The photo of me on this layout was taken in my black & white film photography class my Sophomore year of college & developed in a dark room by hand. I was just starting to figure out my life trajectory & my passions. I thought I was done finding myself by this point, but I think I had a little more soul-searching to do. This film photography class was a leap of faith in many ways. Until this point, I had been on track for another career path in Spanish translation, but I had a moment at the end of my Freshman year where I realized I was called to something more heartfelt, more creative. This class was completely off the radar & something I had never done before. I spent so much time alone with my thoughts & my heart in the darkroom pouring over images I captured through a viewfinder. With this course, God had something bigger planned as He always does.
If I could go back & give this 19-year-old version of myself advice, It would go something like this:
“Always strive to wear love, darling. Don’t change who you are to fit into the puzzle where someone else thinks you belong. People are going to tell you that you’re too much, too emotional, too over-the-top, but don’t pay them any mind. Just because you think you’re predestined to have a certain life doesn’t mean that’s how it will turn out. Believe me, God has a very different plan for you than what’s in your head now. All you can do is put on some kitty ears, pink sneakers, & nerd glasses & get messy. Get painty. Experiment with your art. Try new things. Learn all you can. If you fall asleep at night thinking of something & wake up still thinking about it, that’s God whispering to you. That’s how you should be spending your life. It’s called passion. It’s going to scare people & put people off & you’re going to fall & scrape your knees a few times. But while you’re on your knees, say a prayer of gratitude, get back up, & do it again. But above all, wear love. Wear it proud, wear it loud, & wear it out.”
I’m a firm believer in following God’s plan. It’s hard not to resist it sometimes because we think we know better. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us:
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”
That verse is packed with truth & poetry & beauty. Something we absolutely know for certain as Christians is that God is our Counselor. He knew that the derailment of my career path was merely a stepping stone to the career & the woman of faith I am today. I encourage you to find an old photo of yourself & look back to the path the Lord was paving for you. My path diverged in a darkroom over a tray of developing photos. Yours will be different. But look back, & write the old you some advice knowing what you know now. Tell them of all the wonderful things you’ve learned from God & the blessings they can prepare for. Give the old you something to strive for. And tell them to always wear love.
addtional supplies: Bella Blvd Clear Cuts in woodgrain | Dear Lizzy Documentary patterned paper pad | Simple Stories epoxy clip | pink thread | fun foam | manilla shipping tag | black & white baker’s twine | stapler