2022. Gosh, I don’t even know where to start with recapping this year. To be honest, I couldn’t really recap it if I tried. So instead, I’m taking more of a “lessons I’ve learned in business & faith” approach to this shin-dig. I’m sharing the hardest, *yet most beautiful* lessons I’ve learned from the toughest year of my life thus far.
Storm after storm hit my entire family this past year. Sometimes it felt (and still feels) as if we can’t catch our breath. Regardless, we’re still standing and contending for mighty miracles and moves of God.
But this has definitely been the hardest year, in almost every way. So many things have come up that have made running my business a LOT harder. And that’s life sometimes, right? (Moving 6 times in 7 years will kinda do that.)
As hard as this year has been, it’s also been a year of INTENSE growth.
Jesus has stretched my faith muscles far beyond what I ever thought was possible. And yet He has been so, so good to me in the process. I find myself crying regularly over His faithfulness, His kindness, and His love. There are simply no words for the gratitude I have for His leading in my life, and for His voice guiding me.
Today, we’re diving into the lessons I’ve learned in my business and faith in 2022. 🤍
There’s no way of denying it – 2022 has been a desert year. A wilderness season. A fiery furnace of affliction.
If I’m being honest, I could actually say that 2022 has been the worst year of my life, thus far. But as I try to let those words roll off my tongue… I almost can’t. Because in the very same breath, it’s been the absolute best year of my life. And it doesn’t make any sense in the natural.
Seriously… how could that be…?
God wasn’t lying when He said He would bring beauty out of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)
I’ve grown in my relationship with Jesus more this year than I ever have. (And I thought I was already in pretty deep, ya’ll.)
I’m hearing the voice of God clearer than I ever knew possible. He is speaking to me in so many ways. He’s speaking through his Word, trusted prophetic voices (both friends and strangers,) dreams, numbers, and creation. Enough wild things have actually happened this year that I could write a literal novel, (and probably will one day – but that’s a story for another time.)
The veil between heaven and earth in my life is the thinnest it’s ever been. I’m so close to Jesus.
However, when I tried to sit down to reflect on the year, (so that I could plan for 2023,) I didn’t really know where to start.
Honestly, I felt like that meme of the dog that’s saying, “I’m fine. This is fine,” meanwhile, everything around it is on fire. 🤣 I just didn’t know what to say. All I really knew was that how 2022 played out was not at ALL how I imagined it to… and I just wanted 2023 to be different.
2022 In Review:
I’ve always been in the camp of having (or trying to have,) all of my business goals and plans prepared by early/mid December for the upcoming year.
Typically, I dedicate the first week of December to reflecting on the previous year, and setting my business/personal goals and intentions for the next year. (I do both Shanna Skidmore’s: My Blueprint Year” planning system, and KT Merry’s new year planning workshop – if anyone’s interested!)
However, due to a ton of unexpected life situations arising, I wasn’t able to really dig into the planning process until later in Dec. But I finally carved out the space to make it happen.
As I was going through the process, one of the exercises was to rate, on a scale of 1-10, how fulfilled you felt in each area of your life.
The categories were:
- Business / Professionally
- Physical / Health
- Personal Growth
As I went through each area, I realized my ratings weren’t near as high as I’d hoped they’d be by the end of 2022. (But I guess that’s to be expected when you’ve had a super hard year.)
My highest rating was spiritual life, with personal growth and joy a close second, then family/friends right behind it. And then the rest followed.
And I guess that makes sense when you’re in the middle of a storm… that you’d draw near to God first for comfort, protection, provision, and joy; and then you’d lean in to your community, (family, church, friends, etc.)
Although 2022 looked very, very different than what I’d imagined… it didn’t throw Jesus off one bit. He knew exactly what would unfold, and how, and He knew how to get me where He wanted me.
God had plans for me, and He grew me in the midst of the hardest circumstances. He allowed me to flourish in the desert, just as He promised.
But even though I had that revelation, I still wasn’t happy with my ratings in the other areas of my life. After much reflection, I realized why my other areas were so low. (Aside from just trying to survive.)
To be completely honest, I used to be under the impression that you had to pour your ALL into something when you did it.
No, like literally all of you. You couldn’t divert your time, energy, or resources to anything else — because then you wouldn’t accomplish that thing as quickly, (or do it as well.)
I believed that everything else had to take the back burner, because your focus needed to be on that “one thing.”
I’ve just truly always been a 0 to 100 person.
Like if I was going to start working out, I had to do it 5x per week, lift super heavy weight, eat almost the same thing everyday, and track my macros 24/7. That was the only option if I was going to start working on my fitness. (So basically until I could divert that much attention to it, I wasn’t doing it.)
Just walking or working out twice a week wasn’t enough. I had to be the best at it. (I was a competition dancer for 20 years, a cheerleader, a track athlete, and then I did CrossFit… so yeah. That competitive mentality just comes naturally.)
But the thing is, I really wanted my business to be thriving beforehand. So I guess I thought I just had to wait until it was in order to shift my focus to my health/fitness.
But where is that actually biblical, when it comes to stewarding your life or time and resources well…?
I’ll wait. 🤣
My Focus For 2023:
I’m a firm believer that Proverbs 31 serves as a “template” of sorts for us women of God, in which we can structure our lives around.
To put it simply: Proverbs 31 serves as a biblical template for a purposeful life. So let’s read it really quick…
“Who could ever find a wife like this one — she is a woman of strength and mighty valor! She’s full of wealth and wisdom. The price paid for her was greater than many jewels.
Her husband has entrusted his heart to her, for she brings him the rich spoils of victory. All throughout her life she brings him what is good and not evil.
She searches out continually to possess that which is pure and righteous. She delights in the work of her hands. She gives out revelation-truth to feed others.
She is like a trading ship bringing divine supplies from the merchant. Even in the night season she arises and sets food on the table for hungry ones in her house and for others.
She sets her heart upon a field and takes it as her own. She labors there to plant the living vines. She wraps herself in strength, might, and power in all her works.
She tastes and experiences a better substance, and her shining light will not be extinguished, no matter how dark the night.
She stretches out her hands to help the needy and she lays hold of the wheels of government. She is known by her extravagant generosity to the poor, for she always reaches out her hands to those in need.
She is not afraid of tribulation, for all her household is covered in the dual garments of righteousness and grace. Her clothing is beautifully knit together — a purple gown of exquisite linen.
Her husband is famous and admired by all, sitting as the venerable judge of his people. Even her works of righteousness she does for the benefit of her enemies.
Bold power and glorious majesty are wrapped around her as she laughs with joy over the latter days. Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness as loving instruction pours from her lips.
She watches over the ways of her household and meets every need they have.
Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues, and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms. “There are many valiant and noble ones, but you have ascended above them all!”
Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity.
So go ahead and give her the credit that is due, for she has become a radiant woman, and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired at the gateways of every city!”
– Proverbs 31 TPT
WOW. It looks like she was actually doing a LOT, and reaping a harvest from every. single. area.
How did she do it all!? And do it all exceptionally WELL!? Good-ness.
As I was reflecting on the areas I wanted to have grown in last year, I heard the Holy Spirit say in the kindest of ways… “You can’t expect to reap a harvest from seeds you didn’t plant.”
UH OKAY. ALRIGHT THEN.
Cue Taylor Swift’s Anti-Hero, “It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.”
Kidding, kind of.
My highest-rated areas last year were spiritual life and family/friends. And looking back, those are truly the areas He wanted me to pour myself into, and that I needed to reap a harvest from last year.
But now, I can sense Him restructuring the other areas of my life. I can sense a pull to each area, and the small things He’s wanting me to do in each of them.
Jesus let me know that I can actually plant seeds in every area and that He will bring the harvest in each.
So turns out, I don’t have to only focus on one thing at a time. I can delight in the work of my hands… while also taking care of my body… while also serving my church and family and friends. I can do it all… through Christ who enables me to do so.
In the words of my best friend Sam, “We’re only responsible for planting the seeds, it’s God that brings the harvest.”
My Word For The Year:
If you’ve never heard of a “word for the year,” it’s simply a word that sets the overarching tone or theme for what you want to see/feel/become for the year.
I decided to ask God for my word for the year. (I mean, I made all kinds of plans for 2022 and NONE of them happened… so why not go straight to God first, right!?) 🤣
I didn’t get my word immediately. So, I pressed in and I asked the Holy Spirit, “What are you saying to ME this year?” What are you planning to do in my life this year?”
I could feel a theme coming up: recover, restore, rebirth…
But none of those words felt like they were “it.” They may all be a part of the process, but they weren’t the main message He was speaking to me.
And then I heard God speak in that still, small voice to my heart: REBUILD.
God is rebuilding every area in my life.
– From the way I see myself, to my identity in Him and who I believe myself to be, to my confidence, to my temple (my health + body.)
He’s rebuilding relationships with my family/friends, and my marriage.
He’s rebuilding my business.
God is truly rebuilding my entire life on the foundation of Him. He’s taking my dreams and desires and changing them to align with His even further.
I thought all of these areas were already built on the foundation of Him, but He’s showing me that deep truly calls to deep.
I wanted to plan for the next year so badly… but before I could, He needed me to lift my eyes up and see past the rubble and the smoke of the previous year.
He needed to clear the fog for me, and show me the new thing(s) He’s been doing underneath the surface… and boy – did He ever.
The New Thing:
Over the past year, (especially the last couple of months,) I’ve been feeling a major shift. A tension. A transition.
I’ve been feeling something new happening in my personal life, my business, my church, and my circle of family and friends. It’s everywhere.
This “new thing” was (and still is) chasing me down.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19
As I meditated on that verse, I thought about the process of something new being born, or something growing.
It has to start underneath the surface.
Where it’s completely dark, and you can’t “see” anything at all happening.
You have to trust that God is working and bringing the harvest, in due time.
“Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.” – John 12:24
The seed has to die first.
First: death. Then: sprout. Then: multiplication.
Death + growth = multiplication.
(Now, we know in this scripture Jesus is actually referring to Himself. He had to be the ultimate sacrifice to bring in the harvest of souls.)
But He’s been showing me how applicable this is in our daily lives/situations as well.
Sometimes, things have to die before they can be reborn.
The New Wine:
The song that pretty much encompassed last year, (and ironically, the first song on my Spotify playlist I made last year,) was “New Wine” by Brooke Ligertwood.
God has been making “new wine” in every single area of my life.
“And who would pour new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually, the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.” – Mark 2:22
You see, to make wine – grapes must be pressed. It’s the winepress that produces the wine.
In order to get oil – olives must be crushed. The crushing is what produces the oil.
To purify gold – it must go through fire.
It’s only after it’s put through the fire that it’s purified and refined, ready to be used.
To sum it up, it’s truly been a year of being crushed, pressed, and tried by fire.
But the good news is – it’s that very process that produces the oil.
“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 2-4 AMP
The New Oil:
So, what’s so important about oil? Why do we need it…?
“The oil” actually represents anointing. The oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your life, which enables you to do what He’s call to do.
You can’t operate well in your gifts or calling without the anointing.
What you build in your own strength, you’ll have to maintain/sustain in your own strength.
But what you build with God – He will sustain.
There is an enabling grace that comes upon you when you’re walking in the divine, perfect will of God the Father for your life. He anoints you to do the things He’s calling you to do.
I wouldn’t trade any of what’s happened this last year, because, through it — God has produced a costly oil in and through me, that I know is going to change my life (and the lives of many others,) – from here on out.
He’s making beauty out of ashes, and He’ll continue to. (That’s a promise from Him to both me and you!)
The New Birth:
In February of last year, God brought me to this scripture:
“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” – Luke 1:45
In this scripture, Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother,) is actually speaking to Mary (the mother of Jesus.) Elizabeth knows Mary is pregnant with a promise from God, and will soon become physically pregnant by divine means of conception – via the Holy Spirit.
Although this story is about a physical pregnancy… I began to feel as if the Holy Spirit was telling me that it was a Rhema word for the season of life I was in.
If you’ve never heard of the term “Rhema word,” here’s a great definition.
“A Rhema is an inspired Word birthed within your own spirit, a whisper from the Holy Spirit like the still, small voice that spoke to Elijah in the cave. It is a divinely inspired impression upon your soul, a flash of thought or a creative idea from God. It is conceived in your spirit, but birthed into your natural understanding by divine illumination. A true Rhema carries with it a deep inner assurance and witness of the Spirit.” – Bill Hamon
Now, hear me out: the Rhema word of God will never contradict the logos (or written) word of God. Ever. Never.
(I’m also not sitting here and saying that every scripture like this is meant to be specifically applied to your life directly.)
Context is VERY important.
But there are times in your life when the Holy Spirit himself BREATHES on a particular scripture, and it’s revealed to you in a new light. The Holy Spirit within you will bear witness with it, and you know that you know He is speaking it to you. You will know that it’s for you, for the season you’re in.
And that specific scripture jumped out at me.
I believed that the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was pregnant, but with a promise. It was a spiritual pregnancy.
About halfway through the year, He then highlighted this scripture to me:
“Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God.” – Isaiah 66:9
Again, I thought… “Okay God, are you really saying what I think you’re saying…?”
I didn’t tell anyone what I’d been thinking.
Instead, I asked the Lord that if He was really saying this to me, that He would confirm it to me through three different trusted sources, (pastors, church family, family/friends.)
Then, I waited.
A few days later, God brought a stranger (who just so happened to be a pastor,) to me while I was at a church conference to tell me that I was pregnant with a promise from God, and that I was in my 9th month of labor. They said to PUSH this thing out.
A few weeks after that, my sister had a dream about me that I was about to give birth, and was in my 9th month of labor.
One week after that, my pastor had a dream that I was like Mary, (the mother of Jesus,) and was headed to the stable – about to give birth to a promise.
3 confirmations, all in the span of one month.
YA’LL. I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP.
I couldn’t make the things up that have happened this past year if I tried.
There are a million more wild God stories where this comes from… but I share this to tell you that God is MOVING. He is working. Even when you can’t see it. Even when you can’t feel it.
And He’s not just working in my life, but He’s authoring miracles in yours, too.
There is so, SO much more to this… however, I haven’t been released to speak on it yet.
Just know this: even if you’re walking through the hardest, fieriest trial… or the driest of the desert seasons – God will MEET you there, and He will sustain you. I promise you.
God will provide rivers in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
He will never leave you or forsake you, and He is GOOD ALL THE TIME.
To God be the glory, forever and ever.
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