Twenty-one, here we go.
For many years, twenty-one has been the holy grail of ages. Not because I'm really that excited about the actual day of my birthday or going out and partying, but it always symbolized for me a level of adulthood. I definitely thought I'd be graduated from college by this point (ha). It was the point where I thought I'd be old enough to be married (haha). But above all the last few years, it was the age where I'd finally be allowed into a strip club so that I could be a part of reaching out to women in the sex industry and showing them love + kindness.
It's a funny dream, but I'm used to it at this point.
Here I am at the brink of turning 21 next week, pioneering a new ministry to women in the sex industry, running a photography business, and finishing up my last semester in college with a full-time nonprofit internship. Sometimes I have to remind myself just how wild that actually is.
There's a deep peace about the weirdness of life right now - about dreaming without timelines and not really knowing what's beyond a certain point. I have a commitment to pour heart and soul into starting Well Water Fargo while knowing God could call me away from it in the future. Despite loose plans and scattered dreams, I book weddings and make promises to shake it on dance floors over a year in advance.
This is a space that I'm learning to own and even to champion.
Every year I have some theme to what God is teaching me and what I'm seeking after.
(Truly, I'm horribly sentimental.) Last year it was rest. God spoke so much into Twenty that was on learning how to slow down and dig deep. Despite the growing pains of transition seasons, I truly saw God fulfill promises in crazy ways. I saw myself grow in intimacy with the Father and my friends. I saw the Holy Spirit encounter people in living rooms and over cups of coffee. I saw myself sit with my pain long enough to move past it into healing. I saw the Fruit of the Spirit provide substance to my dreams as God repackaged them. My grades were better than ever before. My overall health was better. My business grew. My complicated relationship with church was the best it's been since I was 8 years old. Truly, this was a year of waiting and it was a year that was worth it.
While I was in Las Vegas last week, I was asking God for lots of direction for this next year. The reason I traveled back to the city was to finish what I started - to hear from God in a way that is unique to Vegas. One day, I was adventuring solo through the arts district in downtown LV and was just completely being blown away by the beauty and creativity that is unleashed in the limitless city. Where so often I see the brokenness and destruction, God was showing me part of His heart that's freedom.
I was trying on clothes at a cute hipster thrift shop (SO MANY OVERALLS) and I heard God speak so clearly to me what this year was going to be about. "You are going to learn what it means to be a woman and an artist."
Those are pretty huge things for me. Both are positions that I've never felt fully comfortable within and are riddled with insecurities. Growing up, I've always had a "why can't I do what boys do?" attitude and resented many of the gender roles placed on me by Christian culture. Only in the last year have I started to see what it's like to lead like a mother and the power it possesses. As an artist, I've hesitated to claim the title because of comparison. I'm not dark and moody. I'm not hipster perfection on instagram. I don't do a certain art form so I'm less of an artist. Those are lies I've believe and I'm only at the beginning of honing my voice with confidence as an artist.
I'm approaching this year with excitement and expectation, even as I have no clue what it's really going to look like. As of January 1st, my only commitment to anything is once a month outreach with Well Water. Other than that, I have no clue - hopefully some traveling (more humanitarian photography opportunities???? please and thank you???) but honestly, my mind doesn't yet comprehend the concept of being done with school. Somehow in the journey of being twenty-one, fully an adult but still so new to it all, I'm trusting that my confidence as a woman and as an artist will blossom into something really strong and beautiful.
I want to blossom into someone really strong and beautiful.
I want to create powerful, impactful, joyful, and soulful art.
I want to laugh at the days to come.
I want to slay twenty-one.
HEY! If you want to help me celebrate my birthday... I could use some help with my Rwanda trip that's coming up in August! HERE is a list of things I need for travel if you want to help me out. Just let me know if you bought anything because Amazon keeps in anonymous and I want to send a huge thank you (or hug you if you're local).