I still remember the day I bought my first DSLR camera the summer after my senior year of high school in 2009. At this point, I just liked taking pretty pictures and thought I needed a better camera to do so. Just a couple months later I enrolled at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and majored in Visual Communications, having very little understanding as to how my photography would play a role. My major was the old photojournalism degree, but was re-designed to combine advertising, design, PR, photography and much more. In fact, my current business, Olive Tree Photography, started in 2010 as the result of a class project. During my first year and a half as a photographer I primarily shot senior portraits and a few families. My business slowly grew by word of mouth and I enjoyed it as a hobby.
By the time I graduated, I was shooting weddings and had a portfolio that surpassed what I ever expected. I was really beginning to see that I had a gift for photography.
Some friends and clients asked if I would pursue photography after graduation. I quickly shot them down because that career idea just didn't fit into my own expectations for my life at the time. After graduation, I accepted a marketing position with Chick-fil-A Raider Park and worked there while I completed my master's degree in Mass Communications. During my time at CFA, I was still shooting on the side and, just through consistent photo shoots and word of mouth, my business had grown significantly!
So there I was at another major crossroad in my life. I considered doing more photography because I enjoy capturing intimate moments and emotions for my clients. But I loved the comfort of a consistent paycheck and building my 401K.
Unfortunately, I allowed fear to get the best of me. I was good at marketing and I had made great relationships with people in the Lubbock community. I was finally making headway in my career. So, I chose my comfort zone over an adventure.
Fast forward a year. I was again restless because I thought money and a good career would satisfy me... but they just didn't. Eventually I gathered the courage to tell my bosses that I would be relocating to another city sometime this Spring and they let me go.
That was indeed a crisis of faith.
I was shocked and I was angry and I couldn't understand what I had done to find myself in such a disturbing situation so suddenly. So I did all I knew to do. I cried out to God to help and to give me direction and set me on a stable path. I humbled myself before Him. And He answered, just not the way I expected.
Three days later, I picked up and moved my life to Fort Worth and began looking for a new job. A few weeks later I traveled to Florida for a photography workshop I had planned and paid for months before. I was hesitant to still go because my life had just turned upside down and spending more money didn't seem like it would be a good investment. Especially considering the fact that I was still unemployed and had no more direction than I did the day I was fired.
Again, restlessness. Still searching for a path to walk down.
I learned a lot at the workshop, but I learned even more about myself and my gifts through the real, honest and raw conversations Shea and I had during the course of the trip. We read a book by Gary Haugen called 'Just Courage' and it brought me to tears every time we would read it. I highly recommend you check it out! His words pointed us to the Scriptures and God used that book to open both of our eyes and set us on a radically different path.
When Shea and I got back to Texas, we stopped in Tyler to see her aunt Carye. We were so excited to tell Carye about what we had learned and our dreams for the future.
The next morning over coffee, I confessed to Carye that I was afraid of what the future looked like because I still didn't have a real job that paid and there were still so many unknowns even with my yes on the table. I mean...don't I need a 401K and great health insurance??
Carye said, "Do you remember the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19? How he climbed a tree to see Jesus and it radically changed his life as a result? You know... the interesting thing about the story is that the tree he climbed up had been planted long before he actually needed to climb."
That was the vision I needed. I knew the Lord was telling me to focus my time and energy in a new direction. The tree He has planted for me and has pruned is Olive Tree Photography - my business that I started almost 6 years ago. I truly believe that when God calls us to walk by faith, He doesn't just leave us to it. He makes a way! He provides!
Over time, I have come to develop great friendships with people who started out as clients. I believe the connections I have made along the way have kept me going all this time. I've had many opportunities to quit, or give up, or move on to the next thing in life, but I haven't...and I won't stop.
I love the climb.
And I love the view from the tree He planted for me.
So now, I'm on a new journey. With a new view, a new perspective. A journey into full-time photography. I can't wait to see where He takes me and my clients along this path.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this far. Your love and encouragement cannot be measured.