Friday, March 27, 2015

Sneak Peek | Katelynn :: Wilmington, NC Portrait and Lifestyle Photographer


I didn't want to wait until I was done editing to post pictures from Katelynn's senior session, so here's a black-and-white sneak peek :)







Monday, March 23, 2015

When You Feel It, Once You Know It



When you feel it, once you see it, and you breathe it,
It's unforgettable
When you know it, once you know it, and you hold it,
It's unforgettable

I couldn't resist buying For King and Country's latest CD Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong (Recently $10 at Lifeway and worth every penny).

I've been blaring it in my car ever since and one of my favorites begins echoing the lyrics above and it made me so happy. Because as I sat there driving down the road it was a reminder of me of why I'll never be the same again. Once you know God, there's no turning back...why?

Because His joy is a giddy feeling inside that bubbles up like a volcano ready to explode. Even when life gives us no reason to be joyful, it's still there because God's hope keeps us looking toward an eternity brighter than anything we can ever dream of.

Because His peace is so comforting that we don't have to fear the next year, next month, next week, next day, next moment, because we know He has everything under control and that when we die we will be in His presence.

Because His love is unconditional. No matter what we do His love for us will never change.

Because He is faithful even when we are not. We turn from Him too often and choose our own path, but we will never turn back to Him and find that He is not there.

Because His grace, mercy, and forgiveness is overwhelming. When we compare our dirty, wretched selves to an awesome and perfect and holy God there is no way we cannot feel overwhelmed. The fact that He loves us enough to extend such grace and mercy that are no longer guilty; the fact that He not only forgives, but forgets, our sins is incredible.

It's unforgettable...there's no turning back. 


Monday, March 16, 2015

It's Not About Giving Up


Life.

It throws us so many twists and turns we become dizzy.We get knocked down so many times we no longer understand the point of getting back up. Things don't happen in our timing or according to our plan, so we grow frustrated. All we want to do is give up, and sometimes we do. But many times we don't because there's something discouraging about giving up. Giving up means we fail and lose hope, so rather than fail we fight until exhaustion, and in exhaustion we still. keep. fighting.

Sounds courageous, right?

It is. So I understand your willingness to fight. Thumbs up to you.

But is fighting worth it?

No, because like I said, it's exhausting.

What if I told you the fight isn't about giving up, but letting go? There's a difference. Giving up we release hope and the fight. But letting go? Letting go we give up the fight, yet hold on to hope. Letting go we give God the fight, and trust Him to win. No more exhaustion or frustration, but instead rest and hope. I'm not encouraging you to never give up, because there are sins and some things outside of God's will that we must give up. But there are some fights where the winning is within God's will, yet we can't win them on our own. He watches us as we, with body and soul, fight in fear and frustration, wishing that we would only give it to Him.

Fighting through exhaustion sounds courageous, but giving God the fight in faith is more so. So today I encourage you to rise up in true courage. Today I encourage you to be hopeful; hopeful in the God who has the power to fight and win.

Today I encourage you not to give up, but to let go.

"The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." 
-Exodus 14:14


Monday, March 9, 2015

Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 3)



There was once a woman, a widow. She pleaded with the judge in her area to please, free her from her adversary. He refused, but this woman was persistent. The persistent widow. She came to the judge over and over and over until finally, he helped her.

"And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." 
-Luke 18:1

There's not much else I can add. Jesus told this parable as an encouragement to never give up hope. The judge the widow went to was not a God-fearing man and Jesus adds after, "And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily" (Luke 18:7). God used this story as an encouragement to me in a time of my life when I wanted something. It seemed as if God was opening a door for my family and I was very eager and excited to walk through it so at this time I kept the persistent widow in mind. God answered quickly and closed the door, but He prepared me for it and now years later I see why and am thankful He closed it. Whether God says yes, no, or maybe, He proves over and over that His timing is perfect. So don't lose heart, because He will answer. Another similar story is the one of Jacob wrestling with God. As he was wrestling Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me" (Genesis 32:26). This is another verse I've clung to at times of persistent prayer. I'll write the reference on my wrist as a reminder to not give up praying.

So today remember this: stay persistent, don't lose heart, and cling to the hope God promises.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 2)


Welcome back to part 2 in this series! If you missed Part One from last week, you can read it here. I'm doing a series of about three posts in which I'll be sharing some thoughts and verses that will hopefully help you take prayer from being one of the least important things in your life, to one of the most important. 

One of the things that has helped me in praying is to write them down. I know, it seems too complicated and like it takes up too much time, but I've learned that it is the best way for me to present my words/thoughts to God. Today I want to share with you three reasons why this works (for me at least).

1. Focusing
So many times it's easy to get distracted during a prayer. Unless we praying aloud (and sometimes even then), our minds can wander to other things and suddenly we realize we're no longer even praying so we jump back to God like, "Hey! Sorry! Where was I?" Then of course, there's falling asleep. We wake back up and...whoops. We're busy people with a long list of to do's, so we already feel like we don't have an abundant amount of time to spend during our quiet time, so sometimes when our mind wanders or we fall back asleep, we feel like failures and just rush through the rest of our requests to make sure we get everything in and just be done with it. So writing down our prayers is helpful in keeping our mind focused. 

2. Time
 I also find that I typically spend more time in prayer this by writing them down (I know, one of your reasons for not praying in the first place). But instead of a quick little prayer, I usually surprise myself by pouring out my heart to God in more ways than I anticipated because as I write the words continually flow. I think sometimes we don't realize how much we desperately need to pour out our hearts to God. It's hard to get started writing, but it typically ends up becoming something I enjoy and suddenly time doesn't matter (because let's be real, God always allows us enough time to spend with Him...it depends on whether or not we choose to take it that makes the difference). 

3. God-Centered
Usually in writing down my prayers they become less me-centered and more God-centered. I'm more likely to write down a prayer that lines up with God's will than write a little pity-party for myself. It's easier to write down praises to God and thank Him for who He is and what He's done in my life than it is to write down my silly wants and complaints. Of course God wants us to share anything and everything with Him, but sometimes we focus too much on ourselves and not enough on Him, so writing down can help us focus more in that area of our prayers.

4. Prayers to Praises
Writing down prayers also gives us the ability to look back and see how God has answered them. Sometimes we forget we even ask God for things, so when He answers we forget to thank Him. Writing them down we're able to look back and be encouraged at how God is working in our lives and we can turn the prayers into praises. 

I hope you'll take the time to give this a try and see how differently it can impact your prayer life!


More To My Sisters posts:
The Roller Coaster Called Life
When He Says "I Will"
Wisdom's 3 R's
Because You Need a Pep Talk