You may have been following along with me and my work for awhile or maybe this is your very first blog post, but you may be asking yourself: who is Nicole Burns and what is Studio 46:10?
Now, this is blog post and this topic is something I have been contemplating for weeks. And I have been discussing it with my husband, Zach, thinking about it and praying about it.
The reason I have been contemplating it for so long is because I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach this topic of who I am, my story, and how I came about owning Studio 46:10. In reality, it’s very multi-faceted and a life-long story. It’s not something that has happened just in the last year, even though it may seem that way, but it has been a 26-year journey into who I am and how that relates to owning my business.
In addition, Studio 46:10 is founded on what God has done in my life, my testimony, and how He transformed my heart and mind. So, I feel that if I were to leave out my whole story and who I am, it somehow would not capture the entirety of my business, how my business came about, and the purpose of my business.
So, as I was going back and forth about how much I wanted to share and what I wanted to say, I brought it up to Zach. Zach asked me, ‘Nicole, what is your business about?’ and I replied that in the truest sense of it, is to bring God glory. That’s what I want. So he said, ‘Well what would bring God glory more than sharing your story of how He has transformed your life?’
I really took that to heart, because he is so right — what would bring God glory more than sharing who I was before Jesus and who I am now because of Jesus and how me knowing Jesus has changed the entire trajectory of my life, relationships, and career choices. It’s all because of Jesus. So, unless I share who I was before Jesus and how He has impacted my life, the foundations and purpose of my business, Studio 46:10, would not be fully captured.
With that said, I’m going to share my full testimony, how that relates into me owning my business, and why my business is called Studio 46:10. I’m gonna get real and honest, but this is not really about me, it’s about God and His transformative work, so here we go:
Starting from the very beginning of my life…
I was not initially raised in a Christian home. I would occasionally attend church, especially on Christmas and Easter, and knew that Jesus was God’s son and the savior of the world, but I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus nor did I know that it was something to be had. I tried to be a good person, obey my parents, get good grades, but it wasn’t to honor God.
When I was in 4th grade, my mom’s friend invited her to church and we attended. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was bright, loud, and exciting! I felt welcome and invited immediately. I loved going each week to learn more about Jesus and at the age of 10 I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Then, in 6th grade I decided to get baptized. This is when the story really begins.
In 6th grade, I started attending a private Christian school and in this setting, students receive a lot of praise for being kind, good people, getting good grades, and more. And I thrived off this affirmation and praise, which in turn caused me to become a pretty condescending and judgmental person if I didn’t feel that people were living up to my standards. I continued working for and seeking affirmation and praise from others by not doing anything ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, and this continued into high school when I entered back into public school.
By this point, I was not only judgmental and condescending, but I had become a perfectionist and very controlling over my life and its outcomes. I made perfect grades, had all the right friends, didn’t party or drink — so on the outside I was a perfect Christian girl. However, on the inside I was slowly rotting away from idolizing my image, what others thought of me, and trying to earn God’s favor.
I had somehow missed the aspect of grace within the gospel and instead tried to work my way to salvation like a 21st century Pharisee.
Unfortunately, my desire for perfection and control coupled with my prideful and judgmental mindset, eventually manifested itself in a vey physical way. I remember in January of my senior year of high school, we had a 5-day snow week and I was so bored that I decided to go down into my parents basement and found an 80’s tae-bo video. I popped it in the VCR, only lasted 15 minutes because I was so out of shape, but the next day I woke up and did it again. I continued to workout to this video everyday because I had set a goal to get in shape and look like my two friends who were gymnasts.
I started comparing myself to everyone around me and desired to be attractive and in shape, too. This started to develop into a very toxic relationship with exercise. I became very obsessive with it. I had finally developed the elusive six-pack that I had set out to gain and yet it wasn’t enough. I had finally reached my goal of being in shape like my friends, but by this time it was too late — I had developed a completely unhealthy relationship with food and exercise and my body image was now tanking. Every single day I was losing any sort of confidence or sense of self-worth and beauty. I was convinced that I had to keep losing weight and exercising, that I wasn’t beautiful or desirable. I kept spiraling out of control completely. In my attempt to gain control of my life, I had completely lost control.
I now realized I had a problem, but I could not get myself to stop thinking about it or acting on it, I was so deep within myself, but meanwhile on the outside I was still squeaky clean. Nobody knew the amount of darkness, sadness, and crippling anxiety I had because I lied to everyone around me. I convinced everyone that nothing was wrong. Heartbreakingly, I maintained this entire mindset for all four years of college. I continued to struggle with diet, exercise, body image and self-worth. It became my identity. I stopped reading my Bible and going to church because I was convinced that God would want nothing to do with me, so I distanced myself from him.
My last semester of my senior year of college…
I was required to do a semester long internship for my degree in Exercise Science. My internship ending up being at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. I told myself that when I moved, I would become a new person with no more struggles, but guess what y’all? Your baggage comes with you!
But while I was there, I met this amazing guy named Zach and from out very first date, I know he was something special. The Holy Spirit was so palpable and I immediately felt this push from the Holy Spirit to tell him that I had an eating disorder and to let someone know what I was struggling with. Even though I didn’t, I told my mom for the very first time and she encouraged me to tell Zach if I felt like I was being called to.
Zach and I were now two weeks into dating and I remember so clearly sitting in his passenger seat as we were headed to Trader Joe’s and I asked him to the pull the car over. I remember being shaky and nervous, because I was convinced that if I told Zach that I had an eating disorder, he would want nothing to do with me and once and for all it would solidify in my mind that I was unlovable and undesirable. With tears rolling down. I told Zach, the 2nd person ever, that I had an eating disorder and I then proceeded to ramble off that I totally understood if he would want nothing to do with me and not date me. But he just sat there quietly, listening.
He then reached over and said, ‘But Nicole, you are so beautiful and worth loving and I want to help you through this and for you to know that about yourself’.
And I was shocked. It was exactly what I needed to hear and what I imagine God would have said to me if only I had turned to Him over the last four years.
The next morning, I opened my Bible for the first time in years and just cried out to God on my knees — that He would forgive me and save me and help me and heal me! And day after day the hole in my heart was filled and I felt more and more strengthened and empowered.
Not by my own power and strength, because I had tried over and over to save and heal myself, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t until I came to the end of myself and cried out to God that I finally feel free and strong enough to have victory over my sin through Jesus. And He was SO faithful to do so! He met me exactly where I was in my brokenness and sin and shame. He saved me and called me His daughter and loved me unconditionally.
After that moment, I prayed that my life would always be about honoring Him and serving Him above all else.
I started praying for direction and that lead me to pursing a career in medicine. Since I was an intern at a medical university, I was constantly surrounded by medical, dental, CRNA, and physician assistant students, as well as having doctors and nurses as personal training clients. Zach, who was now my boyfriend, was a CRNA student and the world of medicine looked so fascinating and amazing. I prayed for God’s direction and clarity in going back to school to be a physician assistant and He opened so many doors for me to pursue that path.
Since I didn’t realize my new-found love for medicine until after graduating, I had to play ‘catch-up’ to fulfill all of the application requirements. This meant going back to school to complete prerequisite classes, obtaining certifications to work in healthcare, and shadowing PAs and physicians in my spare time. Yet, despite all of my efforts, I was denied from all of the programs I applied to my first year. DENIED. I was devastated. Not kind of devastated. Like my whole world is ending type of devastated. WOAH. If that isn’t a heart check than I don’t what is.
Being turned down by PA school was such an eye-opener to the idol that I made school/success/status/money as well as my need to control my life. Yes, I went into medicine to help and serve others but slowly overtime that kind motive was twisted into a self-centered and self-seeking desire. There was no way I could overcome or be healed from my sin of idolatry and control, so I gave it up to God. I was devastated over the truth that I had put PA school above God and I wanted to be redeemed from that ASAP. And God was faithful to do so.
Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’, was immediately placed into my heart as my go-to verse for when I was doubting God’s sovereignty or feel like my life has no clear direction.
Within my denial for school and prayer for healing from idolatry of school, God began to diminish my desire to attend school altogether.
In January of 2018, I went to coffee with a friend who was a nurse and I casually asked her that if she weren’t a nurse, what would she have done with her life. She answered that she would have been a jewelry designer. She then turned the question back on to me and I was taken aback at first because this was the first time anyone had asked me that question since I graduated high school. I then told her that I had planned to go to school for art. That I had grown up my whole life drawing and painting and doing pottery. That I took art classes in school, after school, and even went to art summer camps. That I loved creating!
After our conversation, I started reflecting on how I even got into the world of medicine. I mean, I don’t even like math and science. At all. I decided that I wanted to get back in touch with my creative side and something I had wanted to learn since I was 11 years old was calligraphy. I had attempted to learn once before and gave up, but I decided to try and learn again. I asked for some supplies for my birthday in February, but I didn’t understand how to do it, so I put it away in a desk drawer and forgot about it.
In May, my parents came to visit and asked how my round 2 of physician assistant school applications were going. I half-heartedly said they were going okay, but that my passion for it was lessening. My mom then asked how my calligraphy was going. I also told her I gave up on it. However, in true Jane Shine fashion, she immediately jumped onto her iPad and found out that someone was holding a modern calligraphy workshop in my area the next day, so I went ahead and signed up. Within 30 minutes of taking the class, I was hooked!
I fell head over heels in love with learning calligraphy and would practice everyday before work, after work, even in the middle of the night while Zach was sleeping. Zach saw my excitement and zeal for it and encouraged me to start sharing it on Instagram. I, of course, thought he was crazy because I had only been doing it a month and I was pretty bad. However, he kept encouraging me so I relented.
I wanted to start a separate Instagram account so that I wouldn’t bombard my friends. In trying to decide on a business name, I knew I wanted it to be about God and bringing Him glory. That’s when Psalm 46:10 was remembered and I immediately knew I wanted my business to be named after Psalm 46:10. In addition, since I am a very creative person with many interests, I didn’t want my business name to be limiting in the type of art I could create, so I decided to name it a studio.
That’s when Studio 46:10 was born.
I began sharing my work regularly on Instagram, and then my friends found it. They began contacting me and paying me for commissions! Zach began to take notice and said that he saw how much I was loving it, that maybe I should go full-time and pursue my business instead of going to school. I thought he was crazy! I had only been doing it for two months. But then, girls from my church small group began saying the same thing and encouraging me to think about taking Studio 46:10 more seriously.
At this point in our lives, Zach and I were living in Minnesota, but were really wanting to move back South to be with our families. So, Zach applied for a job in Asheville, NC and was not only immediately offered the job but was told that he would need to start soon. Meanwhile, I was still waiting to hear back from physician assistant programs and whether or not I was going to be accepted.
We were suddenly at a crossroads: accept Zach’s new job but that means no school for me or not take the new job in the hopes and expectation I would be going to school.
Zach and I discussed it for awhile, and I also talked about it with one my good friends who is a medical student, and they both encouraged me that being creative and artsy is a gift. That I didn’t have to pursue medicine if I felt called elsewhere. That night I prayed over it and awoke the next morning with so much peace about pursuing Studio 46:10 full-time and not attending school. Zach accepted his new job and we moved to Asheville, NC in November 2018. I went full-time with Studio 46:10 when we moved, within only 6 months of learning calligraphy.
And that my friends, is where my story is today.
It has been an insane experience. My life is nothing like I imagined it would be and my business is nothing like I imagined it would be.
Full disclosure: I’m still figuring it out! I am still figuring out what I want for my business — what I want it to look like, what direction I want to go in, and where I feel like God is leading me. I am constantly pivoting and constantly changing what I am offering. I am still figuring it out but I am having so much fun figuring it out, as well as having y’all along with me in this journey.
Y’all are providing so much wonderful feedback, advice, prayer and comments and it has been so amazing to have so much support in this endeavor! Thank you all for rooting for me and my business, Studio 46:10. I am so excited to see where God leads me and what my business looks like a year from now.
If there is any part of my story that you can resonate with, I would love to hear from you! Just send me an email. If you’ve been through any part of my story, need more clarification, or need direction, please don’t hesitate to contact me, I would absolutely love to hear from you!