Abide in His Merciful Heart Today

Elissa Voss: Owner + Photographer of Elissa Voss Photography

A month ago I had to honor of serving at Golden state with Elissa Voss, a Catholic photographer who I have looked up too and stalked on Instagram many of times. I have wanted to feature her since the start of my blog and I never thought it would be a possibility until I saw her on the first day of camp and I knew that the Lord had something great in mind. Throughout the month of camp, I have loved watching her work. Loved seeing how, no matter how little she slept or how sick she felt, she always got the shot and she got it well. The Holy Spirit is at work in her, inspiring creativity and strength, and I see the feminine genius so clearly in the way she uses those gifts to glorify God.2017-garden-elissa-09-webIn looking at her Yes’ to God throughout her life it has been a series of saying ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’ Trusting Him when called to do photography full time, trusting in Him through a broken heart, trusting in Him through moving to a different state, and most importantly, trusting in Him with her heart. “While I was out in the water yesterday waiting for a good set of waves to come in, I started reflecting on the stillness, and how uncomfortable it can be to abide in His love in seasons of waiting. And I realized that I can only find peace if I trust – regardless of what’s going on around me.” I feel like we all have that season of waiting, of not knowing what He has in store for us or not knowing what we ‘should’ be doing, but He is asking us, even when we don’t see His plan, to trust. “I need to reserve a space in my heart where nothing can shake that trust. And wow, it’s easier said than done!”

My ‘yes’ has been a surrender to many things: my own plans, clarity, even the comfort of “feeling” spiritually consoled. Sometimes all I can do is take a hesitant step forward and remember that I’m never taking those steps alone”

Elissa is soon moving to Nashville from San Diego at the beginning of October and, while she feels it in her heart that this is within His plan, the unknowns can still be very daunting, “My life seems to be filled with string of unknowns and uncertainties. So many incomplete journeys that I’m in the midst of, and I can’t see the road ahead. But through the uncertainty, through suffering, through long and hard battles, I’m learned to find Jesus in those things. To know that he’s always been present, even in the dark places he seems nowhere near. My ‘yes’ has been a surrender to many things: my own plans, clarity, even the comfort of “feeling” spiritually consoled. Sometimes all I can do is take a hesitant step forward and remember that I’m never taking those steps alone”2017-garden-elissa-01-webIn Saint Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists he says, “Those who perceive in themselves this kind of divine spark which is the artistic vocation feel at the same time the obligation not to waste the talent, but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbor and of humanity as a whole.” And Elissa has lived this out so fully. “Art inspires, motivates, and awakens my soul to a deeper longing for truth. I’ve always had this deep desire to make beautiful things, to express myself creatively.” Elissa’s photography has glorified God in weddings, magazines, and so much more and embracing her femininity has played a huge role in its success. “I think my feminine heart is a vital part of the work I create. I’m reminded of JP II’s words in ‘Letter to Women’: ‘Women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts…’ That love in action that I’m capturing goes so much deeper than a feeling or emotion, and I want people to remember that when they look at the photos years down the road.”

I’m so in awe of the creativity of God and simply see this as a calling to “co-create” with the Holy Spirit, keeping my focus on why these stories are so important.”

As for the business itself… Elissa has had her limits tested and her trust strengthened every time she takes on a new client, “My photography business journey has been unexpectedly challenging, adventurous, and rewarding. The Lord has taken me by the hand and led me to places I never would’ve gone on my own. He has helped me conquer fears, taken me to new heights, and called me so gently and lovingly to do his work. As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, I have the privilege of visually telling stories – couples preparing for marriage, families raising little ones – the beauty and sacredness of life that is very much under attack in our culture. I’m so in awe of the creativity of God and simply see this as a calling to “co-create” with the Holy Spirit, keeping my focus on why these stories are so important.”2017-garden-elissa-03-webGod has seen Elissa’s heart, seen her trust and strength, and knows she can handle a lot in Him, and to help her along the way He has surrounded her with the most amazing community of women to support her in everything. “Gosh, I’ve learned so much from the sisterhood of different communities that I’ve been apart of over the years. The Blessed Is She community especially and the women who have come into my life because of it have helped me to understand more fully what it means to be His beloved daughter. I’ve found so much peace in knowing that no amount of brokenness could keep his Sacred Heart from pursuing my littlest heart.” Elissa has found a community that loves her enough to say when she is wrong, to call her out, and to be with her when she falls and I think that is something all women need to find, “I am so grateful for friendships that speak truth over the lies, lend a listening ear when I just need to vent, or remind me that I’m not alone on days when my emotions make no sense. Those spiritual sisters have been vital in seasons of healing and growth. They call me out when necessary, remind me of my dignity as a daughter of God, and help me to see myself through his eyes.”

The Church is home. There’s a family waiting to welcome you with open arms. A good community keeps you steady when your cross gets a little heavy, and it keeps you grounded and accountable.”

Elissa has found peace and comfort in the Heart of God, in the Church, and she wants to share that with all of you, “You are NEVER alone. The Church is home. There’s a family waiting to welcome you with open arms. A good community keeps you steady when your cross gets a little heavy, and it keeps you grounded and accountable. My faith has been the most rocky in times when I felt completely alone and didn’t have a strong community of like-minded brothers and sisters around me. Find your community. Pray for the community that you need to be apart of: for the people you need to surround yourself with, and for the gifts that you need to share. Find a parish to make your home. And if you can, seek out a good spiritual director or mentor to walk your faith/life journey with you as you grow in holiness.”
Her final nibblet: “Abide in his merciful Heart today, sisters!”

Shop some of Elissa’s Favorites: (and my favorites too!)
Piper & Scoot
Roolee
Everlane

Photocreds: Madi Myers-Cook