My step by step composite & my faith
I am going to give you a history lesson because it's important for the context of the below quote and how it speaks to this session for me.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5: 3-4 NLT
The first time I heard that quote it wasn't credited to the source. They wrote it as, "We can take joy in our suffering because in our suffering we develop endurance, and endurance develops strength in character, and that character is transformed into a hope that doesn't die in the face of adversity." It says the same thing, but I am choosing to give you the source because if you know the source it takes on new meaning. It didn't come from someone born into poverty or trauma, it came from Paul. Paul was born into a Jewish family, he has a studious background, something that today people would boast about. His life was comfortable. His introduction into the readings of the book of Romans is interesting because in the introduction he is a man who is persecuting the Christians who are believing that Jesus is the Messiah, which was wrong in the eyes of Jews.
The story gets crazy because you find Paul holding the coats of the people stoning this man named Stephen for believing that Jesus is the Messiah. Paint the picture in your head, he is literally seeking people out to kill them then watching on the sidelines while innocent ppl die. DON'T stop reading this gets better. Paul is given the assignment to go seek more "Christians" to do the same. Along the way, he is blinded by a bright light that knocks him off his horse and the only thing he can see is the Person of Jesus, and this is after the crucifixion. Paul is left blind but gets a visitor from one of the people that followed Jesus, who tells him that God sent him to restore his sight. Once Paul's eyesight is restored, he takes time to reflect on everything that had happened and realized how wrong he was. So he makes it his life's mission to spread the "gospel" which means good news.
Can you imagine how he was received amongst the people who he tried killing? Can you imagine how hard it was for him to go back to who he once was? Everything changed. When God restored his sight he restored more than that.
Paul traveled as far as he could telling everyone and anyone who would listen. At times he was greeted as a man of wisdom, at other times he was greeted with flying stones. Other times poor Paul was incarcerated. The majority of his letters that we read today are written from a jail cell. The jail cells in Paul's time are not like what we see today, look it up, but in those conditions Paul was free. In a jail cell, he was free. They could not take his mind, his will, or his love away from him.
There is something to be said about that type of freedom. That no matter where you are in life, high in the clouds, or lowly and beaten in a jail cell you have a hope that doesn't die in the face of trials or adversity.
I can't tell you the story behind the photos, it's not my story to tell. All I can say is that everything about this session was about moving forward. About fighting back, walking into enemy grounds, and taking back what the enemy has taken. Reclaiming the foundation that you need to walk on to get through this season. People often look at pain and wonder how to get around it, or avoid it, but the reality is, that pain is your friend. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and needs to be addressed, without it we would spiritually rot, and not know something needs fixing. These images are someone who sees's pain, is addressing the pain, and finding the path to healing by being brave. Just like Paul, you might see this and jump to presumptions in regards to context, but this isn't for you, this is for her.
The artwork was done by the very talented ArtSimplicated Alicia Cobb
The inspiration for the artwork is from the Hindu goddess Kali, the destructor of evil forces
Here is a Youtube video of how I created the headline composite and below that a small preview of the gallery!