MARCH 201 7
JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
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ReLelocaxtiinngton g to LEX, KY
Dear Readers, We launched a separate bi-monthly Lexington, KY Community version ofAngelic in
November of 2015. But we are strangers to Lexington. Our magazine team is scattered throughout the US, with one of our writers living in Canada. We've been strangers to Lexington since our inception to this community, but will no longer be as of this spring. It was July of 2015 that we visited Lexington for the first time to participate in Harvest, a night of worship under the Kentucky stars. And ever since that time Lexington has never left us. The people, the friendships, the memories made and the impact Lexington has had on us, has never left us. So, we created a separate, smaller bi-monthly Lexington community issue outside of our monthly coast to coast issue to keep in stride with how God is moving in Kentucky; hoping to be a part of the movement in some subtle way. The teeter-tottering of maybe God has more for us in your community has prolonged and persisted for nearly two years. Other cities have crossed our paths but Lexington has always remained in our hearts. It's been a waiting in limbo, waiting on God for answers type of seasons for these last two years. Waiting for doors to open and waiting for clarity in prayers. The teeter-tottering and waiting for clarity came to a halt this winter when the opportunity to permanently plant our roots in Southern California presented itself. SoCal is where Angelic began and it's where we could step outside of our magazine pages and step into a community for the foreseeable future of our ministry -- but something inside lingered, what about Lexington, Kentucky? If we chose SoCal we'd be forever strangers to Lexington. And there was a sadness within that didn't want to say yes to SoCal but an answer that it was Lexington, Kentucky where our hearts had stayed nearly two years ago. God spoke. This spring Angelic Magazine is permanently relocating to Lexington. For two years we have been planning, preparing, gathering our ideas to unleash and link our arms with a community in Jesusâ€™ name, and the time is now. We are coming to Lexington to plant a church and are taking this step of faith. Visit www.angelicmag.com/thechurch
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submit your prayer requests MATTHEW 18:20"where 2 or 3
s to angelicmag.com/prayer gather in my name, there i am with them."
we want to gather in his name for you.
OUR STORY A
NGELIC M AGAZINE IS A MONTHLY PRINT AND DIGITAL PUBLICATION THAT BLENDS MUSIC , FASHION AND THE REAL STORIES OF PEOPLE STRIVING TO LIVE FOR J ESUS . W E BEGAN IN S EPTEMBER OF 201 3 FEATURING CONTENT SOLEY FROM THE SOUTHWEST OF THE U NITED S TATES AND SINCE OUR BEGINNING, WE' VE SPREAD TO FEATURE EDITORIAL CONTENT FROM THE PACIFIC TO THE ATLANTIC , AND BEYOND . W E HAVE READERS ABROAD COMING FROM PARTS OF E UROPE, S OUTH AMERICA, ASIA AND AUSTRALIA. ANGELIC HAS A MAGAZINE NAME BUT WE ARE A MINISTRY FOCUSED ON FEARLESSLY PROCLAIMING J ESUS . W E SPOTLIGHT MUSICIANS AND BANDS WHO HEARTS STRIVE TO BEAT WITH H IS. W E FEATURE FASHION PHOTO -SHOOTS WITH PHOTOGRAPHER ' S , STYLISTS AND MODELS WHO DESIRE TO PROFESS THEIR FAITH IN H IM. O UR ARTICLES ARE GUIDED BY THE B IBLE. W E HIGHLIGHT ORGANIZATIONS AND MINISTRIES WHO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH . THE TESTIMONIES WRITTEN ARE FILLED WITH WORDS OF REDEMPTION AND GRACE. W E DESIRE TO STEP INTO THE WORLD AND BRING THE WORLD BACK TO J ESUS . W E ARE NOT A RELIGIOUS MAGAZINE. W E STAND FOR J ESUS .
JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:10
"I APPEAL TO YOU, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, IN THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL OF YOU AGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER IN WHAT YOU SAY AND THAT THERE BE NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU, BUT THAT YOU BE PERFECTLY UNITED IN MIND w e w a n t t oAND g a tTHOUGHT h e r i n h i s ."n a m e f o r y o u .
B Y ANGELIC
EVEN IF HE
Daniel 3:18 “But even if he does not, we wa not serve your gods” In the book of Daniel in the Old Testament faith in God and if they didn’t they would be Staring in the eyes of death, the 3 men told burning in the fire, they will not renounce the Put yourself in their place. Renounce God a resolute are you in your faith? What will sh faith in Jesus? The scriptures tell us the men stood steadf but while in the fire they were untouched, un them from experiencing the fire, but He was In your life you will experience trials and y faith will be tested but know that God is wi unharmed and not burned. Stand boldly for Him. Let your faith not be 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; strong.” PRA
Lord, I thank you for growing my faith and giving me the fearlessness to fearlessly proc never leaving me and for being with me in m
E DOES NOT
ant you to know, Your Majesty, that we will
t, 3 men were commanded to renounce their thrown into a furnace filled with fire. the king even if God doesnâ€™t save them from eir faith in Him. and live. Stand boldly for Him and die. How hake you? Are you prepared to die for your
fast and were thrown into the furnace of fire nharmed and not burned. God didnâ€™t prevent with them through it. you will experience standing in the fire. Your ith you in your trial. You will be untouched, shaken. stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be YER
standing with me in the fire. I thank you for claim my faith in you. I thank you Jesus for my darkest hours.
Hope PHOTOGRAPHY BY JULIANNA WHIPPLE MODEL: JULIA SCHEREK HAIR+ MAKEUP: CRYSTAL GOLDEN S T Y L I S T : M A U V E A ND G R E Y LOCATION: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
HOPE FOR THE ANXIOUS HEART "I TRUST THAT GOD WILL ALLOW ME TO SEE THE LIGHT DURING A DARK AND SCARY TIME. I TRUST IN HIM."
B Y KAYTIE GAUS
've sat through many sermons at various churches, read devotional after devotional, and have been told many times by friends and family that "anxiety is a lack of trust in God." I've tried to make sense of it, and tried to make myself believe it as I've managed to live with this chronic condition for seemingly my whole life. I've thought to myself, does the pastor know my heart and my personal relationship with Christ? Do my friends understand that my condition isn't what society paints anxiety as? Do these authors writing these devotionals go through days of not leaving the house because they have a looming feeling that something terrible is going to happen? Do these outsiders have a resting heart rate as high as someone's active heart rate? Do they know what is like to not feel "normal" for months at a time? Possibly, but chances are not like what you and I are going through. Through my lifelong battle with chronic anxiety, I've struggled with the idea that maybe I have anxiety because I do not trust in God. I've thought of how I am not being a good daughter to Him because I spend time being crippled because of this. However, through this, I have been able to find my identity in Christ while managing to live with this terrible condition. I've trusted Him with my life while living with this ailment. I can trust that God will get me through this. I trust that God will lead me to Christ-minded counselors. I trust that God will help me discover natural remedies to cope with my anxiety. I trust that God will allow me to see the light during a dark and scary time. I TRUST in Him. My anxiety is not caused by a lack of trust in God. My anxiety leads me to trust God even more. I pray that you will seek God's face during this troubling time. I also pray for those of you supporting a friend with anxiety. Although you may not know what they are going through, encourage them to continue to trust God and His plan for their life.
od loves me
Grace PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGAN JONES MODELS: PAUL AND MORGAN OLLIGES LOCATION: LEXINGTON, KY
"I WAS DESPERATE AND TIRED OF THINGS BEING THE WAY THEY WERE. HE WAS THE ONE I TURNED TO."
It began in darkness. Not literally, but I felt like I was in
the dark. That’s what depression feels like. For some reason, I felt really alone in my early years of high school after transferring schools. Feelings of worthlessness, loneliness, depression, anxiety, and fear of what others thought persisted. My lens was pointed on things of earth and everything looked foggy. In that place of darkness, the light became clearer than it had ever been before. In my loneliest times, when I didn’t feel like I had anyone around me, I found myself in my room for hours at a time praying to God to help the light shine through. I spent time journaling, praying and reading books because I was desperate and tired of things being the way they were. He was the one I turned to. It was in this emotionally dark time that I read a book that described relationship with God as a two way street and not me just sending up prayers to heaven. I started changing the way I wrote in my journal. I started with “Dear Jesus,…” and then when I was done talking I waited for a response. At first I wondered what I was waiting for, but then I started sensing God’s still small voice reminding me of truth, of scripture, of who I was in Him. I began seeing myself differently. I started replacing the old thoughts that told me I wasn’t worth anything, that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t belong, and that I was too messed up to be helped with the words of the one who stood beside the tax collector, the adulterer, the demon possessed man offering a message that saves. Because Jesus took all of the darkness on the cross, we can now live in light. Because of His sacrifice, His worth is now my worth, His righteousness my righteousness, and His peace my peace. He took my darkness and gave me light. Because he died, now I can truly live. As the constant voice in my head of condemnation and accusation changed to match my Father’s voice, I began to see myself change as well. I moved from rules to relationship realizing I didn’t have to earn anything. Jesus already paid it all. I opened my heart to Him,
accepted His free gift, decided to follow Him and realized He is the only one who has never left me or forsaken me. When it gets hard, I hear that still small voice and see His miracles, big or small, that are like the wind touching my face. During that time in high school, I was re-baptized and I told God I wanted Him to be Lord of my life. This does not mean that my life has been easy – really it’s been just the opposite. Life is hard, I struggle to remember to listen to God’s voice rather than others, and bad things happen. But even with these realities, two things have been true. 1) I still fall on my knees with every blow and I see that He has been faithful every time. 2) He has shown me that even in adversity that I can have joy because of Him. In fact, most people comment on my joy and are truly shocked that I have a story of depression. That is how I know it was God who saved me. I know what it is like to be in the darkness, but it has made me so much more thankful to be in His wonderful light. Now I am a photographer, a teacher, and am pursuing higher education in hopes that others will find this same freedom. On my own, I can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. He cleaned the “lens” that I looked through and pointed my gaze to Him so that I could see grace and see myself like He does. Special Thanks: Also, I must say thank you to my high school photography students for assisting in many of my shoots! Thanks Alexx Williams, Kolbee Squire, Yousef Alsdudi, Natalee Calloway and Karina Parker. Also, thanks to all of my models. You all are fantastic!
LOVE LESSONS WITH PAPA BY EMILY SENFF
Tand here's a dove tattoo on my wrist that finds it's meaning i Papa.
Four years ago, I said goodbye to the greatest man in my harder when it comes too soon, when it's unexpected. Amid anymore, and he certainly wasn't grieving. He was with his S The years may have passed, but the lessons my grandfathe mine sure knew how to love; these are a few of the things he Love leaves no heart unchanged.
If He had accepted the lot given to him, he might have immigrant family that knew hard work and poverty all too w family. Instead, he was met by God in his deepest pain and always came back to Christ - he focused on the days ahea power at the foot of the cross. Love gives the hurting a place to call home.
In his work, in his community, and in his home, Papa was was catapulted into less-than-ideal situations and transform were difficult to love and always had a kind word to sa members, people who needed a family to call their ow gentleness, honesty, and a little bit of laughter to bind it all t Love leaves a legacy.
Even four years after his death, I feel the effects of his pa would be hard-pressed to find a soul who saw him in a nega he loved along the way, and I am beyond words when I think How God uses our broken souls to reflect His love is som value deeply. It always seems to be in moments of confusio wrist- a reminder of the so-often-forgotten truth that God's right on time, too.
in a few things for me: a peace and purpose in God's timing,
y life. It's always a hard thing to lose someone close, but it's dst the grief and loss, I knew for a fact that he wasn't hurting Savior, and he was healed. er taught me don't seem to have an expiry date. That Papa of e taught me.
been manipulative, harsh, and guarded. Growing up in an well, he vowed not to contribute to a lack of love in his own d it was turned into something beautiful. It seemed that he ad instead of what was left behind. Papa always found his
s tasked with encouraging and speaking life into people. He med them into works of art. He made friends with those who ay. Growing up, we always seemed to have 'extra' family wn for the holidays. He treated everyone the same: with together.
assing. He left a legacy in the hearts of those he knew- you ative light. His kindness is still redeeming the hearts of those k of how he impacted mine. mething I'll never fully understand, but something I'll always on or doubt that I'll catch a glimpse of that little bird on my s love is right on time, and the people He brings along are
"HOW GOD USES OUR BROKEN SOULS TO REFLECT HIS LOVE IS SOMETHING I'LL NEVER FULLY UNDERSTAND, BUT SOMETHING I'LL ALWAYS VALUE DEEPLY. "
" (JE S
E VE R YT H I N
SINGER/SONGWRITER S AN DIEGO, CA
@MATTHEWLOUISMUSIC ANGELIC: You just released a new single, explain the inspiration behind it? ML: My first single is titled “We Are”. Really the inspiration behind this song is my wife and I journeying down a road that many others were not in favor of. This is a song about doing something you know you have to do even if everyone disagrees with you. ANGELIC: What new music projects do you have planned? ML: My next single, “I Know You” , is due for a release by the end of February/beginning of March. Beyond that I have been preparing my favorite songs for a full Album. Ideally I would love to release a full record by December. ANGELIC: What can people expect when seeing you perform live? ML: I’m going to be very patient with my live performances. What I mean is that the live show will reflect/exceed the quality and feel of the recorded music. This, to me, is nonnegotiable! I have always been most inspired by bands and musicians whose quality of performance live was above and beyond the produced sound. ANGELIC: How would you describe your style/sound of music? ML: I think Soul Pop Rock is a fairly accurate description if we are trying to quantify by the terminology of today’s music. Really my style is vocal prominent, soulful, and has a full band rock n’ roll type quality to it. ANGELIC: How does Jesus influence you as a musician? ML: It would probably be much shorter to say how Jesus doesn’t influence me. He is my life, quite literally, everything I do is in Him, with Him, through Him and to Him.
US ) IS MY L IFE , Q UITE L ITE R A L L Y NG I D O IS IN HIM, WITH HIM, THR O UG H HIM A ND TO HIM. "
GUY OPINION: DO MEN WANT A PRO B Y JES S E ANAYA
o. Not all men want a Proverbs 31 woman. In order to want a Proverbs 31 woman you have to value what she stands for and where she finds her worth. Many women find their worth in a man, find their worth in their looks, their job and their education, but a Proverbs 31 woman knows her worth is found in Jesus, everything else is to her is secondary. A man who doesn’t value his own relationship with Jesus will never value a woman’s relationship with Jesus, so only a man who is actively seeking Jesus can truly appreciate a woman who’s doing the same. What do most men value in a woman? Guys want to be physically attracted to the woman they’re pursuing. Is she pretty? Does she have a nice body? Then, is she cool? Is she nice? This is the initial guy checklist when it comes to what they look for in a girl. Christian guys are no different. We’re men, we’re still programmed the same way as other men but the only thing that separates the average Christian guy from the worldly guys is, Christian guys ask all the above questions to themselves, but also ask one other question, is she Christian? If she’s Christian that just puts the icing on the cake and that pretty much is the checklist for the average guy who believes in Jesus. But a Proverbs 31 woman is worth more than rubies, she deserves more than the average Christian guy. Let’s examine what I mean. Proverbs 31:26 “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” A Proverbs 31 woman knows her Bible. When she speaks, wisdom is on her tongue and gives faithful advice rooted from God’s word. Not all Christian men or women can do this. Wisdom from God doesn’t grow over night, it’s a journey taught over time. A Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t just happen, she matures into her after years of diligently seeking God. Proverbs 31:23 “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” When I picture this man, I picture a man of integrity, an honest man who is respected because of the grace he gives others. He’s intelligent, patient and he too speaks with wisdom and gives faithful instruction. A Proverbs 31 woman and her husband complement each other in this regard. Proverbs 31:18 “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”
" WORLDY GUY GOES FOR VANITY, AN AVERAGE CHRISTIAN GUY GOES FOR IT TOO, BUT ONLY A MAN WHO’ S CONNECTED AT THE S PIRIT WITH GOD WILL BE IN TUNE WITH A WOMAN WHO’ S CONNECTED TO GOD" A Proverbs 31 woman has a heart for others. It’s one thing to talk about opening your arms to the poor and helping the needy, and it’s another thing to actually do it. She puts action behind her words and only a man who shares the mindset of opening his arms to the poor and extending his hands to the needy will value this characteristic in her. Proverbs 31:10-11 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” In Proverbs 31:11 it says her husband has full confidence in her. He instills confidence in her through their relationship. He isn’t a flirty man, a man with who’s insecure or a man who’s jealous, he instills confidence in her and she lacks nothing of value. She feels secure in the relationship and in her partner. He reflects the noble character she possesses, and she is worth far more than rubies. He appreciates her because he knows what he has. These are only 5 scriptures that refer to what a Proverbs 31 woman is. There’s 21 scriptures in all that explain who the Proverbs 31 woman is. So, to answer the question do men want a Proverbs 31 woman, I think the greater question is, what type of man does a Proverbs 31 woman feel she deserves? Proverbs 31:29-30 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” This scripture is the kicker. A man who goes for charm or beauty in a woman isn’t pursuing her because of the spirit she exudes. A worldy guy goes for vanity, an average Christian guy goes for it too, but only a man who’s connected at the Spirit with God will be in tune with a woman who’s connected too God’s Spirit as well. Our exteriors fade, charm is deceptive, but a woman who fears the Lord is beautiful. She’s the fairest of them all because of the beauty she exudes from within. That beauty never dies. A Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t settle for average just so she won’t be alone. Many women do noble things, but she surpasses them all. God knows your heart. If you are a Proverbs 31 woman who is waiting on God’s timing to meet the right man, he’s out there. God’s not going to bring you average. Faithfully seek Jesus and your faithfulness will be blessed. Proverbs 31:31 “Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
WHY I AM P PRESIDEN
B ECAUSE I AM AN AMERICAN, I WILL F
his isn’t a partisan article. I’m not writing you as a Trum I write this as an American. Was the election rigged? Does Trump have ties to Russi negative against his presidency the “fake news”? I’m not debating any of this, what I am saying is whether United States and as such, we should want our president to s I want the great America I grew up learning about in e believe all of those years. I am not a Trump supporter. I am not a left-wing liberal. I At one time the Roman Empire was the leading authority modern day society. But the Roman Empire fell. As an American I will pray for Donald Trump not to ex grows to hate. I will pray for love to trump hate. I will pray for his leadership in business to shine as our pre I will pray for our economy to flourish. I will pray for unity between all races to take place under h I will pray for his marriage with his wife Melania. I will pray he is a good father to his children. I will pray his leadership leads our country to greatness in I will pray that he knows Jesus is with him. Because I am an American, I will faithfully pray for my pr
PRAYING FOR NT TRUMP
FAITHFULLY PRAY FOR MY PRESIDENT.
mp supporter or as a left wing liberal.
ia? Is CNN, the NY Times and whoever else says anything
you voted for him or despise him, he is the President of the succeed. I want our country to flourish. lementary school to be even better than what I was led to am an American. in the world and America has been the leading authority in
xile our nation as a rogue society that the world around us
his term. ways weâ€™ve never seen before.
d is for me
Model Testimony PHOTOGRAPHY: MYLES B ERRIO MODEL: TAYLOR REED MAKEUP: ALEXANDRA GAULT LOCATION: ATL
TAYLOR REED MODELING
HAS GIVEN ME THE AMAZING OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL, MEET NEW PEOPLE, AND SHARE THE LOVE OF C HRIST.
say with extreme thankfulness and humility, that I have been a Christian for the majority of my life. I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was five and I have been growing in my faith ever since. Life has not always been easy because of this, but Christ has given me His perspective in situations that I would have otherwise struggled with on my own. My relationship with Jesus and my understanding of Him matured as I did. I went through moments of enlightenment, trouble, and rededication. But the Holy Spirit has constantly been with me reminding me of His love, grace, and mercy. As I matured in my faith, Christ showed me His heart for others and He gave me a desire to love others as He loves. This motivated and continues to motivate me in everything I do in life. I have been modeling my whole life. My mom got me started when I was very young, and I have been doing photo shoots and runway shows ever since! It started out as something fun for me to do on the side, but as I got older it became a career. When I was 13 I transitioned from the commercial modeling world to the high fashion world. I started working as a model in Atlanta and a few years later I was signed with an agency in New York. I did New York Fashion Week for my first time when I was 16 and I walked in 13 shows including Kate Spade and BCBG. I then had the opportunity to travel to Milan, Italy for Milan fashion week where I walked in 3 shows. Modeling has given me the amazing opportunity to travel, meet new people, and share the love of Christ.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIOVANNI ALAIN MODEL: RAYCE MORTENSEN LOCATION: PHOENIX, AZ
RAYCE MORTENSEN: I' M DEPRESSED "I WOKE UP AND JUST DIDN’ T FEEL LIKE LIVING ANYMORE. LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, DEPRESSION HAD ROBBED ME OF MY AMBITIONS AND LEFT ME FEELING COMPLETELY EMPTY"
“ ’m depressed..” When I hear this I wonder how accurate the statement was made. Getting fired, losing someone, bad weather or even watching a movie can all trigger someone to feel low. Not one person will live without experiencing sadness in some shape or form, it’s a normal human emotion. On the other hand depression is an abnormal emotional state; a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. The difference is that it will make you sad about everything for no reason at all. I had been drifting in a sea of gloom for over two years before being diagnosed with a type of depression called dysthymia, also known as persistent depressive disorder. By this time I had already lost friends, jobs, and my identity to the intense stress that comes with the illness. I have two contributing factors often found in dysthymia: a family history of mental illnesses and a personal history of childhood stress. It was like I had a time bomb just waiting to set off at any moment. My first year of college was the happiest I had ever been, I was full of life and had more friends than you could ever imagine. One day I woke up and just didn’t feel like living anymore. Like a thief in the night, depression had robbed me of my ambitions and left me feeling completely empty. I was now fatigued all the time and riddled with anxiety. Along with that I experienced poor appetite, oversleeping and anhedonia (an inability to derive pleasure from events or stimuli previously found pleasurable). All of these behaviors were core features of the disorder, and I thought I could fight them off until the storm blew over. I tried fighting it by myself for months, which turned into years. Every desperate stroke I had made only pulled me farther away from myself until I’d philosophically eroded reality to the point that nothing seemed real. Depression catches you in a feedback loop in which distorted thoughts cause negative feelings, which then distort thinking further. Faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that if there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. Once the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot, you’re convinced suicide is the lesser of two unbearables. There was no point in doing anything, it was all meaningless, and life was just what I was forced to do while waiting to die. The only reason I didn't go through with killing myself was because God had given me a second chance at life when I was thirteen. My best friend had shot me with a gun from six feet away. The bullet had miraculously stopped right before tapping my spine. If the bullet had stopped one moment later it would have been the end for me. Doctors had expected me to die, but instead God had saved my life and it stopped me from taking it when I saw no other way out. It was the last thread of sanity that I knew to be true. After not being able to go through with my last attempt at committing suicide I had just layed on the ground for almost three days without eating or drinking. When it took two people to pick me up I finally realized that I was not okay and sought professional help. After months of engaging in therapy I had gradually learned tools that would help me change the very thoughts that fed into the feedback loop that dictated my conciousness and it’s vicious tendencies. I didn’t think myself into depression, but into a mental state that made me vulnerable to depression. When my fears became violent and my purpose had only amounted to death I learned to struggle and challenge even my own thoughts and behaviors. Through Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, I have claimed victory over a mental illness that has been known to take over one’s entire adulthood.
My God f
fights for me
th e l yd ia project
PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORDS BY JOY WARREN
This photo series, titled The Lydia Project, is aiming to lift up women - both friends and strangers - and call out their beauty.
hen I was younger, I really struggled with body image and self-worth. I spent the majority of my teen years really and truly believing that I was ugly. I hated mirrors and despised cameras because I saw them as reflections of what I already believed to be true: I’m not enough. My friends and family would always tell me that I was beautiful- they were incredibly supportive! But even then, I believed they were somehow compensating for the truth. “If they feel they need to tell me I’m beautiful, they must be pitying me. I must be really ugly.” I thought. It’s unreal the amount of girls who, when you sit down and start talking deep, will admit to being ruled by their insecurities. I’ve more recently started to wonder why it is that people, women more than others, have this feeling of “not enough-ness”. Is it inherently woven into our beings? Is it something that we’ve created as a society? I sat down with my roommate when I was first dreaming up this photo project and we started talking about expectations: the expectations that we place on ourselves, and the expectations that have been put onto women by society: Not only do you have to be beautiful, but you also have to be smart. Not only do you have to be smart, you also have to be patient. And funny. And have a sense of style. And have long hair - no, short hair. You have to be skinny, but strong. You have to be passionate, but not dramatic. You have to be generous and put together and organized and creative and eventually you have to be a good mom. The list is endless, and it changes with the season’s trends. It’s no wonder so many women live their lives believing that they’re not enough. I’ve noticed that insecurities are sneaky little creatures that feed us lies and show themselves in a few different ways - perfectionism, the need for approval, and, most dangerously - comparison. So what does it look like to re-write the story that we’ve read along to since we were young. What if instead of letting our insecurities get the best of us by constantly comparing ourselves to each other, we lifted each other up? I believe that by doing this, we could re-define female culture altogether. This photo series, titled The Lydia Project, is aiming to lift up women - both friends and strangers - and call out their beauty. It’s one thing to be told that you’re beautiful, but it’s a gift to be able to see it for yourself. I want to share my perspective with people. Instead of seeing someone in a cafe and thinking “dang, her eyes are incredible”, I want to not only tell her, but also show her. The Lydia Project is a project that was inspired by a number of young women in my life, but particularly, Lydia. Lydia is the sweet soul who modelled for a series of photos when I was so nervous to start asking people if I could take these images. Sharing the images with her and seeing her face light up as she picked out her favourite shots was a moment I’m not sure I’ll ever forget. If you’d like to follow along with The Lydia Project, you can find us at @sheerjoyphotography
HEIDI KAO - "YOU ARE UNLIKE ANYONE ELSE, UNIQUE IN YOUR OWN WAY. S ITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF A MESS OR FEELING HAPPY AS A CLAM, YOU ARE ENOUGH."
KAYLA RYAN - “S TOP WORRYING AND START FOCUSING.”
LYDIA MOFFATT - “ACCEPT YOURSELF AS HE MADE YOU, AS GOD MADE YOU.”
ALANNA ROWE - “EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE LOVED, NOT
WITH WORDS FULL OF HOT AIR, BUT BY ACTIONS THAT SPEAK OF LOVE BEYOND WORDS .”
S HEENA WALKER - “YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE ENOUGH, AND THE ONLY PERSON YOU NEED TO PROVE YOURSELF TO… IS YOURSELF.”
B ETHAN UITTERDIJK - “FIGHT FOR SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR. O NE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES I’ VE FOUND IS FIGHTING AGAINST THE CONSTRAINT OF WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD.”
MELISSA B AYE - “ALWAYS WORK HARD, ALWAYS BE KIND, AND ALWAYS KEEP GOING FORWARD.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEGAN JONES MODEL: VAN KAMATSU LOCATION: LEXINGTON, KY
THE RELIGIOUS GRAY AREA "IF BLACK IS DARKNESS,
SIN, AND WRONG. A ND WHITE IS LIGHT, HEAVEN, AND RIGHT. I VIEW THE GREY AREA IN BETWEEN AS THE WORK WE DO TO GET FROM BLACK TO WHITE. "
Awrong,s Christians, we are often seen as people who view things in black and white terms. This is this is right. This is how you die, this is how you have eternal life. If everything is so B Y LAUREN PRATHER
black and white, why then, isn’t it simple? I have come to realize, unpopular as it may be, that I do see things in black and white terms. When it comes to fundamental issues, there is a wrong, and there is a right. However, there is no denying the grey area. If black is darkness, sin, and wrong. And white is light, heaven, and right. I view the grey area in between as the work we do to get from black to white. That we are born sinners and over time the world can darken your heart. But also believing that we can be a light in this world. By walking with Christ daily, we can shine light to each other’s darkness through Him. By our own perseverance, we can bring light to our own lives by always pursuing His ways. I believe the grey area covers everything we do that either leads us to darkness or leads us to light. We are faced with different, complex issues every day. Things don’t always present themselves as simply black or white. The work that we do for God’s kingdom is a difficult, but beautiful process. The grey area. Our work, our persistence in the grey area to constantly be moving towards the light of God’s kingdom is what will bring light. Working towards light can be as simple as reading your bible and praying. It can be as complex as dedicating your life in a foreign country to spread the gospel. No matter how much we pursue light, the pull of darkness always finds a way to creep in. We will undeniably be faced with difficult decisions, tough situations, that can seem to put a damper on our light. What do we do in this grey area? Do we give up, become stagnant, grow dull or weary? Scripture has plenty to say about darkness and light. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 During your pursuits in the grey area, do not grow weary in respect of darkness. In my experience, darkness often presents itself as the easiest option. The only way light can be cast upon any situation is through the promise of scripture and having complete faith that Jesus is the only light. That the possibility of righteousness will be only through Him. We are all working in our grey area. Day by day, we can either move lightness in to us and those around us, or more darkness. Ultimately, do not to be stagnant in our shade of grey. To not see darkness and not try to drown it out with light. Constantly allowing Jesus to turn your darkness white as snow.
Constant PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAKOTA NICOLE LOCATION: PACIFIC NORTHWEST
GOD IS BLACK AND WHITE
"I FIND MYSELF IN THE VALLEYS AND THE TRENCHES SOMETIMES CALLING OUT TO GOD IN A QUIVERING VOICE ‘ PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ME HERE ALONE. I BEG OF YOU. D O NOT LEAVE ME." I
B Y ANDREA MARLOWE
wrestle constantly within the grey space of fighting my humanity and doubt alongside knowing the truth about my God. The truth about God is He is black and white. He either is, or is His not. There is never a maybe or perhaps. God is definitive. Whatever He is, He is fully. Whatever He is not, He is completely without. God does not naturally exist in the grey space with me, in the midst of sin and greed and human desires. He is beyond it, outside it, above it. God is black and white. There are many times I find myself sitting in awe of God. My trust in Him seemingly unwavering; my faith in Him revealing much about my dedication to Him. My trust in Him takes me into depths I would never venture on my own. It leads me into challenging dilemmas and avenues of perseverance I would never consider. I tread paths and accept adventures I would never be convinced to solo. My trust in God is based within the truth of His consistent, constant drive towards me. He wants to be my first love. He wants to be my rock. He wants to be my dependable force, pushing me forward into a life He has set out for me, and me alone. His statements are without question. He has no space within Him to bring concern or doubt. He has proven Himself faithful always. He exists without uncertainty, and without fear, and does not produce either of these things. He does not come to me wanting anything but that which is already His. My life is all He asks for. God is black and white, steadfast and permanent. There are many times I find myself questioning God. My lacking trust in Him reveals much about me. It limits my scope and openness to potential possibilities and my own capacity to dream and live out those dreams. It keeps me considering what I alone am capable of, and fearing what I do not believe I can do. It reduces my thoughts to only consider my strength, forgetting what He offers. It places on me the burden of everything I see around me, keeping me from considering all that I do not see.
"Constant One. Endless is Your love. Like a river can't be stopped. You're faithful Constant One. Who is like You, God? Your mercy's like the sun. Always rising over us." - S TEFFANY FRIZZELL-GRETZINGER, CONSTANT ONE My paths are cut short as I anxiously analyze the steps ahead. Are they meant for me? Am I strong enough to continue? The challenge seems too big, and too hard. My lacking trust discredits His desires to be my Father, my Friend, my Creator, my Rock. It calls Him a liar. My distrust says He is not who He says He is, and He has not kept His promises. It places Him under an assumption of fraud, weakness, humanity and temperance. So I exist in this grey space that bids me to rock back and forth between the trusting and untrusting waves. I find myself in the valleys and the trenches sometimes calling out to God in a quivering voice ‘please do not leave me here alone. I beg of you. Do not leave me.’ In my trusting, I know I should rather pray ‘God I know you will not forsake me now. I know you will not leave me.’ But that’s where things become interesting. It’s in this very grey space where God’s nature does not dwell, that He reaches down to meet us. God, even in His perfection and innocence, reaches down to take my hand as I reside in the midst of the trenches. The grey space does not change God, who He is or what He is capable of. His presence there strengthens me, but does not weaken Him. He is constant. So even in the trenches, especially in the trenches, look upward beyond yourself. There is a God reaching out of His own nature, by His own love, and into the grey space where we reside. He reaches down to claim you. He reaches down to save you. He reaches down because He knows we cannot reach Him on our own.
PHO They spark itself often you reaso a tho
OTOGRAPHER BLURB: My name is Dakota, and Iâ€™m a destination wedding and portrait photographer. y say a photo speaks a thousand words, and I believe that to be true. In fact, it was just that which ked my imagination to do this photo shoot with the theme being focused on love a photo that speaks for f . I wanted to portray love and emotion in black and white without any of the distractions of color. Too n, it is easy to have the landscape make up for poor emotion in a photo. If looking at my images makes not just see, but feel something, than I have done my job. I love black and white photos for just that on. When there are no distractions, what you are left with, is raw emotion and a photo that truly speaks ousand words.