JUNE 201 5
JOHN 8:12 "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. WHOEVER FOLLOWS ME WILL NEVER WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT WILL HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE."
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JON MACAPODI PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE MEG VAN KAMPEN PHOTOGAPHER FEATURE ALBUM REVIEW: HILLSONG UNITED IF JESUS HAD INSTAGRAM I WISH I WOULD’VE KNOWN NEW SEASON TAYLOR CORNELIUS PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE WIPE EVERY TEAR FOUNDER INTERVIEW WIPE EVERY TEAR THE FILM EMMA HOPP PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE ETERNAL BREATHS DEALING WITH CHANGE COLTON WARR POEM ASHLEY LUCCITTI PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE ANDREA CHIRITA TESTIMONY HILARY BARRETO PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE CHRIS HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE I DON’T HAVE TIME SUMMER GLORY APRIL MAURA PHOTOGRAPHER FEATURE
JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
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EDITOR LETTER SUMMER.
S ummer. It's a new season to run after our dreams. If you're feeling discouraged, if you're feeling like it's too tough to accomplish what's on your heart, God is with us in the tough times
and it's in the tough times that we grow. My greatest lessons have never come from my triumphs. My greatest growth happens when I'm down to nothing and that's when I fight to get back up. Scripture tells us though we fall, we rise again. Rise up. Make up your mind that you're going to do it. Get back up. Keep going. God does not set us up to fail. Are you waiting for your sea to part? It will part when you take that first step of faith and that's when your ocean will split, that's when your miracle will happen. Summer is our new season. A season to start fresh and to move forward. Forgetting what is behind, we press on towards to the goal that God has called us to capture. This summer is going to be a big one for myself personally. I'm teaching the Angelic workshops from San Diego to Miami. It's my goal to passionately encourage and equip all who attend the workshops to run after their dreams. It's my goal to run after my own in the process. I very anxiously await to see the new things God teaches me this summer and to see how He can use Angelic Magazine to lead people to Him. I don't care about the success of Angelic Magazine, I care that in anything we did we were faithful to the calling God has given us. Are you ready for what God has in store for you in this new season? Start running after Him. Start getting ready to fulfill your dreams.
www.ANGELICMAG.com JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
met Jesus when I was eighteen-years-old. It was at a youth camp I didn’t want to be at and with people I didn’t know who were talking about things I didn’t care about. Despite my stubbornness, the message of the Gospel got through to me during a time of worship on the last night of camp, and I gave my life to Christ. I knew I had a calling in my life to be in ministry, and I spent the next few years pretty much throwing myself into any and all opportunities that presented themselves. I had a heart for missions and took every chance I could to go on short-term outreaches overseas. I ended up going to Bible College in York, England, and helping at a handful of different church plants in the UK for a little over three years. This was also when I fell in love in portraiture and slowly began the (still continuing) process of self-education in photography as an art/science, a craft, and a business. After moving back to the States, I had a bit of a crisis of faith. God had closed a door for me to continue being in the UK as a missionary after I had sold everything and tied up all my loose ends in order to start a new life there. By that point, my entire Christian experience had been nonstop ministry, and I took it personally that God was shutting the door in my face. I was burned out. I was done. It was a particularly hard time in my life, but, finally, after many months, I learned a much needed lesson—I was desiring to serve Jesus more than I was desiring Jesus. God didn’t need me, or my skills, or my service—He just wanted to know me and for me to know Him. I repented and rededicated my life to Christ. I acknowledged that God still had a calling in my life, but my primary one was simple: abide in Him (John 15:14). The very same afternoon after I had recommitted my life to Jesus, I got a phone call about a young pastor named Mike Doyle who was looking to move to New York and plant a church. He was looking for someone to partner up and help with leading worship. We hit it off immediately, sharing not just similar views, frustrations, and hopes in ministry, but also in music, culture, and the arts. A week later, I was laid off my IT job and hit a crossroads
// NYC regarding my future. It seems crazy to me now, but I know that it was the Holy Spirit leading me in my decision to not just join this young pastor but also to take a chance in spending what little money I had saved up in starting a career in photography. Fast forward five years, and I’m unbelievably blessed to still be serving alongside Mike as an elder at our incredible church community, Movement NYC (www.movementnyc.org), and working full-time as a freelance fashion photographer—with countless hard lessons learned in both arenas along the way. To me, they are complementary and parallel God-given callings. Looking back, everything I was hoping to do and achieve in the UK, God has given to me ten-fold and even more so here in New York. I often get asked, “How can you be a Christian in the fashion industry?” with the implied thought that there’s a disconnect between living a life for God’s glory and desiring to work in fashion. I can understand the misconception: this is an industry and culture that makes a supreme idol out of sexuality and whose greed and value system routinely treats people like cattle. This is all on top of the extra level of crazy of being in the NYC market. However, I can’t help but think of the apostle Paul in Ephesus, who had a desire to share Jesus in the middle of a culture even more sexually depraved and driven by greed. I can’t say I’ve made every right decision along the way, but even the faintest light shines brightly in a dark place, and, if anything, I’m truly grateful that I get to serve and share the hope of Jesus with an industry and culture that 99% of Christianity has no voice or influence in. Apart from being able to be a witness for Jesus in the fashion industry, I’m also of the conviction that, as Christians, we should be killing it in the creative field. We serve a creative God; He made the stars, he made the first sunset, the first flower, the first man, the first woman, and sexuality itself. Every single day he displays his genius and his creativity in the Heavens, on the earth, and within people. He created and continues to evolve beauty. Instead of making second rate “Christian” versions of what the world is doing, it should be us who are most inspired, most driven, and are setting trends in fashion/music/the arts—not for our fame, but for His.
p h o t o g : j o n m a c a p o d i (@jonmacapodi) m o d e l : b r i t n e y w a t k i n s (@bwatuwant) h a i r / m a k e u p : l a u r e n o ' l e a r y (@lovelobeauty) l ocati on : n ew york ci ty
MEG VAN KAMPEN PHOTOGRAPHER // HOLLAND, MICHIGAN "NO ONE COULD HELP ME. I HAD TO LET GO,
AND JUST BELIEVED WITH ALL OF MY HEART THAT I WOULD BE HEALED. "
hen I was little, I had all of these dreams of what my life would be like and who I wanted to be. I was very creative and God gave me a drive to create beautiful things. All I knew was I wanted to be a wife, a mother, and an artist. My husband, Tim, and I had three beautiful boys. I was happy being a wife and mom, but I felt sick and it wasn’t going away. I tried a medicine that people very often use without any issues and, by the third day, my mouth went completely numb. Pain flooded my body, and I experienced the worst feeling a person could imagine. During this time, I was seeing a lot of specialty doctors, but no one could help me. I had to let go, and I just believed with all of my heart that I would be healed. I ate as healthy as possible, and, one day, the sickness turned and I got ‘better.’ At that point, I felt this surge of thankfulness, and I wanted to pursue everything I have ever wanted to do in life. I decided to finally pursue photography. I started my own company and began shooting and loved it. I had everything I had ever wanted, but something wasn’t right. I woke up one morning exhausted, out of it, and tingling from head to toe. My body went completely numb and all of those horrible symptoms returned. The process started all over again. I saw doctor after doctor but found no answers. I thought, “If I stay on that diet, I will heal again,” but it kept getting worse. I was devastated and again felt very alone. My husband prayed with me every night and read verses to me. That was my only comfort. Months went by as I was waiting for my University appointment. I was falling over, passing out, and bedridden. My hyperacusis was so bad, I had to stay in my bedroom away from
any motor noises because they all sounded unbelievably loud. That symptom alone made me want to die. It looked bad. I do not remember my mother coming to see me or the weeks following. I was so gone. Thankfully, before I stopped driving, I took a Lyme disease test. My mom picked up the results and it read ‘positive’ from the lab (just as my husband suspected). We found a Lyme doctor days later who started me on medication. Over the next six weeks, I experienced the worst pain I ever imagined. The herxing was torturous; I wanted to die. I have never felt depression until then. It was unbearable, but, somehow, God gave me the strength to get through every minute. Today I am back to shooting weddings, driving my kids around, and all the normal mom stuff. I’m not completely healed, but I’m seeing healing weekly. Through this experience, I learned to let go, to have faith even when it doesn’t look good. I am not where I was or where I want to be, but I have learned humility and how to trust. I remember saying out loud one day (fighting my bad thoughts), “I am strong, I am healed, and I am FREE!” I kept saying it over and over, and it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. He owes me NOTHING, yet He is healing me. I thanked Him for His grace and His healing hand. He directed me to all of the right people when I asked for direction. I realized I owe Him my life. I don’t know what my life will be like, but I know I’m not alone, and God is always with me. Living in hope and faith and for God and not myself is the best place to be. I am thankful I can see the beauty again.
ph otograph er: m model: aleah gan
eg van kampen i
I'm a house music fanatic. An electro beat, trap music feen. And at one time, the only praise and worship music I really knew was Hillsong United. So, when I heard Hillsong had released a new album, my curiousity was struck. Everyone knows Hillsong. I've grown to really know and become more familiar with worship music these last few years and my appreciation for this style of music has grown by leaps. And what I look for in worship music is, does it make me want to seek Jesus more? I can listen to all types of music, but do any of them make me feel like singing to God? So, I scrolled through Hillsong's new album "Empires" with a discerning ear. Did it make me want to seek Jesus more? For the Bethel music listening, NEEDTOBREATHE listening type of fan, you'll for sure like this new album. It's solid stuff. But if you're like me who doesn't always have those bands on my playlist, I think you'll be in for a good listen.
My favorite song off of Hillsong's new album is "Even When It Hurts". "Even when the fight seems lost I'll praise You Even when it hurts like hell I'll praise You Even when it makes no sense to sing Louder then I'll sing Your praise" The more I listend to the album, the more I liked it. Songs like "Prince of Peace" mellowed out my mind and it reminded me that I wasn't listening to electro beats, but Jesus music, music that allowed me to feel a little more connected to Him. And that's what I wanted, music that would make me want to sing to God more. I'm not on Hillsong's payroll and I have no motive in speaking highly of their work. I liked the album and it's my honest assesment of it. If you haven't listend to it by now, I hope you take a listen and hopefully it'll remind you to sing to Jesus more.
By Angelic Editor
IF JESUS HAD INSTAGRAM
WHAT WOULD HIS WALL FEED LOOK LIKE?
SON OF GOD. SAVIOR. TRAVELER. HEALER. AUTHOR. TRUTH TELLER. GALILEE. B Y JESSE ANAYA ould Jesus post selfies of Himself? How many Matthew 23:28 “In the same way, on the outside you camera shots of Himself would he take before He appear to people as righteous but on the inside you finally found the right one to post? What editing app are full ofhypocrisy and wickedness. ” Social media gives us the opportunity to put filters does He use? Would He go full-on blue steel or do a on our lives, sharpen them, contrast them and post the serious-casual son of God type of look? If Jesus had Instagram would He post group shots of pretty pictures we want people to see. It allows us to He and His boys (aka disciples) before they headed portray our lives as perfect and it allows us to portray out to the Passover Festival? #thecrew #GodIsGood ourselves as perfect Christians. Are our lives as pure and perfect as our social media #festivallife If Jesus had Instagram would he post about how feeds paint us out to be? Scripture tells us to let our grateful He is to serve His Father, God, and then post a light shine before men so that they may see our good picture of a blind man He just restored sight to or a works so that it may bring glory to God. But scripture also asks us if we’re doing things for human homeless man he prayed for? #healer #savior Would he have His disciple Peter snap a shot of Him approval? And says if we’re doing things for human playing with kids and then post that picture for all His approval we’re no longer a servant of Christ. So, how do we distinguish being a light and doing followers to see? And after He posts it, when people things for human approval? A light simply shines are commenting and telling Him how “they love His heart” and how “He’s such an inspiration” and how He without looking for recognition. Doing things for is “such a faithful servant” would He just soak it all in human approval means going out of your way to let others know you are a light. and bask in His Instagram glory till the next post? Jesus talked about people who’d boast about their It seems not real for Jesus to post selfies. For Jesus to hashtag. For Jesus to be on the same level as we are Christian acts and Jesus’ response to them was “Many and do the same things we do. And in that comparison will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out it makes me realize how un-Jesus like we are. The Jesus I know wouldn’t have Instagram. When demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ He’d heal people, scripture tells us He’d tell those who Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me” Matthew 7:22-23 saw what took place not to tell anyone about it. Jesus doesn’t care about our social media posts. Our Scripture tells us when He was called good teacher by bios. Our titles. The amount of followers we have. He a man, Jesus responded by saying there is only One cares about if we know Him. And to know Him is to who is good, God. When asked if He was the king of the Jews by the serve Him faithfully without seeking human glory. Luke 17:7-10 “Suppose one of you has a servant man who had the authority to crucify Him, Jesus’ plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the response was, “You say so. ” He had nothing to prove to the man. Jesus didn’t care about titles, bios or servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, winning human approval. ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on I want to be more like Jesus. Jesus would speak about the people in His day who me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and would do everything for attention to be seen in the drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what sight of man. If they gave to the poor, they’d let the he was told to do? So you also, when you have done whole town know. When they prayed they did it so everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. ’ ” others could see them.
I WISH I WOULD'VE KNOWN
"THAT UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP LED TO MANY OTHERS FILLED WITH SIN AND JEALOUSY, NEVER BEING CONTENT AND FIGHTING IN ALL THE WRONG WAYS TO FEEL LOVED. "
B B G Dhad uring high school and my early years of college, I a lot of unhealthy relationships with friends and Y AILY REEN
especially with boys. Looking back, my world revolved around boys. I was never content being just me. For as long as I can remember, I have had a boyfriend or someone I was “talking to.” I constantly tried to find my worth in boys. During those years, I went through ugly breakups, boys who cheated on me, times I thought I was going to marry those boys, and, most heartbreakingly, sexual sin. My freshman year in high school, I started dating a boy who treated me well in the beginning, but, as time went on, our relationship was filled with jealousy, resentment, sin, and about every form of unhealthiness you can imagine.
I tried to fight for our relationship because, after all, he was the first boy who told me he loved me, so, clearly, I was going to marry him. WRONG. He cheated on me. After all of that, I still wanted to be with him. I was blind. That unhealthy relationship led to many others filled with sin and jealousy, never being content and fighting in all the wrong ways to feel loved. Never did I think that these relationships would affect my life later on. I wish I would have known that, someday, God would place a wonderful man in my life that deserved the best of me. I wish I would have known that who He has for me is far greater than I could have ever dreamed of. I wish I would have been more patient for this man. I wish I would have known that I would have to sit with this future husband someday and tell him everything that I did before we started dating... Oh, how much I would have protected. Despite the intensity of new love, it is almost impossible to tell if a relationship will lead to marriage until you’re walking down the aisle. It is not worth it to have sex or push the boundaries and wind up broken and having to sit in front of your possiblefuture spouse and tell them where you’ve been. I can tell you from experience that it is one of the
hardest things you will ever do, seeing the pain that you caused because of your selfish and impulsive decisions. It feels like you've cheated on that person. There will be a lot of pain, a lot of tears, and a lot of work to get through it all. Yes, you can work through it, but if you can avoid it altogether, it will be worth it! I don't want to say that God's grace isn't big enough because it is greater than we can comprehend. There is so much redemption. Yes, you will fail, but God is faithful and His grace and love for you are unconditional. It has been a constant journey finding my worth in God. To this day, His love still seems too good to be true. Knowing my sins, my struggles, and all the ways I fall short and choose my desires over Him, I believe I deserve death, but He gives me life. He tells me every single day that I am enough. God loves me enough that He sent His son to die. For me. It is hard for me to accept this kind of love. God is the only one who will truly satisfy us and make us pure. I want so badly for girls and guys to see that a "small" mistake now can really have an affect on future relationships. I share this story in hopes that God will use it to help others, to save the pain or to help overcome and strive for freedom. If you are reading this and you have any questions, please don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask. You are so loved, and you are not alone!
NEW SEASON THE DEEPER I CONTINUE TO GROW WITH GOD, THE MORE OF HIS CHARACTER I SEE. HE ALLOWS EXPOSURE TO SADNESS AND LOSS AS WELL AS A PLETHORA OF BLESSINGS AND REDEMPTION. A LL OF THIS REMINDS US WHO HE IS.
B Y KATIE MAY une is a month that automatically reminds me of care-free Mondays, swimming for hours, and eating as many popsicles I have in the freezer. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for most adults. And, for me, living in Flagstaff, Arizona, it’s not my reality if I wanted it to be, due to the fact that I’m still wearing sweaters and checking the weather reports to see if it’s snowing each day. However, I am still reminded of the beautiful and refreshing start of this new season. With a new season comes a new start, whether you’re starting over, or starting a new hobby (or Netflix series)—it is the beginning of something! It also gives you a chance to reflect on the past seasons of your life, as well. I was looking through some old handwritten cards today and read one from my sister saying, “We’re excited for you and all that this new season in your life will bring. We’ll be praying that wherever you are led, you grow closer to the Lord and continue to know Him more deeply and intimately.” I’m excited thinking about this. I’m excited reflecting on how I have grown and how I will continue to grow. I will continue to struggle sometimes, too, since I am an imperfect sinner in desperate need of a perfect God. Nothing brings me more joy and comfort than this. For many people, I think they assume giving their life to Christ puts them in chains and requires accountability they don’t want. But giving my life to Jesus was the most freeing decision I’ve ever made. The deeper I continue to grow with God, the more of His character I see. He allows exposure to sadness and loss as well as a plethora of blessings and redemption. All of this reminds us who He is. I am excited for the rest of my life with Him, but I’m going to start with excitement for this next season of life with Him. I want to invite you in this joy, as well! While you’re sipping on your lemonade, reflect on all God as done for you in the past few days, months, or years. Maybe these are things you prayed for, unexpected blessings, or even the little bit of peace God gave you through a very tough time. Ask to know Him more. He will reveal himself in the most whimsical of ways. And, in a year from now, who knows where we’ll be, but I’m sure we’ll say we’ve learned and grown and known God even more intimately. What a beautiful journey we have chosen with Jesus.
I REMEMBER THE EXACT MOMENT JESUS RAVISHED MY HEART. I CRIED FOR PROBABLY AN HOUR AFTER BECAUSE I HONESTLY HAD NO IDEA WHY I FELT SO FREE. JESUS, TO ME, IS FREEDOM. FREE FROM INSECURITIES, DOUBT, AND FEAR.
rowing up in the Bible belt, I have attended church my entire life. Sadly, this is often the start to almost every testimony I hear. It is crazy to me that you can hear the name Jesus your whole life, but it could take years for you to even begin to grasp the power in His name. My redemption story began when my stepdad adopted me when I was 19-years-old. I did not realize it at the time, but that was when I began to feel God’s love and began surrendering to Him. If my dad would adopt me at the age of nineteen and love me as his own, imagine how much more God loves me and calls me His own? I remember the exact moment Jesus ravished my heart. I cried for probably an hour after because I honestly had no idea why I felt so free. Jesus, to me, is freedom. Free from insecurities, doubt, and fear. A word that Jesus has spoken over me recently is “enough.” I often struggle with never feeling like I am enough for anyone or anything. While this is the enemy trying to hinder me from my purpose, it’s true in a sense. Jesus always has been and always will be enough. More than enough. I am a sucker for a good love story, or really any great story. God, hands down, always writes my favorite ones. This is why I love photography. I not only get to tell the stories God writes for people, but I get to capture His art. I pray before every shoot that my clients feel beautiful, but more importantly, loved. I pray that the pictures allow them to see themselves how God sees them. I am blown away daily that God loves me so much that He would write such a beautiful story for me. I get to capture people’s lives for a living. I often sit back and am in complete awe that I am chosen to do this, all glory to Jesus. The most exciting part is that He has written beautiful stories for all of us.
"IF I’ MBROKEN BROKEN FOR GIRLS THAT ARE TRAPPED IN THE S FOR GIRLS TRAPPED IN THE SEX TRADE. AND HE JUST KE B K A
K enny Sacht used to tell people he was “just a high school teacher and basketball coach.” Y ELSEY CH
And in his eyes, that was true. His story was not one to be told, shared, or written about. His story was normal and ordinary. But to anyone from the outside looking in, freeing girls from the sex industry in the Philippines and Thailand is anything but ordinary. And so we learn immediately that God’s kids are not ordinary people. God’s kids, yielded to God’s plans, are extraordinary sources of grace all around the world. Furthermore, we can understand and know core deep that God is the foundation of every good work that originates in Him. This is an account of grace. A story of God’s pure and total redemption. A message of beauty from ashes. This article is, in every sense of the word, a song to Heaven for the lost, the broken, the beaten down. This is your permission to come out of hiding and live in the freedom of Jesus. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. Revelation 21:4
Kenny Sacht began our interview with a bold statement, “Let me just pray for us.” And his words stormed the throne room of Heaven as he asked His Lord to come into the conversation. I was caught in wonder at the intimacy this man had with God and his confidence to approach Him so enthusiastically. Kenny is the founder of Wipe Every Tear, a non-profit organization that seeks to bring freedom to women caught in the sex industry. WET has been established for three years,
serves women in the Philippines and Thailand, has multiple safe houses, and has served more than 60 women since 2011. In 2007 Kenny led a team to the Philippines to conduct volleyball camps for the local people. Unbeknownst to him, God was on the move and aligning His people at just the right time. In just a few days, Kenny met and bonded with a young Filipino, a woman struggling to make do with a handful of rice per day and a mouth full of cavities. “So I asked her, ‘How hungry is hungry?’ and she held out her hand and said, ‘I get this much rice once or twice a day.’ And it was as if a spiritual arrow was shot into my heart. It just ached. It just hurt.” With his heart pierced for the people, Kenny began to ask God what he could do and how he could get involved, specifically with women caught in the sex trade. How could just one person make a difference? “My insides were asking, ‘What can I do, God?’ And The Lord spoke to me so clearly. He said, ‘Revelation 21:4,’ and I went there and it says, ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’ …And He said, ‘Just start with her. You know, Kenny, I’m going to wipe every tear on My side, now you wipe tears on your side.’” With that, Kenny Sacht took a step of faith and God proved faithful as well. With power and grace of the Holy Spirit, Wipe Every Tear has grown to reach women caught in the sex trade and give them an opportunity for a new life. Recognizing the need to provide both residential and educational provision for their girls, WET
SEX TRADE, IMAGINE HOW MUCH THE F ATHER’ S HEART IS H E IS ALL PASSIONATE, THE ALL GRACIOUS O NE. EEPS SHOWING UP." now does both and just celebrated their first college graduate. How were they able to grow and influence so many? They learned to be broken for the daughters God so desperately loves. “If I’m broken for girls that are trapped in the sex trade, imagine how much the Father’s heart is broken for girls trapped in the sex trade! He is all passionate, the All Gracious One. And He just keeps showing up!” Often considered “unconventional,” Wipe Every Tear believes that to love deeply means to meet the girls right where they are: in the bars. “We go where they’re at. When I go fishing, I go where the fish are. That’s how you do things,” Kenny Sacht explained. After building relationships with the girls in the bars, WET invites as many as possible to a “Girls’ Getaway,” a weekend vacation to love on the women and introduce them to the wonderful Love of Jesus. Even more, WET pays the women to come to the Girls’ Getaway, covering the money they would miss working in the bars. Asked about the Girls’ Getaway, Kenny replied, “We don’t change our vernacular. We are out there to be Jesus and He is the Light of the world. His light is in us! They start seeing and feeling Jesus. We are feeding the hungry. We are clothing the naked; giving hope to the hopeless. They immediately see Jesus and they want to go back and tell their friends about the new freedom they have found!” “Most of our girls are in college,” Kenny explained, “They were being prostituted living a horrendous, hellacious life and now they are being set free! Freedom, hope, and a future!” After talking with Kenny for well over an hour,
only one question remained, “Kenny, what have you learned about God through all of this?” He paused as if to take in the enormity of the grace Jesus had given so freely. Then he began: “I didn't’ realize how big His love was. And I don’t even have the words. (His love) is ever expanding. He is so in love with people no matter what they are doing. We have conditions— but He is just so in love with these girls.” And that is what happens when one follows an extraordinary God. To learn more about Wipe Every Tear and the amazing work they are doing in Jesus’ powerful Name, please visit their website at www.wipeeverytear.org and connect with them on social media. Opportunities are always available to join the prayer team for WET, support a staff member, or even travel with the team!
WIPE EVERY TEAR THEFILM
W IPE EVERY TEAR IS A FILM THAT TELLS THE RESTORATION FOUND W WORLD OF SEX-TRAFFICKIN Interview with the Producer/Director Albert Pritchard
What is The Restored Love Project? The Restored Love Project is an innovative community through visual stories. The vision of Restored Love is to that can depict deliverance and hope through the art of phot Specifically, we highlight refreshing stories of people, o movements that work to eradicate human trafficking. These misconceptions about slavery by focusing an empowering s a dark issue. How did you get involved? I began Restored Love the summer of 2014 after my junior for these stories of rejuvenation that were coming out of se worlds to be shared and exposed. My generation is drawn to storytelling—and, until Restored Love, there was neve photography and film to highlight this restored spirit that G threads of injustice. Human trafficking has always weighed on my heart, and something with my life that made an impact on others. A c my hand that I knew how to use, so I decided to incorp measure of fighting slavery. On a more personal level, at the time of Restored Love, m from a recent breakup. Restored Love almost became a th my own brokenness and heal it through love poured out to told me, “You can’t restore something unless it has first b of the darkest moments of my life, but the hope and l translated into understanding the power of healing that so freed from the sex trade are experiencing—so, in a sense fortunate cause for others’ benefit. What is your vision/purpose behind the Wipe Every Tea My vision for this film is to start a conversation. I men Love’s vision is to awaken a community with stories of ho flows into this film. Deciding to attach an original fable ca backdrop to these girl’s journeys is a creative approach that to connect with the girls we’ll see in the documentary. The as it weaves in and out of the main documentary, I think a into the beauty and power of restoration through this unique In seeing all the positive responses and feedback since ou the movie, we’re beginning to see people that are hungry f they’ve been waiting to see them for a long time. I think
DARING NEW E STORY OF WITHIN THE NG.
that fights human trafficking awaken a global community tography and filmmaking. organization, and other social e photos and films will change spotlight on restoration amidst
r year of college. I saw a need ex-trafficking and forced-labor o and responds through visual er a major model that used God is producing through the
d I knew that I wanted to do camera and lens were tools in porate those into an efficient
my own heart had been healing herapeutic opportunity to take others. A good friend recently een broken.” 2014 held some light that I found eventually o many girls and boys being e, my situation turned into a
ar Movie? ntioned earlier how Restored ope, and this pursuit definitely alled THIN SHADOWS as the t builds a bridge for audiences e story is truly beautiful, and, audiences will really be pulled e storytelling style. ur initial announcement about for these types of stories, and k if we can deliver this to the
masses, there’s no telling the response we’ll see, but I know it’s going to be powerful. All the filmmakers and creatives behind this piece just want to tell an honest story, one that invites audiences to be participants themselves in the way we’ve crafted the narrative. Why are you passionate about human trafficking? When I was a child, I experienced physical and emotional abuse. I have lived in true fear before, so, when I became aware of the issue of human trafficking, my heart resonated with the victims who have to experience this fear on a daily basis. I honestly can’t rest my head on a pillow at night comfortable with the idea that someone out there goes to sleep with this fear and pain hovering over them, only to be subjected by it when they wake up. I honestly believe human trafficking is one of the cumulative results from the original Fall because of its basic existence in utterly dehumanizing the individual and destroying their life—it doesn’t get much darker than that. On the other end, hope is a seed that thrives inside of me. When I hear the statistics and realities of modern-slavery, I become fueled with energy because I know there are so many opportunities for redemption and restoration within the broken. There’s work to be done, and I want to be a voice that helps create the movement for change. Who is Jesus to you? That’s a great question, and I don’t know if I can fully answer it in just one word, sentence, or paragraph. When I break down who Jesus is and what He means in my world, Jesus is essentially life. I get caught up in the thought that our entire universe, existence, and reality is all contingent on the person of God; it’s crazy when you think about it! Whenever I fly in airplanes, I love to look out the window and the thought always hits me, “What keeps the sky from falling?” Jesus has given me life. He’s given me a chance to experience this beautifully created world and reality He’s put me inside. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to just live because of Him. What are you hoping this film accomplishes? I am hoping that the Wipe Every Tear movie will give people a refreshed outlook on how they see modern slavery. One of our descriptors for the film is, “hope found within the world of human trafficking.” That’s it! It’s inverse because how can hope be found in something so perverted? That’s the beauty in it, and it’s reflective of the Kingdom where everything we know gets turned upside down. I hope people are inspired by this film and that it will give them a new understanding of the power of restoration. How Can Viewers Make this Possible? It’s encouraging to see so many people excited for the film, but we can’t bring it to their screens if we don’t have the funds to produce it. Financial support will help our needs to hire our crew and secure transportation, food, and equipment. We need to raise at least $50,000, and if we had a community supporting through monetary gifts, we can produce this feature film and spread its empowering message. Individuals canr donate on Restored Love’s website, RestoredLove.Org.
INTERVIEW BY KILLIAN ROSE
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"I HAVE QUESTIONED MY ULTIMATE DIRECTION WITH PHOTOGRAPHY, I HAVE PUT MY FAITH IN GOD’S TIMING AND TRUSTED THAT HE WILL TAKE ME EXACTLY WHERE I NEED TO BE. "
ver since I was a little girl, I have always had a camera glued to my hand. Everyone knew I would grow up to be a photographer, and that’s exactly what I did. I am so passionate about creating artwork out of human expression and love, which is why my favorite thing to photograph is just that—love. Whether it’s the love between two partners, a mother or father and their child, friends, or siblings, love is love and it’s an amazing thing to be able to capture in a photograph. Although being able to make a full time job out of photography has been rough at times and I have questioned my ultimate direction with photography, I have put my faith in God’s timing and trusted that He will take me exactly where I need to be. I am so grateful to have been given this gift and to be able to share it with so many people and provide them with lifelong memories to cherish. Seeing someone happy with their photographs and become emotional over the photos I have taken brings me the ultimate joy.
"because the dead man was not just any man. he w h e l d d e a th a n d l i fe a t on ce a n d ch os e d e
B Y KELSEY ACH he first breath into eternity is one to explode the lungs. Taking in an expansive love has that effect. Beholding an unending forgiveness transforms a soul. And it's hard to describe the first breath—the imagination running wild that there is fresh ground to walk upon and life is made new and regret has no place. The explosion of lungs makes me dance wild for the world to see, but, more importantly, for the One to see. So let me begin with this. I used to be dead, but now I'm alive.
“…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
When I was twelve, the dark suffocation met me face-to-face, and I knew I couldn't live another second without the grace of Jesus. I accepted Him and His immeasurable love and it was as if time took a side step as Heaven donned surgery gloves. Because this daughter needed work and it's not easy bringing the dead to life. But it's also not easy bringing Heaven to earth and He already did that.
So I was just another child that needed the open heart surgery by Dad. I’m grateful that the gentle Surgeon is able to piece together the greatest shatter. And Dad saved. So graceful. So patient. So accepting. He saved. I've often wondered about the dead that brings life and the mass explosion of growth from the ceased. We think on this mere fact—that life originates in death—and we can't help but pause. Because suddenly our bodies shift with the recognition. The recognition that flora comes from dead seed and harvest is plentiful where death is unmerciful. We recognize even deeper that the Son of Man understood the death-to-life phenomenon. So He understood and gave Himself to death only to watch us grace-gasp for life. I’m amazed at what the seed of that dead Man did. Life is still blooming from His death. Not only are our souls made eternal, but Holy Spirit was sent. Life came and newness arose and our lives were somehow now worth something. With the arrival of our Savior, we now have a leg to stand on, a Victor to point to, a Hope to believe in. We are no longer alone and dead, but included in the family of Christ and crowned with glory! We are crowned with glory. Our Jesus crowns us. Because the dead Man was not just any Man. He was The Man. The One. The Only. The only One that held death and life at once and chose death because it was the only way to life. And yeah, we aren’t worth saving and half our lives we spend running away and making fools and living in mistakes. We try our best and the best isn’t good enough and scars are made and we just…can’t. We look at ourselves and find reasons for Him not to pick us, not to save us, not to use us.
was the man. the one. the only. the only one that a t h b e c a u s e i t w a s t h e o n l y w a y t o l i f e ." But Life works differently when Jesus is the One leading the way. And He picks us every time. Maybe? Maybe if He were physically here He would take us aside, wrap His arm around our falling shoulders, and talk one-on-one. Maybe He would speak low and talk deliberate and we would know His every word was trustworthy and true. Maybe we would start to cry at His first words because we know our hearts are finally home. Maybe we would scoot close to His side because He was the One we’ve been looking for. Maybe we would worship or shy away or talk incessantly. But, more than likely, we would lean in and take notice of His so-visible Life, the life that flows from Him like light; the Life that radiates like heat and washes new like water; the Life that seems to want inside of our cracked souls. The Life we so desperately want and need. “… humanity has a bone-deep indoctrination in the following statement: Where there is life, there is hope. Not in God’s strange economy. That day ofall days, where there was death, there was hope. And strangely, even now for those of us in Christ, our greatest hope is in what lies beyond our deaths. We stand on the edge of our cliff-like emotions looking into the deep cavern of our grief, and we’re sure that the jump will kill us. Yet for those of us who entrust our feeble selves to our faithful Creator, in ways I can neither explain nor describe, it doesn’t. When death ofsome kind comes and we are willing to take it to the cross, to remain nearby, and to suffer its grief, we will also experience the resurrection… ” -Beth Moore
And the cracked soul yearns for the Life. Dead things often long for the breath to come and this time, Praise Him , the breath has come. And our lungs can’t even begin to prepare for the
first breath of the eternal, but that’s what eternity is for—to adjust and yet never adjust to the Love that overtook, to the Victory that is now ours, to the Grace that wrapped tight, to the Father that loves us more than we could ever imagine.
Eternity. Death. Life. Who would’ve thought those three words could mesh? Even the broken can live. The shattered can run. The battered can be made new. Jesus made sure ofthat. So scoot close.
B Y MAEGAN DOCKERY
hanges are tough for me. It’s not that I don’t like change, necessarily, I just really, really like to be in control. I am someone who thrives when I have a routine, a schedule, a to-do list. I often contemplate this during times of transition. Whether it’s a season changing, a move, or any sort of transition, really, I am reminded how tightly I cling to control that I’ve never really had. Because here’s the thing. When I gave my life to Christ, I let go of the steering wheel. I gave Him my metaphorical throne. I handed over the reins. Well, I was supposed to have done that. Isn’t it funny how simple—easy, even!—it is to say, “Here, God. I trust You,” until we’re actually faced with the unknown. The unknown, to me, is absolutely terrifying. It’s like spiders and snakes and sharks in a dark room with a bunch of clowns, just waiting to attack. I have been through a lot of changes in my life. There are the simple changes—even though they might not seem simple at the time—like starting a new school or learning to drive. Then there are the scarier changes, like going on your first mission trip or going away to college. Sometimes, we don’t know what God has in store for us. Even worse, sometimes we don’t like what He has in store for us. But, thank goodness, He is God and we are not. Through the various changes I’ve gone through—school, mission trips, jobs, marriage—I am reminded each time that God has me where I am for a specific purpose. God knew I would meet my husband in college, even though I struggled with ever even wanting to get married. God knew I would serve Him in East Asia, even though I doubted my faith was mature enough for such a trip. God knew we would start a young adult Bible study at our church, even though David was unhappy at his job and wanted to go to seminary sooner. It’s so easy to try to wrench that control out of God’s hands, especially when we can’t see what’s next. It’s easy to rely on yourself for the next step when it’s so scary to trust in God and His timing. It’s easy to worry and stress when all God wants for us is peace. Like I said, I am a big fan of having control. I like knowing what’s coming, checking things off the agenda, seeing the bigger picture. But that isn’t always how God works. Sometimes, He takes our comfort and says, “It’s time to be uncomfortable for a while.” Sometimes, he takes our monotony and says, “It’s time for spontaneity.” Sometimes, he sees us in our ruts and says, “It’s time to forge a new path.” No matter where you are in life, whether the only change you’ve got going on is getting bikini-ready after a bitterly cold winter, God has you there for a reason. Are you graduating and terrified? Are you moving to a new town where you know no one? Are you in a rut that seems endless? Trust God. Let Him guide you through this change—or lack thereof—and you’ll see that He is a much better driver than you could ever be.
ALLIE B Y COLTON WARR I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST FORSAKEN GIRL B ORN INTO A WORLD OF DARKNESS S HE NEVER HAD HER OWN WORLD S OLD AT A DIFFERENT TYPE OF MARKET I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST BETRAYED GIRL S OLD OFF BY HER OWN FATHER INTO THE ARMS OF THE
UNKNOWN WHAT THEY DID WOULD MAKE EVEN THE STRONGEST OF MEN CRINGE AND CURL DID THEIR WORK AND THEN CAST HER ASIDE LIKE A STONE
I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST BROKEN GIRL WHAT THEY DID LEFT HER BRUISED AND DECIMATED AND DEAF A STORY OF A CRACKED PEARL B UT SOMETHING INTERVENED, A FRIEND, A REF
I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST COURAGEOUS WOMAN THE TRUE FATHER INTERVENED HE SAID SHE COULD WHEN SHE SAID SHE COULDN'T ONCE DIRTIED BY THE DEVIL, THE MESSIAH HAS CLEANED
I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST EMPOWERING WOMAN NOW WALKING IN THE MIDST OF THE TRUE FAITH HAND IN HER FATHERS, SHE BELIEVED WHEN OTHERS WOULDN' T IT IS NOW THAT SHE IS SAVED I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST ENDURING WOMAN NOW SHE SPEAKS HER STORY TO OTHERS B ECAUSE WE ARE ALL BUT ONLY HUMAN HER WORDS A CRUSADE FOR THOSE WHO STILL SUFFER I HEARD A STORY OF THE MOST PRECIOUS GIRL S HE HAD BEEN BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN
PHOTOGRAPHER // PHOENIX, AZ
’d like to be able to say that my journey with God has been easy. It has been a struggle since middle school. I am just now beginning to get closer to the relationship I want to have with him, but I have a long way to go. I moved a lot growing up. I lived in six states by the time I was thirteen. I lived in Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas from elementary school through seventh grade. I feel like those years are crucial for value and moral development. I was raised in a Christian home. Growing up in the Bible Belt, it was easy to be a Christian. It seems like everyone there is a Christian. Halfway through seventh grade, we moved to Phoenix. It was a complete culture shock. Everything from culture to morals were the complete opposite. At that age, it is so important for you to fit in. I did not. I was an instant target because I was a Christian girl with a hardcore southern accent. Over time, I made friends, but none of them were Christians. Around my freshman year of high school, my family started going to a church that was also a school during the week. I went to the teen group every week, and I hated it because all of the kids knew each other from going to school there. I was an outsider from the clique. Now, I didn't fit in at school or church. I started despising everything about church. I would ditch every week when my parents would walk away. I would get in huge fights with my family about God, church, and religion. During this time I still believed in Jesus, but I wanted nothing to do with Him. I became obsessed with scary or demonic movies. Subsequently, I began to hear and see paranormal things around my house. I partially believe this was due to the dark religious state I was in and my distance from God.
As I continued high school, things started to get better. I started to fit in. My parents stopped making me go to teen group, which ultimately helped. That allowed me to have room to breathe a little, and then I could regrow in God in a way I felt comfortable. Through college, I knew I wanted to get close with God again. I would go to church from time to time, but, overall, wasn't doing much about it. A few years post-college, I joined a Bible study. I feel like that was one of the best decisions I made because the topics discussed hit home for me. One night, the young adult pastor was a substitute for the usual leader. We were studying Romans. He got on a discussion about a former prostitute who had come to the young adult group and spoken to them about her journey. Then, he moved on to a new subject. A few minutes later, he went back to that topic. He stated that he felt what he had said about her made it appear that we were above her, as if because we have not been prostitutes we are more worthy of God’s grace. He said he wanted to make it clear we are absolutely not more worthy of God’s love and forgiveness. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The fact that he went back and made a point to make it clear that we are no more worthy than any other person on this planet hit home for me. I have met people who have thought they were worthier than I. I’m sure there have been moments where I thought I was worthier than others. What he said that night forever changed how I view my relationship with God.
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A NDREI HAD DIED DURING HER ANESTHESIA DUE TO A POWER OUTAGE FROM THE COLD TEMPERATURE. WHEN SHE DEMANDED TO SEE HIS BODY, THEY TOLD HER THAT THEY CREMATED HIM. DESPAIR WAS THE
ANDREA CHIRITA ORANGE COUNTY, CA // AGE: 22
ONLY APPROPRIATE WORD TO CAPTURE THE EMOTIONS MY MOTHER FELT
rom my tender, formative years I was told that I had an older brother, Andrei. The name Andrei, however, never dissolved. With tear-filled eyes my parents still talk about him. As a matter of fact, Andrei’s story has become a microcosm eclipsed by the macrocosmic gospel narrative. Apart from Jesus, this story will not make sense. February 7, 1988, was the frigid day in which Andrei entered the world. When I say frigid, I mean it literally was freezing in Romania, but the entire story has a cold temperature and tone to it, as well. Briefly put, my mother never got to hold Andrei, her firstborn son. The hospital’s nurses dismissed my father until he received a bone-chilling phone call in the afternoon. All he could hear were sobs and my mother’s frantic tone. He raced back to the hospital only to walk himself and his wife back to an empty crib. Andrei’s little corner in their small apartment now became a symbol of their pain. Would they ever see him again? Did God truly intend for such a dreadful thing to happen? Doctors and nurses informed my mother that Andrei had died during her anesthesia due to a power outage from the cold temperature. When she demanded to see his body, they told her that they cremated him. Despair was the only appropriate word to capture the emotions my mother felt when she was forced to leave the hospital, childless and answerless. Months later, sometime during June, my mother walked to a local farmer’s market in the small city ofArad. It was there that she bumped into the nurse that helped deliver Andrei. My mother had to fight the hatred swelling up within her. She had suppressed all of her emotions until she saw her nurse, causing a wave of emotions to come over her. The nurse began to explain how the communist officials, under Ceausescu’s dictatorship, were violently coerced—on numerous occasions—to comply with his requests of setting healthy babies aside to then be sold to wealthy European families. The babies would all be declared dead to the mothers and fathers; they were not allowed to give them any answers outside of “he or she is
dead; there was nothing we could do.” Countless families endured the same treatment as my mother and father. But our story is different. Jesus spoke into that nurse’s life that morning in the farmer’s market. She was so moved by my mother’s forgiveness. My mother did not merely say, “It’s okay,” because what happened to Andrei certainly was not okay. Instead she said, “I forgive you.” The difference lies within my mother’s Christ-like ability to incur the debt on her nurse’s behalf, as Christ absorbed ours on the cross. My mother and the nurse were women changed by grace on that summer morning, not chained to their carnal pursuit of hatred or consumed by vengeance. Fast forward to a year later, and my parents not only dangerously fled the country and were imprisoned in Yugoslavia, but their story moved even their prison guards who persistently threatened to send them back to Communist Romania. My mother and father, Lavinia and Vasile, stepped on American soil with $5.00 in their pockets, sponsored by a family they had never met. Though they may have not been given the ability to see Andrei’s little face or hear his giggles, his story has impacted us more than we could have ever imagined. Earlier I said that Andrei’s story is cold. You see, Andrei’s story is in fact cold, lifeless, and perhaps senseless. Jesus, however, gives this narrative warmth and purpose. It is precisely the sobering love of Christ, which allows us to have joy in the midst of such difficult, despairing seasons. In a beautiful way, Andrei pointed us to the ultimate act Christ completed for us on the cross.
PHOTOGRAPHER // SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
"THOUGH LONELINESS WOULD FOLLOW ME AND DOUBT WOULD CREEP IN, I KNEW THAT, NO MATTER WHERE LIFE TOOK ME, WHEREVER I DECIDED TO FULFILL MY PURPOSE OR HOW I DID IT, I KNEW THAT GOD WOULD ALWAYS BE THERE WITH ME AND FOR ME. "
few years back, at the height of those angsty, dramatic teenage years, I heard a repetitive lyric from a song which you may have heard before. It says, “May angels lead you in.” At the time, it was the deep drums and strumming guitar that captured me. Going about my high school days, searching for meaning and a purpose in my life, I never realized that those words would follow me to Chicago for college, New York City, and back to my hometown in California. Though loneliness would follow me and doubt would creep in, I knew that, no matter where life took me, wherever I decided to fulfill my purpose or how I did it, I knew that God would always be there with me and for me. Fast forward to three weeks before graduating college. I had secured half a room with an acquaintance in Brooklyn, New York—and yet, I still hadn’t found any steady work. Call it naivety, call it trust in a faithful God, I knew in my gut that the One who was always with me would not leave me at my most vulnerable. One week and an email later, I had a job as an assistant to a photographer in Manhattan. These days I find myself back in California, working for a non-profit and photographing friends and families in my spare time. When the next adventure comes my way, I know that mileage means nothing to a God who holds the oceans in the palms of His hands. I still carry those words with me, on my heart, and always on my mind. What those words have become for me is a mantra and a constant reminder that, wherever I go in life, I know that God and His armies of angels are always with me. Wherever you find yourself today, in whatever decision or situation, may angels lead you in.
chris henderson photographer atlanta "YOU ARE LOVED BY THE ONE, NO MATTER THE SIN, HOW HEAVY THE BURDEN, HE CHOSE TO TAKE THESE FROM YOU AND WASH THEM AWAY WITH HIS BLOOD."
y name is Chris Henderson, and I am a photographer from the Atlanta area. I shoot primarily weddings, portraits, boudoir, and fashion. I also am the social media marketer for Reformation Brewery—a values based brewery here—where I do all of their photography, as well. I came to know Jesus when I was six, living with my family in Colorado, and I’ve been running from Him ever since. We bounced from church to church in our new home state of New Hampshire until, eventually, we just stopped going. We went back from time to time, but I found it difficult to fit in anywhere that I went. At the time, I was a misfit, this guy with hair down to his butt, face always buried in a novel, or writing furiously in lined notebooks. The more distant we got from church, the more distant I felt from God. It wasn’t until we moved to Georgia that I felt Jesus on my heart. At night, I would go through a routine of prayer. I never can recall what I prayed about then, but I know He knows. I met my now-wife and I attended her family church with her. It was a Southern Baptist church and no matter how hard I tried to fit in, I just didn’t. I felt like I was being punished for just being alive. We were being told how unworthy we were and how in the grand scheme of things, we were no better than a dirty worm that crawls upon the earth. In that time, my younger brother died and I picked up photography as an outlet to combat the emotions toiling inside of me. It has opened so many doors for me in the ability to serve wherever I can; whether it is shooting for an organization that puts on events for children with special needs or a local apparel shop that donates all of their proceeds to the fight against sex trafficking. As I grew as an artist, the more of a misfit I felt at church. Thankfully, we moved to our new church. The moment I walked in there, I felt that I was at home. There were people with tattoos, facial piercings, wacky hair color, and nobody wore a suit or a tie. All of these misfits and outcasts were together under one roof to do the same thing—worship the Lord. A continuing thread that I hear in our services, one that has rattled through my marrow to the core, is that we are worthy. Jesus chose us—He chose to carry our sins to the cross, and, in that moment, we were forgiven. We were—and still are—very much loved. The notion that we have to live our lives cowering in fear that God is waiting around the corner to slap us silly when we sin—no matter how great the sin—is silly. If you think of it, you’re diminishing Christ’s death on that cross. You are loved by the One, no matter the sin, how heavy the burden, He chose to take these from you and wash them away with His blood. My mind can’t wrap around it, but I know for sure that I’ve stopped running from the One who chose to die for me.
I Don't Have Time "G OD, I JUST DO NOT HAVE TIME . I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SPEND WITH YOU AND ALL OF MY PEOPLE ; I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WRITE ; I DO NOT HAVE TIME TO READ AND REFLECT ON YOUR WORD "
BY CLARE TUCKER
s I take some time out of my long-overdue visit to God’s magnificent gift of these beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, I am reminded how much of my life God is changing. I leave my friends and family enjoying the waves, the sun, and the carefree living that comes with this picturesque existence to trek back to the beach house, dust off all this sand I enjoy being covered in, fix myself a midday coffee, and resort to a quiet corner on the balcony to finish this little article. Earlier this morning, I woke up before everyone else, thinking I could catch a little alone time with Him and my worrisome soul might find its cure. I mean, it is Sunday—the least I can do is make more time for Him today as I remember all the things I put before Him on the other days leading up to this one. As this realization sets in, I even briefly resented friends and family for being around because: God, I just do not have time. I do not have time to spend with You and all of my people; I do not have time to write; I do not have time to read and reflect on Your Word; I do not have time to make the beds, wash beach towels, paint my nails, finish my book, or wash my hair! And as soon as I start telling Him all of this, He breathes a wave of comfort into me as He always does. I immediately realize the outside demands of my life are not that big, and they are actually not the problem. The illusion of my unrest was only my unwillingness to invite God into a moment of poor time management. God has recently convicted me to become a disciple of His. He has called me to work for Him and that has ceased to astound me—I am only a broken sinner, guilty of so much. How in the world could I have been given this job? Of course I would drop everything else, including plans of my own, to show up for God! Sounds amazing, right? Well, in reality, this new way of life has presented itself without lack of struggle, insecurities, confusion and desperation. In this season of chaos and worry, I am clinging tighter to Jesus than ever
before. He is the only one who can work this out. Opening my Bible for answers, He gives me the words of Paul, and they grab my attention. “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for you progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” (Philippians 1 :22-26). I am stepping back and proclaiming that His perfect presence will stand in front of everything I do, think, feel, or choose. He paid for my freedom, promised me life, and came through for me. Who better to navigate? Knowing He is perfect and all-knowing, I still try to grab the control from Him! I have to daily choose what I am saying ‘yes’ to that is of the world's standards because so many of these things interfere with what God wants me to do and draw me further away from Him. The struggle does not end when you decide to follow Jesus. I would venture to say that things may even be harder—but in a very different way. When you become a citizen of Heaven and not one of this world, it gets harder to fit in. The demands and expectations are still there, but then on top of that there are people now waiting to challenge your new way of life and tug away at your direction of righteousness. Things of this world may get harder, but God comes through on His promise of comfort in the storm, and you get to see how you are no longer alone through it all. My Comforter. My confidence to press on in this life stems directly out of being loved by a perfect Savior who chose to die for me, then grant me the gift of telling others about His Greatness. And I rest knowing I do have the time for that.
SUMMER GLORY "GOD KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WHEN HE INSTILLED IN US THE DESPERATE DESIRE TO SURVIVE. TO FIGHT AND PUSH AND SPREAD OUR WINGS GREAT DISTANCES ." BY MIA JONES
“May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night; may the rain wash away your worries; may the breeze blow new strength into your being; may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days ofyour life. ” – Apache blessing
June is quite the monumental month. It marks one year since I had an unplanned surgery on my tiny tummy and an extensive recovery. All I have left now to worry about is a not-so-tiny scar. This June, I’m just thankful. With a new season comes renewed faith and I see God’s glory in the details. I look at the clouds and wonder in awe of their lightness. I admire the trees—the foliage situated perfectly and with intention alongside stretching interstates—and I’m convinced this is where beauty resides. Summer months, although blazingly hot and humid (especially if you’re in the South), prove each new year we have growth; but, more importantly, the ability to survive and spring forth anew. The once barren gardens are suddenly thriving and blossoming. The naked lawns finally green with envy and sophistication. And, like those plants, we, too, are reminded of the goodness in second, third chances. God knew what He was doing when he instilled in us the desperate desire to survive. To fight and push and spread our wings great distances. There are moments when I feel overwhelmed by the fight and grow tired of pushing, but then I look to something as insignificant as a weed. The willowy, delicate kind that grows where the wind blows it and I’m again reminded that if a weed can make it, why can’t I? “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they do not toil nor spin…” – Matthew 6:28 This new season I am taking courage from Matthew and reflecting on the high consideration and regard God has for me, for us all. A year later I could have been battling in a bigger war with my health, but I am not. A year later I could still be on the brink of giving up in graduate school, but I finished and prevailed. A year later I could still be searching for a job, but I have found and kept one. June is truly a month of strength, and I’ll forever feel empowered because of it—grateful I am here a year later to testify. In the coming months, I am unaware of what could happen. In the coming years, I could be faced with an even bigger battle, but of one thing I am certain: like the seasons, I will have renewed strength day in and day out. I will rest when it is time to rest, fight when it is time to fight, and be still in my journey, knowing that God is doing His portion in my need. June is the monumental month for me in all its summer glory.
ven u e: h eri tag e sq u are p l a n n e r : h y t c h e d w e d d i n g s & ev e ph otograph er: apri l mau ra hair stylist: all done up salon makeu p arti st: emi l y h u i zar fl ori s t: l i g h th ou s e fl owe r s h op ren tal s: pri m u n i q u e ren tal s bri dal gown : bri l l i an t bri d al tu xedo: cel ebri ty tu x an d tai l s cake: my goodness cakes food an d d ri n k tru ck: th e d u ke s t a t i o n a r y : fo i l a n d i n k fem al e m od el : sh an n on ku sm i t m a l e m o d e l : a n t h o ny z a s i m o v i c h location: phoenix
APRIL MAURA PHOTOGRAPHER // PHOENIX, AZ
"I LEARNED I NEEDED TO MAKE GOD MY FIRST LOVE. I LEARNED HOW TO TRUST GOD AND THE CHURCH WITH WHO I AM, HOW TO BE DISCIPLED, AND TO DISCIPLE OTHERS. "
y faith took root when I was 13 years old. A friend of mine had something in her life that I was lacking—a constant peace. For months, my friend continued to ask me if I wanted to go to Awana, a children’s ministry. I would give her an excuse every time until, one day, she said there would be free food. That evening, there was food and lots of fun games. At the end of the meeting, we sat down, read from the Bible, and a leader told the story about Jesus dying on the cross for us. The leader asked us if we knew where we were going when we died. They challenged those of us who didn’t know Jesus to ask Him to reveal Himself. When that was spoken, I heard an audible voice telling me, “I want you, Daughter, and I love you,” and it probed me to talk to a leader. Without hesitation, I asked a leader if we could sit down and talk. I asked my questions and the leader pointed me to Scripture. I knew I was a sinner and that I wanted to trust in God. The leader led me through the prayer, and, as we were praying, something filled me up; I felt complete and whole. The feeling that rushed over me felt better than anything I have to this day experienced. Now, reflecting on the experience, I know it was the Holy Spirit. I realized I was trying to fill myself with things in life, but they weren’t enough to make me feel complete. I was on fire for God, read His word, and couldn’t get enough knowledge of Him. My relationship with God took a huge turn my freshman year of college. I started attending a church where I was being held accountable. I was dating a guy, and, when that relationship ended, it left me devastated. After the break up, I was at an all-time low, many nights calling out to God and crying myself to sleep. Shortly after, I got introduced to Campus Crusade for Christ and I saw faith being lived out in community.
I learned I needed to make God my first love. I learned how to trust God and the church with who I am, how to be discipled, and to disciple others. Ultimately, I learned how much I needed Jesus and how loved I was by the King. I live with my husband, Denny, and 100 pound German shepherd, Arnold. I grew as a photographer the year I captured over 10,000 smiling portraits in Asia. I love smiles and wanted to shed light on joy in the world. I love the intricate details: curves, textures, colors, light, all in one person’s face. Creating and appreciating the beauties in life is a simple pleasure of mine. For me, photography focuses on the truth of that moment. I love hearing and witnessing the love stories God has written for couples, and my hope is for others to enjoy my photos and see that which could be easily overlooked in the swift passing of time. Souls are changed when they see the story a good photographer captures, and it is my heart’s desire to tell vivid personal stories through my lens while sharing love and truth with the subject of my art. God has gifted me in the skill of photography and allowed me to further His kingdom by having a wedding photography business, April Maura Photography. I have seen God at work with the clients and people I work with in the wedding industry. It is a huge honor to be an ambassador in this industry, where I can speak truth into people’s lives and encourage them. I love relying on God to bring His presence when I am at a photoshoot or wedding and to be a blessing to those around me.
ANGELIC MAGAZINE www.ANGELICMAG.com JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
JOHN 14:21 "WHOEVER HAS MY COMMANDS AND KEEPS THEM IS THE ONE WHO LOVES ME."
Jesus. Music. Fashion. The June 2015 issue of Angelic Magazine. www.ANGELICMAG.com