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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

University of ...Jesus ~

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:  NIV

I had a photo session with a family yesterday.  I wore my favorite UGA t-shirt.  I LOVE my Bulldogs.  There was quite a bit of smack talk going on between me and my clients.  Being from Florida, they were, let’s just say, not University of Georgia fans.

On my drive home, I had a thought.  I wonder what the world would be like if we, as fans of Jesus Christ, stood our ground and talked all that talk for Him as we do for our favorite football team.  What would Saturday’s look like on social media?  There are some passionate football fans.  What if those same people were as passionate in their speaking up for Christ?

God, help us to be bold for You.  Help me to never be ashamed to speak up for You.  Give us passion for You.  You’re a lot more important than some college football team.  Go team Jesus!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Just As I Am ~

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. NIV

To say my life has been out of balance for the last two weeks would be a huge understatement.  Huge.  While most of the attention I have gotten has been positive, Satan has been busy attacking me at my weakest point.  Satan knows that for every 1000 “attagirl’s” I hear, all it takes is one “you’re not worthy” to destroy my confidence that I am doing God’s will.

The Bible tells us in Psalms 139:14 that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  In Romans 5:8, the Bible says that even though we are sinners, Christ died for us.  In Romans 3:23….all have sinned.  I could go on and on, but you get my drift.  Am I worthy to write a Christian blog?  Absolutely not.  Nobody is perfect and sinless and whole.  Here’s the deal.  What if the only people who could serve God were the ones who never sinned?  

God, today, I thank You that You have convicted me of my shortcomings, yet You love me anyway.  I thank You for strong, Godly friends in my life who don’t mind telling me to …… “Stop….Just get yourself back in balance. Shut up and listen.”  I know that nothing I do on this earth is worthy of Your grace or Your mercy, but I sure do thank You for both.  Help me to hear Your voice, not the voices of those who Satan is using to speak negativity into my soul.  I am worthy, because I am Yours, just as I am.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Treading Water ~

Proverbs 14:23  All hard work brings profit but mere talk leads only to being poor.  

This past weekend, I did a Sprint Triathlon in Callaway Gardens.  I was pretty excited to be going.  Halfway through the swim, I got kind of frustrated because, as I was getting kicked and passed and pushed by the other grannies in my wave, I had a strong, clear thought.  I was getting passed and left behind because I had not put in the work to be the first one out of the water.  I “wanted” to be successful, but that’s all.  I “wanted”.  I did not take the time to prepare myself to make it happen.  I still finished the race and had a great time with friends, but it taught me a great life lesson.

She who finishes last….still finishes.  I know that.  But is that what I want for my life?  To just “finish”?  I don’t.  I want to be everything that God designed me to be.  During that swim across the lake with 50 other women my age, a seed was planted in my thoughts.  I can have so many desires in my heart to be better, to do better, to give more, to have more, or whatever.  I can pray and pray and ask God for these things.  I can live my life disappointed that things aren’t happening for me.  I can wait for others to do it for me.  OR, I can do my part to make things happen.  Once God gives us an idea, I think He expects us to do our part and make it happen.  

God, sometimes You have to get my attention in the oddest places;  like in the middle of a lake during a 400 meter swim.  I know that You have a plan and a purpose for every one of our lives, but we can’t just sit here and hope things happen for us.  Thank You for reminding me that I need to do my part.  Swim or drown.  Works for me.  I better get to swimming.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering My Role ~

2 Corinthians 10:13  We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.  NIV

This has been one of the most overwhelming weeks of my life.  I got so consumed by what was going on with my social media page, that I really lost my balance.  I have had to work to remember that NOTHING I have, will have, have done, or will do comes from me.  Everything is a gift from God.  

For the past few months, I’ve been praying for a change of direction in my life.  I have been pretty frustrated with what I thought were unanswered prayers.  Stuck….just stuck.  Bored, burned out, and stuck.  So, God said, “Let me show you something.”

Within 24 hours, a photo that I made in my little home studio gave me recognition all over the world.  Every major network has shown the story.  Pretty cool, huh?  Yes and no.  I haven’t even been able to go pee without my phone ringing 16 times.  I found myself checking my Facebook page every few minutes.  I was consumed with worry and distracted from life.  And then there were the assholes.  I learned that there are some really, really hateful people who think it is their duty to say something nasty about everything.  I did a lot of “ban user” clicks this week.  

Today, I invited the Mom of the “viral baby” into my home for another photo session.  I needed to “give”.  I needed to “create”.  I needed to “be still and listen”.  I needed to find my balance.  We sat, we talked, we loved on Baby Aubrey.  I listened, I felt, I gave.  I found my balance.

God, thank You for teaching me a very valuable lesson this week.  I am so thankful that You used me to give Kathryn and Aubrey such a personal and now world-known image.  But thank you even more for showing me that I’m content being Kim Anderson Stone from Jakin, Georgia.  I am a giver, because You use me best in that role.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Picture for Her Mommy ~

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  NIV

I work as a photographer.  Yesterday, I did a newborn session for my neighbor’s brand new granddaughter.  I do these often, but this time, I really needed to pray before the session.  The grandmother had booked the session for her daughter, explaining that the baby’s dad had been tragically murdered by someone he thought was a friend.  The sweet mom is an emotional wreck.  She wanted to use Dad’s motorcycle gear; something he loved.  I wanted to do my best, so I asked for God’s help.

I made this image.  It is good, but it’s not perfect.  I shared it on social media with the Mom’s permission and …..it went viral.  6.5 MILLION people saw this.  20 THOUSAND people shared it.  130 THOUSAND people LIKED it.  All day long, I was, for lack of a better word, confused and overwhelmed.  What was going on?  It’s sweet, but I’ve sure done better photos.

Then the Mom sent me this:
And I will screenshot the page in a few weeks and I'll print it off for her to show her the WORLD prayed and wept for her and mommy and daddy. That God moved the WORLD for us. That daddy made an impact even after he was gone and that would be his dream. Every prayer from another is one less weight for me to carry.... It's one more piece of peace I have and one less tear I shed.”   Now, I knew why so many people shared it.

God, today, you used me in a mighty way.  You touched so many people with something that came from my camera.  I prayed for a powerful image to give to this Mother and Daughter.  Well done, God…..well done.1.png

Friday, June 10, 2016

Choices ~

Proverbs 22:3  A prudent person forsees danger and takes precautions,  The simpleton goes blindly and suffers the consequences.  NLT

I turned 57 on Wednesday.  I don’t like birthdays at all.  That’s 3 years from 60…  dang… My sweet husband said all of the right words, talking about “the alternative” and being kind. He spent the day making my birthday wonderful.  But still, I have been a little all in my emotions this week.

Where I am in my life is a direct result of the decisions I have made.  I’m an impulsive person.  It has taken me all of my life to learn to pray first, THINK about my decision, and wait.  I hate to wait.  I want what I want when I want it and how I want it.  I want everybody else to want what I want, too.  Slowly, I am learning that if I have the slightest little feeling of doubt in my heart about something, then the answer should be “no”.   If I had done this or that differently, my life would have taking a different path and I would be at a different destination today.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have a good life.  I just know that if I’d made better decisions, I’d have a much better life.  I know that everyone has regrets, we can’t change the past, and all of the other cliches’ we use.  Heard them, said them.

So now what?

God, today, I ask You to work on my stubborness to be obedient to You.  I cannot change my impulsive decisions of my past, but I can listen to You for my future.   Where I will be tomorrow, next week, even next year will be a result of the decision I make today.  What I want for me depends on what I choose for me.  Help me to choose wisely.  Help me to seek Your guidance for what You have in store for me. Thank You for your grace as I work to find balance in my life.

Monday, June 6, 2016

For Better or for Worse ~

Hosea 2:19  I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.  NLT

When my mom was 17 years old, she worked at a photo studio in Thomasville, Georgia.  My dad, fresh out of the Marines, took a roll of film in to be developed.  My mom said she almost wore the image off of the print looking at his face.  They were married 6 weeks later.  On June 24th, that will be 60 years ago.  

Their marriage has not always been easy.  They have had their share of better and worse, sickness and health, richer and for poorer.  The main thing they have had is their love for each other and their love for God.  

Yesterday, my mom invited me up to make some pictures of them.  She put on her original wedding gown, he wore his best suit.  They held hands and toddled out to the Confederate Jasmine arch in their yard and posed.  My heart was so overwhelmed with emotion.  Daddy will be 86 in October.  Mama would spank me if I shared her age, so…  Two sparrows in a hurricane...frail and wobbly, but still flying.

God, today I thank You that You chose these people to be my parents.  All of my life, I’ve had the unconditional love and stability of Godly parents.  They’ve weathered the storms of life and continue to love You.  Thank You for leading my parents to stay together all of these years.  Marriage is hard, God.  Thank You for blessing my parents with a ‘forever’ kind of marriage.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Insecurities ~

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.

Insecurities.  We all have them…...don’t we?  When you meet me, your first impression may be that I am this loud, outgoing, self-confident person who walks into a room and immediately takes the stage.  There are very few people that I cannot talk to.  There are very few fires that I cannot put out quickly.  I put on a great show.  But, that’s just it.  It’s all a show.

Over the past 15 years, I have learned to be very adaptable in social situations.  As wedding photographers, we work with a different set of clients every weekend.  Emotions run very high at events.  I have to have this “take charge” attitude or the “crazy” would get out of control.  But you know, one sentence from someone can make me spend the rest of the evening doubting myself, especially if my husband says something to me.  (remember the power of words post?)   If I don’t really watch myself, I will pay more attention to my insecurities than my job, and it will show in my work.

What are your insecurities?  Where do you lack faith in yourself?  Do you ever struggle with this pretend front that you show to people, while inside you doubt yourself?  Mine would be believing what others say to or about me.

God, help us to  know that insecurities are not from You.  Satan plants these negative thoughts in our heads to make us doubt ourselves.  Help us to remember that You made us who we are.  Give our hearts and minds peace when our insecurities threaten us.   Help us to remember that if we are good enough for You, then we are  “good enough”.