ANGELIC SEPTEMBER 2015
ANGELIC Two Year Anniversary Issue
ANGELICSEPTEMBER 2ù15 14 24 25 28 32 34 37 40 50 56 57 58 72 78 80 84 85 86 92
MUSIC: TORI FLEMING JESUS: IN THE MEANTIME JESUS: LOOK UP MUSIC: PRESTIGE JESUS: THE STRENGTH OF SUBMISSION JESUS: MICHELLE LINDSAY TESTIMONY JESUS: DISAPPOINTMENTS COME BY THE MINUTE FASHION: LOVELY BY TAYLOR CORNELIUS MUSIC: KIMBERLY REEDER JESUS: IDENTITY NEVER FELT SO GOOD JESUS: I’LL LOVE YOU MORE FASHION: ANNIVERSARY ISSUE LOOK BACK MUSIC: KYLIE MORGAN JESUS: DANIELLA CRISCUOLO TESTIMONY JESUS: SARA-ELIZABETH BUSH TESTIMONY JESUS: DILLON GOVE TESTIMONY JESUS: CYNIA CRISCUOLO TESTIMONY MUSIC: JORDAN RIDDLE FASHION: THE CITY BY JON MACAPODI
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JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
EDITOR LETTER "YEAR 3 STARTS NOW"
ucket list. We've barely begun year 3, but I already have some goals for the magazine to fulfill in our new year. Some dreams to catch. Some things to go after. This is our year. NYC. I want the mag to do a photo-shoot in New York City with some really cool people. I've never been to New York before and I want to go. I don't know who these really cool people in NYC are yet, but I know God has some really great people lined up who have big hearts for Jesus to collaborate with us there. I want us to go further than we've ever gone before with the magazine. To new places, meet new faces and explore the map for what awaits in our journey. Mexico City. We're going to fight human-trafficking there. It's on my heart to do it. We're going to start this year. I'm excited and open to everything God has in store for us this year. Who we'll meet, the places we'll go and the stories that'll cross our path. I await it all. I bought an acoustic guitar recently and I've begun to write lyrics. Lines that play in my mind. The feelings of my heart. I don't want to be limited to just one thing. A magazine person or a photographer. A Christian or that person who's in ministry. I want to set my mind to something and do it. Be creative and glorify Jesus hardcore. I want to sing my songs to Jesus in front of a crowd before year 3 ends. I don't know where it'll take place, but I know it'll be amzazing. My life isn't perfect and I struggle everyday, but Jesus is there and I want people to know that. Jesus is there. And He is real. Hardcore. I want to boldly proclaim Him hardcore this year. Because the day I stand before Him I can either tell Him I went half way or hardcore. And I'm not interested in living a life of half way. Year 3 has begun.
Tori Fleming SINGER/SONGWRITER LOS ANGELES
Tori Fleming AGE: 22 // RIALTO, CA
"I WANT TO SING AND WRITE ABOUT TRUTHS THAT ARE NOT ALWAYS EASY TO TALK ABOUT. "
BY JESSICA BILLS
ori Fleming is a recent theater graduate from California Baptist University who is now pursuing a career as a musician. Born and raised in California, she has been singing since she came out of the womb. Also at a young age, Fleming was introduced to Jesus and accepted Him as her Savior. She explained, "I believed in God and the gospel ever since I learned about it in Kindergarten, but it has become more and more real in my life as I have learned to seek Him more." Fleming has spent many years in church and on the stage, but her music career is now her top priority since graduating. She leads worship at her church in Southern California every Sunday, but she might be running on a little less sleep than most worship leaders due to a gig she performed the night before. With an extensive background in theater productions, dance, guitar, and singing in professional choirs, Fleming's journeying down this path is no coincidence; however, her decision to not become the next Kari Jobe or Britt Nicole might come as a surprise. "I chose not to be under the Christian label," Fleming said. "I'm proud to be a Christian, but I do not want to be restricted to a bubble." Fleming felt she was called at a young age to connect to others via music. It is her goal to be in the secular music industry where she hopes to be a compass, directing people to Christ. She hopes to accomplish this through her honest lyrics and soulful voice. "When I get on the stage, I share my whole heart," she says. Many people come up to her after a show, asking about the Biblical allusions in her songs. Songwriting was something she was worried about when starting out, but, as she explained, God put these songs on her heart, and Christians and non-Christians can relate to them. "I always think about Jesus and the people He hung out with, and I'm pretty sure they didn't go to church," Fleming continues. She hopes her decision to perform in coffee shops as well as churches and occasionally in bars makes sense to people, saying, "My hope is that my music will help open hearts to ask questions and look toward Someone greater, inspiring people to search for more of God." The decision to branch into the secular music industry is not an easy choice, but she is not alone. Her family, church family, and friends offer nothing but support, encouragement, and accountability. Fleming believes that everyone, not only Christians, need encouragement. "I want to sing and write about truths that are not always easy to talk about. I hope that my music will be relatable to all kinds of people." Fleming will be performing at The House of Blues concert on September 18 and at the Viper Room in Hollywood on October 21. Fleming's single, "Love and Logic" is currently available on iTunes.
model: tori fleming photography: jessica bills
IN THE MEANTIME
B Y MAEGAN DOCKERY have found that having faith “in the meantime” can be really difficult. It's easy to look back on a tough situation once it's over and say, “Wow, God really did some amazing things through that!” When we're in the middle of that situation, though, having faith becomes a lot harder. I am guilty of being one of those people who comes to God most often when times are hard. When life is going well and I'm happy, it becomes far too easy for me to forget that it's all because of God that I have the things that I do. God falls down my list of priorities, and, sometimes, He doesn't even make the list. I am not proud of this fact. It is something I have seen in myself lately, and it has to change. I am noticing that, while I am in this “in the meantime” stage of life, I am growing so close to Christ. I am leaning heavily on Him as I pray daily for an upturn in the way life has been going. Change is hard for me, and I am dealing with a lot of transitions and up-in-the-air situations. I thrive on routine, and my routine has been thoroughly shaken up lately. It isn't all bad, by any means, just different, and I am not adjusting well. My circumstances are probably not your circumstances, but I think we all have something we're dealing with “in the meantime.” Even if your life is going along swimmingly right now, you probably have some experience or will deal with an experience where things just aren't going your way. No matter how hard we try to be in control, we can't be. That's God's job, and thank goodness for it. Even though it isn't easy having faith in the meantime, I am holding on. I am not giving up. I know my God is going to show out, and it is going to be so incredible. I know He has my best
"WHEN LIFE IS GOING WELL AND I'M HAPPY,
IT BECOMES FAR TOO EASY FOR ME TO FORGET THAT IT'S ALL BECAUSE OF GOD THAT I HAVE THE THINGS THAT I DO. GOD FALLS DOWN MY LIST OF PRIORITIES, AND, SOMETIMES, HE DOESN'T EVEN MAKE THE LIST. "
interests at heart, and I know that my growing closer to Him in this tough time is a good, good thing. Sure, I would love to have no complaints. I would love for things to fall into place right away and to not feel anxious or worried ever again. But if that were to happen, if I never had to deal with this anxiety, who knows where I would be with God right now? I don't like to think about that. I am grateful for any time in my life that has led me closer to Christ. I am grateful even though things aren't going my way. I am grateful even when I have to hang my head in shame and cry out to God to see if He's still listening (He is, by the way). I serve an amazing God. He has some incredible things in store for me and my life. He has shown me time and time again that He will follow through. It might not be in ways I expect, but He is showing me some amazing things each day. He is teaching me patience and humility and to have a grateful heart. He is providing community for me in a new place and a love for my husband that grows every single day. He is strengthening my relationship with Him as I struggle with my worries and control issues. Life isn't perfect. We are all going to deal with tough stuff that seems to last forever. The good news is there is always an end to that tough stuff, even if we can't see it. There is always a testimony on the other side. All we have to do is have faith and serve God, in the meantime.
Look Up "WHEN LIFE SEEMS SO HARD AND THE WEIGHT BECOMES ALMOST UNBEARABLE… SIMPLY LOOK UP. "
B Y MALLORY JOHNSON
here are so many circumstances and situations that can easily distract our walk, both physically and mentally. These distractions can make us forget where we’ve been going all along. In this day, where we have so much going on around us, I truly believe God is simply saying, Look up. He did not plant the sparkle in our eyes or the vision in our hearts for us to be focused on uncertainty. One thing is certain: His love. He did not call you His Queen or His King for you to forget that you walk in golden slippers called faith and are clothed in grace daily. You are not just somebody, you are chosen. When life seems so hard and the weight becomes almost unbearable… Simply look up. Sometimes, while looking down, we find ourselves feeling empty, hollow, even. There are moments when, amidst the busy workday, we pause momentarily and feel the emptiness setting in. It feels like a hole in the middle of our heart as our soul starts to gasp for air in an attempt to catch a wisp of comfort. It is only after quieting our mind and acknowledging the emptiness in our heart that we realize only God can help us rise above and feel whole again. It is so important to stand vulnerable before God and ask Him to meet us where we are. No matter what state we are in, no matter what we feel we may be missing, He is faithful. Try it. Take a glance up at the incredible sky above. Take a glance, and you will notice just how high up and how limitless you feel in that moment. How your back suddenly straightens, your eyes became brighter, you heart becomes stronger, and then you will then find there is no sense of hesitation or loss of direction in your soul. When we change our focus, it is easier to change our outlook. We must never doubt the spirit that God has placed in us to do the things that are pleasing in His sight. We have the navigation of the Holy Spirit. Learn to trust. We are headed in the perfect direction with the
perfect destination. In this moment, in this trial, we are not only exactly where God knew we would be, but we are where God has called us to be. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 The amazing thing about our God is that He meets us where we are. He is the One seeking us out, knocking on our doors, waiting for us to welcome Him in. In our sinfulness, we may choose to turn our backs on Him, run away from Him and hide, but His search for us is unceasing. He will run after us until we finally surrender. What grace! Our God does not mind bending low just to reach His children at their lowest. He does not mind giving up His beauty for the unworthy. He does not mind leaving His majestic throne to walk the mud-filled and dusty roads of the earth just to be with us. He does not even mind death, just to give His children everlasting life. He is more than just a King. He is more than just a Maker. He is a loving, generous, and caring Father, a Father who forgives quickly and does not keep a record of His children’s sins. He is in fact, a prodigal-seeking Father. He is waiting, and, oh, how patiently He waits for His child to come back home. These are the days we dream about, when the sunlight paints us gold, when He meets us at the perfect time. We just have to have the courage to look up. Jesus, Thank You for being the Rock that is higher than the trials, tests, and struggles. Thank You, Father, for knowing what we need when we need it. Holy Spirit, we need help getting past where we are now. Lord, forgive us for being anxious or impatient, forgive us for worrying, forgive us for having the wrong attitude during this journey. Forgive us for being distracted by uncertainty and things that are out of our control. We only want You.
PRESTON BUTLER "IT WAS ONLY BY THE GRACE OF GOD THAT I WAS ABLE TO DODGE A LIFE OF DRUGS, GANGS, AND SEX. "
henever I think about sharing my testimony, it always strikes me as one that is unorthodox. I come from a long line of devout, Pentecostal believers; both of my grandfathers are ordained Bishops, my dad has served as a Pastor—twice, my mom is an ordained Missionary, and the majority of my aunts and uncles are also ministers of the Gospel. At the age of seven, I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and, by the age of ten, I was speaking in tongues. That same year, my family moved to a beachside San Diego city called Oceanside. Growing up in California was awesome but also very difficult because the temptation of the 'fast life' was forever present. It was only by the grace of God that I was able to dodge a life of drugs, gangs, and sex. I remember I was always called the "church boy" in high school, but I took pride in that! Nonetheless, I was—and still am—an imperfect human. There were many times when I fell to temptation and let my eager teenage hormones get the best of me. I remember thinking less of myself after these incidents and becoming paranoid that something devastating was going to happen to me because of my shortcomings. It wasn't until my collegiate years at Vanguard University that I came to a very important realization about my relationship with Christ. God is not sinfocused. Although He wants us to abstain from sin, I believe that's not what He's after. God is focused on winning hearts. Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth…and believe in thine heart...thou shalt be saved.” It finally occurred to me that the principle of my salvation was not based upon my ability to not sin but rather is rooted in my brokenness and inherent need of a Savior. This is why God is so amazing; He meets us wherever we are and just asks us to follow Him as He leads us into greatness. This sort of epiphany allowed me to see that spiritual perfection is not what I need to be seeking but instead spiritual growth. I began to shift my thinking so that I could face the reality of my flesh and then address my weaknesses with prayer and spiritual awareness.
This change of heart freed me from the guilt of sin and gave me the confidence to seek out God in a new way. I used to think I needed to reach some level of holiness before God could use me, but once I recognized that my relationship with Christ is a lifelong process, I was able to shed the fear I had concerning my imperfections and began to garner a boldness about my faith. I found that if I could just commit to getting better and giving my whole heart to Jesus, the possibilities of what He could do through me were absolutely endless! This new outlook on my faith inspired me to push past my faults and begin to pursue God's purpose for my life. One day, I came across Philippians 3:14, which says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." I had heard this scripture in church many times before, but, this time, something was different. I found that this scripture had not only a spiritual application but a very important practical one, as well. Ultimately, God wants everyone to receive salvation and to make it into Heaven, but, before we make it to Eternity, there is a purpose, or "prize," that He has for each of us to fulfill here on Earth. God created us to have power, dominion, and prosperity in this life and the next, and, when we choose to live out our purpose, we begin to walk in the favor that God has specifically designed for each of us. Over the past few years, I have witnessed this in my own life: I have been able to tour all over California performing music and impacting the lives of students and young adults, I was blessed with the opportunity to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting at California Institute of the Arts, and, more importantly, I have been given a platform by wonderful organizations like Angelic Magazine where I can share the Gospel freely and effectively to thousands of people. I encourage you to seek God for your purpose and dive fully into whatever His call on your life may be because He's waiting for you. Take that leap, work diligently, and, I guarantee, He will take you to the NXT LVL in every area of your life!
THE STRENGTH OF SUBMISSION WHAT THE B IBLE SAYS ABOUT SUBMITTING TO YOUR HUSBAND. B S N G o ahead and attend any marriage conference—you’ll most likely hear about it. Y HANNON OVAK
Brides will vow to do it—though maybe secretly add a list of conditions as to when it’s necessary—while most feminists will scoff at it. It’s submission—one of the most challenging biblical commands for women in today’s culture. The struggle for women to submit to their husbands has spanned from the dawn of time—literally. In the beginning, when it was just Adam, Eve, and God, submission was as natural as breathing, though, it would be without a sin nature. Adam was able to happily submit to God, and Eve was easily able to respect and trust Adam, but, as soon as the fruit of the tree of good and evil touched the lips of the two humans, things changed. Most people, especially Christians, have heard of the curse that came with Adam and Eve’s rebellion. In fact, everyone has experienced the sin-nature that comes with being a part of mankind. However, the specifics of this curse can be placed off to the side, which can be dangerous to our marriages. In Genesis 3:16, God gives the specifics of the curse that plagues women. He says, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Basically, God let Eve know that women will, from that point on, experience very painful childbirth as well as have the desire to be the boss. Part of the
reason sin started was because Eve took control and ate the fruit from the tree. Knowing this particular part of the curse is extremely important for wives because it makes us aware of the fact that we will have the desire to take on the leadership role that belongs to our husbands. When we are aware of a sinful tendency, we’re better able to use self-control to stop it. After all, the Bible reminds wives through many verses, such as Ephesians 5:22-24, that we are to submit to our husbands. If the Bible is leaving ladies reminders to submit, then the logical conclusion is that we must need consistent reminding. Of course, even with a consistent reminder, today’s society doesn't make it easy to view submission as a positive action. Living in a day and age where being an independent woman who isn’t afraid to take the lead is encouraged makes the commandment of submission difficult. We live in a culture that tells women to reject submission because it makes them weak. When a woman decides to ask for her husband’s permission, she’s seen as being “on a tight leash.” When she gladly does what her husband asks, even if it’s inconvenient, she’s seen as a push-over. Women are constantly bombarded with a worldly belief system where empowerment can only be found in seizing control and taking the lead, yet the Bible makes it clear that strength is not always found in being bold but can also be found in restraint.
Since the world is equating submission to weakness, there is the need for clarification between the two. Especially because, according to the Bible, they could not be any more different. A woman characterized by weakness exudes frailty, delicacy, and cowardliness. A woman who chooses to submit to her husband, on the other hand, radiates strength, faith, and courage. 1 Peter 3:1-6 says, “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. (NIV) In the beginning, Peter refers to the end of the previous chapter and compares the submission of wives to that of Jesus submitting to His Father. Jesus completely gave Himself over and entrusted His life on Earth into God’s hands, which shows wives that they should not only trust God but also their husbands. This passage shows that submission isn’t a weak action, but, rather, one full of power, as well. For example, a wife who respects and submits to her unbelieving husband can actually win him over to Jesus!
"IT’S NOT AN EASY COMMAND TO FOLLOW, BUT THE BIBLE SHOWS US THAT WHEN WE OBEY GOD’S WORD AND SUBMIT TO OUR HUSBANDS, A PRECIOUS POWER IS UNLEASHED IN OUR FAMILIES. "
Moreover, choosing to clothe ourselves with gentleness and quietness just like the great women of the Bible did has great influence in our families. The Bible isn’t telling women to simply keep quiet. It’s telling women that there is more to strength than being in control. It’s restraining the hurtful words from coming out of our mouths, restraining ourselves from making big decisions without talking with our husbands first, and restraining the tendency to seize control as head of the family. A woman who submits to her husband is choosing to believe that God is bigger than any of her husband’s failures. The passage tells us that a woman who submits is courageous and withstanding fear because she is choosing to have hope and a quiet confidence in God’s Word. Submission takes bravery because it means placing our trust in God first, and then, secondly, in our husbands. And when we show our husband that we trust and believe in his ability as a leader, it can actually give him the courage to lead. Instead of viewing submission as a means to push women down, it can really be a means of empowerment. It’s not an easy command to follow, but the Bible shows us that when we obey God’s Word and submit to our husbands, a precious power is unleashed in our families. So, ladies, give the pants back. They’re not very flattering on you, anyway.
michelle lindsay AGE
: 2 7 //
EXERCISING, AND HOOKING UP WITH GUYS BECAME THE SOLUTIONS TO NUMB MYSELF AND FILL THE BROKEN PLACES OF LONELINESS. "
A t a very young age, I felt the need to prove that women can be pretty, smart and successful. After going
through a major “nerd stage” of rejection I craved human approval. I climbed the social ladder starting with the "smart" kids and then the "involved" students and then the "pretty" people. Soon enough, I found myself sitting at the top of the popularity totem pole, feeling pretty good about myself. And simultaneously alone. I was so busy trying to get all these people to like me, that I didn’t really have time to enjoy hanging out with them. Or just to be me. But I kept at it. I graduated from my small town to the biggest university in the country – Arizona State. What’s a girl got to do to stick out in the crowd and find friends there? Well, keep busy! I can remember finishing up my sorority leadership meetings, only to go to student government office hours, and then my internship, and then finish homework, and then shop for an outfit that night, and then attend a party where I blacked-out to calm all my social anxieties. Binge drinking, exercising, and hooking up with guys became the solutions to numb myself and fill the broken places of loneliness. Whenever people started talking to me, they’d say, "I know you’re busy, but…" And that’s how everyone knew Michelle - the gal who was well-liked and very busy. But what they didn’t know, is that I still felt like that girl in elementary school -- teased because of the way she looked and talked. I still felt lonely, and I still felt unloved. I didn't believe that I was enough. There was no way I could be free of this busy reputation. It was all I had to keep people around. And I think we all struggle with some sort of Fake ID: our resume, titles, academic success, body image or
relationships. We're all trying to make ourselves look better because we're inherently broken from The Fall (Genesis 3). It wasn't until 2011 (23 years after growing up in church), that I fully understood what this meant and the implications of my need for Christ. Not just for a oneway ticket to heaven upon death, but for healing and restoration to my original design. We are image-bearers of God - all of us! We’re meant to reflect his glory and give him the praise. No Fake ID, can ever satisfy our true identity. Once I understood this Good News - the solution to the brokenness and hope for all of creation, I returned to the people group that I could identify the most with fraternity and sorority members. I wanted to tell them what my life looked like before I fell in love with Jesus - when I was in love with myself and tried to get people to love me. I hoped to relate with their sin issues and share a better way of living– in partnership with our Heavenly Father who is restoring all things to himself. I wanted to let my people know that they could be free from their Fake IDs. The Lord couldn’t have answered my prayers more meticulously. He re-introduced me to a close friend of mine, who used to be the president of his fraternity and now also wanted to minister to Greeks. Together we imagined what a Bible study full of fraternity and sorority members could look like and the impact that it could have on the campus. A couple of months later, we were introduced to a staff member of Greek InterVarsity – a national Christian ministry that was just starting a chapter at ASU. We volunteered to serve in whatever capacity was needed, and a few weeks later got engaged and eventually married. Now my husband and I serve as the Greek IV team that loves and serves the 5,000 fraternity and sorority students at ASU. Who would have thought?
"IT CAN SEEM LIKE HE ISN’T THERE BECAUSE I CAN’T TOUCH HIM, AND THAT’S HARD THAT SURELY HE HAD JUST WASHED
B Y CLARE TUCKER isappointments come by the minute, it seems. As I was spending valuable time sitting in a stagnant pool of my familiar anxiety and worry, unable to make a move or even breathe due to the day’s less than ideal events, it occurred to me that disappointment is one of the enemy’s greatest weapons. I still try to attribute daily disappointments of life to God testing or even punishing me. Have you ever just lost it and screamed aloud to whoever you think may be listening, “Why Me?!” Have you ever been pushed so over your limit that you legitimately demand the question, “If God is so good and if He really loves me, then why would He let this happen?!” I have a nudging in my heart that has lately been washing over my spirit rather intensely. Disappointment doesn’t even come from God and He in no way delights in my turmoil, yet He often gets blamed for all the things that go wrong, and He’s always willing to hear my cries and then heal what He didn’t injure. He agreed to torture, mutilation, rejection, and death on a cross to prove this. God makes up for problems and messes in my life that aren’t even His fault. So Psalm 42:11 presses me, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.” He knows my pain, but He is not to blame. The words of Jesus plainly state that the mission of the enemy is to steal from me, kill my spirit, and destroy my hopes and dreams. Sound familiar? It happens, and I still blame God at times, thoughts and accusations going wild, but will I remember to hold the right one accountable for all the grief, problems, and setbacks when they arise? Staying aware of the origin of these derailments is the difference between disintegration of my salvation and victory over darkness. God sent the sacrifice of His Son to rescue and restore me. He didn't do that to play games with me or make me suffer and live my life confused and aimless; those are strategies of the enemy. They're old and they’re tired, yet I still fall for them. But that’s okay.
Making a U-turn back to the arms of my Savior will cancel out any plan of the enemy and comfort me with His grace, love, and forgiveness. My only job is to cross over the threshold of willingness which separates me from depression and joy. Willingly choosing Jesus and saying no to what is easy and societally pleasing is where I find my peace and purpose. Suffering is no longer my legacy. This earth was never intended to make me happy. Sadness and pain are imminent because of sin, not because of any intention of God. Sin is the problem, not God. He is my biggest fan, and He always brings me to an unearthly peace if I am only willing to accept it. Am I willing to crucify that part of my being that always leans towards living comfortably for the world? Will I choose to believe the enemy’s persuasion that manifests itself through the lies of man and society, or will I refuse? Will I casually brush off those lies as mere rejections and commonplace disappointments, or will I wake up and realize that it’s an attack of the enemy designed to leave me dead and dark on the inside? I was there suffocating and engulfed in flames of the enemy’s persuasion, living a life in complete denial of the power of God's transforming Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, for finding me. Like I was, maybe you aren’t there yet, and you don’t really understand the whole “give your life to Jesus” thing. God is with you, too. If He loved me after all I put Him through, He can love you. And He does. His love doesn’t have conditions. I didn’t have to love Him back for Him to stay with me all those years in the background, looking out for me when I didn’t want to be looked after, healing my addiction without rehab or life-threatening withdrawals, keeping me at home on the nights my drug dealers’ residences happened to get raided, comforting my family when I didn’t care if I lived or died or how it affected them. You can go do what you want to do if you must—I did. I guess it made me feel in control or worth something for a moment, but my Father above wasn’t about to leave while I needed Him. When I stopped
ome By the Minute
D FOR ME.
SO IT’S QUITE NORMAL , BUT I WOULD OFTEN GET IT IN MY HEAD
HIS HANDS OF ME AND WAS DONE"
about to leave while I needed Him. When I stopped fighting it, He gave me things that bring me peace outside of my personal control and grace that makes me feel worth something for eternity, not just for moments at a time. It can seem like He isn’t there because I can’t touch Him, and that’s hard for me. I’m human, so it’s quite normal, but I would often get it in my head that surely He had just washed His hands of me and was done—biggest lie ever told. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 He wasn’t done with me at all; I was just walking through the valley in which He planned to find me collapsed, where He always knew He would come pick me up and carry me out of the dark by the light of His love. I’ll never forget the day He did it for me, and you won’t forget the day He does it for you, either. Light shines brighter in the dark. A light coming on early in the morning as you awaken seems so much brighter than normal and it’s blinding. This is how God’s light felt after having roamed around in darkness and depression for so long. Although I felt hazy, tired, even annoyed to be woken up because humans naturally revert in times of change and unfamiliarity and the dark was what I was accustomed to, it was the obvious intensity and presence of the light that turned my soul back on rising, not only from a slumber, but also from death. It was hard then, and it still can be hard at times, but He has restored and revitalized me in His perfect image so it’s my privilege to shine the light for someone else wandering in darkness that no eye will see except God’s. It’s God’s style to use broken and messed up people, and I accept the position with substantial responsibility. It’s like landing your dream job with a blank resume. Giving me new life wasn’t just for me. With grace as my microphone, I now have a voice to speak to more victims of heartbreak and tragedy who have convinced
themselves wholeheartedly that there isn’t a better way to live, accepting lies and defeat with unyielding shame and guilt. I thank Him every day that I lived those years in the way that I did, thus becoming so desperate that He was the only place I had left to turn—even if I didn’t think He was there—before it was too late. Heaven and Hell are real and the tragedies of the world seem like a glimpse into an eternity of which I don’t want any part. God isn’t just hanging out allowing terrible things to happen; the terrible things happen because sin rules the world I live in. When I disobey Him, turning my back to His will, there are no puppet strings to yank me into submission. I choose in that moment to go right ahead and walk out on my own, and He lets me do that just enough to realize the darkness and emptiness that awaits in a life without Him. So I willingly choose Him and invite His presence into all the places I occupy because in His presence, the enemy is cast out and unable to touch even a hair on my head. I spent a large portion of my life looking for love, acceptance, clarity, approval, and happiness in so many places and people. I agonized over the fact that it never, ever made sense, and my efforts were all for nothing. I thought it was just something wrong with me, but what was wrong was the subject in which I was seeking such things. The places and the people just needed to be one place and one person: Heaven and Jesus. Any and all other things will fail. Why set myself up for a guaranteed let down? I’m choosing Jesus. “But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8 The subject in this verse is exchangeable to anyone who chooses to claim it. I believe it’s me, and I pray that it’s you today. You’re worth the wait to Him. All He wants is our broken hearts.
model: hillary butterworth makeup & hair: emily holmes florals: staci bledsoe photography: taylor cornelius location: birmingham, al
K IMBERLY REEDER S -S // O C , OK INGER ONGWRITER
s a young girl, I always understood that worship was a part of who I was. I didn’t necessarily know what that looked like or how to access it, but a fire would ignite in my spirit during praise and worship. Growing up in a conservative church, there was hardly ever an opportunity to express myself during worship. Standing still, singing “Amazing Grace” on Sunday mornings in the second row of the burgundycolored pews, left me feeling lifeless. It was great to sing about God, but my spirit longed to encounter Him. I would think to myself, “There has to be more to God than this!” As my thin, twelve-year-old arms would float toward Heaven, I knew God was calling me into a place with Him that would look drastically different than everything I knew. As the years passed, I became hungry to experience God in every way I could and began to see Him in everything I did. I craved His presence and longed to be filled with His power. I wanted to be with God in whatever way I could. I had to lay down the care of the opinions of others. I specifically remember the moment I prayed, “God, if I lose everything but can still worship You the way You have made me to do, then let me lose everything.” Of course, God in His faithful nature answered that prayer, and it did mean I lost relationships with people I loved. It left me feeling extremely lonely at some points, but I longed to hear His voice and feel His heartbeat. The answer to the prayer was exactly what I asked. Through that surrender and yes to God, He answered by gifting me with a secret place where I could just be with Him and experience His tangible love and presence. Out of those times with the Lord, the melodies and lyrics began to flow. Writing worship music is something I always knew was inside of me, and I had dreamed about it as a
"MY HEART AND DREAM FOR WORSHIP
TODAY IS THAT WE AS THE PEOPLE OF GOD WOULD WORSHIP TO THE RHYTHM OF HEAVEN. "
young girl, but it was never truly released until I understood what true intimacy with the Father looked like. Jesus is so kind and never forced that idea on me, but through time spent with Him, He slowly revealed His heart for worship to me. The project I am currently writing is focused on the intimate place where we find Jesus, and in that place we are filled with His Spirit to be released to do the greater things. I desire to write songs that will create a burning in the hearts of people to know more of God. I’ve learned that all God desires is my heart. When I completely surrender my heart to Him in worship, holding nothing back, is when His love and power come rushing in. That is worship that gives life, worship that shifts the atmosphere and creates a throne for Jesus to come and sit, an atmosphere where He can do whatever He wants, even if that isn’t always comfortable for us. His ways are always good. There is so much Joy in the presence of God, and I can’t get enough of it. My heart and dream for worship today is that we as the people of God would worship to the rhythm of Heaven. I believe God is calling us into a new place with Him, a place where pressing into His goodness has no limits. Heaven is singing a new song, and it is God’s heart that we hear and, in that moment, we catch a glimpse of what He is doing. He is releasing His spirit to His worshipers in a greater measure, to write songs, sing melodies, play instruments, and dance in His name. A great release of the power of God is happening and will continue to happen as we press into His spirit and offer our worship to Him.
IDENTITY NEVER FELT SO GOOD
B Y KELSEY ACH e struggled out of his car like a million pounds were tied to his ankles and like wading through boulders, he approached me. We exchanged the sandwiches and the money and to anyone else it seemed like the typical delivery. But when we are called children of the King, even deliveries have eternal potential. So a “thank you” turned into an invitation and then the Name of Jesus filled the space between. How beautiful the balm of grace felt between two strangers as we discussed what it meant to just be children of God. Like breathing room for the soul, we decided together that purpose felt good. That identity felt good.
And it fits that we should feel confident in our identity as children, but instead we run opposite. We grasp tightly to the world and all of its pleasing, fleeting desires and run on empty the majority of our lives. We seek and want and desire and reach for the nothing that we hope will make us something. Thin air is our battle ground and we just consistently lose. We are victims of living and we call it all okay. But when someone is living outside of their identity, everything is anything but okay. The feeling bubbling now is one of hope and potential; like we were truly meant for something. And it’s just not okay that billions live beneath their potential while all of Heaven is on seat-edge interceding for more. When Jesus walked the planet the disciples relished the seconds. They were pupils of the Most High and what could be better than His tangible Presence? It’s hard for me to think even now of anything better. I sometimes wish I could look Him full in the face and gush my feelings. But even Jesus said that it was better for us if He left (John 16:7). Why? Because Holy Spirit would come and power would fall and suddenly, Jesus would now be everywhere. Beating hearts would be His home at
"IDENTITY IS NOT FOUND, BUT IT IS GIVEN; GIVEN BY A FATHER CROWNING A DAUGHTER AS LOVED, GIVEN BY A DAD CROWNING A SON AS FOUND. "
their willingness and now the entire globe could encounter Jesus on a daily basis. How kind of Him to remove Himself only to invade worldwide. In this context we can understand that Jesus never truly left, but only came deeper. Deeper still is the life ofthe believer.
So we look for the random encounters that cry out for more Jesus. We search the strange faces of our everyday because somewhere out there is a heart longing for Heaven. We give patience the go-ahead and take the time to pour out the love that was so gently poured in. We adjust for the more to overtake and overwhelm every single day of our lives. It’s just what we do. It’s just who we are. And identity is hot potato constantly in the air of struggle, because who really even knows who they are? But even that is a lie—this unknown identity—because there is One Who does know who we are. And there is One Who longs to bestow our identity if only we will allow Him. Identity feels good once we find it, but is identity ever really found? We scoot close to realize that identity is not found, but it is given; given by a Father crowning a daughter as loved, given by a Dad crowning a son as found. We are identified as His children, and as such, forever changed by His crowning. So today when the trials come and the hamster wheel feels like it will never end, we pause. We stop and breathe deeply because we are not lost and we aren’t spinning our wheels for nothing. We quit the search and turn off the radar of hope because we have already been discovered and named His. Hope has found us and the more of Jesus has a home right beneath the beat of our chests. And His children, of all people, know who they are and whose they are. Identity never felt so good.
I'LL LOVE YOU MORE A Letter to God
B Y JESSE ANAYA write you this letter God because I don’t know how else to say it. I’ve been trying so hard to keep it all in line. Hold it all together. But I’m breaking. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know which direction to go. My spirit feels like it’s in a war. I’m afraid of defeat. Be good to me Lord. Be good to me. If I reached thousands for you, maybe millions, would you love me more? If I had it all together and stayed stoic forever, would you let me come home to you? I need to know Lord. I need to know. Will you walk away from me when I fail you? When I change my mind on something important, will you hold it against me? I’m trying God. I’m really trying. To hold it all together. To reach thousands. Maybe millions. But more than ever I need you to reach for me. Remind me you haven’t forgotten me. Be good to me Lord. Be good to me. My legs are getting weary. My heart is trying to keep in pace. I need you more. I need you Lord. If I just surrendered my all to you, would you love me more? If I admit that I can’t do it without you. Life. Love. Any of it. If I admit I don’t want to do life or love without you, would you remind me that I can come home to you? Maybe I’m not equipped. Maybe I’m not yet who I want to be. Be good to me Lord. Be good to me.
The war of reason that sits inside of me tells me to brace for defeat. My voice of treason resents any good that lives inside of me. I need you God. I need you. I want to fall into you God. I want more of you God. I need you God. I’m asking you to knock me to me knees. My soul is wounded. My heart is broken. I need a Savior. I need a Father. I need you to catch me as I fall to my knees. Please live in my heart, live in my dreams. Know more of me. Know all of me. Hold my hand when I’m weak. Hold me when I’m afraid. Make me bold. Please don’t walk away when I’m afraid. Stay with me. I need the comfort of your Spirit. I need more of you. Your love for me will never change. I need you to say it. Please say it. And so you tell me, if you reached only one or none for me, I’ll still love you more. If you change your mind on something important, I’ll love you more. When you struggle and feel like breaking, I’ll love you more. I’ll love you more. I’ll love you more. If you feel you’ve let me down or walk away, I’ll pursue you more. I’ll call out to you and tell you, I’ll always love you more. I’ll shape your heart to know my name. To sing a song of love and grace. I love you forever more, and always will. I'll love you more.
ANGELIC: WHAT DOES JESUS MEAN TO YOU?
ANNIVERSARY ISSUE LOOK BACK
remember I asked her what Jesus meant to her. She said He meant nothing to her. It wasn’t exactly the type of place to ask that question. It wasn’t exactly the type of crowd you’d ask that question to. But I asked it anyway. We were in downtown San Diego inside of a high rise building for the Fashion Week San Diego media meet and greet. It was night out and the downtown San Diego skyline lit up the sky. There was an energy to the night. There was an excitement buzzing. It was fashion week. The month was October of 2012, 11 months before the first issue of Angelic Magazine was to ever be released and even the notion of printing the magazine was yet to be conceived, but you have to understand, the journey ofAngelic isn’t really about issue releases or covers or models or designers or musicians, it’s about Jesus, and it always will be. I asked the director of Fashion Week San Diego that night if I could ask her a few questions for a blog post I’d be creating and to my surprise she said no. So I followed up with, “I just have 1 question, can I ask you that?” Reluctantly she said yes. “What does Jesus mean to you?” I caught her off guard. She didn’t know what to say. You could tell her mind was searching for the words, and then she said it. “Nothing.” I asked designers that question that night. I asked models that question that night. I only had 1 question I needed to ask. I had no desire to debate anyone. My only intent was to get people thinking about Him in a place, in a week where He may mean nothing to people. So, a year had passed and it was now late August of 2013. The Fashion Week San Diego press conference was held outdoors in the picturesque beach city of La Jolla, CA, the ritzy beach town just up the freeway
from downtown San Diego. With the ocean and sun setting behind us, I showed up to the press conference with something new with me this time. Copies of the debut September 2013 print issue of Angelic Magazine were in my hand. Inside of that debut issue was a fall preview feature on Fashion Week San Diego. I walked up to the fashion week director after the press conference and I’m sure she probably thought "oh no here comes that Jesus person, what’s he going to ask me this time?" But she was friendly. She was polite. I handed her a copy of the magazine and she said something that will forever inspire me. She asked if she could have multiple copies of the magazine so she could hang them up in her office. Whenever Fashion Week San Diego is featured in a publication she said she frames them. You see, just a year earlier she said Jesus meant nothing to her but now she was hanging up a Jesus magazine in her office. And my veins were filled with purpose. In a week where He may not be on people’s minds, through photography and fashion, we can remind people of who He is. In a culture where fashion doesn’t always reflect His goodness, we can illustrate style and creativity, but keep it modest and fashionable that’ll bring glory to Him. Angelic Magazine is starting our 3rd year as of this issue and I’m realizing we must go deeper into the fashion world. We must go further than we’ve gone so far. We can reach so many more for Him. We can attend so many more fashion weeks. We will. What does Jesus mean to you? We’re going to be asking that question to a lot more people in the fashion world in this upcoming year in our journey. What they may say, we have no idea. Walk with us on our journey. Year 3 starts now.
photography:arina borodina issue:june 2014
photography: anna christy issue:july 2014
photography:angelic issue: september 2013
photography: scott english issue: november 2013
photography: tiffany egbert issue: october 2013
photography: charity maurer issue: september 2014
photography: robert sarno issue: september 2014
photography: bernadette madden issue: october 2014
photography: therese mackendrick issue: january 2014
photography: rochelle nicholson issue: october 2014
photography: jenny tarau issue: september 2014
Kylie Morgan SINGER/SONGWRITER NASHVILLE
"I HOPE TO NOT ONLY TELL MY STORY BUT,
MOST OF ALL , THROUGH MY MUSIC. "
aised in a small town in Oklahoma, Christianity was just a way of life. I attended church every Sunday morning and my parents were strong influences in my spiritual life. They pushed for me to have my own relationship with Him, but, growing up being told who God was didn’t necessarily mean I knew who He was. As I got older and opportunities arose, though, I began to see that God had a plan. My family’s faith was tested when our house was destroyed by the tornado on May 20, 2013. During this time, it was difficult to be thankful for His blessings when it felt like He took so much away, but, as 1 Peter 5:10 states, “And after you have suffered a little, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” My family and I strove to trust that He would soon provide. Though we lost many years of memories, we saw that materialistic things did not define us as human beings. The friend, family member, or complete stranger that went out of their way to help us in our time of need showed us the true power of prayer. I've always believed everything happens for a reason, and that experience led me to a whole new career opportunity. A woman that I had connected with on a past performance contacted the clothing company, Vanity, about sending me a care package to help replace some of the clothing I lost. Soon after, Vanity and I formed a relationship. I am now lucky enough to be the face of Vanity clothing as a model and musician. God proved to me he had a plan.
Pretty early in my childhood, I discovered a passion for music. I loved that I could put chords and a melody to my experiences in life, and I saw that as an avenue to connect with the people around me. Writing music became a way of life and made me think, dream, and even see God in a whole new way. I went from singing into a hair brush on my bed to performing a different venue every weekend. The stage then became where I felt most at home. Once I found my love for it, I knew what God had put me on this earth to do. What pushed my faith was moving to Nashville to pursue music. I left the comfort of my family and friends to pursue a business that wasn’t stable. I was blessed to have been connected to a publisher in town, Russ Zavitson, founder of Zavitson Music Group, that saw something in me at the age of fifteen and believed in the writer and artist I could become. It was terrifying moving out on my own at such a young age, but, thankfully, I had the support of my parents who had faith I made the right decision. Once again, God proved Himself and blessed me with an opportunity to sign a publishing deal with Zavitson and write music for a living. I am now spending my days becoming the artist and person He always wanted me to be. There are many temptations when working for the music industry, and I strive to maintain my morals and seek His guidance. I’ve had to look to Him in times of doubt that the career I had chosen for myself wouldn’t work, but I knew He had plans for me. I am truly blessed with this talent, and I hope to not only tell my story but, most of all, His story through my music.
Daniella Criscuolo A : 21 // A , GA GE
"LIKE WITH ANY DRUG, AS SOON AS IT WAS GONE, I WOULD SINK INTO A DEEPER DEPRESSION. P ARTYING AND BOYS BECAME MY NORMAL." grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, where they say it is Most depressed teens find refuge from the sadness by the perfect place to raise a family. It is a place where gravitating to a thrill, some form of humor, or even a your neighbors go to church on Sunday mornings and sense of danger. All of these cause our brain to release Wednesday nights, too. On the inside, though, their endorphins that a depressed brain needs most. The teen stories were often less than perfect. For example, there is soon addicted to the “high” that excitement brings were families we knew of who had been torn apart by because it’s a relief from the sadness and numbness depression, divorce, and drug abuse. they feel. Though we were raised by loving parents who taught I found myself becoming addicted to the next hype, my sister and me to have a strong inner faith, our home the next exciting experience until “happiness” and wasn’t very different. We looked perfect on the outside, laughing became my drug. Like with any drug, as soon but, inside, there was more than enough mess to go as it was gone, I would sink into a deeper depression. around. The pressures we lived with as a family molded Partying and boys became my normal. me into someone who looked great on the outside but A few weeks before the start of college, I found had plenty of monsters on the inside waiting to come myself at the end of my rope emotionally. Curled up out. with my mom on her closet floor while crying out to For years, my family wondered what had happened to Jesus about the pain and emptiness I felt, I listened to the happy, extroverted, curly-haired little girl that would her whisper words I had long forgotten. hog the video camera to entertain her family. Suddenly, She reminded me that Jesus was here. He had always they had an angry, frustrated, lazy, young teen living been there. I had been the one who pushed Him away among them. By fifteen years old, I was diagnosed with because I believed I was a disappointment to my Savior. anxiety and depression. Jesus reached out to me that night. He lifted me up During volleyball games, I would become paralyzed from my messy life and showed me there was hope and with an intense fear of failure brought on by equally healing. intense irrational, negative thoughts. I remember how I I began to take the medication given to me, shared would shut down emotionally during games if I missed a more of my pain with people who loved me, resisted serve or failed to return a ball. isolating myself, and made sure to keep my therapy Suddenly, fear dictated everything I did. I became appointments. All the while, Jesus stayed with me convinced I couldn’t do the simplest tasks, whether it through the healing process. was to clean my room or hand in homework. I was Today, in my third year of college, I have a newfound ashamed of my academic performance and often came love. No longer is Jesus just my parents’ Savior. I am home from school, crawled into bed, and cried myself to enjoying my friendship with Jesus. Looking back at the sleep. One moment, I was happy in front of friends. Two last several years, I don't regret having gone through seconds after the front door closed, I would become an any of it. I realize now that those experiences were angry teen who just wanted to be left alone. necessary in helping me see that Jesus desires to be not After breaking up with a long-time boyfriend, I found only my friend but also the air that I breathe. I am myself spiraling downhill. I began chasing after the enjoying this new season of my life, and I owe it all to wrong people, trying to regain a sense of being alive. I the One that never left me, even when I left Him. I’m could feel pieces of myself fading, and, worse of all, I enjoying my new normal. was aware of the worry I was causing my family, which served to sink me even further.
LEXINGTON, KY // AGE: 24
s I find myself here again in these waters, it is a surreal experience. The presence of God is almighty and so powerful. The water represents truth. The water represents reflection. The water represents freedom. All I can think to myself is, “How did I get here?” This has been a reoccurring theme in my life over the past couple of years. Throughout many trials, I keep wondering the same question, “How did I get here?” Sometimes joyful, sometimes flabbergasted, and sometimes in sheer agony, the same question represents the ride that has been my life. Born and raised in the south, I grew up a prodigal daughter of the Bible belt. Every Sunday, dressed head to toe as your typical southern belle, I could be found in church, learning about the Lord and knowing who He was. At age nine, I made the decision to give my life to Christ and was baptized along with my brothers. I followed the rules, lived graciously, and loved others. I was living a good life. In college, I decided I wanted a career that was going to change the world, but I was going to be the one to do it. After a bachelor’s degree and a series of setbacks, the pursuit of success was at its pinnacle, prompting a move to Washington, D.C. It was long after moving to D.C. in search of the perfect life that I found out that your job is sometimes what defines you. That’s not at all what I signed up for, yet I jumped on the bandwagon. The world around me was stifling who I was on the inside. My heart longed for ways to pursue relationships and to serve and love others, yet everywhere I looked told me I shouldn’t. I had moved for all the wrong reasons, and I was just now being honest with myself. Then, there I was one day—completely fallen on my hands and knees. Broken, I knew there was nowhere else to turn but to surrender. Friend, let me tell you, it is the most freeing feeling in the entire world. Asking God for deliverance, confessing my heart, and coming back to a place of reliance was one of the most humbling moments of my life. God graciously extended a hand that day when no one else would. God sees us for who we are. Scars and
"BROKEN, I KNEW THERE WAS NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN BUT TO SURRENDER. " all, He loves his children unconditionally. He called me home. I believed dictating the plans for your own life can bring you happiness but found they won’t bring you joy. That is only found through the Father himself. Today, God delivers on the promises He made when He breathed life back into me during that season. My best Friend, my Savior, my Heavenly Father picked me to live an incredible life that I was too blinded to see. When I stopped choosing my own paths and started trusting His, my cup began to overflow. Sometimes choosing the path that seems ordinary can lead you to extraordinary things. Today, the picture Christ has painted for me is one I never could have imagined for myself. The job, the friends, community, and not to mention the love—all look and feel like Jesus every day. I am eternally changed by His plans. The Lord has placed me back in Kentucky. He has given me an abundance of friends who are on fire for the Lord, and, perhaps most importantly, a church and a church family that is supportive and loving. I serve through a program called Serve the City where we graciously get to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I have had the opportunity to lavishly extend love and see what true grace looks like. I never knew what my purpose was before now. I always knew God created me to serve, love, and create a better world, but now I know it is all in the name of His Kingdom—that was the puzzle piece that had been missing for so long. God has continuously chosen to give me His favor. Now I ask the question, “How did I get here?” with joy and hope. I stand here as the waters of the baptism are washing over my feet, cleansing me. I am no longer on the floor; instead, I am walking with others into freedom, celebrating, baptizing, and glorifying the Kingdom.
DILLON GOVE age:21 // sacramento,ca
chose to follow Christ at the age of six. As a kid, I struggled with fear and anxiety to the point where I became physically sick. I was trapped by fear and didn’t even know it. I was afraid of getting sicker, afraid of dying, failing my classes even afraid of living forever. I was a small stressed out kid whose body didn’t know what to do with all the fear and anxiety. I constantly thought about eternity, and the concept made me feel horrible. I couldn’t grasp it, and it made me feel anxious. This, along with the fear of failing school, caused me to be stressed all the time, adding to the frequency of my illnesses, which resulted in me falling behind in my studies. Around third grade, I talked with some leaders about my issues with anxiety, and they shared some simple truths with me, prayed with me, and gave me some Bible verses to help. While this appears to be a small thing, it really helped me and began the journey that I have been on since. That journey includes being able to trust and love God more. A huge moment in this journey was during my freshman year of high school. I went to a teen camp at a church in the mid-west and spent three weeks in an intensive learning, listening, and worshipping environment. The last night of the camp, I ran forward to commit my teen years and life to being a radical missionary and going to the ends of the earth for the Lord. In this moment, when I wasn’t looking for it and wasn’t expecting it, God encountered me in a huge way. I remember the overwhelming sense of His love for me, and I just stood there weeping, hot tears streaming down my smiling face. I came back home from the summer and was a totally different person, hungry to see God move in my church, friends, and family. Sustaining this fire was harder than I could have foreseen, however. After a period of zealous pursuit of
God to move on my campus and in my church, I began to lose focus on spending time with Him and became apathetic. I spent hours gaming and watching television, sometimes all night. I became depressed and didn’t know why. I felt stuck and wanted to see more of God and to have the fruit of the spirit, but I doubted myself and my Father in Heaven. Rather than face these doubts, I tried to drown them in the sea of entertainment, zoning out for as long as I could. The Lord, however, had a plan and began to draw me to Himself. As this began to happen in my junior year of high school, my parents separated. It was totally out of the blue. One day, my mom came home and sat in my room, crying. As I held her, she told me that she had told my dad that he couldn’t come home that night. Sitting there, holding my sobbing mother, I was hit with a torrent of emotions. I didn’t even know how I felt. I couldn’t even really put words to it; it was just so intense and confusing. I lay in my bed that night, alone, talking to the Lord. I felt like He said that my parents wouldn’t get a divorce, and that He would restore my family. In that moment, I felt a peace as I chose to trust God. After ten months of my dad living apart from my family, he and my mom were reconciled. He moved back into our home and their marriage is honestly better than before. It was simply one part of the journey of God showing me His faithfulness and that I can trust Him. He reminds me of Psalm 23 constantly; He is overflowing my cup with blessings, and He will provide all that I need, even when life seems like the valley of the shadow of death. But I don’t have to fear any evil because my Papa in Heaven is always with me!
AGE: 48 // ATLANTA, GA
"MY IDEA OF BEAUTIFUL HAD ALWAYS BEEN MEASURED BY HOW MEN LOOKED AT ME, SO I HAD HOPED THAT MARRIAGE WOULD FIX THE INSECURITIES THAT PLAGUED ME FOR SO LONG. " met Jesus when I was ten years old, thanks to an uncle who took the time to share Him with me. I read the Bible he gave me religiously until my teenage years dragged me laxatives to help curb my weight and appetite until I was away to other things. As a child in a home that was loving missing meals without hunger and still managing to spend but lacked strong influences toward faith, the things that I hours at the gym. Though my husband and I shared a deep and genuine learned about Jesus thankfully never left me and were the love for each other that has given us joyful years together, prelude to a lifetime relationship. At nineteen, I was invited to a friend’s church. I soon we were challenged by the strife and frustration that heeded the call of salvation and began a journey of faith bubbled up from the internal pain we each lived with. He with Jesus. The transformation into Christianity happened was dealing with the weight of a failed previous marriage, by no means overnight. I had no idea of the love and while I was carrying around the distorted self-loathing that permeated my soul and led to a body image disorder called patience God would grant me in the years to come. I had been dating an older boy who lived in my Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD. Despite the blessing neighborhood. It became inappropriate almost from the of two beautiful daughters, our marriage was threatened by start and then emotionally destructive as it distorted the resentment over things not spoken between us. When our marriage hit a low point, I began to see a way I saw myself. He often used mixed messages to control me, at times reminding me that I could look better if I was Christian therapist. During sessions, the Lord sat in and thinner. He would point to other women to show me how I began a healing process in me. I regained my ability to love the person I was, came clean about my BDD struggles could look if I worked harder. Knowing that he knew me in the most vulnerable way, with friends, and stepped out in genuine confidence. My those words tore away at my self-esteem until I began to true healing came, though, when I opened up to my hate the person I saw in the mirror. Without any spiritual husband and daughters about my past and present mentor in my life, I did not know that this relationship went struggles. Not hiding felt good, and it reminded me that true love is truly unconditional. against everything that God wanted for me. Today, I realize I will always be tempted by a body When I was twenty-two, I met the man of my dreams, and, after a whirlwind engagement, we married. But the image distortion like a drug addict struggles with break from my ex-boyfriend did nothing to stop the damage temptations of drug abuse, but I do it while walking in those years had done. I struggled with a constantly intrusive liberty from the lies I once believed. As I look in the preoccupation with my body weight to the point of mirror today, I see a beautiful woman whose beauty comes from surrender instead of starvation, who loves her obsession. My idea of beautiful had always been measured by how body—bulges and all—as the perfect temple of the Holy men looked at me, so I had hoped that marriage would fix Spirit, and a catalyst for birthing two beautiful lives into the insecurities that plagued me for so long. Instead, after this world and who desires to be a living testimony that the birth of our first daughter, I found myself at a low point Jesus takes broken-down lives and turns them into a in my life. The joy of my new baby girl was overshadowed “crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of by an intense sense of shame at the body I woke up with mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of each morning. I started using diet aids, water pills, and despair.”
Jordan Riddle SINGER
JORDAN RIDDLE W "I H .I ho am I? I’m a procrastinator—I usually leave things up until the very last minute before completing them. I sometimes struggle with intentionality—note the use of “usually” and “sometimes” within the last two sentences. I get upset when people navigate their vehicles in a reckless or annoying manner. I carry more weight than I’d like, and I generally don’t look at myself through the eyes of Christ. I often get waylaid by the trivial monotony of the mundane world, all the while wondering where the divine is. I ask, “Why this, God?” or, “Why that, Lord?” using the most generic deific terms to keep the infinitesimal arm’s length from my finite existence. I am at my core the very essence of struggle—the reality of me against who I want to be. But just who am I? I think about my story thus far, and it all comes down to identity. My life’s pursuit has been in search of finding out who I am. Growing up in a Christian home, I never had any doubt—I was a child of God. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I had childlike faith and as much love for God as my little heart could muster. As a teen, I started taking ownership of my “relationship with God,” whatever that meant. I got lost in all the church-y terms and good ideas that just ended up being tools with which to bludgeon myself over my failures. I began to serve the ideals of my religion instead of the Savior of my faith. As youthful passion and zealous ambition gave way to calm assurance and quiet persistence, I knew deep inside that this relationship was supposed to be more than just rules and regulations. I knew that it was supposed to be simple, honest, and true. That is when the Holy Spirit gave me this mantra: I am a Son of the Most High God, and, outside of that, nothing else matters.
WAS BORN TO BE IS WAS DESIGNED TO WORSHIP HIM. "
I would repeat that to myself on my college campus, when comparisons and questions threatened to strip me of my belief. I would repeat that to myself in the mornings, when the mirror reflected a less desirable me. I would repeat that to myself every day until it began weaving itself into my reality. I am a son of The Most High God, I am a brother of Jesus Christ, I have the very essence of His Spirit dwelling within me, and, outside of that, nothing else matters—nothing. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24(ESV) As a son ofThe Most High God, worship has always been my lifeline to Christ. I feel His power and His presence envelope me through worship, and it’s my greatest joy in this life. I crave those intimate moments of worship when everything else fades except for me and Him. My guitar drifts to the background, my voice sounds distant, and my heart blazes with a holy fire. I think Eugene Peterson said it best when he paraphrased Luke 4:23-24, saying, “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship Him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” I was born to be His. I was designed to worship Him. And I’ll live out the rest of my days walking in the reality of who I am, worshipping in spirit and in truth the majesty of who He is.
The City By Jon Macapodi
model: lindsay dawson photography: jon macapodi location: nyc
JOSHUA 1:8 "KEEP THIS BOOK OF THE LAW ALWAYS ON YOUR LIPS; MEDITATE ON IT DAY AND NIGHT, SO THAT YOU MAY BE CAREFUL TO DO EVERYTHING WRITTEN IN IT."