powerful vulnerability

Today’s post on the blog is inspired by the heart and beauty of Katelyn Grace. After her mini session a couple of weeks ago, Katelyn shared these words on her instagram accompanied by two photos from her session.

“I hate admitting struggles. I feel like it’s a sign of weakness. (I know I’m wrong). But, it’s kinda crazy to think about how self confidence has taken over my life. I have gotten into a routine of waking up every morning dreading to look at myself in the mirror. I’m the kind of person that hates telling people how I feel. So I go through things all on my own. And our thoughts can be so powerful, it’s kind of scary. The words “I’m ugly” or “I look so bad” runs through my mind almost 24/7. I find myself looking at EVERYONE around me wishing I had their hair, their nose, or their smile. I hate taking selfies. I feel like it is just another way I can put myself down. I’ve become really good at that. Anytime someone gives me a compliment, I get mad and tell them to stop lying. I have pushed so many people away doing that. Mental health is an insane thing that I just don’t quite get.

Leading up to this photoshoot I was nervous. I remember praying to God 10 minutes before I had to leave, asking him to make me pretty. I believed that “being ugly” was something I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. My thoughts were my biggest enemy. It’s like my flaws were put on the biggest screen there ever was. That’s all I saw. Looking through the photos from this shoot, I teared up. I actually thought I looked pretty. It’s been awhile since I’ve thought that. These 2 photos specifically, I noticed that my smile is raw happiness. Something clicked when I looked through all the photos. Like, maybe I should start seeing the beauty that comes from inside of me. Mental health is like a really hard puzzle. I hate puzzles, I get overwhelmed. I think that’s why I have put off trying to help myself for so long. But, the thing is, God has been by my side this whole time. And today, I am ready to let Him in. Loving yourself is so important. And I’m going to be over here trying to put all the puzzle pieces back together.”

I know at least for me, Katelyn’s vulnerability is powerful. Her words shook me to my core. I remember reading them and feeling brokenhearted for the time when I struggled deeply with all these same thoughts and feelings. But then, after some of the brokenhearted feelings subsided, waves of encouragement reverberated through my brain. I said silently to myself, “Lauren, always remember this moment. This is why you do what you do.”

Since becoming more serious about my role as a photographer and my budding business  in the past couple months, I have had to ask myself some harder questions like: what do I believe in? what am I passionate about? how do I want to serve my clients? how do I want them to feel when they receive their final product? what kind of message am I trying to send through my images?

Here are the answers I was able to come up with: 1.) I believe that in every moment God views us through His lens of love. Even when we do not feel beautiful or worthy or loved, God, our Father, calls us by name, declares us worthy, and lavishes His love upon us because we are His children. 2.) I am passionate about encouraging others and creating art through photography. 3.) In everything I do, my goal is to cultivate the “ground” upon which I walk to be a place where love can grow and to radiate the joy of the Lord in the process. My hope for my business is that I can serve my clients by photographing them through God’s lens of love. 4.) & 5.) In Him, you are fully known, fully loved, worthy, and free indeed,  and my goal is to have these four truths be evident in the product I provide.

Katelyn’s session was my first in my new town of Nashville, first in my new stage of life (college), and first in my redesigned and refocused photography platform, and I am very thankful to have been a part in her testimony to understanding the beauty that comes from within. It is not easy to embrace vulnerability and to ask for God’s help in putting back together the mess of our lives. But it is very important that we do let Him in and let Him begin His healing work within us. And even if we have invited Him in to begin to transform our lives, we can be confident that He complete the good work that He started in us. YOU’RE NOT FINISHED YET. This is one of my favorite truths to cling to.

This is the smile of a girl who has been set free by the truth of God’s word, who is fully known, fully loved, worthy, and free indeed, who is beautiful inside and out, and who is stronger than her flaws, enemies, and fears!

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