Click For Hope

My Story

Why I Started Click For Hope

My StoryJasmine LopezComment

I often get asked, "Why did you start Click for Hope? Why do it for free? How do you find your stories?" Well before I can answer those questions, I have to share Sally with you! She was my very first CLICK FOR HOPE story back in 2011 before it ever existed. While at church one day, she shared her story with us and I was so moved by it. This crazy idea came to my head....what would it look like if I partnered with a makeup artist, photographed her, and shared her story on my website?!? So after the gathering, I approached her and shared this idea, in which she said yes! A few months later, she was sitting in my studio and as she was getting makeup done...she just started talking. The more she shared, the more she glistened. She saw her #cancer as a way to start fresh and to restore relationships. At the end of the session, I asked her if she would be willing to take off her head scarf. She paused for a moment, and then softly nodded. I knew this was a moment of freedom for her and I had to capture it in the most authentic way possible. You see she had never publicly showed her bare head. It was an area of insecurity for her. But by the end of the session she had a fearless confidence. I left that day knowing THIS is exactly what I wanted to be doing. That everyone who gets in front of my camera would know their story matters, that they would know they are beautiful, and that they aren't alone!

Why did you start CLICK FOR HOPE?

After Sally's shoot, I continued to focus on my photography business Jazi Photo. But the Lord kept pressing my heart, asking me why do stories mattter. You see, then, Jazi Photo's tag line was, "What will be Your Story," but I wasn't doing anything to actually know my clients on a deeper level. I felt empty as I didn't feel I was living to my fullest potential. I walked through a journey with the Lord searching and gaining understanding on what scripture says about our stories! In which, the Bible says a lot about why our stories matter, but James 5:16-17 stuck out the most to me! As I dug deeper into this verse here's 4 things I discovered:
1. Make it your common practice to confess to one another- We are called to share with one another. There's a vulnerability that comes in sharing pieces of who we are with someone we trust!
2. So we can live together Whole and healed.- God doesn't want for us to walk in brokenness. The more we share, the more we allow Him to make us whole and healed from the inside out!
3. The prayers of a righteous person is powerful...- You guys it doesn't just end at sharing. When we share our struggles, all that we are going through with someone who also loves Jesus, it creates accountability. This person will now check in with you, see how your doing and will also pray for you!!! 4. And effective.- there's power in our prayers. When we pray, it creates opportunities for God to be who He says he is, and then brings it back to being made whole and healed.
Isn't this beautiful?!? I could go on and on about these 2 verses, but I'll do that another day!

Why do I do it for free?
As I studied scripture on the power of our stories, I also quickly learned He has a lot to say about how we run our businesses. I long to live the God Dream versus the American Dream. My bottom line is not what fuels me, but rather living in my purpose and calling! I have seen God move and has always been faithful. The more I focus on CLICK FOR HOPE the more He has blessed the works of my hands and expanded my territory.
Now CLICK FOR HOPE started off as a give back initiative that was connected to Jazi Photo. It allowed my clients to partner with me and for every session/wedding I booked, I'd give one back to someone with an inspiring story. As the years passed by, my heart grew more and more passionate for sharing more stories. In 2015, I built a separate website, and madeCLICK FOR HOPEits own entity, and just recently rebranded it so it can have its own identity. My businesses still give and help support CLICK FOR HOPE which is how I'm able to continue to do it for free.

How do I find the stories?
Believe it or not it's all been through word of mouth. Also social media has been wonderful too! It's been amazing meeting and sharing the stories of those all over the country!
What's been really helpful has been having the topics I want to share ready ahead of time. That way I schedule all the storytellers in one day! We've turned them into these amazing events where makeup artists, stylists and more partner with me in creating a beautiful experience. It's amazing what happens when you gather a group of women who share a similar story.

My name is Jasmine, and I'm a Lopez

Racial Struggles, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine Lopez2 Comments

I recently confessed to my small group that I struggle with being Hispanic. And while some may have not fully understood what I meant or how that could be. I must admit that I felt free.....like a caged bird who had just been released. It has been something I've struggled with my entire life.

You see, I'm a 3rd generation Latino American and I don't speak Spanish fluently. I struggled with learning it as a child and often got confused, so I asked my mom for "English only" (which I regret as an adult), but could totally understand why my little heart would ask for that. I grew up not sure where I fit in. My skin was too tan for white girls and I wasn't "authentic" enough for Hispanics. I also dealt with a constant assumption that Puerto Ricans are the same as Mexicans. There became this distinction that being Puerto Rican was in some way better than being Mexican. So there came a point where I was clarifying how WE ARE NOT THE SAME, all the while denying my very own Mexican heritage.

As an adult I've done everything I could by my own power to prove my worth, and break the negative stereotypes that are often thought of consciously or subconsciously towards someone who is Hispanic. Negative stereotypes such as: when you want to hire a landscaper who is cheap, you hire a Mexican, when you need a mechanic for cheap, you hire a Mexican,....see the pattern here?!? When I first became a portrait and wedding photographer, I began seeing this stereotype be applied to me. Now I admit I could have very well written this story for myself, and allowed something that was not truth to become truth. But the feelings it brought me sucked! Comment after comment, I wondered, "Am I being judged by my last name?" I began to question my own worth as a creative entrepreneur.

The industry also very much so, taught me that I must only show what I want to shoot. That this "type of person" is what is wealthy looked like, which was who could afford me. This marketing strategy left me feeling even more lost and unsure of myself as an artist. Is this what I really dreamed of for my brand?  Did I really want to be that exclusive?!? I'm at a place where I'm now asking, how can I create a brand that is inclusive, and where all economic statuses could have an opportunity to be photographed by me and have beautiful photographs of them while valuing my work and time.

As I opened my heart, and began having conversations with others about my struggles, I'm learning to embrace who I am. I'm in a season where I long to be my TRUE self. The person who God created me to be. I'm still journeying through it all, and dismantling the lies I've believed to be true. I recently went to a women's conference and heard a speaker say, "Your culture is not a curse, it's a blessing," she said, "it's time to start having these hard conversations and stop acting like race doesn't matter. It does matter! And ignoring it doesn't change it."

That spoke volumes to me, and I began to allow the Lord to speak and transform my heart. He began to remind me of His word. How I'm His masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows me by name, and knows the numbers of hair on my head. He is with me and for me.

I began asking myself what's my identity, who is she now at 32yrs old? How does she see herself? And while I'm still very much in the process still of answering all these questions, I do know that I have something to say.

There's only ONE me.

I have a voice.

I was created with a purpose and destiny that only I can fulfill.

Because I HAVE A NAME and it matters!

What have been your cultural and racial struggles? Comment below and share your thoughts with me!!!

My marriage story...

Forgiveness, Marriage, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine LopezComment

It's crazy to think it's been 10yrs of marriage, plus 5yrs of dating. I met Jeremy when I was 17 at his mom's wedding. How I got to his mom's backyard hawaiian themed wedding baffles me, but looking back it's so cool to see how God connects the dots. I had just come back from Israel, which was yet another life changing experience for me. I was staying with a friend for the weekend, and her dad was officiating the wedding. I was a new budding photographer so I carried my camera with me everywhere and before I knew it, I was being handed film and told to photograph the wedding. Talk about pressure!

I vowed to never photograph a wedding again haha! If you know anything about me, I've been a portrait and wedding photographer for the last 7yrs. So I guess it was meant to be.

Anyways back to my marriage story.

We had no positive example of marriage but knew deep down inside that marriage is a covenant never to be broken. What we weren't prepared for was the everyday life of marriage. The constant renewal of "today I chose to be committed and the best version of me." I mean we were in our twenties and barely knew who we were.

For the first 7yrs of marriage I tried everything I could to change him. I thought I could make him better, but when I didn't see results I started blaming and holding resentment towards him. On top of that, all the loss we had experienced: a baby, a house, all of our possessions due to a flood and mold, a failed attempt being self employed, hopeless dreams, our community, our friends it grew weary on us, and I only allowed it to fester and grow us further apart.

Then there was a day, that day we both said we were done. We were tired of the married life, constantly fighting, and unforgiveness was the driving force. Prayer meeting after prayer meeting, I kept hearing that I had to forgive. In order to see change, I had to first be the change. It didn't sound fair, "Why me?" as I had a tantrum with God. It wasn't right. So slowly I began to allow God to soften my heart. Baby step after baby step, I asked God to change my heart. To help me to fall in love with my hubby all over again. For the new person he was. Not for who he was then, or for all the things I charged him with. As I changed, he changed. As I loved more, he loved me more. As I humbled myself, he humbled himself.

We've learned how to fight well, we've set healthy boundaries. We've learned to forgive quickly. To approach each other with curiosity verses assumption. We've learned to reset when old patterns seek to come back.

It hasn't been easy by any means, but I'm now in a season where I'm passionate about wifehood. I don't want to be soley focused on motherhood that I lose my identity as a wife. I desire to learn and seek what it means to be a wife who serves and loves her husband with her whole heart.

Forgiving my dad...

Divorce, Single Mom, Forgiveness, Single Parents, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine LopezComment

I was born into the world rejected by my father, who made a new life with a new family. So all I knew was our little family: my mom, my older brother and me. I don't have many memories of my childhood. If I'm honest, I've suppressed so much of it, that I can only recall a memory here and there, and they aren't all good.

I do remember my mom doing her best trying to juggle it all. She was determined to figure out how to make it work with no assistance from anyone including the government.  A few of my fondest memories together was having a sock fight and making cheesecake for bake sales at church because I always got to lick the spoon with that delicious cream cheese filling. Other than that I don't remember much.

As a teenager, I was very cold, angry, bitter and didn't really know what I believed about "love". In fact "love" was distorted to me. I hadn't seen a positive example of it as well as marriage because all I was surrounded by was divorce. I don't think I realized it then nor could I even communicate that I had daddy issues. I just knew that when he'd come to pick us up I'd find an excuse to not go to his house. I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't care if he ever got to be a part of my life again. I felt he had lost his chance.

Summer of junior year I was reacquainted with a childhood friend. It was through her a series of events happened where I found myself going to a youth retreat. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into, and my motives in going were totally wrong too! But God had a different plan for me. After a fun day full of competitive games and teaching, there was a worship experience that I will never forget. It changed my life forever!

I remember being in a room full of other high school and college aged kids, but somehow the room felt empty with just me and God. I was sitting on the floor in a fetal position and I heard a voice say, "I've missed you!" Tears began to stream down my face, as a LOVE no words could describe consumed my broken heart, and filled the room. I wanted this LOVE. It felt so warm, inviting and perfect.....and all I could say was, "I've missed you too!" As more tears streamed down my face I heard a voice tell me, "If you're going to follow me you're going to have to forgive your father." A simple nod was my response.

That Labor Day weekend was the weekend I decided to surrender my life and follow Jesus. What I didn't know how to do was forgive. My mom worked nights so we had opposite schedules and my brother was off at college, so I began having beautiful moments with Jesus as I studied and read the Word every night on my bed. I was intrigued by the simplicity but yet complexity of who Jesus was. The miracles He performed was something I wanted to see one day. The stories of Paul and how he was redeemed and used to do a amazing things was only evidence for me in how I could have a similar story.

Three months later, my mom called my dad and told him to call me. A part of me felt so betrayed, but knew deep downside she only did what I didn't have the courage to do. Over the phone I began sharing my Jesus story with him, and said, "Dad, I just want to let you know that I forgive you!"

I cried. He cried.

I can't say that instantly we began a relationship and everything was just peachy, but what I can say is that when I said those words, I literally felt bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness and so much more lift off my shoulders. I was instantly a different person. I began to learn what love was according to 1 Corinthians 13. I began to let the walls down that I built up towards my dad, and in turn, other people.

It's now been 16 years since that beautiful exchange took place. My dad has been in my life for as long as he was out of it. To me it was worth walking down the path of forgiveness, not just for our relationship, but for me to become the person I am today. My dad and I have a fully restored relationship. He walked me down the aisle when I got married 10 years ago, he's been at the hospital for the birth of each of my daughters. My girls know their grandpa and love him very much. We talk on the phone about marriage, faith, and life. When I look at my dad, I don't see him as the man that abandoned me... I see him as forgiven. All those feelings of hatred no longer reside in my mind or heart. I live my life free, knowing I'm forgiven and loved by my Heavenly Father.

So I end with this! If there is someone in your life that you need to forgive, my hope is that you would begin to walk down that path. It's not easy, and everyone's forgiveness story is different. What I do know is, when we choose to forgive it frees us up to love. It humanizes your pain. It allows you to feel verses numbing it all away. I pray that you would open your heart! Please feel free to email me at clickforhope@jaziphoto.com if you'd like more information on how I walked through that journey or if you are looking for help/advice on how to forgive someone who hurt or abandoned you.

 

 

 

My Dream

Mobile Studio, Clickforhope, My StoryJasmine LopezComment
“As I’m in transition to do #Clickforhope full time, I’ve caved into the overwhelming emotions of will this, can this really happen?!?”
— Jazi

I've always dreamed of traveling the world and photographing inspiring stories.

I've always dreamed of encouraging others to share their stories.

I've always dreamed of having a mobile studio.

I've always dreamed of doing something greater than myself.

I've always dreamed of giving back and making an impact in the lives of others.

I'm learning that dreams do come true!!!

Can I be honest though?!?

The pretty pictures could convey how easy it was to accomplish this dream, but the journey has been HARD. Getting to where I'm at today has been full of challenges and still is; from the renovations to titling to finding the proper insurances to now finding out what the permitting and licensing regulations are. It's been filled with delay after delay. I've been battling the feelings of failure, scarcity telling me you won't have enough time, money or resources and struggles with comparison just to name a few. As I'm in transition to do #Clickforhope full time, I've caved into the overwhelming emotions of will this, can this really happen?!?

Fear has told me I'm crazy, and that my ideas are crazy. It's told me that there's no way this can work. That I can't give back to this capacity, and share all these stories complimentary.

I may not have all the answers, but I can stand here and say that fear has lost. I've pushed through. I am finding the answers. I am trusting in the sovereignty of God to help provide me with all that I need to sustain and help #Clickforhope continue to do BIG things in my community, in my nation and one day around the world!

So I speak to you my friend. What is that dream that you once dreamt of? I encourage you to press in and cling onto that dream. Make it a reality. It's never to late!!!

Photos by: http://www.jennycrugerphotography.com/

Makeup by: http://www.jacquelinegamache.com/