A Greater Plan | Living with Purpose
Being self employed comes with many incredible advantages but there's also more stress in some regard with keeping a company moving forward and money in the bank so you get paid! While not reporting to a boss, advisor or team is great it also means that work doesn't really end at 5 or 6pm (though I have gotten better with establishing boundaries). It means vacation means still making yourself available for clients in the case of an un-forseen emergency. It's like being on call but not being required to have to come back into the office.
Having your livelihood dependant on bookings, weddings, shoots, etc. Can be exceptionally stressful when the calendar doesn't fill up the way you think it should. When dates don't book like they have in previous years it can easily cause me to start questioning what I'm doing wrong or what's changed...
Truth be told this year was one of those years- I came into January with record LOWs for dates booked. Then over the course of the first quarter things slowly picked up but my Spring and early Summer remained largely wide open. This has never happened before.
In the past 5 years I've always had a love-hate relationship with May. I love it because the weather is warm, the sun shines, everything is green and it's not blazing hot yet. I hate it because it's always been one of the busiest months. Typically I'll do 4-6 weddings in this month ALONE.
But then came 2016.
I booked ONE wedding for May. Yep- only one! It was frustrating! I wondered why. I had plenty of inquiries but I just couldn't land any jobs. I couldn't understand why.. But rather than start offering great incentives (read DEALS) and offering the same work for less money... I prayed. I trusted that if May wasn't booking there would be purpose in it. These weekends would be free for a reason- though at the time it was so hard to understand.
Fast forward to now: This week has been long. It's been stressful. My youngest niece (that has SMA) had surgery. What should have been a "routine" surgery for most kids landed her in the PICU with 48 hours that were intense. She struggled. She fought for life. She had a couple of episodes that were flat SCARY and we hope to never have to see or experience again but by God's grace she's still here.
While driving to Children's today I realized if this were my typical May- there's no way I could have been here to help my sister and spend time with my precious niece. I would have been buried in wedding images, editing, building timelines, uploading files, etc. It would have been MERELY IMPOSSIBLE for me to be here. To love on her. To rub her belly and hold her hand. To read her stories and see her smile. It would have pained me more to be stuck behind a computer working and stressing over that knowing I'm not able to be here.. It's been hard but oh my goodness... How much more stressful it could have been.
There's always a reason. There's always purpose in the way my schedule fills. In the couples whose wedding days I share in.. Iknow this without a doubt.
Wanna know why?
- 12 months and 2 weeks ago I was anxiously anticipating this same sister and her family coming to visit us in Atlanta for the first time!
- 12 months and 2 weeks ago I knew they were moving but their plans were to live in Texas or possibly just East of the Mississippi.
- 12 months and 2 weeks ago there wasn't a single listing for a ranch and property online for them to consider that would be anywhere near me.
See where I'm going with this...
I typically book weddings for the busy months 10-14 months in advance. For May and October it's usually closer 12-14 months out. Those dates go first and they go FAST.
- 12 months ago I didn't know my husband's grandfather's cancer would progress and stop responding to treatments.
- 12 months ago I didn't know I'd be an aunt who'd grow exceptionally attached to her little niece... the same niece that would spend days and weeks in the PICU 10 minutes from her house.
So if you'd ask me today how I feel about having only 1 wedding to worry about in May...
I'd tell you I'm exceptionally blessed. I'm relieved. Now I see God's plan for my lighter load in May.
My sister came to visit with her entire family 12 months ago this Memorial Day weekend. It was that weekend (the property they purchased) was listed online... It wasn't the first place they put an offer on but it was the first one that would be accepted!
Oh friends- how thankful I am that I didn't bend and break down under the stress of feeling like I HAD to book weddings in May! How thankful and exceptionally grateful I've been to have these weekends off- spending time with family or sitting here in the PICU serving my sweet niece.
The past two weekends I've been wedding free it allowed me to travel WITH my husband to spend time at an 80th birthday celebration for his grandfather and then gave us a weekend to spend at their farm in Tennessee. Memories and time I wouldn't trade for the world! It's been incredible to be able to be part of these moments and memories rather than being pulled in different directions and left behind.
I'm beyond thankful for the couples and families I've come to know and that I will celebrate with in the months ahead. They're truly not only clients but have become family and friends. Friends that care not just about me but support, pray for and ask about my sweet nieces and nephews and are more than understanding when the need arises for me to take time to be with them.
In the midst of storms it's the hardest to see ahead. It's like driving down a freeway (life moves about that fast right!?) and running into a monsoon storm. You can't see a thing and it can be stressful (what if I hit someone ahead of me, what if the person behind us won't see until it's too late..) Stress and worry can so easily become all consuming.
It works that way with business, family, work, friends, etc.
"Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."
My plans would have been have a heavy work schedule for April, May and June. How thankful I am that His plans prevailed and I laid my ideas, goals and ambitions aside.
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." Prov. 16:9
The memories and moments I would have missed out on couldn't be traded for the world.
Sweet baby- there will always be time for snuggles at your request.. Life is short and I promise to never take these snuggles for granted.