To label 2012 as ‘The Whirlwind Year’ would be the biggest understatement of… well, the year. Wedding planning, getting married, honeymooning, moving 1100 miles to Fayetteville, Arkansas, setting up our first apartment, learning to be a wife, learning to be a youth pastor’s wife, learning to be away from the comforts of Florida, making new friends in Arkansas, rebranding my photography, traveling all summer for camps and missions trips, getting a puppy, having family and friends visit us, visiting friends in Texas, the holidays, traveling to Florida after Christmas… Yeah, crazy year.
Aside from learning how to do this whole wife thing, the hardest adjustment this year was definitely with my photography. It’s not that I expected to move to Arkansas in March and have 11 couples begging me to shoot their weddings that the summer. I knew it would a while before business would really pick up, and it’s totally understandable… No one knew me personally, I didn’t have a reputation (good or bad), and I didn’t have any word-of-mouth going. The thing I didn’t realize is how S L O W those first few month would feel. Honestly, there were a lot of days that I felt like a bump on a log. Aaron and I had decided that I wouldn’t get another job so that I would be able to travel with him on the 4-weeks of youth-ministry related activities throughout the summer. I’m so thankful for this and that I have a husband who sees the importance of doing ministry together, but my downtime made me feel like a diva wife who sat around eating bon-bons and watching her soaps all day. (I promise I didn’t really do either of those things.)
I was blessed to be able to shoot a wedding at the end of June, and in the fall I had an occasional shoot every 3-4 weeks, many of which I did for free because I was just DYING to shoot. Since we had been married, Aaron & I had been praying almost every night for God to bring me business. It’s not that I thought God was ignoring us, I was just convinced that He was saying, ‘WAIT!’, as He does quite often.
In October, our pastor Nick taught a message on pride that hit me hard. For 6 months I’d been living in Arkansas, I had been super deliberate in NOT asking our friends here to pray for God to grow my business. Seems backwards, right? Well, I’ve never wanted to be the type of person that pushes her business on her friends. If people pick someone different than me to shoot their wedding or family photos, that’s totally fine, and I won’t be offended! So I guess my fear of turning into the extreme, self-promoting photographer pushed me to become the girl that wouldn’t ask her brothers & sisters in Christ for help… Pretty opposite of the entire point of the body of Christ. I quickly began to realize that I was trying so hard to portray humility that it actually turned into a nasty case of pride.
That next Sunday, I knew that God was prompting me to share this with my small group, so I laid it all on the line and asked for prayer. Honestly, it was really hard to do. I kept having all these thoughts like, “What if they think I’m just trying to get them to book me?” or “They’re going to think I’m just being their friend for their money!” Just admitting and typing it out is embarrassing. Well, after finally sharing what I should have shared months before, I felt a peace. And know what’s so crazy? The prayers actually worked! In the two weeks after sharing with my small group, I booked something like 12 or 13 sessions that took place that next month. Nothing like a little slap in the face from God to show you how small your faith can be.
In all honesty, I’m thankful that the Lord gave me this lesson… I just wish I wasn’t such a hard learner. :) What an awesome reminder that I need to live in constant surrender so that He can be the center of EVERY area of my life. Not just my marriage, health, or ministry, but also my business… Even when it makes me uncomfortable.
From the middle of October to the middle of December, God blessed me with multiple sessions each week. I had such an amazing time building relationships with new friends & clients and sharing my passion for His glory. I can’t wait to see what He’ll do this year, and I’m really praying that He’ll keep me from repeating my hard-headed, idiot ways again. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from this year, in totally random order. Enjoy! :)