RAZING the “Standards”

Hello all!

I am going to be doing a FB live post in a few days, but I wanted to give you all a little teaser about a 6 week series I am going to do geared towards our 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade ladies in the Vermillion County Indiana area. God has laid this age group on my heart. I will explain how this came about to the people that join to listen. I’m looking to reach all girls at this age. Church-ed and unchurched.

The name of this group is called RAZING the “Standards”. The definition of Razing is:

razed; razing

  1. :  to destroy completely by knocking down or breaking to pieces :demolish

The reason for calling the group/series this is because I want to help teach, through the Word of God to knock down the standards that we, as women, try to hold ourselves up to. To be the girls God is calling them to be. woman-knight

We will be using the Word of God and a book written by Monica Withers. The book is called Radical God Talk, http://www.radicalgod.com/. It’s an interactive devotional and journal.

Check it out on Friday for start date and how to get your teen signed up for this.

Season’s of Change

The older I get the more life is fascinating to me. I’ve lived 4 (ish) decades and am amazed at the twists and turns that life will take place in your life. Our lives are stories that being written out.

It seems that so many know the relationship that my siblings and I share. I just wanted to share what’s on my heart and to say that a new chapter is being written.

Growing up, my sisters and I were pretty typical. I have a scar on my thumb from scissors that were rudely ripped from my grasp. I was a thug and would beat down my sisters for the can of Aqua Net hairspray. Punching Jenny in the nose and begging for forgiveness when it bled, with the plea: “PLEASE don’t tell dad!!!” She told dad. lol We weren’t super close at all.

Mike and Jenny (my brother in law and sister) got born again….note the beginning of change for our family. Then, I got born again, then my mom, my dad and sister. We all started serving Christ together. That’s when the story takes an important and life altering direction.

Our mom got sick, and died. Choices. Every character in a story has choices to make when a twist in the story comes, right? Mom was believing for healing, right? We were standing with her. What happened? There were a couple of choices: This faith stuff doesn’t work and walk away from our Christ or embrace Christ tighter and know that this “faith stuff does work” and keep plugging on. We chose Christ and His Word and we leaned not unto our own understanding. We embraced the God of the universe and the one Who loves us. Does that mean it was easy? No, it wasn’t. It was awful. However, looking back and I see the ties that God started to use to draw the 3 “Beard girls” together. Causing us to lean a little more on each other.

Life moved on, other changes happened….then, dad got sick, and he died. I remember walking through those days of his journey feeling ….just….I don’t know..I just felt like a kid wandering aimlessly lost. So many things went on emotionally and mentally. The girls and I would joke that we were like ducks. One day Jessica would be the strong one and Jenny and I would follow behind. There was one moment after dad died where is was so clear what God was doing in us. Our bond was unbreakable. We would run to the border (a.k.a. grandma’s) and reconnect with the family that was separate from everything going on.

I can see through those years after dad died that we needed that time of bonding. God used these past years to heal us, grow us, teach us. Its been some pretty fantastic years. We have had so much fun living a few miles apart. They had me running…now I’m running and they are not! (Slackers) It was an appointed time in our lives where God worked on our hearts. However, now it’s time for a new chapter. I’ve noticed that while the bond between us is there, our NEED for each other hadn’t been as strong. When all that went on with mom and dad, we NEEDED each other.

This next chapter is a little bittersweet, yet very exciting. Jennifer and her husband have been called to Newburgh to help with a church. She is only 3 hours away, so I’ll see her as often as our schedule allows. Jessica and her husband are moving to Florida. This is the trip we are taking tomorrow. While this hurts because it will be several months before I see her and her family, I know they are doing what God has prepared for them as well.

So, where does that leave me? Many have asked, ‘are you leaving too?’ My answer of course is no. lol I have my husband and girls, my brother & his wife and kids that still live around here. I have my nieces that are close enough to see, my nephew Cody and his wife. I have my best friend and her family. I have people that love me around. But I sense in my spirit that now is my time to soar. I believe that this moment in time was destined to happen when it has. I believe that I’m stepping into new freedom…

Anyway, this is what is on my heart and I wanted to get it out of the way before we leave.

Servants Heart

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last posted. Some things have changed since I last did. I made the announcement that I would be walking away from photography, at least walking away in the way I had been doing it. I will still take photographs, but not for others.

That being said, God has led me to study on a servants heart. I don’t believe that means allowing people to walk all over you. Having a servants heart means to have the heart that Jesus had. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. So, I started in the book of Mark to see what having a heart like His meant. There was no rhyme or reason why I started there, I just did. What I’m sharing is from the pages of my journal that I keep. I love keeping a journal. I write out my questions to God, scripture, revelation that the Holy Spirit gives me, the desires of my heart. I also write out my frustrations, things that go on in my life, what makes me mad, happy, sad…..I just lay it all out there.

God wants us to be real with Him.

The Holy Spirit highlighted the following scriptures to me and how they are connected. This may not be revelation to others. You may have already received light from the Holy Ghost on these scriptures. This is what is so cool about having a relationship with God. We all progress at different levels and God deals with each of us individually. As we press in to Him, His Word and His Spirit, He presses in just as close. 🙂 Love it!!

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With God NOTHING is impossible. No word from God will ever be without power of will ever be impossible of fulfillment. (LUKE 1:37)

 

If it is in God’s Word, it is a YES from God. 2 Corinthians 1:20Amplified Bible (AMP)

20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God.

In Joshua 1:6,7,9 it says:

  1. BE STRONG (CONFIDENT) AND OF GOOD COURAGE
  2. Only you BE STRONG and VERY COURAGEOUS, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you.
  3. BE STRONG, VIGOUROUS and VERY COURAGEOUS. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go.

3 times God instructs us to be strong and courageous in doing God’s Word. He also instructs us to meditate on His Word.

Joshua 1:8 says:

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.

 

To deal wisely means:

Having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.

 

Parable of the Sower:

 

It’s imperative to understand what Jesus says about this. Jesus says it over and over about hearing.

Mark 4:3 GIVE ATTENTION TO THIS

Mark 4:9 HE WHO HAS EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM BE HEARING [AND LET HIM CONSIDER AND COMPREHEND]

Mark 4:23

If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend

Common English Bible (CEB)

23  Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!”

Mark 4:24 Jesus also said, ‘Be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you – and more besides will be given to you who hear.’

Luke also mentions this:

Luke 8:8 And some seed fell into good ground soil, and grew up and yielded a crop a hundred times [as great]. As He said these things, He called out, ‘He who has EARS TO HEAR, LET HIM BE LISTENING AND LET HIM CONSIDER AND UNDERSTAND BY HEARING.’

Luke 8:18 So be careful HOW you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him MORE UNDERSTANDING will be given and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.

 

As Christians, ‘we have been entrusted the mystery of the kingdom of God, [that is, the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly]. Mark 4:11 Matthew 13:10-12

 

Because I am in Christ and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the truth is not hidden from me.

Mark 4:14 “The sower sows the Word”

The Holy Spirit pointed out the relationship between the verses in Joshua and the verses in Mark.

As we sow the Word of God into the ground of our heart, we are to be strong, courageous, and meditate on His Word. Meditate on His word day and night. Observe and DO according to all that is written in it. Guard that seed, His Word, that you’ve planted in your heart. Confess it, speak God’s Word over your situation and do it boldly, courageously. Then, what is spoken in Joshua and Mark, your way will be prosperous and will bear fruit.

In Matthew 13:15 it says in the Amplified Bible:

For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat & dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart and turn and I should heal them. [Isaiah 6:9]

The Message Bible says it like this:

11-15 He replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it. I don’t want Isaiah’s forecast repeated all over again:

Your ears are open but you don’t hear a thing.     Your eyes are awake but you don’t see a thing. The people are blockheads! They stick their fingers in their ears     so they won’t have to listen; They screw their eyes shut     so they won’t have to look,     so they won’t have to deal with me face-to-face     and let me heal them.

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We need to make sure that we keep the eyes and ears of our hearts open to God and His Word.

 

The love of a mother

Bringing a new life into the world always means experiencing changes. Changes in a family, changes in responsibilities. Change happens first, though, in a woman’s body. For me, it was 3 months of morning sickness the first time. The second time around it was unimaginable exhaustion…oh! and queasiness.

For some women, they get the morning sickness that won’t stop. Sometimes it can it gets so severe that it lands them in the hospital. This has happened to Lindsay with all four of her pregnancies. If I remember right, none of her pregnancies were the same, in regards to the Hyperemesis. It varied from pregnancy to pregnancy.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nauseavomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV).

Lindsay is such a strong woman. She knew that the chances of going through this each time she got pregnant was high. Despite this, I know she would never change a moment of it because her reward was her beautiful children.

Congrats Will, Lindsay and children!!

The Heart of the Father

I’ve been wanting to write this post for awhile. I thought about doing a FB live post because sometimes writing may not convey the depth of emotion that I feel on this subject.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Message Bible

2-6 This is the way God put it:

“They found grace out in the desert,
    these people who survived the killing.
Israel, out looking for a place to rest,
    met God out looking for them!”
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
    Expect love, love, and more love!

I had spent the majority of my life not feeling loved. I doubted my worth, my value. I had been made to feel less than, dumb. I’m not saying it was done intentionally, but if something doesn’t come quick to you, you come to the conclusion that you aren’t smart. Is that you today?  Unfortunately, I am not in an exclusive club. There are so many people in my town, in my region, state, country and the world that feel like this. Insecurity and unworthiness can display itself in different ways. To draw focus away from areas of weakness, one can overcompensate by acting arrogant and boastful. You can retreat into a world of lust, drugs, alcohol. You can hurt yourself because of the lack you feel on the inside of yourself. I have friends on FB or Instagram that struggle with self-worth because they don’t measure up to what is the “norm”. They deal with anxiety or depression. I include myself in all of this. I have used lust, drugs, alcohol. I have hurt myself because the inner turmoil seemed so big.

In 1993, my brother-in-law introduced me to a loving Father. He isn’t the Father waiting to point out your shortcomings. He isn’t the Father that will strike you down when you fail or miss it. On Thanksgiving, when I tried everything else to fill the void, I asked Jesus to be my Lord. Everything was immediately glorious….right? No, it wasn’t. However, my eternal home was changed and that is a very good thing.

I started attending church at Faith Outreach Family Church in Terre Haute, Indiana and have never left. I still struggled with things while going to church. I struggled with condemnation because I smoked. I tried so hard to hide it thinking that I would be found lacking because of it. I quit and picked it up so many times. God finally spoke to my heart and told me: “you need to quit now!”. And I did, I quit. It wasn’t easy but I walked it out with him. My Christian life has been a series of hills. I would be doing so good in my walk and then I would walk away, go back to God, walk away. Strong Christian/weak Christian. Does that sound familiar with anyone or is it just me? My current Pastor said, “but you kept getting up.” I did, I kept getting up.

My husband doesn’t come to church with me, but he knows that prayer works. There have been situations concerning our kids that he would ask, “You pray about that?” If I said no, he would remind me of how things happen when I pray. There was a particular situation that had been going on in our family that was really starting to wear thin and exhausting our patience. I asked to meet with my Pastors. (This was in November). I told them what was going on, we prayed in our understanding and in the spirit. Pastor gave me scriptures to stand on. What stood out to me and has been a total game changer for me is what Jesse (my Pastors wife) said to me by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit said, “and I know what Julie is going to do. She is going to get all the scriptures and she is going to say this and say that…….STOP IT!!” That took the breath right out of me. I was leveled. Two words, two words from the Holy Ghost leveled every wall I had erected. This makes me tear up. Since 1993, for the majority of the time (with some exceptions), I had tried to walk the Christian life in my own strength. I was never meant to do this life on my own. So, after that was said to me, I asked what I was supposed to do now?! She told me to let God love on me. She said that I was God’s favorite and that I needed to let HIM LOVE ME!!!

Do you KNOW how hard that was!? That afternoon, God’s Holy Spirit shined down revelation light and cut me to the very foundation of who I was. Later when I asked God what I was supposed to do now, He said…Now, WE build. Since then, I move slower when it comes to decisions, I try to be more attentive to the things of God, more in tune to what my Father is saying to me through His Word, to what He may be saying regarding parenting, etc. He wants access to all of me.

Since November, I have experienced the LOVE OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER!! He has turned my heart around for my earthly father. Feelings of insecurity and unworthiness is becoming a thing of the past. I feel like a 1 year that has just learned to walk. You’ve seen them, they run without fear because they know that we are watching out for them. AHH Daddy!! I run without fear because of the freedom I have in YOU!! I run with joy, confidence and love! You shower me with loving-kindness in the morning and in my mouth are songs of Praise and Adoration to you my ABBA!

God is out looking for YOU!! If you are reading this and this has touched you, or you’ve saw yourself in this, please reach out to me. I would love to pray with you, for you!! The first step is asking Jesus to come and make His home your heart. He isn’t asking you to get cleaned up before you ask Him. He wants to come right into the middle of everything you’ve got going on.

Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. Your Word says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). I am calling on You. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life according to Romans 10:9-10: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. – Kenneth Copeland Ministry

Robert + Ashley|Connections Series

I’ve known Robert and Ashley for 5 years. I met them when I shot Ashley’s sisters wedding. They hadn’t gotten married yet, but they did soon after. There are people in your life that you just LOVE being around. There is just something about their presence, their hearts. As much as I love being around them, I LOVE being around their children. You would think having 5 kiddos (2 of them twins) would phase them, but they just seem to roll with it.

My original intention when starting this was to get my married couples to stop the daily grind of going here and going there and to focus on each other for a couple of hours. I wanted to ask them questions about their relationships. I wanted to get them to walk down memory lane. That is where the reconnect came from. However, after talking with Robert and Ashley, I decided to change it to connections. This will include more than just a husband and wife, it could include grandmas and grandpas, families…etc.

At the next session, I will use video rather than just recording the voices.

Thank you Robert and Ashley for doing this for me. I love your story!!

Russell & Ashley | Family

I met up with Russell and Ashley and their little ones in Fairbanks on a warm Saturday evening just before sunset. We couldn’t have asked for better weather or more beautiful light. One thing I love about photographing people is the bond that you build when they are repeat clients.

Ashley is more than a client, I love her like a daughter. She and my oldest went to school together, so I’ve seen her grow up. Ashley has a scrappy, take charge attitude. I guess when you are a little shorty you have to have a tall attitude. 😉 I can relate to that as of course I’m a fellow shorty.

Russell and Ashley are recently engaged as well! I can’t wait to see the path that God has laid out for them. I do pray God’s blessings on your lives and I can’t wait to celebrate with you both!

Much love!

Julie

You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. ~Dr. Seuss

Operation: Reconnect

A little story behind all of this would probably be appropriate. I’ve always wanted to capture true emotion in my images. I am a firm believer that this life we live is a story being written right before our eyes. Our story started when we were conceived and our story will continue until we take our last breath. What does your story look like? It’s not boring I’m sure. Perhaps your story right now is just kind of humming along, no bumps, no hiccups. Your story might be getting your kids off to soccer practice on time, studying for your Masters. Maybe your story is losing a loved one, having a sick child.

My sister has often talked about your love language. What is love language? Love language is more than just saying ‘I love you’. It’s how you show your spouse value, how much they mean to you. For my marriage, my husband shows how much he loves me in providing well for his family, making sure things work in the home, taking care of the yard, etc. My love language to him is making a good meal for him, doing the dishes, picking up the house…etc. There are many ways we show our loved ones how much we love them.

Throughout our 25 years of marriage, we have had our highs and lows. Twice we separated, we made mistakes, be we received grace and forgiveness and God has blessed our marriage. We’ve experienced loss of babies, births of babies, loss of  grandmothers, mom and dad…our story has highs and lows. Our story isn’t over and neither is yours.

My inspiration for this series comes from two photographers. Jesh De Rox (https://www.jeshderox.com/) and Miles Boyer (http://www.mileswittboyer.com/). Actually, after I found Miles on Instagram, I asked a question and his response to me hit the right spark..it shifted in me what needed shifted and I felt like this idea was ready to shoot.

What we will do in this series is walk through parts of your story. You have to be open, and willing to go where I lead. This series will only be open to clients I’ve photographed in the past. So, no new people yet. I need to get my feet wet in this with people I’m already comfortable with. Once I’ve shot a few, I will open it up to others.

May I have this dance?

Zephaniah 3:17 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

17 The Lord your God is with you.
    He is a hero who saves you.
        He happily rejoices over you,
            renews you with his love,
                and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.

There is just something about the Father/Daughter dances at weddings that intrigue me. I love seeing the emotion between daddies and their daughters. I look on in awe at these Daddies with their little girls and wonder, what is that like? I’m not trying to make my dad look bad. Growing up, I didn’t make it easy and he showed emotion in the way he could. I know he loved me.

I made a comment to one of my sisters that I didn’t understand that depth of emotion between Father/daughters. Her husband and daughter share that, but we’ve not experienced that depth. You know what’s beautiful though? God is showing me a Father’s love. He’s teaching me that. A few days after I made that comment, I sensed my Heavenly Father say, ‘I would dance with you at your wedding’. I felt such love pour over me. I’ve never been one to cry much. Don’t like to, hate it actually, but God is just loving me so much. I’m overwhelmed by it at times. He’s showing me what it means to be a daughter and showing me how that Father/daughter relationship works. He’s even working on my heart towards my dad. I’ve been a little hard in my attitude towards my dad. He’s been gone since 2003 and it’s been in the last couple of years that I’ve let go of the bitterness I’ve felt towards him. As I submit to God and allow Him to love ME, I’m able to love my earthly dad. I wish I would have gotten this revelation while he was still with me. I would love to sit next to him and put my head on his shoulder and ask him to dance with me.

I believe our dads give us our first glimpse of what our Heavenly Father is like. Obviously, our earthly dads often times fall short, (mom’s too), because let’s face it….we are human. However, God can heal even the most wounded soul and He can even heal the most wounded relationship. (Even if that loved one is gone).

Sorry if this was a little deep, but it’s been something that has been rolling around in me.