[ Written by Edith Taylor, FTL Alum ]
I cannot chant this enough ATTEND THIS WORKSHOP!! Why? Because what happens here will bleed into every aspect of your life. This one week will change you forever. God will meet you in the morning, he will whisper in your ear, you will feel his presence as he sits beside you, growing his place in your heart.
Let me share my story with you.
I won’t lie, I signed up thinking “oh cool! A workshop about photography with other Christians! I’ll learn about my settings, low light, posing” blah blah blah. I was 2 years into my official photography business; I work a second full time job, was a wife & had reached my wits end. I was tired, exhausted & done. This was a last hope for me before throwing in the towel. I did learn how to be a better photographer technically…but not by learning which buttons to push. I became a better photographer because God has done a work in me.
I remember the day that my life began to change. This moment is frozen in my heart for all eternity. The Helser’s spoke about looking at the world through the eyes of God, dazzled with every client because they could see His handiwork. Like our clients every time we come to him he is overjoyed, elated & dazzled by our presence.
For the next hour we sat, silent in prayer with one question written on a page for God to answer instead of what the industry & the world has told us. I sat in front of the window, looking out on to the view that I considered paradise. I had never written out a question to God. I had never heard God speak to me. I scribbled “Who do you say I am?” Silence. More silence. Then simply, sweet & soft yet in a way that rocked me to my core…I heard him. Emotions rushed in like a wave, a heat engulfed me, my breath left me. I HEARD GOD SPEAK! I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I actually heard the creator of the universe take time to SPEAK to me. And then it came like a flood. His words & my tears.
Q: Who do you say I am?
A: Love. Light of my love. Light of joy.
An open heart for my creations
You are so beautiful (this is where I totally lost it. God called me beautiful)
You are to the world what this view is to you
It’s just you & me kid
You are my daughter
Rest in me like you rest in this place.
When you hear from God, when you hear his voice, you know what it sounds like. You begin to recognize it. Although it may become distant, you can sense it even when you feel it’s a whisper. I left that workshop not searching for God but walking WITH God. Today I can say I confidently walk holding his hand, our fingers entwined.
About 3 months ago I sat at my computer, thinking about my work, where it was going vs. where it should be going. Ever so quietly I let these words slip from my lips “I’m all in God. Whatever you want to do with my work, I’m game.” Since that day I have heard from God clearly more often then I ever thought possible. Recently at church we prayed for God to reveal to us what we have been commissioned to do. I cannot say that if I had not heard from God so clearly once before & so often over the past few months I would have believed what was spoke. God’s plans for us are always bigger than our plans for ourselves. It was as clear as day, just like the first time. Then the wave, the heat, the exhale came again.
Photographer, Rescuer, You will go into the nations.
This workshop has brought me to a place where I fully know the purpose behind my gifts. I had always dreamed about things such as this, but felt so far from what I envisioned the people God choose to use as. My gifts are for the field of ministries & missions trips with a deep cause. I have begun developing a project for sessions that will aid ministries that help or rescue youth who have been saved from sex trafficking. This is an area I know God will use my images to speak against the lies of the enemy & show them how lovingly God created them with so much beauty.
I know I will end up in worship & prayer photography, capturing moments of individuals in deep spiritual meeting with the Lord. I am not a singer & cannot play an instrument, but worship music courses deep through my veins. While I still don’t yet understand some of what God has told me, I know I will be led into areas that many may not travel. I will go to rescue in a very literal sense, to witness God’s pure sweet love, to photograph the journeys & bring God’s light to place that have forgotten what it looks like. I have seen the end image of where he will take me, now I wait patiently for those who I am to work with, his perfect timing of when & in which direction I am to step.
When I got to For the Love, there was a card from Ginny that she’d written to me. In it, she explained that she was praying Philippians 4:7 over me:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
After working 2 full time jobs for 2 years this hit home like a ton of bricks. I needed peace to save the gifts he has given me. I would not reach that if I leaned only on my understanding. Tonight I’ve reflected on where I’ve come & looked at the section it was taken from:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
His peace is overwhelming & no I don’t fully understand all of which I will be led to do, but I walk in faith. God knew what he was building in me even before this day had come. The walk I tried to find in my own ways for so many unsuccessful years, this workshop was able to do in just a few days. The most important thing is this; I learned to hear from God. I walk with God. I know who I am to God. His truth has built a stronghold in my heart.
That is the most important lesson I have ever learned. In or out of a workshop.
I am a very short, overly energetic yet kind of awkward small town girl from Oregon. What I lack in height, I make up for in energy & hand gestures. I carry an overwhelming joy in my heart brought forth by a fierce love for God’s truth, everyday blessings & the love of my husband. What started in 7th grade resulted in a small town girl marrying the boy who used to live next door. We live in a small farmhouse our 4 year old lab named Moose who plays the role of our only child.