Devotionals

Guest-Writers

{A Time to Search} Cease Striving, Start Seeking

Written by: Bethany McIlrath

Reconciling the Biblical call to cease striving with the command to continually seek is tricky when you’re in the midst of searching out God’s will for your life. You know that sitting on your hands doing nothing isn’t what God asks of any one. At the same time, you know that moving ahead without his leading isn’t obedience either.

There’s a way to seek without striving, though.

It starts with the object of both those Biblical passages: God.

Read more fully, those two competing charges have something in common: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:4).

Just like living out the will of God is all about the Lord, so is waiting for clarity about His will.

I know how hard that can be.

Seasons of unemployment, a couple of cross country moves, non-traditional living arrangements, and several career fields later, my young adulthood has proved to be a case study in the awkward process of surrendering to the Lord’s will, even in the waiting.

Too many of my hours and days have been spent striving to find answers on job sites, Google, and housing portals. I feared irresponsibility. I feared laziness. I feared failure. So I did and did whatever I could to make something happen.

Sometimes I finagled something, other times I learned that you can make striving a full-time gig while accomplishing nothing. Through all of it, the Lord has been faithful.

God continues to seek us even when we forget that we ought to be seeking Him instead of striving to order our lives for Him on our own.

I’ve found seeking Him to be striving-free.

Seeking without striving looks more like:

-Settling into the truth.

-Taking a seat at His feet.

-Watching expectantly.

-Obeying in the small things.

-Looking to Him for provision for just today.

-Measuring God as sufficient.

As you find yourself searching for God’s will for your life, I pray you’ll give up on Google and other modes of striving more quickly than I have. He who call us is faithful- He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24.)

We don’t have to get with a program or keep up with the deadlines in our heads- we have only to be draw near and be still in His will. Stay close to Him, and you’ll get where He is leading you.

 

headshot pro onlineA learner at heart, Bethany McIlrath believes that listening to the Lord’s Word and being attentive to all that He teaches her through daily life is a priceless blessing. Eager to share about her Savior, you can find Bethany’s writing on her blog: Firstandsecondblog.com. She would love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook as well.

 

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{A Time to Embrace} Living in God’s Embrace

Written By: Vicki Johnson

Hugs can be the most wonderfully awkward things. They break through the invisible barrier we call “personal space” and can magically make friends of perfect strangers.

Or not.

To encircle someone in my embrace I must feel comfortable with them. I should have a connection that creates an open door for this very close, physical sharing of space. Sometimes extreme happiness or sadness can knock down the unseen wall, but usually I keep a guarded distance from those I don’t know very well.

But, when I see a friend I haven’t seen for years, there is hug exchanged that would squeeze the stuffin’ right out of ya’!

Embracing the Lord’s Presence is much the same. His name is Emmanuel – God with us. His Spirit dwells within my heart and I embrace him. As I do I allow Him to occupy my being in a way no one else can.

He is here.

Right now.

In me.

Embracing God means I will accept, welcome, adopt and support the One who did the same for me first, and receive His instruction as He shows me how.  “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12 NASB)

But, if I carry the Spirit of God within me, I must incorporate Him into every aspect of my life. I may be eager to accept the Lord into what I consider the good or presentable areas of my life, but what happens when He points out sin? Sin separates me from His presence, and I don’t want that. Being aware of sin in my life and quickly confessing (agreeing with God about my sin) and repenting (turning away from my sin and turning to God) are necessary to keep a healthy and huggable relationship with Him.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NASB)

God’s embrace doesn’t let you go.  “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.” (Psalm 139:7-10 NASB)

As each day dawns throw your arms wide open and say, “Good morning, Lord! Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being with me through this day, come what may. I know I don’t go it alone.” Hold Him close to your heart and mind. Embrace the Lord with every fiber of your being.

vicki-johnson-pic

 

Vicki Johnson creates a lot of drama in southeastern Pennsylvania where she lives with her pastor hubby, David, and her daughter, Esther. She has written a Bible study entitled, “Following Christ – A Disciple’s Walk of Faith,” enjoys speaking, singing, working at 1075Alive/WBYNFM as a part time announcer, writing her blog at: http://gracefilledgirl.com/index.html , and generally encouraging fellow Christians to walk in a way that pleases God. Her sign-off on the radio comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.”

Guest-Writers

{A Time To Mourn} When We Find Comfort in the Fellowship of Suffering

Written By: Christy Mobley

I was having an out of body experience. At least I think that’s what you would call it.

Actually it was more like levitating over myself while watching the doctor deliver the news. It was just like you see in the movies, except I wasn’t an actress and this wasn’t a movie. An actress can’t conjure up goosebumps that dot her arms and legs at a moments notice. She can shiver, and do the tears yes, but goosebumps … no way.

The goosebumps were the telltale sign this was me. This was my life, my doctor’s office, my conversation.  Funny how your mind can do that—make yourself feel as if you aren’t there and you’re watching the whole thing.

It would have been kind of cool if it weren’t for the crushing news.

I was in the sonogram room five minutes earlier and over-the-top excited. And yeah, okay, a little nervous. Today was my 20 week appointment where I would finally see my baby for the first time.

As the technician rolled the wand across my small baby bump, I sensed something was awry. Sonogram lady didn’t utter a word. There was no chit-chat or smiles. Her blank expression said it all. And the words she didn’t say, I concocted in my mind for her. They really need to teach those people to do a better job at “not” delivering bad news. They’re so obvious when they tell you nothing.

I have to admit, I actually had a gut feeling weeks earlier. Mamas just know these things. My belly didn’t look as big as I thought it should, but I passed it off as having a crazy hormonal imagination and put on a happy face.

After the ultrasound technician was done , I dressed, and a nurse ushered me into my doctors office where the whole “out of body” thing began. In hushed, direct tones Dr. P. told me the sonogram revealed I had very little amniotic fluid in my uterus and the problem was likely renal-a-genesis.

That was Latin to me, but translated it meant, my baby boy had no kidneys.

It was a death sentence.

Our baby was born on January 16th.

Stillborn.

An interesting term, stillborn. It means “dead at birth,” but to me our little boy was still born. Born to us, his mama and daddy. Born without a breath.

Our first baby bypassed the pain in this life and went straight on to heaven. We held him and kissed him and said our goodbyes.

Family, friends, and neighbors, showered us with love and a lot of really good food.

But the love didn’t stop the grief from coming in waves like the drawing in and out of the tide. Each day I saw a little more sunlight but then without warning I’d get yanked back into a sea of tears. However somewhere in the midst of pain I felt the presence of God’s comfort. A peace that whispered, all would be restored.

Over the months and years that followed I came to understand the real meaning of the verse 2 Corinthians 1:3, where it says our God is “…The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

I couldn’t give breath to the baby I lost but through the experience of his death, God uniquely equipped me to breathe live-giving hope into other mamas. Mamas who suffered the heartache of encephalic births, miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, stillbirths, down syndrome births, all sorts of high risk pregnancies and fetal anomalies. Opportunities to love on those hurting, popped up all over.

Every time I gave out a dose of hope I received back a heap of healing. A circle of comfort within the fellowship of suffering. A plan of restoration only God could arrange.

We went on to have more children. Our last son, Aaron, was born on January 16th, the very day we lost our first son. The morning we brought Aaron home I noticed the calendar date and I felt God smile. There was no coincidence here.

By no means do either my husband or I feel our third son was a replacement for our first but rather a “God wink”. An assurance to us of His great and unfathomable love. A gift of hope.

Dear friend, have you suffered a loss? If you have, know that God feels your hurt and holds your tears.
“You have collected my tears in a bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8.)
He’s also uniquely equipped you to be a presence of His love for someone else walking a similar path. I pray you will be able to find peace as you bring the comfort of hope into the fellowship of the suffering.

for linkedin (1)Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, and a first time grandma! Her passion is to help women find their joy in experiencing God at work in their everyday circumstances.

You can find Christy on her blog Joying in the Journey.

 

Guest-Writers

{Time to Mourn} Receiving God’s Blanket of Grace

Written By: Vicki Johnson

Motherhood had always been a part of my story. After welcoming 4 sons and 1 daughter into this world without a hitch I felt that I had done my part to keep the Johnson name alive and well. Then we moved into full time ministry and I started thinking about new chapters opening up in my life.

But what happens when life throws a surprise party and you wish you hadn’t been invited?

I found myself unexpectedly expecting. Sure, this would only be number 6 for a girl who had at one time chosen 12 names for future children. The book, Cheaper by the dozen, offered a myriad of possibilities for raising a large family.  All for the glory of God, of course.

Soon it would start: doctor’s visits, weight gain, physical adjustments to a growing baby in utero. My life and sleep times would not be my own for who knows how long. Sigh. Inward groan.

My hubby was excited to welcome another player to the team and seemed unaffected by the alterations this little addition would make. But day after day, I grew to resent the fact that God, who is the one who opens and closes wombs, had allowed this to happen. Especially since I had developed an issue with blood pressure and residual weight gain from previous pregnancies. Truth be told, I didn’t want to be pregnant.  But I certainly couldn’t tell my pastor/hubby that. I think he could tell, anyway.

Near the end of my second month I noticed the faintest pink on the toilet paper. My stomach lurched at the thought that something could be wrong with me or the baby. I prayed, “Lord, please keep the baby safe. Help me to know what to do.” I didn’t see it again for a few days. And then it reappeared. I went to the doctor who did some tests to see if the pregnancy was progressing properly. Each day I prayed for God to help me as I struggled with the potential problems it indicated. Each day I reminded God that He got me into this mess in the first place.

I would not have chosen to get pregnant now.

I would have done things differently.  I’m sure God got a few chuckles out of that.

The miscarriage happened at the worst possible time. My husband and our two oldest were ready to travel an hour and a half away for a monthly regional youth gathering where my husband was in charge of the music. I was experiencing heavy bleeding and intense contractions but tried to be strong and self-sufficient when it came time to say good-bye. He asked me twice if I wanted him to stay. At first I said no. Then fear got the better of me and I finally said that I needed him with me.

Pregnant five times before this, I went through labor, delivered healthy babies, and everything had been fine. This time, my laboring resulted in loss. Death makes life real.

In Ecclesiastes 7:2 we read, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart.” I lost a child that day. One for whom I hadn’t even prepared its first receiving blanket or newborn sleeper to wear because it was too hard to embrace the inevitable.

I also lost my fight against God. In mourning that tiny life I began to mourn the demise of my own conceptions of what my life should look like. I was challenged as to how far I was willing to trust God. He who opens and closes the womb also knows my blood pressure at this very moment. He knows my sitting down and my rising up; my struggles and my hopes and dreams. He holds it all in His hands.

A year later I lived in a different state but relived the same circumstance. But this time I had begun my condition with joy for what God would accomplish in me, receiving with the help of God’s Grace the developing life within my womb. I could look at baby clothes in the store and muse about the little one who might wear them. My husband entered a drawing for new baby stuff and I did too! Hopeful anticipation had made its home in my heart. I had even pulled out my collection of receiving blankets and newborn clothing and started preparing for the baby.

But it was not to be. My seventh and last pregnancy ended at 11 weeks gestation. It was just as messy and terrifying as the first miscarriage. But this time I had a greater appreciation for life and the One who created it and a deeper sense of mourning and loss for the child I would never mother here on earth.

“Blessed {and} enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” (Matthew 5:4 – Amplified Version)

Even in mourning there is a receiving that is done, wrapped in the matchless, varicolored Grace of God.

vicki-johnson-picVicki Johnson creates a lot of drama in southeastern Pennsylvania where she lives with her pastor hubby, David, and her daughter, Esther.

She has written a Bible study entitled, “Following Christ – A Disciple’s Walk of Faith,” enjoys speaking, singing, working at 1075Alive/WBYNFM as a part time announcer, writing her blog at Gracefilledgirl.com, and generally encouraging fellow Christians to walk in a way that pleases God.

Her sign-off on the radio comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is He who calls you and He will bring it to pass.”

Guest-Writers

{A Time To Laugh} Fire Breathing Dragon Mommy

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

True or False (ugh…the most loathed quizzes of all time).  Each night I go to bed so proud of my mothering skills for the day.  My son listens and exudes love and obedience.  I never lose my cool with him or my husband.  I have the energy of a thousand suns.  I am super mom who never wears leggings as pants.  I feel like Joan Cleaver.  Life is unicorns and rainbows.  We all know it’s all lies – all lies I tell you!  Yet, it’s the expectations we put on ourselves for some crazy reason (well except maybe the unicorns and rainbows part). Then what happens? We tend to erupt like Mount St. Helens when life is real instead of an episode of Leave it to Beaver.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I ooze (okay, spew) fire out and become fire breathing dragon mommy. And my voice sounds more like Marshmallow (the scary snowman) and less like Olaf.

I’ve struggled with reining my angry reactions in.  And it seems the older I get, the worse it grabs hold of me. I attribute much of it to my ever increasing approach to the threshold of menopause, which is super fun by the way and a whole other topic.  The uncontrollable urge to punch someone in the throat is just lovely.  I totally get Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes now.  Temporary insanity is a real thing.  Not to mention the sweating – ALL THE SWEATING!  But the reality is that satan knows our weaknesses and where we are vulnerable and man, he can bring out some ugly in us when we aren’t on guard.

So what is it exactly that turns us into the little girl from Poltergeist?  Sweet one minute, possessed and spewing pea soup the next.  Honestly I don’t have a clue.  I’m not a doctor or psychologist.  But I am a woman – and a wife and mom – who is in the trenches of life just like the rest of us.  We are normal.  And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired (SO TIRED) and I don’t want to be the fire breathing dragon mommy every day.  That’s not what I want my child to remember me being like.  Yes he is going to send me to the brink of insanity each day – uhm, because that’s what boys do – but my reactions don’t have to be in competition with that.

We all have different triggers – things that turn us grumpy as my son says.  But I will share with you three things that tend to make me go from sane to psycho in 60 seconds or less.

 

  • The Condition of My Heart

 

This sounds so “churchy” and something we all know, yet it is the hardest thing for us to control.  Our heart operates on auto pilot much of the time, but controls much of our body – including the filter from brain to mouth.  When I am out of fellowship with God, I can feel it and so can everyone else around me.  My defenses are up, I’m grumpy, and thus starts the day of battle after battle with everyone in my way.  Right out of the gate, I come charging out like a bull searching for the first clown.  But on the days that I get up those few extra minutes early, soak myself in the Word, and commune with my Savior the enemy has to flee.  He and God cannot co-exist.  That doesn’t always mean my mornings go perfectly and that my son listens and doesn’t act, well like a boy.  It just means that my reactions to his antics and disobedience looks a whole lot less like satan himself with a  pitchfork and more like a mother giving gentle correction (and not losing her ever loving mind).  Because for the one hundredth time, GET DRESSED.  Am I right?  It’s the same routine every day.  I don’t get it.  But I digress before my heart freezes again.

 

  • Emotions, Hormones, and all that Other Fun Stuff

 

I curse you Eve for eating that piece of fruit!  Seriously she set us up for failure.  I blame her for it all – the emotional instability, the hormones, the hot flashes – all of it.  Women are ruled by their emotions.  I mean we do make it fun for our husbands in a demented sort of way.  Bless their hearts. But this “stuff’ rules me so much of the time, and the worst part is that it’s largely uncontrollable.  And it makes us certifiably crazy.  All you young moms in your twenties – enjoy it.  Because sisters when you approach forty, you lose your ever loving mind to the brain eating parasites called hormones.  I’m not remotely kidding.  You can’t remember anything, and you long for the days where you were smart.  All of this fun stuff – emotions and hormones – take control of our hearts, minds, and our mouths.  And if we aren’t careful they will take control of our marriage and our relationships with our children.  They turn us into ugly and emotionally unstable beings, or at least they have me.  We have to manage it before it manages us.  If you are struggling with this (like I have and do), please seek counsel and medication.  Yes, God is there for us and we should rely on Him, but He also gave us people who are able to help us manage that ugly in ways that we can’t do on our own.

 

  • Life, life and more life

 

Life happens.  Crap happens in our lives that stinks worse than my son’s feet (pun intended).  Bad things are going to happen and life is going to deal us some hands that we can never be prepared for. And what do we (read I) do?  I throw a tantrum that can put some threenagers to shame.  I become that butt face that my child called me last week (he met the hands of Jesus for that).  Circumstances can catapult us into crazy land.  We say and do things completely out of character because we are in reaction mode.  And everyone in our path suffers from our nuclear meltdowns (I threw that in there for my nuclear hubby).

I don’t know how to completely avoid breathing fire and spewing venom altogether.   I’m a human and I’m going to make those mistakes as a mom.  But what I don’t want is to end each day in shame and guilt over having more bad than good moments.  I don’t want my pillow soaked with tears every night.  Our kids are going to disobey, life is going to happen, hormonal imbalances are inevitable, and we are going to have a lot of less than stellar moments. But with a whole lot of Jesus, coffee (and/or wine), and encouragement for one another we can’t go wrong.

Also, there is a great book that I love called Triggers, written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.  It is speaking directly to my soul.  It makes me feel normal and in less need of a straight jacket and muzzle.  Just like me, they love Jesus and their families, and desperately want to get this thing right.  They offer some great Biblical responses for those fire breathing dragon mommy moments.  You are not alone, mama.  Keep fighting the good fight.  God gave us the children we have for a reason – because He trusts us and knew we would be the exact mom they needed.  We will trip and fall flat on our face (especially if you are less graceful like me), but He’s always there to pick us back up.  His mercies are new every morning.

~ Jenny

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger.

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link: https://www.instagram.com/jen_jerkins/), Facebook (link:https://www.facebook.com/jenny.t.jerkins/), and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jen_jerkins/).

Guest-Writers

{A Time To Build Up} Motherhood Is Everything I Never Thought It Would Be

Written By: Jenny Jerkins

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3-5 (NLT)

I was never one of these little girls who carried a baby doll around with me everywhere.  In fact, I didn’t even really like baby dolls.  I didn’t pretend to be a mommy, or even think about being a mommy one day. 

Then I grew up, went to college, and got married (in that order because that’s what I thought was the good little Southern girl thing to do).  I earned a college degree in Chemical Engineering (totally by the grace of God) and I jumped head first into a career.  I didn’t love it, but it gave me meaning and what I felt was value. My husband and I felt we wanted children at some point, but career came first.  I needed to validate myself in the corporate world and claw and scratch my way around in it for a while before I would even consider becoming a mom.  ME FIRST. (Insert caveat – I had no idea at the time just how selfish of a person I was). To make a really long story short, five years went by and I was at the peak of where I wanted to be.  I was knee deep in meetings, paperwork, and travel.  All my friends became knee deep in diapers, bottles, and toddler tantrums.  I was almost 30 years old and began to think “I guess it’s time to have a baby too.” 

Now at nearly 40, I reflect back on that blur of the first 30 years of my life and see just how ironic it was. Because what I didn’t know then was that my husband and I would struggle 5 years to become pregnant only to find out that we have dual infertility.  Meaning, the likelihood of us ever being able to biologically have children together was near impossible even with fertility treatments.  Every doctor said it.  And each time the words came out and a failed pregnancy test was thrown into the trash (or across the room), I blamed myself. Was it because I never played mommy?  Was it because I was a career woman?  Was it because of my sin? 

It was a pivotal point in my life as a woman and as a Christian.  The focus turned from me to Jesus.  I left that shell of a lukewarm life and ran straight into His arms (sometimes angry, sometimes devastated, sometimes hurt, sometimes confused – but always loved). 

Motherhood became everything I never thought it would be the moment our son was born.  God hadn’t punished me for my lack of mommy-hood dreams or for my selfish desires.  But He did have to get me to a place where I turned it all back over to Him.  And He had a greater desire to make beauty out of ashes.  That came in the form of an unplanned pregnancy in a 17 year old girl who was seeking a couple to raise the child growing inside of her, and that couple became us.  Our son is now 5 and I weep at the thought of what God did in each of our lives and how I love the irony of it all.  Motherhood wasn’t dreamed of, and didn’t even come the way I thought it would as that 30 year old woman.  It was greater – because of Him.

But it didn’t stop at our son’s birth.   Something began to change inside of me the moment I became a mother.  That career suddenly became the least important thing in my life.  And I did what I said I wouldnever do – I became a stay at home mom.  I even feel my eyes rolling at my former self now as I type it all out.  (Note: This is not where I say all women should be stay at home moms because they shouldn’t be.  I’m not even going to go there.). 

The whole journey to motherhood, and now through it, is everything I never thought it would be.  I envisioned a calm, listening, never talk back kind of child.  (Ok, so I was delusional).  What I got was a spirited and strong willed little boy.  He is a loud, has the energy of a thousand suns, and opinionated kind of boy.  But I love him just the way he is; the same way that Jesus loves me. 

Motherhood has taught me more about the love our Father has for us than anything ever could.  He loves us unconditionally, just as we love our own children.  He is good and He wants good for us.  Becoming a mother brought me to the end of myself and to the feet of my Father. 

How has motherhood changed you?

What is Jesus teaching you, or has He taught you, as a mother? 

How is life different from everything you thought it would be?

And, if you are struggling through infertility or would like to connect, I would love to talk to you and pray with you.  You are not alone.  There is a great support system full of women just like you out there waiting. 

– Jenny (jenjerkins@gmail.com)

Jen Jerkins headshotJenny Jerkins is a former engineer turned stay at home wife to Asia, and mom to the most spirited and hilarious little boy, Ethan who currently believes he is Batman.  Their battle with infertility led them to the greatest miracle of adoption.  Jenny desires to bring hope, encouragement, and the love of Jesus to others, and especially women.  She also loves to share the many candid moments of daily mom life where she is usually asking for Jesus to hold her.  Jenny resides in Augusta, Georgia where her southern accent is strong and her coffee is stronger. 

You can connect with Jenny on Instagram (link: https://www.instagram.com/jen_jerkins/), Facebook (link: https://www.facebook.com/jenny.t.jerkins/), and Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/jen_jerkins/).

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

When I was camera shy…?

Written By: A very insecure girl.

Let’s take a walk together down memory lane…

When I was young, I loved having my photo taken, but when this comes to mind I remember a certain time in my life where I loved it even more…That was year 6 of my little life. I loved getting dressed up in fancy outfits, taking hours in the bathroom doing my hair a certain-perfect way, lathering my face with fake kids make-up and putting on my hot pink plastic high-heels that had a large, fake diamond on the front of them.

Although, with every step was squeaky sounds coming from my feet below as I walked on our 90 year old, original hard wood flooring in our bunagolo styled home. To the great amounts of pain and loss of feeling that my poor feet were experiencing…this was an invigorating time for a 6 year old.

I would walk ever so carefully in my heels to find my Mum and have her take photos of me with our family’s non-digital, non-seeing the picture till its developed camera, in our sun shine filled living room and cozy covered porch.

I felt alive when these photos were being taken. I felt beautiful. Like everything was simply perfect.

Now fast forward 13 years. There I was getting my make up and hair done. Sitting waiting to have my photos taken with my love for our 1 year anniversary.

(This should have been another invigorating experience…yet that entire day I have never felt so sick, nauseous, and nervous before in my life.)

After a couple hours of pampering, I was ready. In my beautiful dress that I had bought for this special occasion, wearing my boots that my Grandparents had bought me, make up done, and hair just right.

My love arrived to our home, I was upstairs doing some finishing touches. I heard him come in the front doors, I was beyond excited to see him, yet I couldn’t walk down the set of stairs before me. I was so nervous.

I had to have him come up the stairs to me, because I was having such a hard time facing him. Shaking inside as I heard the creaking sounds as he walked up the stairs…He looked at me and smiled like he always does. He said that I looked beautiful.

I was trying so hard to understand why I was feeling this way, I mean this wasn’t our first photo shoot. I loved getting photos taken of me, my whole life and then, it came to me… as we were driving to the location where we were getting the pictures taken.

This was the first photo shoot since I had gained 63 of the most ugliest pounds from my medication. I was camera shy. I was scared.

Feeling terrified of what I would look like on camera, we began.

All through the shoot I continued to be nervous. With every pose, thoughts swirling around in my weary heart,  “What do my legs look like?”, “What does my stomach look like?”, “What about my arms…do they look like legs?”

This vicious cycle went on, the entire time.

Then the photos were revealed to us in less than 1 weeks time and I was amazed. Even though I have gained lots and I was nervous. They turned out amazing.

Sisters, no matter your size NEVER, I repkerjosh2017-17.jpgeat never be camera shy. God created you. Yes, YOU!!! He even created me knowing that I would gain weight rapidly and hate my body through it. He knew that I would be nervous, because He knows it all. Never forget…ANY size. You’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,

~An insecure girl, who knows she’s secure in her Heavenly Father’s arms. (Kerrington)

Heather Brooks Photography.