October 16, 2019
I’m starting to realize that life feels like a perpetual state of being a freshman. And then becoming a senior. And then being a freshman again. Once I’ve mastered one stage of life, it’s time for the next one where I know nothing again.
Over the last year and a half, I’ve shared bits and pieces of my life online but honestly not a lot. It’s not because great things haven’t happened, but because I still feel like I’m in the awkward phase of so many parts of life.
I’ve recently realized that I keep waiting to feel like there’s some big “moment” when it’ll be time to share about all the trials that have led me to some big life triumph. When all the “figuring it out” finally looks like a HUGE success instead of just steadily growing over time.
So I’ve decided today’s as good as any to fill you in on the last year & what my hopes and dreams are for the next one!
Flashback to just a few months after Levi and I got married, I had completed my ministry internship with UGA Wesley and was going to be *a wedding photographer*. Except you actually need clients to be one of those, so while I was waiting I took an admin job at a corporate office in Athens.
The first day of work I was so nervous because I never had a job before that wasn’t working for Levi or myself. Thankfully, I came in & met a girl who would be one of my new best friends, Elsa!
And y’all… I learned that I am a baby when it comes to routine work. It was a great office job, but I struggled because I really don’t enjoy routine/repeat tasks. I had no idea. I thought I was great organizationally, but I learned the creative side of me wanted to scream & felt trapped.
I talked to so many people about how I couldn’t believe I spent the majority of my waking hours doing what someone else told me to do. And yes, just like you’re probably thinking.. they all said “ummm.. Michele, that’s what the majority of Americans do?!” I know God placed me in that job for a time, but I also was learning that I didn’t function the same as the people around me who were thriving in that environment.
Looking back over last year, I’m really proud of myself for learning to be present and content in the season I was in. It’s weird to say that because I can remember crying to Levi many times telling him I felt trapped or “just wanted to be a photographer already!!”. I was frustrated and had a bad attitude at times. BUT, I can look back through photos from last year and I remember thoroughly enjoying each and every one of these moments.
I struggled with feeling like a brat for wanting more freedom. Feeling like I had to pay my dues before I deserved to be a full time photographer. Feeling like every millennial wants to do something creative, am I just following suit? I didn’t have rebuttals to any of these points while I was in it. I really didn’t know if I had poor motivations or not.
But I did know that one Wednesday night before I left Wesley, I sat in the Tate Ballroom listening to Bob tell us to ask God again “What is my calling?” And God clearly told me to be a wedding photographer. I knew if He called me, He’d provide. He’d make it happen and I’d be better on the other side.
I remember my very first day working full time from home (weddings on weekends), I was excited but sooo anxious. It felt like I had been handed this tremendous gift and I had no idea how to take care of it.
Adjusting to having literally no one know what I do all day was also hard. If I did nothing, no one knew. If I worked my tail off, no one knew.
As spring came, I had already hit my goal of replacing my office salary with weddings for the year!! I felt so proud that it happened so fast, and honestly felt like the Lord had brought people out of thin air to me.
Spring and Summer came and it felt like I did nothing but go to weddings. I’m pretty sure I shot 9 weddings back to back weekends in the spring – four of which were in South Georgia which meant Levi and I were gone for the entire weekend.
Somehow we fit an anniversary trip in there, plus a youth camp (our kids took home the first place in tribe wars!!) and a visit to my parents house for my birthday (July 3rd) and 4th of July! Those months were crazy but I loved them.
Phew. That’s a lot. It’s hard to believe all that has happened in such a short amount of time. If you know me, you know that once I want something I want it to happen yesterday. Patience is not a strength of mine (not yet anyways). It’s honestly been helpful for me to look back over the last year and a half and see just how many dreams actually came to pass quicker than I thought.
I’ve been thinking a lot about next year. Maybe it’s a wedding photographer thing because we meet our clients a year in advance, so we’re always looking ahead.
I usually hold back my hopes and dreams or state them with a disclaimer that “it’s okay if it doesn’t happen” because I want to protect myself from looking foolish or people feeling sorry for me if they don’t happen. But every time I read back through a journal, I’m always impressed with the past me that boldly states what she hopes for on paper (more often than not God has done them in a way better way than I would have imagined).
So if you made it this far, you must care a least a little bit about what these future hopes & dreams may be so here it goes..
+ I hope to book less weddings at a higher price so that I can give every single client a more focused experience
+ I hope to meet engaged couples who I can be good friends with!
+ I look forward to pool days with my friends and their new babies
+ I’m excited to watch my sister get married!
+ I’m excited as Levi and I pray into timing for starting a family in the future!
+ I’m hopeful that the Lord will provide weddings close to Athens for me to shoot during the season that we’ll transition into being parents (not sure when that season will be yet, but He knows!)
+ I’m hopeful that the insecurities I struggle with daily in relationships and friendships will be a thing of the past
+ I’m hopeful to see the Lord give Levi and I favor in our businesses like He does every year
+ I’m excited that all my closest people are transitioning into new phases of life & we will walk through the “figuring it out” together
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