July 2023 has been a turning point in my life and business. When I decided to actually put myself out there in November of 2022, I didn’t know what to think. How will this go for me? Am I getting ahead of myself thinking that people will hire me? Going into January 2023 I set some goals for myself for the year and they were pretty low, but how could I expect things to be busy after basically restarting a business that hasn’t been “up and running” for quite some time. How would anyone hear about me and find me in just a short couple of months?
Fast forward to now. The goals I had set have been completely shattered. I am absolutely blown away by the support that I have received from the community. Not only the support for my business, but for my passion to serve others. I know I have posted on my social media all the thank you’s to the everyone who has made this a reality for me and for continued support, but I just have to say it again. Thank you. Thank you to each and every person who has liked, shared, donated, or purchased a session.
Anyway, I woke up this morning with one of ‘those’ feelings. The feeling that God was nudging me to write this. And let me tell you, as I threw around the idea of not writing it, the podcast I was listening to this morning from https://proverbs31.org/ had a whole segment of my favorite bible verse, the one my business is named after, Romans 12:9. If that wasn’t a sign from God to say “Tessa, you need to wear your heart on your sleeve and use your platform for good,” I don’t know what is.
My heart has been so heavy on missions since my trip to Guatemala in 2018. I am constantly looking for ways to become a missionary, find a new mission trip, come up with new ideas to fundraise and just finding the right people to surround myself with to help make this dream a reality. Missions aren’t just sunshine and rainbows. It is hard work. It is heartbreaking. It is continuing to find ways to overcome when you are under complete exhaustion. But they are also full of so much love. I told my husband last night, “Scott, I think I was put on this Earth to do more. I feel like I need to be somewhere other than here. I think God is calling me to do bigger things, like another mission trip.” He looked at me and almost with an annoyed look he said “I know, babe. You talk about this all the time.” I was dumbfounded. Do I really talk about this that much?
I wanted to share the entire chapter of Romans. I prefer the NLT version. (This was taken from https://www.christianity.com/bible/nlt/romans/12#google_vignette)
121 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord . 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Now if you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering, “Tessa, what does this have to do with waking up and feeling like God is telling you to write this.” Well, my gut is telling me that God wanted me to remind everyone to use your gifts. Go back to verse 6 and read from there. If you have a gift, find a way to use it. Small steps forward create large impacts. I also feel that I am being called to remind others the purpose behind my business; to serve others. Now, taking photos may not exactly be serving others directly. However, it’s the indirect results that you may not see that make the biggest impact. I know there are many amazing photographers out there, ones far better than me, and they are worth every penny they charge. But, just know that by trusting me to take your photos, the impact goes so much further than just feeding my family. It’s feeding other families as well. It’s giving them shelter. It’s creating life changing experiences for our youth. It’s so much more than just getting your family photos taken.
So how has July 2023 been a turning point? It has shown me that this business can flourish for the good. For my life, this turning point has provided me with the time to be still and listen. I believe I am being called on my next mission. Missions don’t just happen overnight. They take a lot of time planning, fundraising, and prayer.
I just want to bless everyone who took the time to read this. Even if you are a nonbeliever, I hope you can find light through this post and I encourage you to use your platforms for good. I pray for protection and good health for you and your families.
~ May the Lord bless you and keep you and may his face shine upon you.