It all started with a vision. Literally. One of something in my head that I thought I created and would just be a passing thought. Then one of something in what seemed like a daytime dream. Yes, I was day dreaming. I always day-dream. I dream either about the next shoot I want to do, an idea I have, or about the beach. This day dream was exciting, different, …. And very real. Like I said, I thought this was just me being my normal self and having a hard time focusing on the task at hand (it happens a lot) I didn’t realize that God was trying to tell me something. He was using my imagination, wants, goals, talent, and what is apparently mild ADD (that seems like a curse at times but as I see here, it’s not always. Which by the way, doctors tried to medicate me but we wont go into why I refused and decided to try to just control with diet and prayer…. Personal decision. ANYWAY. Back to the story.) ….to show me a vision.
A vision of something very near and dear to me. Purity. More than that, how God sees us as pure and how we can choose to walk in that vision and path and identity He has for us.
As a girl (and now), I loved all things girly. Most of the time at least. I was (trying to) playing sports, picking up frogs (Like most princess stories even kissed them) and riding bikes. But when I think about girly things I think of princess movies. (Cinderella, Enchanted, Pride and Prejudice) I somehow correlate that with flawless. They always were so pretty. The gowns and jewels and all. Men chasing after them, running into them, sweeping them off their feet. Naive and young, I thought they were perfect. Their stories all different but the end story the same. They get the prince and live happily ever after (sigh. Another good movie. Drew Barry Moore. Love her.) Now, place God in the prince role.
There’s my vision. How many of us let God chase after us, let Him love us with no reservation, whisper sweet things to us, and make us feel like a princess? Don’t stop reading guys. This is for you too. We need more like you to be a man after God’s own heart. We need you to treat us like princesses, because not all men do. (Insert happy sigh here as I am blessed with one) We need you to appreciate our purity. Am I making sense yet? So, with that said, I do believe that we need to think in terms of how God sees us, then in turn living out that purity. It’s hard in today’s world. It’s outspoken even. Now, bring in the real life princess. Olivia. When God gave me this vision, someone had red hair. No clue who it was. Until one Sunday, a familiar face caught my eye during a meeting. She probably thought I was weird for staring at her. Ha! She knew me, but we didn’t talk much before the shoot, mostly because im an introvert until you get to know me. I smiled at her, thinking “she’s a sweet girl. So beautiful!”
A few days later it hit me. I reached out to Olivia and told her I wanted help in a project. That I’d love to photograph her. I had reservations. I wanted this project to be different, but also knew to some it would look like just another “bridal shoot”. I wanted to showcase my work, of course, but I also wanted this to be something more than that. I prayed about it. I shared with Olivia my vision and goal for this shoot. I wanted to give a visual representation of the Bride of Christ. I am a big believer in the right timing. Her age and beliefs helped the planning of this shoot. I didn’t want to take away from a future wedding day and for her to look like a traditional bride. (She’s in high school, and I think it’s awkward to pose as a bride and groom before the real time. Just a personal opinion.) So with my “enchanted” theme, I tried to find a gown to fit that description perfectly. Something “with puffed sleeves!” as Anne of Green Gables would say. Something to make her feel like a princess. She was completely on board with my vision. I told her I admired her love for God. Her purity and joy shines so bright. I also wanted her to see herself as I (but most importantly God) sees her. Like I want all girls (all people) to see themselves.
I’ll admit, struggled with sharing this. The opinions of others, if something thought it was silly, or disagreed. I asked God to make me brave. He took away the fears of what others may think. I knew this was God lead and that if I am building up others, walking in love, and have confirmation, why be afraid? What am I doing if it is not of eternal value? How am I using my talents? How am I spreading joy? God’s been showing me a lot of what the future of Joy Wildflower Photography looks like. I know from the beginning, even in my doubts, short comings, learning curves, tears, and what sometimes seemed like I was not moving forward at all, He has shown me how I am different. I don’t want to just do something on the whim, be mediocre, or live a day thinking this is all my talent and my work. It’s not. It’s His. I’m young (ish). Im stubborn. I don’t stop until I know im exactly where I need to be. Which is why im ever-growing. It’s one reason why I love what I do. Yes, it helps pay the bills. But the passion and goal is greater. It’s not always easy. Its sore muscles, lots of shooting and editing, hard work, pushing past some negative thoughts in my head, sweat, and sometimes tears. But this is my calling. This is Joy. This is the heart of Joy Wildflower.
So here is my modern-day, visual interpretation of how I think God sees us. All while showcasing some of the other talented vendors I love. We worked hard to make this happen! I couldn’t have done it without you. I am so thankful for all listed here and your help in bringing my vision to life. You are all so gifted! I’m so thankful to have made some friends along the way!
You can see all the images at facebook.com/joywildflowerphotography.com
Song of Songs 4:7 – “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Venue: The Bleak House
Gown and earrings: Lillian Ruth Bride by Wedding Wonderland
Hair: Reflections By Christina
Makeup artist: The Skin & Lash Lab/Lindsay Conroy
Bouquet: Thistle and Lace Events
Mustard chair and candlesticks: Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals
Copper Jewelry: New Eve Jewelry
Planning and coordinating: Always Yours Occasion
Photography: Hannah and Jordan Brown, with Joy Wildflower Photography