Redemption: A Valentine

Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 12.32.12 AM7 years ago, on Valentine’s Day, The Lord redeemed me.

I remember it quite vividly—the strong voice of a mighty Spirit speaking to me, audibly, for the very first time. I knew it was the Lord because I learned what it felt like not to be alone. I love this part of my story.

Every year of my life I have been single on Valentine’s day. I don’t think this is by coincidence. And, honestly, The Lord has made it the sweetest time for me. Every year, my view of what Love is becomes sparklingly clear to me, not clouded by some poor reflection of love we so dearly crave and hold onto. I take this time to glorify Him, thank Him and reflect on what a Champion He’s been since the last spiritual birthday.

21 has been the hardest year of my life thus far, but I’m realizing that all of these trials are the most immaculate display of God’s love I could ever ask for.

I’ve learned that God is Jehovah Rapha, “The God who heals.” 8 courses of antibiotics, 6 courses of steroids and surgery during my last semester of college. Constantly ill, but The Lord sustained me, healed me and comforted me the whole time. There were tears. There were days I couldn’t get out of bed, but The Lord, my champion, knew I’d see His goodness. I’ve been healthy & thriving for almost 2 months now. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m blown away and thankful for my Jehovah Rapha everyday I wake up healthy.

I’ve learned that God is the only Lover worth my complete devotion. I was in my first serious relationship this year. I fell in love and I fell in sin. I lost sight of who The Lord is by trading my time with Him for a man. I don’t regret deeply caring for this person at all, but I do have huge take-aways from my failure to keep Jesus the center of that love. I’ve realized quite quickly, no lover can satisfy my heart except the one I was created to love, the one who created love. I’m thankful that He is Jehovah-M’kaddesh, The Lord who Sanctifies. My heart is cleansed, my sins forgiven. There are days I’m bitter, broken and feel guilty. But when I look to Him, see His love, those feelings are replaced with ones from above —forgiven, whole, free. If I marry one day, I will be a better lover in light of this—not placing demands or expectations on a man he can’t stand up under. And I believe I have a fierce amount of love to give now that I know how much my Source has to give me.

I’ve learned that the God who created time can multiply it. I don’t know how I finished College early. I don’t know how I was able to handle the course load and a job for a large part of that time. My only answer is that I couldn’t, but He could. He showed off this year by honoring my commitment to Sabbath with multiplied hours, productivity and His awseomeness.

I’ve learned that the Lord is Jehovah-Jireh, The Lord who provides. I write this, 2 months after receiving a college degree, jobless. Many nights I have been kept up by this fact, striving and working so hard to change that; however, my striving will never change The Lord’s timing. My striving will never earn me blessing or grace. There’s beauty in that, but the enemy will continue to try to convince me I’ve failed Him. The beautiful and very poignent way The Lord is rebutting this lie from Satan is His daily provisions. I’ve received freelance jobs out of nowhere, gifts unexpected and provision like never before. I trust Him completely. I am not worried.

I’ve learned from my Friend how to be a better friend. I’ve learned I have the GREATEST friends—ones who call me out, let me cry, point me to The Lord and love me to pieces. Friends who love coffee, going on walks, animal memes, Outback, Bourbon and making things with their hands.

I’ve learned to go into a relationship trying only to give.

I’ve learned that there’s no limit to where my art can go because of the Fountain of creativity I was created from.

I’ve learned to ask Him for things—big, little, silly—becauase He cares.

He cares so much, y’all.

This is my season of life. These are the Joys I have in an uncertain time. This is how good and real and beautiful He is to me.

Today, I look to my Jehovah-Rohi, my shepherd, my great and eternal Valentine and ask Him to sweetly point me where to go—knowing He won’t reveal the plan to me all at once, because my small mind can’t handle or understand it. I think the most beutiful way I can sum up the encouragment that this post is supposed to be is a quote by Ryan O’neal of Sleeping At Last:

” It must be so hard, in the mess you’re always cleaning up,
to believe in the ghost of unbroken love.
but i promise you,
the truth is that you’re loved. so loved.”

Be blessed today.

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Dustin & Avery

This. Couple.

Avery has been one of my best friends since my freshman year in college and I am so honored to be a bridesmaid in her wedding this fall! It has been so beautiful to be there for every step of these two falling and love and such a blessing to see Christ bless this relationship.

This was my first engagement shoot, yay! These were shot at The SC Botanical Gardens, Tillman and Pendleton. We had so much fun and I’m so excited to show you these!



*natural lens flare, I’m glad this is in 🙂

*Special shout out to Rebecca who was my awesome light reflector holder and helper all day.

My designer crush.

Everyone has one. Right?

Let me introduce you to Jessica Hische.

I want to be her. For what reason you may ask?

She draws ribbon like champ, creates retro-awesome fonts and gives back to the design community.

 

Okay, I’m done.

 

Who’s your designer crush?

Battle of the best.

A lot of community-based sites have been gaining popularity lately. Give me your take!

Music:  Rdio or Spotify?

Things:  Pinterest or Gimmebar?

People: Facebook or Google+?

Blogs: WordPress or Tumblr?

Photos: Instagram or Hipstamatic?

Fashion: Everlane or RueLaLa?

What are your favorite community-based sites and why? I’d love to know of more!

Finding Your Calling

In two weeks, I register for my first semester of senior year.

It is terrifying.

What do I want to do with my life?  Will I get a job?

Both of these are questions seem unanswered. But, I’m realizing slowly but surely, that if I figure out what I want to do and do it extraordinarily well, these concerns will melt.

I have a part time job this semester as a Junior Designer at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC. My team is composed of some of the most talented people I know. They have helped me understand what it means to use talents for something that you’re passionate about. And isn’t that what talents are for?

All of the designers on my team have had non-ministry job at some point and have succeeded in those roles. But, they choose to live in a small town and work at a local church. It doesn’t make sense to most, but it absolutely inspires me. They love what they do, because they are behind the cause. They are called to give their lives to that cause, so they found a way to use their talents there.

This is just an example to challenge you. What are you passionate about? What do you want to change about the world?

Use your talents, whatever they may be, for the things where your heart lies.

The best work is developed because you put your heart and soul into it.

So, start.

You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, and even if your collegiate journey is ending, the adventure doesn’t have to.

Fall Break!

Words can’t say how awesome it was to disappear for a few days on fall break. I went to Maryland with two of my very best friends- Olivia and Laura. And, before you ask, we weren’t going to the game 🙂 Laura is from just north of Baltimore, so we “road-tripped” up on Friday after classes. We spent Saturday in the city, shopping and doing lovely things like taking pictures on the harbor. Sunday, we got to go to Laura’s home church and hear an awesome message on the Lord’s prayer. Monday, I got to make my first visit to IKEA. (it only took me 20 years!) After some great finds, we got on the road back to dear ole’ Clemson. It was a fabulous weekend to leave the computer mainly shut and just rest and have fun with friends. Here are a few of the photos I shot on the trip. (These are of “yaboyg,” the gnome. He’s our friend Brooke’s gnome. She sent him because she couldn’t make it.)

 

Lights, Camera, Freeze!

It’s finally time to break out our handy, dandy DSLRs in studio this week!

woot. woot.

I had an interesting experience this week, though.

Background: I’ve always been a loyal canon girl. Even my first point and shoot was a canon.

BUT, this week I picked up a Nikon at work. I’ve been such a prude about the whole Nikon v. Canon battle that I haven’t ever bothered to learn the Nikon interface.

I had trouble figuring out how to change the shutter speed. The shutter speed.

So, I hope that I will be able to steal someone’s Nikon in class so that I become bi-lingual for both interfaces.

I’m also excited to work with studio lighting since the majority of my photography has been indoors. Should be fun to work with ISO and retain quality.

Yay cameras!