This blog post is gonna be a little bit different. It doesn’t really have fancy pictures. (Actually, most of these are iPhone shots.) It’s just a raw piece of my heart and my story. But I wanted to share the unpolished, authentic story of how I got here. Because we all have one of those. So here’s mine. My history. The chapter before this one.
A little over a year ago, at 12:04 am on New Year’s Day, I was driving home from working my full time job. I was a server + a host at a nice Italian restaurant. I was working 55-60 hours a week on top of my photography. It was one of the hardest seasons of my life. I’d just moved back with my parents earlier that year. I switched career paths + plans + felt a little lost in the plot twist I was in. On top of all that, I walked through a breakup that summer that shattered my heart + my hopes, and although January marked 5 months post-breakup, I still felt broken + bruised. The restaurant was short staffed and working me overtime every single week. I would leave at 8am, come home by 11pm, and stay up until 2am or 3am hustling on my photography. I was putting in 30+ hrs a week on my photography alongside the serving job. All late at night, early morning, or on my “day off” (hint: I didn’t ever have a “day off.”)
I’d take my laptop to work and on my 30 minute lunch break between shifts, I’d be sitting in the back, shoveling food in my mouth while I answered emails, edited galleries, and sent off invoices + contracts.
I can’t tell you how many quick naps I’d take in my car before or after work when I was so tired I didn’t know if I could drive safely.
Bottom line: I was exhausted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was closer to Jesus than I’d ever been in that season. He was my everything. But I knew I was hitting a wall. I’d just worked a 12 hour double shift with no break on New Year’s Eve. (If you’ve ever worked in the food industry... you know 😩) I was driving home, celebrating the new year alone in my car with Jesus. worshiping my heart out to Him, praising Him, thanking Him, and praying into the next season.
I remember praying: “God, I’m reaching my limits. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I NEED YOU”
My worship playlist started playing a new song by Josh Baldwin. I honestly don’t know how I’d never heard it before, but I hadn’t. The song was called Get Your Hopes Up, and the words said:
“I feel the sun waking up the morning, reviving dreams.
I feel the wind on my back with promise, reminding me:
There’s a garment of praise for heaviness.
There’s a new song burning inside my chest.
I’m living in the goodness that He brings.
Get your hopes up. Lift your head up. Let your faith arise.
Get your hopes up. Our God is for us. He’s brought us back to life.”
I looked down at my clock. It was 12:04am on January 1st. I felt the Lord whisper, “This is your song for this year. Get ready. And buckle up.”
Within 3 months, I traveled to Hawaii, quit my job, launched the first Heart Workshop, fully booked my entire 2018 year (I had four weddings booked on the night of that car ride. FOUR.)
In February, I was already on cloud nine. God had done so much in such a short amount of time. But apparently He wasn’t done. That month, God asked me to set business goals for myself the year. I argued with Him (lol @ me) and told Him I was so happy and didn’t need Him to do anything else. He firmly told me, “Ask me for more. Ask me for even more.” Hesitantly, I did. I wrote down three VERY big, VERY specific goals. They felt crazy big and absolutely unattainable.
Within a couple of months, God crushed the HECK out of 2 of those 3 goals.
The third one: I wanted to move back to California by the end of 2018. I felt Him call me. And I’d been wanting to move back for a year at that point.
Today. Today I can officially say I’m living in California. A couple months past the end of 2018, but I don’t even care. I never ever expected to be living here in SoCal by this point. I had it set as my 3-5 year goal. I asked God specifically for Northern California. “Because it’s cheaper, God.”
LOL He probably laughed at me. 😂
Why the heck am I sharing all of this?
Because I know someone needs to hear it.
This season of germination: where you’ve buried your life - all your hopes and dreams - into the dark soil... where it feels like all you’re doing is waiting on the Lord, trusting blindly... it’s worth it. It’s so so so so worth it.
It won’t last forever. But stay faithful. Press into Jesus. He’s got you.
And the reward for this season will be beyond words.
Get your hopes up, my friends. 🖤