Through Him All Things Are Possible
Tammy Ruggles has always expressed herself artistically — writing, finger painting, sketching. But several years ago, she especially felt a calling towards photography. And while she definitely had the God-given artistic talent, Tammy also had a tragic obstacle to overcome. Due to a degenerative eye disease known as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Tammy is legally blind. Imagine how difficult it must be to discover your purpose, only to seemingly lack the primary attribute that this purpose requires!
Most people would have given up. Most would have assumed that without proper eye sight, photography would be impossible.
But Tammy is a woman of great faith. She knew this disease was not meant to deter her in her craft, but rather to challenge her. And she knew that God can use any circumstance for His glory. And so, she took a leap of faith. In 2013, she set out to become a fine arts photographer.
Her limited vision allows Tammy to only see the fuzzy outline of the object she wishes to shoot. But with a point and shoot camera set to auto, a 47-inch computer monitor, and sometimes a little guidance from an accompanying friend, Tammy is able to capture the images she wants. And the results are breathtakingly beautiful.
Tammy prefers black and white photos, although she does also do some in color. But the black and white she is able to see best in high contrast. And the emerging photographs have a depth and richness that stirs the soul. The dark and light add a beautiful drama to the images that she captures.
And like every artist, there is a story behind each of her pictures. I asked Tammy to share some of her personal favorites, and her responses demonstrate what a truly convicted woman of God she is.
"Awaken represents the beginning and hope that each day brings. Each morning is a new start, a chance to do something. Awaken to the possibility of what God brings and what Christ can do in your life," Tammy tells GodUpdates.
"Flowers For The Gone is another favorite of mine. It's meant to get one thinking about life, death and eternity. I also had my lost loved ones in mind, who I miss, so these flowers are for them,” says Tammy.
"He Walks The Dark Hills is a titled after an old gospel song I heard Vestal Goodman sing. I wanted this photograph to represent that song. God walks the dark hills, and is there in our dark valleys, even when we can't see Him or feel Him. He's always there,” Tammy explains to GodUpdates.
Tammy admits that some of her work may be perceived as being a little on the dark side. But she insists they serve a purpose. They are intended to stir the imagination and heart toward self-examination. To evoke questions of faith, of life after death, and ultimately of God.
Tammy's portfolio is impressive enough on its own. But what I find most inspiring is her incredible outlook. She is so filled with the spirit of God. Her demeanor is one of gratitude, and she is constantly giving all credit to the Almighty. She says,
"I give the Ultimate Creator the glory for giving me the ability to create. I want others to see the Creator in my work, from spring flowers, to snow-covered hillside, to horses grazing in a field."
And Tammy has these words of encouragement for anyone else struggling to overcome a disability or serious obstacle:
"Try to make the best of it. Try to see the positive side of your situation. There is always someone worse off than you, or better off than you. Try to be thankful, and try to be open to how God can use your situation. God says in the Bible that He will not give you what you can't handle. So, try to accept this if you can. You CAN handle it. He will help you find the strength to handle it."
Praising God in the good times is easy. Praising him in the storm. . .now that's the tricky part! When our faith is tested, it's natural to feel like you just want to give up. But God uses the hard times to do a work in us. To make us stronger. To make us better. I pray that the next time your faith is tested, you will respond like Tammy. That you will let God use your struggle to mold you into just what He's called you to be!
"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches." 1 Corinthians 7:17
If you'd like to see more of Tammy's amazing photos, check them out HERE.