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The Birth of For the Love

[ Written by Ginny Corbett, FTL Founder ]

One October morning in 2009, I was reading my bible. I had just transitioned into full-time photography after being an elementary teacher, and every day was a new journey for me. I felt like a pioneer, cutting a path towards my destiny one step at a time. It was hard, and oftentimes, I was unsure of where I was going. There were (and still are) SO many things that were confusing to me. I had so many questions as a beginning full-time photographer. I was overwhelmed; I didn’t know where I should go or what I should do next. I felt like the path toward my destiny was covered in shrubs, and I couldn’t see past them.

As I was spending time with the Lord that morning, I realized that His view of my life was much clearer than mine. That even though the shrubs of confusion were tall in my mind, God stood much taller than me, and if I just asked, He would lead me down the right path.

It was then that God laid on my heart a vision for a different kind of workshop. A workshop that at its core was rooted in God’s love and creativity.  

First, this workshop would be nestled in a secluded location in some of the most beautiful places in the United States. I wanted a location where I could look out my window and see mountains, hear rivers, feel oceans, and smell earth. I wanted a place where I could take a walk with my camera and hear only nature. I wanted a location where my soul could find rest. I wanted a place that was far from the hustle and bustle of every day life… a place where I could really concentrate on the Father.

Next, this workshop would provide a safe space for creatives to dream, ask questions, process, and learn from fellow photographers.  It seems like by every winter, I am emotionally, creatively drained.  I wanted For the Love to be a place where we all come together to get realigned with the Father’s heart, recharged for the next busy season.  I believe that we can receive the most once we have identified what we need.  So, at For the Love, we provide space for you to journal, to process what you need so that when we break out into small groups, you are able to receive what you need the most.

 


Another benefit would be the relationships built between all those that attend.
  I have found that one of the most valuable resources I have for my business is my friendships with other photographers.  If I ever have a problem or a question, they are the first I contact.  I knew that a workshop that interlaced time with God and photography would breed friendships that would last for a lifetime.

 

Lastly, most importantly, I knew that if we acquire all the knowledge in the world, but don’t have guidance from God, then we could still remain lost. All of the above benefits are great – they certainly make for an amazing workshop in and of themselves – but including God in our businesses will help them prosper in ways we can’t imagine.

“Walk in all the way that the Lord God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you possess.” -Deut. 5:33

So, that’s how it happened. I was just a photographer in North Carolina, who caught a vision from God and ran with it.

 

Keep reading about the Workshop and learn about dates, locations, and cost! ]

 

The In-Between

[ Written by Melissa Helser, Wife, Mother, FTL Worship Leader ]

{for the full effect…this should be read while listening to the song “Le Chant” by Andrea Marie Reagan link to Andrea Marie’s Album}

Pictures usually inspire my heart to write…pictures I see waiting to happen outside my window, pictures I make with my handy little iphone or my big Canon Mark II, pictures I create in my mind when beautiful music is playing, pictures I see when looking back thru the history of our life remembering the moments that swept me off my feet and made meremember why I am alive.

This morning I was looking back thru my photos…and there it was, my Cadence Zion, 9 years old, brown as an indian, sitting in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

As parents we “capture” our children with our eyes all the time…most of those times are when they are not looking. It is the way there hands move or the way they smile when no one is around and they amuse themselves, or maybe when they look at you and all at once you feel love like you’ve never felt before. I feel like a constant camera, asking the Holy Spirit always to help me savor this life I have with them. I ask that He would keep me alert and alive, that my eyes could be kissed with eternity. He has put eternity in the hearts of men, so how do we connect with eternity in every day life?

I am on a journey to feel eternity here on this earth – in the real soil of life. Cadence Zion here in this moment; I caught him in the in between. In between what? I can’t remember. It doesn’t matter. Oh that every season would be my favorite. That I would look back on life and feel overwhelmed by the goodness of God to invite me into motherhood. Life is moving, always, may we get into the flow of the beauty of it.

That we would trade in our heaviness for a weightless grace to love deep.

 

Melissa Helser

Jade Pierce - July 25, 2012 - 6:03 pm

Melissa, I don't know you. But I thank you for these words today. I needed to hear them deep.

Jess Allen - July 26, 2012 - 12:46 am

So good. So true.

Jade Pierce - July 25, 2012 - 6:03 pm

Melissa, I don’t know you. But I thank you for these words today. I needed to hear them deep.

Kathryn Brown - July 26, 2012 - 1:32 am

Beautiful words and right on point from a mother's perspective! What a blessing our children are :)

Dana Perry Mcfarland - July 26, 2012 - 2:09 am

Love this! Melissa, thanks for sharing a Mama Moment. And thank you Ginny Dowdy Corbett for telling me I should read this. You were right. So thankful to be a Mom. Lord, Your blessings are indescribable. Jesus was and is more than enough, but thank you for giving me even more.

Jess Allen - July 26, 2012 - 12:46 am

So good. So true.

Jess Allen - July 26, 2012 - 12:46 am

So good. So true.

Kathryn Brown - July 26, 2012 - 1:32 am

Beautiful words and right on point from a mother’s perspective! What a blessing our children are :)

Kathryn Brown - July 26, 2012 - 1:32 am

Beautiful words and right on point from a mother’s perspective! What a blessing our children are :)

Dana Perry Mcfarland - July 26, 2012 - 2:09 am

Love this! Melissa, thanks for sharing a Mama Moment. And thank you Ginny Dowdy Corbett for telling me I should read this. You were right. So thankful to be a Mom. Lord, Your blessings are indescribable. Jesus was and is more than enough, but thank you for giving me even more.

Dana Perry Mcfarland - July 26, 2012 - 2:09 am

Love this! Melissa, thanks for sharing a Mama Moment. And thank you Ginny Dowdy Corbett for telling me I should read this. You were right. So thankful to be a Mom. Lord, Your blessings are indescribable. Jesus was and is more than enough, but thank you for giving me even more.

Peanutt Baptiste - March 3, 2013 - 7:10 pm

nice

Peanutt Baptiste - March 3, 2013 - 7:10 pm

nice

Peanutt Baptiste - March 3, 2013 - 7:10 pm

nice

Finding Rest

In the summer of 2009, I met Jonathan and Melissa Helser for the first time when they traveled from their farm in Sophia, NC to Greenville, NC to lead worship for a yearly event called “Worship Fest”.  Shane (my husband) and I housed the worship team that year, and the course of history has been changed ever since.  I remember sitting with them at the kitchen table and telling them all about my dreams, my hopes, and my ambitions.

I had just finished up my last year of being a public school teacher, and had just stepped into the incredible journey of being a full time photographer.  Jonathan and Melissa were very excited for me, as they too were part-time wedding photographers and so after I finished sharing all my plans, Melissa explained a simple vision that she had for me while I was talking.  She said that she saw the Lord handing me a giant Sharpee, and he was going to teach me how to draw boundaries in my life.  I’ve held onto that vision desperately ever since, because I’ve always been in need of boundaries in my life.  I had no idea how to say “no”, and I had no idea how to “rest”.  Especially when it came to photography.  I enjoyed photography so much that it didn’t seem like a job.  Oftentimes I would choose to spend my evenings editing photos rather than spending time with my husband and best friend.  I would miss family functions because I had photo shoots.  My life was completely void of boundaries, and I had no idea how to “rest” in a whirlwind of To-Do lists.

I clenched onto that vision in 2009, but didn’t start seeing the boundary lines appear until this year.  All along the journey, I’ve formulated some decent ideas on how to stay renewed.  I even teach a workshop called “Renew”, and wrote a guest blog post about it, but just today, I stumbled upon a scripture that I need to tattoo on my forehead.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.””   -Isaiah 30:15

I now see that all my striving, whether in photography or in my spiritual life, was a reflection of my lack of trust in God.  All of my busyness was a fear that if I didn’t DO, that my dreams would be dashed.  And even as I write this…I see that all of that is rooted in pride.  That all my striving and busyness is a lack of trust, which ultimately screams “God, I don’t trust that your plans for me are good.  I don’t trust that you have my back.  God, I can do it on my own…I don’t need your help.”  I’ve spent too long putting my faith in myself, and I’m now putting my faith in Him.

Join the conversation?  Have you ever had a similar revelation that you can add?  We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Who do you say that I am?

[ 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.

 

About Edith

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.

 

Jeff Youngren - July 12, 2012 - 7:04 pm

LOVE this, Edith! This was one of my favorite memories from the last FTL, too. Incredible.

Jeff Youngren - July 12, 2012 - 7:04 pm

LOVE this, Edith! This was one of my favorite memories from the last FTL, too. Incredible.

For The Love – Seattle » My Blog/Website - December 29, 2012 - 2:10 pm

[...] Every year I attend a workshop called For The Love. Put on this year by Ginny Corbett accompanied by The Youngren’s & worship from Jonathan & Melissa Helser this is a workshop crammed with God calling out greatness in christian photographers. Each year I have been fully brought before the Lord & broken in his loving grace. It is the highlight of my year. Deeply important to me, this workshop runs through my soul. The worship that is had courses through my veins all year until it is time to be refilled again. God does mighty works during this week, each always seem far grander than the last. I wrote a testimony about my first experience that you can find Here. [...]

Happy God

A couple of weeks ago, I started reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and I came across this sentence…

 “God is the happiest of all.  Joy is God’s life”.

As a child, I never concerned myself with the affairs of the world –  I never thought about bills being paid, social injustices, and I certainly hadn’t yet tasted the sting of disappointment.  I happily went about my day with a childlike whimsy with not many worries aside from which friend I was going to invite over for a sleepover or which color of chalk would make the best hop-scotch on the sidewalk.  But now, as an adult…I’m familiar with the weight of the world, and I realized that at my core, I haven’t believed that God is actually happy.

Simply, I haven’t believed that God has the biggest laugh of all.  I haven’t believe that Joy is God’s life.  I haven’t believed those things, because my mind can’t fathom how he can be joyful when there’s so much sin and sadness in the world.  But even as I type this, I recalled that scripture in 1 Sam. 16:7 “God doesn’t see as man sees…” and I’m reminded again that God, he is the happiest leader of all.

So, my encouragement for you after reading this is to take a moment, breathe deeply, and think about God being a God of joy, laughter, and hilariousness. And then maybe – just maybe – have a little laugh with Him.

Jade Pierce - July 23, 2012 - 2:06 am

love this Ginny.

Jade Pierce - July 23, 2012 - 2:06 am

love this Ginny.