I have been doing a little something called the 5:19 Photo Project for four years now. You can read all about it here, but if you read this story from last year you’ll also see that it has begun to take on it’s own life. The project itself was born because it decided to run it’s own show, but now? God has continued to shape it year by year, and now it is almost completely different than the original– yet also completely back to it.
The project began when I wanted to throw Jesus and I a wedding. Although it was a pretty pointless idea since He’s already got that covered, I’m realizing that the reason I wanted to do it wasn’t wrong. Planning a wedding for me and Jesus? Yes, super weird and misinformed. But. . . wanting to love Jesus like I always thought I would love my husband? That is not weird. In fact, for sixteen year old Tessa, it was incredible. I had spent so many years (and countless hours daily during those years) seeing my husband as the climax of my life. I thought that once I got married to the person that was 100% perfect for me, everything else was just a piece of the happy ending. I thought finding my husband and marrying him was what I was meant to do with my life.
But I was wrong.
My wedding day will not be the day that sadness dies. I will make mistakes, my husband will make mistakes, and we will have to love each other despite those; we’ll go through some pretty hard things, and not just within our relationship. It’s taken me a long time to understand that my husband isn’t a life goal: he’s a person. I know he will be a wonderful, admirable man whose love will outweigh his flaws, and I seriously can’t wait to know him, but he just doesn’t deserve the titles I gave him when I was younger. We will be two people God wants to team up to live life together, and it will be wondrous– but our marriage will not the climax of all I’ve lived through. In fact, it’ll be just a piece of my journey. I didn’t get that when I was fifteen. It never really clicked that God wouldn’t create me so that I could find my value and joy in another person. The truth is–
He created me because He wanted me.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my life, not even after a year in college. To be honest, that has really been hurting me lately, that Jesus would let me live in uncertainty. But. . . He never said my career was my calling. He was a carpenter, but His calling was to save His bride, and He did both by His Father’s guidance. I don’t know what my career will be, but my calling? He just asks me to love Him and love other people.
The 5:19 Photo Project last year became a day of rejoicing– in the life I have and in the love Jesus and I have for each other. Does that sound a little like a wedding celebration? Jesus calls Himself my husband. I used to think that meant He is the one who fulfills me, but although He is, that isn’t because He’s my husband; my earthly husband cannot do that. Jesus is my husband– the person I’ve become one with. The person I share unconditional love and commitment with, who walks through life with me. And that is reason to rejoice.
All of that was a long-winded way of saying that the 5:19 Photo Project is no longer about waiting for my husband. It’s about love, joy, and purity that can only be found when Jesus is the one I’ve devoted myself to. If you want to do it next year, that old post will still help you figure it out, but throw the rules away; I wore jeans this time. Just have joy in the love you share with Him and try to express it in snapshots. Purity comes from love, I’m learning.
I also hope that if you see your own heart in something I’ve said, you’ll start to look at yourself and see someone who has been called to the highest possible love; to do extraordinary things today, because Jesus is yours today. You have such a deep purpose that spans your entire lifetime, and I never want to you stop dreaming terrifyingly big dreams, acting in insanely brave faith, and loving in absolute pure passion.
Here is this year’s newly born 5:19 Photo Project.