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With the start of my Fall semester tomorrow (!!!), I’ve been doing some thinking. This summer has been incredible! I was able to throw myself into photography full time, and between weddings and portrait sessions, I traveled to 5 countries, 10 states, and rode on 16 flights to get me everywhere. I saw Prince William, Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Swift, Def Leppard, and Journey with my own eyes, and I’ve done everything from sailing off the coast of Maine to riding around in a double-decker sightseeing bus in the busy streets of London. It’s so easy for me to look back on all the fun and amazing experiences I’ve been blessed to have this summer and be a little bummed about going back to school. After all, law school is anything but easy. And with family and friends back home, it can seem a little daunting to be going back to a place where I won’t be able to see them as much. There is so much new happening, and while it is exciting, it’s going to be a lot of work, and I know I can’t possibly be alone when I say I’m a little overwhelmed at the thought of the start of another school year. So I thought I’d share a little of my heart and hopefully some encouragement with you today along with Sam’s senior graduation photos. You might remember his senior portraits from this past year. He was a pleasure to work with, so I was excited to capture his actual post-graduation photos this past week!
God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.
Whatever mountain you’re facing, whether it’s back to school or something else, God hasn’t called you to it because you are perfect or self-sufficient in your own right. Did you get that? He hasn’t called you because you’re the best or even good at what he’s called you to. Instead he promises to equip you for what he has called you to. He is able to equip you for whatever road lies ahead, but that means full dependence on his strength and not your own. It’s happened before in your life right? He is willing and able to do it again!
The only thing that’s required is faithfulness.
It’s nice to have things all figured out. Trust me, I am the planning queen. Having my ducks in a row helps me feel safe, but it’s a false sense of security. Ultimately, we don’t know what the future will bring. We never can approach anything in this world with 100% certainty apart from God’s love for us and His word. While that seems a little scary and more reason to be anxious, it’s actually so freeing! We don’t have to get it all perfect. There is so much room for mistakes and grace. The only thing we must do is be faithful. We must follow what his word has revealed to us to do, and the rest requires faithfulness. A day-by-day surrendering to his will and an open hand to follow where he leads. Living like that might be unnerving for someone who loves control and thrives off it (like me :)), but it also sounds incredibly unique. No two days will be the same when you follow the Lord’s leading.
In light of eternity, this matters because…
My favorite teacher in elementary school used to respond to us in class when we brought a pointless issue up to her by posing this question: “In the light of eternity, this matters because?” She was teasing us mostly but with a little bit of truth. And it’s always stuck with me. And whenever I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances or I make a big deal of something in my mind and cause unnecessary or irrational grief, this saying always comes back to me. My law school GPA isn’t going to matter in heaven. The amount of times I was able to give an amazing answer when cold-called in class won’t matter either. The Netflix show I binged watched to take the stress away also won’t matter. What will matter is how I use my talents to further God’s kingdom here on earth and how I’ve impacted others for Him as well. Doing my best, taking care of myself because I am His, and reaching out to others is what truly matters. And keeping eternity in the front of my mind helps put that into perspective.
So, whatever it is. Whether you’re off to your first day of high school, college, grad school, law school, med school, or a new job, I wish you the best! It’s going to be a great year. You’ve got this!!

Posted in: Uncategorized

August 19, 2018

Sam | Clemson, SC | Clemson University Senior

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Nichole Lauren is a photographer & business coach in Greenville, SC & available for travel worldwide.

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photography + Education