In this wedding photography industry, we do a lot of storytelling through pictures (or at least that’s how I like to look at it). It’s a joy to us to have a couple choose us to photograph their wedding because, in essence, they are saying to us “Tell Our Story”, and we LOVE that! We tell the story of their beginning and how great are their stories!
Every one of us has a story: be it a love story, a story of lose, a story of hope, and story of sorrow or of happiness.
Which brings me to the point of this blog post.
The story our beginning….of how Michael & Jasmine Photography all began.
It’s a painful story at first: one that brings tears to my eyes when I have to go back and think about it, but also a joyous story that brings me hope in KNOWING that all things are possible.
Here is our story. Here is where it all began..
Michael was always the go-to video/photo guy in our circle of friends, family, and church. He went to school for it and does it as a career. After shooting many wedding for family and friends, he would talk about taking it seriously and starting a business..but he never would truly pursue it.
Meanwhile, we decided earlier in our marriage that I would stay home with our kids until they reached school age, then from there, I would pursue whatever I decided. All was going well. We had our ups and downs financially and our share of setbacks because of one income, but we were good. In fact, at that time, Michael had just landed his dream job of making training videos for a very big company and the pay was great! We were paying off debt and enjoying financial freedom. We were blessing those around us and really moving forward finally!
Until the unthinkable happened. Michael got laid off along with many others from that company.
I remember coming home from being out with the kids and seeing his car there. I thought maybe he was sick or something, but as soon as I opened the door I could tell by his tear filled eyes that we had just entered a season of great uncertainty.
I cried for a whole month, honestly. Every time I looked at our then 6 month old baby and wondered how we were going to get him diapers, I cried. Whenever I looked at our daughter and thought that we would not longer be able to get her the things she needed, I cried. And when our inquisitive 8 year old questioned why his dad was home so much, I cried.
I went through a lot of emotions; fear, worry, anger. I was angry with myself for staying home with the kids (because if I had been working, we’d have something to fall back on) and I also doubted God on His sovereignty and goodness. I even tried to use scriptures to tell God how wrong He was for letting this happen. I mean, God, we were faithful stewards so why are we being punished?? That was my thinking during that time and I want to encourage anyone who is going through something tough right now to not think that way. God IS good and He IS sovereign and His thoughts towards you are for peace and prosperity.
A few months later, Michael got an entry level job that he was way over qualified for and, of course, entry-level pay! I wanted to be thankful but it was hard when this new job didn’t cover all of our expenses and there was still uncertainty.
I believed that we were always going to struggle to get by. I felt completely hopeless…. But only for a season.
I remember staying up late one night thinking of all the creative things I could do to help earn extra money. Paying for daycare wasn’t an option because we didn’t have the money, so I needed something I could do while being at home. I was successful in the past with stuff like buying/reselling antiques and vintage items, and making and selling things. They just never stuck because it wasn’t a passion of mine!
Then, that very next morning I was literally woken up from my sleep with a feeling like someone was jolting my spirit. My heart was racing and it took me a minute to calm my nerves, but when I could think clearly, I knew that that day was a day hope took over and not fear. Resolve sprang up in my heart and not despair. I looked over at that little Rebel t5 camera we had (bless it’s heart!) and those inexpensive kits lens and thought of all the hopes my husband had for it and I said to myself that today was the day we turned words into action.
My husband came home and I told him that now was the time to jump in and pursue his dream and if he didn’t, to never let me hear him talk about it again. I vowed to help him build and whatever we had to learn, we’d learn together.
We put together a cheesy website with photos he took of recent weddings, charged low to start out, and advertised our service on Craigslist. We spent hours, no…DAYS learning our camera and learning how to achieve certain looks. We didn’t have a lot of money to invest right away so we worked with what we had and rented whatever else we needed.
We prayed earnestly for God to bless our hands and open our minds to learn and figure things out. I was so grateful because even though our situation was the same, we had a passion again and a resolve to not lay down defeated when life happens.
As we started booking weddings and working this business together, God began to show me His goodness. He showed me how He could turn a bad situation into something beautiful. Soon after, Michael got a job that pays well, so not only was our finances restored, but Mike finally got to start a business that he’s been talking about for years.
God, in His goodness, also showed me something unique about myself as well. He showed me that I am a “builder”. I love starting things and building things up. I love helping people and building them up using words and my testimony. I love helping my husband build this dream of his by doing things he can’t do by himself. If he says, “I want to do this”, my brain is already figuring out ways to make it happen.
Our business is still new but we have made so much progress in just under a year. With our 2017 booking goal nearly complete, I can’t help but be thankful that we rose up to this challenge and that God paved a way for us.
That’s our story and , although painful at times, I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Photo Credit: Luke & Ashley Photography