Happy New Year loves! Can you guys believe it is 2018 already? 🗓 Am I the only one who feels like this past year flew by? ⏳ I, like everyone else on the planet, use the new year as a clean slate and always make new years resolutions. And like most I never quite hit the mark lol. But there is one resolution I started 2 years ago that works for me. It might sound kind of weird but at the start of the year I give the year a title. 📚 I literally write down what I want the year to be about. I know this might seem easier to do once the year is over and you can look back over it but I truly believe that the things we declare and have faith enough to ask God for, God will freely give to us. Don't believe me? Go read Mark 11:23 & 24. This is my way of picking an area of my life I want to grow in or work on. And I believe it is so important to speak things into existence. 🗣
Let me give ya'll an example. The first year I decided to just pick something I simply wanted to do more of. This was my way of testing God to see what he would do if when I did what the scripture said. (Mark 11:24 'Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it , and it will be yours.') So I declared that 2016 was my Year of Travel. I have always loved visiting new places, both inside and outside the U.S. It's amazing to experience and explore new places, learn about their cultures, and meet new people. But unfortunately I went through so much in 2014 and 2015 I was not able to go much of anywhere. As much as I wanted to just pick up and go, my finances and my situation wouldn't allow for it. But it was for my own good. God needed me to sit still for awhile so he could heel me. By the beginning 2016 I had learned so much about God and I decided to it was time to practice what I had learned. I really wanted to get back to traveling but I did not know how because money was tight. Honestly I was just beginning to pick up the pieces of my life but I was determined to not let those things make me doubt Gods power. I just trusted God to deliver. And he most certainly did. At the end of the year I totaled up all my flights. Can you believe that I was on a plane at least once every month of the 2016? 🛩 I counted 17 flights in total. I do not believe this is a coincidence. I have never been on that many trips in a year. Some were for work and some were for fun. From Texas 🌵 and Utah 🌄 to L.A. 🌞 and Hawaii 🌺. And looking back I still don't know how it all happened because I did not have a lot of money. But that just goes to show you how awesome God is!
So now that I saw firsthand that God delivers on his promises, I declared 2017 was my Year of Faith. Faith is something I think we all struggle with. Trusting God to take care of things when we have no idea when, where or how it will happen. But to date have you ever seen God drop the ball? Yea me neither. So I decided I was going to step out on faith and give God the areas of my life that I tend to hold back. For me that was my finances 💰, my career 📸, my relationship 👫 and most terrifying of all my testimony. These are the areas I have asked God to bless but I wanted the blessing without me having to change anything on my end. But God has shown me time and time again that blessings come when we have faith enough to receive them. And faith is an ACTION not just a word. Every scripture I read on faith speaks about WALKING in faith not just talking about it. That means you have to do something in order to show God you believe he will come through for you. I walked into 2017 with no money. I purposely paid off a bill to get rid of my little bit of savings. So when I say no money I mean I had like $50 in my checking account and $0 in my savings. But even though I had no money I decided to quit my side job. Ever since I started Janelle Jaqueline Photography 6 years ago I always had at least a part-time job. I actually worked full-time the first 3.5 years but in 2017 I finally decided it was time to focus completely on Photography. No more plan B. I also decided that because my income was going to be lower I would give up my car to keep my expenses down. 🚙 This one was tough because ever since my sophomore year in college (10 years ago) I have always had a car and could freely come and go as I pleased. But not anymore. 😫 I was currently in a year long, long distance relationship where my then boyfriend was living on the East coast while I was in Chicago. We were spending a fortune going back and forth to see each other. 🛬 🛫 I loved him but I wanted to make sure this was the relationship God wanted me to be in. No more mistakes in this area. 🙅🏾♀️ And the last thing I had to give to God was my fear to share my story. 😰 I had finally gotten through the hardest experience of my life but I was scared to tell anyone about it. I was still kind of embarrassed and didn't know if anyone cared what I had to say. But I decided obedience had to trump fear. So I gave God every single thing I just mentioned. And guess what ya'll! He delivered in EVERY SINGLE AREA!
2017 was the best year I have ever had in business for myself. I really got to take time and figure out my goals and the direction I wanted to go in. I forced myself to create the kind of work I aspire to do. Janelle Jaqueline Photography 📸 is really growing. Now I am still not where I want to be but God most definitely provided an increase. Guess what else ya'll. I am leaving 2017 with all my bills paid on time and all my credit card debt PAID OFF! 💳 That in itself is worth shouting about because I told ya'll I started the year by quitting my part-time job which was my only consistent paycheck and only had like $50 to my name. But I always had enough to make it. And even though I was car-less I was able to use my moms old car to get to photo shoots, appointments, etc. Having no car (and consequently no car note) actually freed me up to do more than I could before. Now remember how I wanted God to confirm that my relationship was what he wanted for me. Well we prayed about it constantly. 🙏🏾 We also had serious conversations about the future and what we wanted and it seemed to all line up. So in June, right around my birthday, my boyfriend proposed to me 💍 (it was such an awesome experience) and we got married in October 👰🏾💒🤵🏾 (my biggest blessing of the year). We now live together in Dover, DE. No more long distance. 🙌🏾 And last but certainly not least God gave me the courage to share My Testimony. That was most definitely a scary leap of faith but I did it. I made a video telling my story and shared it online. 👩🏾💻 It is so hard to be transparent about such a painful time in my life. It's like giving people a weapon and trusting them not to hurt you with it. But I am so happy I did! The outpour of support and encouragement was amazing. People I haven't talked to in years were reaching out thanking me and decided to share their own testimonies in hopes to help someone else. I was even interviewed by a blogger for her testimony web-series called Fill. Heal. Restore. I have cried so many tears of joy this year. 😅 I am so grateful not only for Gods blessings but also for him using me to help others.
Although this has been one of the best years of my life I do not want to give off the impression that it was perfect. Life is still going to have it's peaks and valleys. I lost two grandmothers (Love you Grandma Vivian and Grandma Marva). 😢 And I have recently been struggling with moving so far away from my family and friends, etc. But in hindsight I know the good in 2017 outweighed the bad. And even in the midst of the bad God was right there through it all. One thing I learned this year is that God requires us to participate in our own blessings. My participation was my act of faith. If I had I not declared what my year was going to be, asked God for it and participated with faith, I believe I would have had a completely different kind of year. Remember, faith is an action word. We can't just ask God for things and just sit back and wait for them to fall in our laps. My year of Faith was about me taking my faith in God to a new level and God showing me how amazing it is to simply trust him. This is one resolution I am happy I kept. I have already picked out the titled for 2018. I can't wait to see what God has in store!