Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Campus Outreach

I never post a cause unless I truly believe in it, and this is as legit as they get. As some of you know, my brother, Andy, moved to Kentucky 3 years ago to go into student ministry with Campus Outreach at Georgetown College. Since he has begun his time there, he has seen numerous students put their faith in Jesus Christ. Not only has he witnessed students give their lives to Christ, but he and the others on staff with Campus Outreach actively teach those students how to go out into the world and be disciples.

This is my brother's job. His wife, Monica, takes care of - and home-schools - their 2 little girls, while waiting on the arrival of a little boy in October. This is a full-time job for him. He organizes events, leads students in Bible studies, goes out and witnesses to students, and does countless of other things for the Lord. He is also currently attending seminary school. However, the only "salary" that he receives is through the support of others. He completely and totally has to rely on the Lord to provide the funds for him to provide for his family. I am asking those who feel led to give to this ministry to please pray about it and consider tithing to this amazing cause. A once a month pledge would be incredibly appreciated, but a one-time gift is awesome too. No gift or pledge is too small.


As I said, I wouldn't ask anyone to contribute if I didn't feel it was a worthy cause. Please pray about and consider supporting my brother and his family so that he will be allowed to continue in this incredible ministry. If you feel led, please comment or message me. I'll tell you what to do next.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Psalm 91

This just seems appropriate in such a time of fear. Fear of finances, fear of the unknown, and fear of death. My prayer is that this will bless you and that I'll be able to deliver what the Holy Spirit wants me to deliver.

I am reading a book entitled Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth, which is basically a 229-page breakdown of the 91st psalm in the Word. It's the second time I've read it, and I just have a strong urge to share what His Spirit is showing me through this book with those who happen to glance at this note. Mainly, this book is written to those in the military, as Ruth calls it the "Soldier's Psalm", but this book's explanation of the promise of protection that God is bringing to the table is undoubtedly for all who follow Him. Since I was a child, I have heard this psalm read by my mother. It is a psalm of protection, deliverance, and salvation. The words have always been powerful, but realizing that this psalm is alive and active - since it is God's Word - brings about a whole new meaning. For those of you who don't have a Bible handy, or who haven't already gone to Biblegateway.com to look it up, Psalm 91, as translated in the New American Standard Bible is:

Security of the One Who Trusts in the LORD.
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!"
3For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
5You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of then arrow that flies by day;
6Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
14"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has (AA)known My name.
15"He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16"With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation."

or, if you like it broken down a little more plainly, The Message's version is:

1-13You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
14-16 "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

Wow! What a promise!
Let me share something with you. For years, I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. I've lived most of my life afraid for one reason or another. Everyone has their weak areas of their lives where the enemy tries to attack, and that is mine. A few of you already know this, and I've learned that a few of you struggle with the same thing. But, as there always is with God, there is Good News! This psalm covers every fear, every danger imaginable. Take verses 3-6 for example. Those categories cover any type of danger you could think up. The snare of the trapper is any temptation or pitfall that the enemy tries to use to lure us from our Father. The Bible says that any man is capable of any sin, given the right (or wrong) circumstance. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he plans very carefully to strike at our most vulnerable moment. But those who call out to God are saved from this temptation. The very next line of protection is from deadly pestilence. This is any sickness or disease. ANY sickness or disease. I must admit, this is where I struggle most. I am always fearful of my health, which is ridiculous, since I am a 21-year-old active and healthy female. Nevertheless, this has always been the target of Satan's attacks. But if you'll notice, this psalm mentions pestilence twice. As Ruth says, "God doesn't waste words... It is as though God is saying, I said in verse 3, 'You are delivered from the deadly pestilence,' but did you really hear Me? Just to be sure, I am saying it again in verse 6, 'You do not have to be afraid of the deadly pestilence!'"(40). Amazing! To keep from making this note too long, the next few verses talk about the terror at night, or any danger brought about from man. The arrow that flies by day is any attack from Satan that wounds spiritually, mentally, physically, or financially. We have already discussed the deadly pestilence, and the destruction that lays waste at noon is any natural disaster. The whole natural disaster thing is appropriate, since most of us have lately been through more than enough tornadoes and floods. Some people call these "Acts of God", which is completely untrue. In the New Testament, Jesus rebuked a storm. Rebuking something that His Father created would have been contradictory; therefore, natural disasters are not of God. God is big enough to handle natural disasters, and meticulous enough to ensure that you will see the Goodness of Him in the Land of the Living. That is NOW, not just in Heaven!

Basically the main point that this book is pointing out to me is the importance of claiming His Word and His Promises. It is unbelievable and devastating to think that this promise and protection is available to all who trust in Him, yet many do not claim it. Ruth says on page 52, "To the measure we trust Him, we will in the same measure reap the benefits of that trust." This is shown time and time again through His Word. Throughout the Gospel, the healing and protection Jesus offered was only received by faith. In Luke, Jesus tells of the many lepers that were not cleansed because of their lack of faith. This used to scare me, until I realized that FAITH IS NOT A FEELING. JUST LIKE LOVE, IT IS A CHOICE. God does not want us to look to the outer world of feelings, but to the deeper, spiritual realm. That is where we'll find Him. We can't base something as powerful and important as faith on feelings, because feelings are too fleeting. God's promises go out to all who are righteous. This can be a very scary-sounding statement as well. But listen, "Faith in God, in His Son Jesus Christ and in His Word, is counted in God's eyes as righteousness" (53). Choosing to have faith in Christ and faith in the Word makes us righteous because of Calvary. How can someone not be amazed by that? The one and only Righteous One sees us, too, as being righteous. This is like Brad Pitt looking at Quasimoto and seeing an equally attractive man. I know, I know... horrible analogy, but you get my drift.

As usual, I digress. What I am trying to communicate here is what the Lord is trying so desperately to tell all his children... imagine His voice, loving and protective saying to you, "You will call upon Me, and I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble; I will rescue you and honor you.With a long life I will satisfy you and let you see My salvation." Believe His promises and accept them with a thankful heart. The Big Guns has your back :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ally's Maternity Shoot

Sorry I haven't posted in so long again! Things have been crazy, and I'm just trying to keep up. I did a maternity shoot with the French family yesterday, and here are a few of my faves. Enjoy :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lindsey Marie

Here's a few faves from the photoshoot I did of the bestie. She's so gorgeous. I'm so jeal.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Secret

I hope I'm not writing this blog without reason. I am about to reveal a secret I've kept from most people since I was 12 years old. Only a few people know of this secret... some of the closest people to me are even unaware. Not because I don't think I can tell them... but because they just won't understand. Now I am sharing it with the world - or at least the 6 people who read my blog - in hopes that maybe someone will read this who has the same secret and know they are not alone.

For the past 9 years, I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Honestly, if you've never experienced it - or never known anyone suffering from it - you probably just laughed at me. It does sound pretty foolish at first.

If you are unaware of what GAD is, Wikipedia says: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophise, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friend problems or work difficulties. They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating,insomnia, and hot flashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced.

What GAD is NOT, however, is something that can go away with willpower. GAD, similar to depression, is just as physical as it is mental and emotional. Trust me, if I could stop this by just "not worrying", then it would have been over and done with by the time I was 13. My main focus of anxiety tends to be my health. When I was younger, it was much more broad. I worried about my parents dying, about being a victim of a terrorist act, even about the rapture. These are not things that a 12-year-old should be concerned with. Now, it usually starts with a symptom that gets completely blown out of proportion. I feel dizzy or tired, and I think that I automatically have a terminal illness, like a brain tumor or cancer. Lately, I have been extremely dizzy... which causes me to panic... which causes me to feel even more dizzy. It's a vicious cycle. It interferes with my daily life. In high school, I had to stay out of school for 2 weeks because I literally could not function. A couple of years ago, I stayed out of work for 10 days for the same reason. I have only had 4 or 5 times in my life where it got so bad it turned into a panic disorder like that, and I can tell I'm fighting it off right now. It could be because the trip back to GA was so stressful, along with having a sinus infection and getting ready to tell my husband goodbye for 7 months... but many times GAD gets really bad for no reason at all.

When this happens, I can't help but get furious with God. Mainly, because I will pray and pray and pray, and I don't see any immediate results. He isn't taking away the physical symptoms, and He isn't taking away the fear. There are countless verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear, but I wish it was that easy. I just rely on my mom and family in times like this to pray for me, because my prayer seems to be so ineffective and my relationship with God so detached. Maybe I'm doing this wrong. Obviously, there is something the Lord wants me to learn from this, but I feel so weak and helpless when I'm in this state. Worthless. Hopeless.

Go here:

This is one of the best websites I've found to explain GAD.

Other than that, I don't really know why I wrote this blog, except if you have any words of encouragement, I'd love to hear them. If you suffer from the same thing, know you're not alone.

A constant state of fear is not a way to live. That's not living. This is not living. I know there's a way to break this curse. There has to be. Pray that I find it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We made it alive!

Thank GOD we made it! California to Georgia... 2200 miles and 33 hours. It took us 3 days. It was a lot worse than the trip there for me. The weather sucked. SUCKED. And if you know me, you know that bad weather and airplanes are my 2 biggest fears. The first day was rain. That, along with driving on the sides of mountains in 4000 ft of elevation... well, I just wasn't exactly thrilled. We made it from San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX. I hate driving miles and miles with no town in site, and that was the case for most of it. Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas... well... there are just no signs of life. The next day, we were outrunning this storm that's crossing the country. We were ahead of the rain, but the wind was around 30mph, and since we were in the desert for half of Texas, it kept creating these dust storms that were kind of scary to drive through... not to mention blowing our little car around. It finally got better and we started seeing civilization around Abeline, which is in the middle of Texas. We stopped in Shreveport, LA for the night, and the next day set out for the last 14 hour stretch. The only problem is, I got sick. I guess the lack of sleep mixed with eating horribly and anxiety got to me. I was exhausted. I made Chase stop in another hotel in Mississippi, and we stayed there a few hours while he let me nap. I woke up feeling a little better, and we tried again. FINALLY we made it home to Albany, GA at 12:30 last night, and I have NEVER been happier to be home! My nerves were completely shot, and I'm still trying to get over the trip. But, on the up-side, I did get some pretty cool photos out of it. Here are a few of my faves.

This is the beach at Camp Pendleton in CA. There was a storm off to the west, so it made some interesting shots. We were waiting on some of Chase's buddies. They were going of the same interstate for part of the way, so I was fortunate enough to get some shots while we waited:

Then here are a few faves from mostly Cali & Arizona:

All I can do is praise the Lord that we made it safe. And that it'll be at least another 7 months before I have to make that trip again!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

God is so good.

Once again, the Lord revealed Himself to me just a little bit more after I cried out to Him. Read the post before this one, then read the devotional that was in my inbox this morning:

You Shall Know
Walk with Me. I will teach you. Listen to Me and I will speak. Continue to meet Me, in spite of all opposition and every obstacle, in spite of the days when you may hear no voice, and there may come no intimate heart-to-heart telling.

As you persist in this, and make a life-habit of it, in many marvelous ways I will reveal My will to you. You shall have more sure knowing of both the present and the future. But that will be only the reward of the regular coming to meet Me.

Life is a school. There are many teachers. Not to everyone do I come personally. Believe literally that the problems and difficulties of your lives can be explained by Me more clearly and effectually than by any other.

Thank you, Lord, for continuing to stick by me, even through my stupidity.