"You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
there is no flaw in you."
"Through the perfections of each flower blossom,
each authentic smile, and each subtle glance of the eyes,
we recognize the truth... we are altogether beautiful in God's eyes."
I was sitting on the back deck of my parents house, the morning light streaming in. The vibrantly green fields stretched out with little dots of wildflowers along the way as the wind blew the fresh sent my way. I took a deep breath and I thought... wow, how can we ever stop being delighted in our awe- inspiring surroundings. I am constantly inspired by this place and the people that fill it. People I have just met and people I have known for as long as I remember, they all seem to have a story.
Since entering the wedding industry, my eyes have been opened to not only the unique stories of each individual and couple, but also to how intricate and unique each different flower can be. No one sees a flower and tries to alter it; its beauty is recognized and appreciated.
As I have been thinking about that, I have realized the same perfect beauty we find in nature...in flowers, God finds in us.
Song of Solomon 4:7 says, "you are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you." Even though these words are stated so clearly, it seems to be such a challenge for us to wholeheartedly believe them. We think that the beauty this scripture is describing has limits. It's only a part of us and it only shows itself when we dress a certain way or have make-up on or are in a certain mood. But He is so clear in his words. He says you are altogether beautiful. EVERY.SINGLE. PART. He goes on to say there is no flaw. God sees us as perfection. He looks at us and sees beauty.
Our beauty is innate.
My desire through this photo series is to show the natural beauty of women and flowers... two things filled with pure and faultless beauty. My goal is to capture women in a pure and thoughtless form, showing their altogether beauty. Like us, they each have stories upon stories upon stories. These stories are what creates them, its what creates their beauty.
My hope is to continue this project for years to come, sharing the stories and the beauty of the women I know and come to know in my life. Here is the first one, but keep your eyes open for so many more to come!
Chelsea is a friend I have had the privilege of knowing for as long as I can remember. You see, where we grew up... if your parents were friends that usually meant the kids ended up being friends too. The whole family would come over for dinner, followed by the kids being told to go play while the grown-ups played cards and other things I have no idea about because we were all to busy building forts in the woods.
Our families had a lot of fun together.
But then Chelsea's family moved and she did the rest of her growing up years on the mission field in Kenya. She grew up watching her parents serve and love their neighbors even when it was hard. She watched her mom spend her days investing time and knowledge into other women, being an example of servanthood and a heart filled with beauty and compassion. She watched them, and she learned from them.
After high school, Chelsea began to pursue a nursing degree. As she worked towards her degree here, she continued to seek out a life of servanthood. For two summers she worked in South Sudan as an intern for Samaritans Purse ( www.samaritanspurse.org ) , a christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine. Chelsea worked at a refugee hospital on the border of Sudan and South Sudan caring for thousands of refugees. She was mainly stationed in the maternity wing but also served in the rest of the hospital scrubbing in for surgeries, suturing, and so much more. She would say she learned so much, never thinking twice about all SHE gave up.
Chelsea then did a third internship in the Philippines at a maternity clinic.
Chelsea demonstrates a heart filled with beauty. She has given and continues to give selflessly to those around her, whether over seas or serving here in the states.