truly understood the magnitude of this request because I've always known the ending!
Abraham did not know the ending, and yet he still had faith! If Abraham, and the others in Hebrews 11 could have faith like that without knowing the outcome or reason for God’s request, then I could have faith in the Lord's calling me to this photoshoot as nervous as I was.
Faith is what we decide before the outcome is even in sight. I felt the Lord strongly urging me to call back and offer my services, to offer myself completely to this woman in any way she needed. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a mother and to lose a child.
The fear wasn't gone when I said I would do the session, but my faith was trying desperately to be strong for Christ. If God called me to do something as simple as this and something that he had already given me the means to do it…I must do it. And thankfully, I can say that I did.
A few days later I was able to gift this grieving mother with photos of her child that will last forever. This woman is not a follower of Christ and I hope in some way I could be a light that leads her not only to Christ but back to her sweet baby boy in heaven.
This session was the hardest one emotionally that I have ever done, and after, I cried from exhaustion and sympathy for the dear mother, but God was good and he led me all the way. I am thankful I trusted Him even though I was scared.
More than capturing beautiful images and putting together wedding videos though, I hope that my talents can bring a wonderful and lasting glory to God through His son, Jesus!
It is God who has given me these talents and it is He who gave the success to my business. I am overwhelmed some days at the goodness of God to me.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord for HE is good” (Psalm 107:1).
Not only has God given me all of this, but He has the ability to take it away, and if that is His will then I hope it becomes mine as well. 2020 was a very tough year with Covid and wedding cancellation and this year is looking like it might be exactly the same but He has held my hand on the beautiful hilltops and He has helped me through the valleys, and so I trust Him in all things.
I pray that I set my heart and my mind on things above because that is all that matters. I pray that I might bring glory to God through the expertise he Has given me. And I pray that people might see Christ in me, the one who gave me all that I have.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).