Hey, y’all! I’m Nicole I blog over at bloom. It’s crazy to say that I’ve been a blogger for going on four years now, but I firmly believe that my time here on the internet has been absolutely ordained by God. I love that even the “small things” aren’t small to the Lord. If I would have know four years ago how He would use this blog, the friendships I would form, and the passion I would have... I would have run. I probably would have stopped, if I’b being completely honest. But, let’s back up.
My husband, Ty, and me from our first anniversary shoot by Jon Sharman Photography
Hi, I’m Nicole. I thought I had my life all figured out and tied with a pretty bow. I thought I knew exactly what God would have me do and I knew exactly when He would want me to do it. I would go to college and get my elementary education degree. I would graduate and get married. I would teach little babies for all my life while raising my own. I would do the same thing, everyday, for the rest of my life and I would love it. You see, I have always been predictable. In the box. I knew when I was 8 years old that I would be a teacher and nothing else. So I grew up, went to college, and went to school for just that. Meanwhile, I was obsessed with having a camera in my hand. From a young high school age, I always had a camera in my hand and it was the summer of 2008 when I bought my first DSLR off of Ebay. I was obsessed. I started following wedding photography blogs and pouring over hundreds of photos a day. My freshmen year of college I started following the photographers that would be our wedding photographers 4 years later. As much as I loved having a camera in my hand, I knew that wasn’t “real life”. I couldn’t actually pursue anything like that. Not me! That’s not safe!
The further I got in my program and the closer I got to graduation, something didn’t feel right. By the time graduation came and I had a degree in elementary education... I knew I wouldn’t use it for the rest of my life like I had planned. All of a sudden, the Lord seemed to drop videography out of the sky and into the newlywed Cole home. It came out of left field. It happened without us even thinking about it, really. Like God was going to do it whether we decided to go along with it or not. Now, we’re full on wedding videographers with our company, 314 Productions. Ty still has his day job, and I will now step down from being a teacher to working at my school as a librarian. This is absolutely not the life I had all figured out and tied with a pretty bow.
What does it mean to be you, bravely? What a question. I’ve never thought of myself as brave. I’ve never really gone out on a limb or been adventurous or done something wild. But, God has changed that oh, so much. Now, I know that to be brave doesn’t mean that I don’t count the costs or think things through. Being brave means that I trust the Lord’s plans even when I don’t understand them. Being brave is trusting the Lord with my dreams and passions and allowing Him to use them in my life for His glory. Being brave is embracing dreams that are His. Friends, being brave is such a sweet thing when you do it with the Lord. There have been days and weeks when I’ve tried to do it all on my own. Then the Lord reminds me that this isn’t mine. Everything that I have came from Him and it is for Him. I’m not here to brag about my bravery or to have you proud of my accomplishments. I am here to tell you to trust in the Lord and do His will. Even if you don’t know how it will end up.
If I could have a heart to heart with a younger version of myself, I would probably make her cry. I would give her a big hug and tell her to stop making God so small. Stop stuffing Him in a box. I would tell her that she needs to trust. Trust big. This week I am encouraged by how the Lord still loves me and pursues me through my failures. Believe me, I have seen my failures and my sinfulness more since starting this business than ever before. Jesus is so good and so loving yet so challenging, too. So thankful that He doesn’t just leave us where we are. He pushes us on, He pushes us closer to Him.
I am so thankful for sweet Bailey and the way I see her following the Lord’s will for her so boldly. I know it doesn’t come without fear or struggle, but I am so encouraged by her willingness. Y’all have a good one here at Brave Love. :) Thanks for having me, friends. Be you, trust the Lord, do His will... bravely.
Isn't she spectacular? Thanks so much for sharing, Nicole! Enjoy your summer and I cannot wait to see more of 314's videos. Let's go check them out, shall we?