… And it doesn’t even include any pictures.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the creation of this business, and we get asked questions about it all the time. This is one post (or it might even become more than that) that I’ve been wanting to write for a very long time. I have felt a leading from God to share this story, but have been too overwhelmed to be obedient. Today that all changes. I am trusting in Him to glorify Himself.
Here’s the short version for those of you hoping to save time: there is no earthly reason why 1000 Words Photography by Nicole Wilke should exist. It is only by God’s guidance and vision that we do what we do. The purpose of this post is to share that with you.
End short version.
For the rest of you, here are some details:
I never wanted to be a photographer. I hesitate to even say that, as I know this is a dream job for some and I don’t want to seem ungrateful. However, I want to be completely honest in the hopes that my moving out of the way will give more glory to God. He is always shocking and stretching me with some new idea or plan, but this one was pretty extreme.
In 2010, while we were still overseas, I received a generous scholarship and stipend to a wonderful doctorate program, to begin in the fall. I was blessed that they accepted me, and so excited to start, but God soon made it clear in my prayer times that it was not His will for me to go there. He had a different plan. His plan happened to be more complex and harder and significantly less financially lucrative, but we definitely wanted to trust and follow him. (Well, most of the time. I would be lying if I said there weren’t times I questioned whether we were making the right decision, but ultimately we knew we wanted to be obedient.)
I was overwhelmed by this new plan, primarily because it would involve paying out money rather than being paid. We were missionaries, with little money and some student loans to pay back. I spent a lot of time sitting and listening to God, saying “How are we going to do this?” And one day I sensed Him saying:
“Umm, I beg your pardon?”
Yep, I had heard right.
I was surprised, to say the least. Although I had worked in a photo studio, I had never been a photographer. I had never even taken a single class! The only way this girl was ever going to be a photographer was with some MASSIVE divine intervention. If I was going to run a photography business, it was going to take a miracle.
A whole lot of things just fell into place, none of which I can take credit for. By the time we had returned to the U.S., I had already booked a wedding. Other than a couple of wedding expos, we have never advertised. It is a prayer of ours that God would bring the clients to us with whom He wills us to work, and we have been so blessed by them. I am convinced they don’t find us by accident. He has provided the right support, equipment, mentors, and ideas all along the way. What began as just a job to pay for school has turned into an adventure that God is using in lots of ways. I graduate this May, but will continue with 1000 Words as my full-time job for the foreseeable future. God is making it clear that he has some exciting plans in mind, and I don’t want to get in the way of them.
I want to make something abundantly clear: I am sharing this story to publicly give glory to God. I have been afraid to share thus far, thinking that maybe my skills aren’t to the level that they would adequately glorify God and a host of other worries. I used to try to hide (by omission) the fact that I don’t have a photography degree. But really, that’s pride speaking; this is God’s story, not mine, and who am I to prevent Him from telling it? I am not sharing this to try to pretend I am extra-special or something; rather, I am hoping that you will see how average and non-special I am, and that it is totally Jesus that makes this company work.
For every photo of ours that you appreciate, and every moment captured that moves you, know that there is more behind it than us. We pray that our work will be a blessing to you, and a reminder of God’s gifts to us in this life.