Archive for April, 2012
Occupation: Christ Follower, Wife, Mother of 4, Counselor/Activist for Hurting Women
Q. Please describe your ideal of beauty, however you define it.
A. Beauty is not found in the mirror, even though I get tangled in that net way too often. Beauty is found in looking through a different set of lenses, in cracking through the surface to see the details, the sparkle, the colors, the life in everything.
Q. Please describe where you find self worth in life.
A. From the song lyrics by Kari Jobe, “I believe You’re my healer. I believe You’re more than enough for me.” On days when I don’t “feel” that, I choose to believe it. I choose to believe that what God says about me is true, and that I am precious. I must be worth a lot to be adopted by God as His daughter! From that belief at my core comes my self worth.
Q. Please, in 2 paragraphs or less, tell a little bit about your story. Where you’ve been in life and where you are now as it relates to beauty and joy in your personal life.
A. Most little girls dream of their princess moment when a knight in shining armor will come and sweep them away to their happily ever after. I don’t ever remember those dreams as a child. I learned about sexuality at a very young age. I remember watching pornography videos and looking through magazines that were hidden in my parents’ bedroom at 8 years old. I didn’t understand what I was watching, but I knew if it was hidden, I probably wasn’t supposed to find it, which was intriguing to me. Looking back, that formed a sexual foundation in my life that would leave me deeply wounded. At the age of 12, my sister was having a party at our house, and there I was raped by a man much older than me. That was my first sexual experience. I didn’t tell anyone about the rape until I met my husband.
After losing my virginity in this way, I decided that I would never be worth much to anyone, so I allowed men to do whatever they pleased to me. Sex and rape were the same thing in my eyes, so I relived that night when I was 12, many times over. While I did not prostitute my body for money, I did for love and acceptance.
I gave my life to Christ and began living for Him when I was 18 years old. I still felt used, and had no idea how much I would struggle with godly sexuality until I got married. God, in his grace, brought Todd into my life in 1995. He was different from anyone I had ever met. When he looked at me, he looked into my eyes more than he looked at my body. He cared about me, what was on the inside, and not what he could get from me. After a year of dating, he asked me to marry him. I knew I needed to tell him about the rape. Somehow in my mind, I thought he wouldn’t want me anymore. He didn’t judge me, he wasn’t repulsed by me, he just loved me. It was the first time in my life I can remember “feeling” beautiful.
For the first 3 years of our marriage, intimacy was a struggle for me. I wanted to please him, but I thought it would never be pleasing to me. There were times when I cried through it without him ever knowing. I couldn’t watch abuse scenes on tv or talk about the abuse in my life with anyone, not even Todd. After experiencing infertility I knew I wasn’t healed emotionally or physically from the abuse, and I couldn’t hide it from him any longer. He walked through this with me, pointing me to God the whole way. We began to pray together (yes we prayed about sex), and he did things to help me trust him, even though he had done nothing to lose that trust in the first place. God began to heal me in ways I can’t describe. As I let Him, God healed my emotional scars that ran deep. I learned that the past only holds power as long as I run from it!
Todd and I have been married for 15 years now, and God has given us 4 miracles, our three biological and one adopted. I am learning that I can’t amputate my history from my destiny. God continues to use my story to help other women and girls who have been abused, and as God allows me to use my story to help girls and women who have a similar past, I get to walk into my future not ever forgetting what God took me out of… beauty from ashes!
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.
Taylor and Steven are so fun together! They never stopped laughing together the entire couple of hours that we meandered around JMU. They met Taylor’s freshman year and it was an immediate love connection. Steve plays baseball professionally and he played at JMU, so we had some fun on the field together. These two are sassy and spectacular. Seriously can’t wait for their amazing wedding in November!
Venue: JMU Campus
Here comes the smolder…I love it! Steve is looking good.
Taylor is so so beautiful. Taking her picture all afternoon was not hard work at all.
I was going to call this post something really boring like, Amanda’s Bridal Portraits, but there is no way this delightful lady deserves a title like that. Two important things to note: uno: We had 4 firefighters as very concerned spectators at one point, and dos: no dresses were harmed in the making of this little portrait sesh.
I love this girl times a million and you guys are about to love her too. Just fair warning.
Location: Bridgewater, VA
Bouquets: handpicked wildflowers