Friday, April 25, 2014

Say The Word

   This has been my prayer to God for the past two years. For those of you who don't know my story, two years ago I was diagnosed with ITP; a blood disorder where essentially my blood platelet count is really low and that means if I get injured then I could internally bleed and it could even be fatal. Since I love sports and just generally being athletic, it has really been hard on me. The ITP lead to other issues like small hemoglobin and that's what carries oxygen throughout your body and thus making it really hard for me to breathe. Even the simplest tasks were hard on me. An average person has 120,000 platelets (per milliliter.) The lowest my platelets got were 7,000. I was never treated because I wasn't showing any symptoms; something I am incredibly grateful for. I should have been having random nose bleeds and lots of bruising and dots in my mouth.

   That picture is of a sign in my doctors office and the minute I saw it I loved it. I knew that if God would just say the word, I would be healed. It was just a matter of time. I trusted God's power and knew what He was capable of. But as time went on I began to get discouraged. I blogged about it many times as well. I was waiting for a miracle yet all the odds were stacked high against me ever getting better. When my doctor finally told me it was chronic, that hit me hard. Chronic. That's the word no one wants to here. It's basically shutting down all hope you have of ever getting better. It's throwing the label "Impossible" onto your dreams of getting healed. Lucky enough, I have a God who specializes in doing the impossible. My doctor told me that she would be blown away if I ever got to 20,000 platelets in my lifetime

   In 2012 I tried a gluten free diet and it was during that time my platelets went up to 50,000 which surprised my doctor immensely. I was praising the Lord for doing something so incredible. Eventually they went back down to 20,000 and that's where they had remained for months. I hadn't been praying for healing as much and had accepted that it was chronic. But God hadn't.

   See, we label things "Impossible" and say things can never be done. One of my favorite verses that has really stuck by me has been Luke 8:50. "Only believe and she will be made well." God showed me this verse and it was a constant reminder to me during the past two years of dealing with a blood sickness. 

   Today I got to know the meaning of that verse. I went to the doctor because I have been having a lot of joint pain and random swelling and I thought it was related to my ITP and I was really worried. Honestly I thought they were going to hospitalize me tonight or start treating me. I got my blood drawn and talked to the doctor and he was looking over my file on the computer. He said "Would you believe me if I told you that your platelets were at 150,000?" I almost cried. My heart jumped. But I almost didn't believe him. Apparently he didn't even believe what the data on the screen was telling him because he shot up off his chair and started asking questions. "Your name is Faith right? This is you? Who drew your blood? Was it Frankie? Frankie!" He began calling the nurse and making his way down the hall to find her. He had her run the tests again and even took another sample. 

   Sure enough my platelets were perfectly fine. In fact, they were at 161,000. I was above average. God healed my ITP.

   The doctor was perplexed. He asked me what magic I used to get rid of it. He looked me in the eye and I could see his confusion. I only smiled. I had been waiting for God to pull through with His big miracle; and He did, just not in the time frame I wanted Him to. He had His own plans and they were so much greater than my own. Sure they involved me waiting and oftentimes crying over still being sick, but He knew what He was doing, and there wasn't a step of the way where He wasn't in control.

   So what does this mean for you? If you're fighting a sickness, a battle; if there is something you've been praying for and it seems that God is just not listening, I want you to keep praying. I want you to actually believe that God needs only to say the word and it shall come about. That's what faith is. There is nothing too big for God. How much do we actually believe that? Maybe it seems that everyone else has gotten a miracle, and you're still praying and you're still hurting. But He hasn't forgotten about you. God is glorified in healings and even more so He is glorified when we remain faithful in our afflictions. So I encourage you to keep praying and keep sticking with Him and continue striving towards Him. Never lose faith. Not only can He heal, but He can heal abundantly more than we ever thought possible. Don't be afraid to ask for big things because He wants to give you big things; it brings glory to Him.

   Today I have just been in awe. It made me wonder about all the other things I've been stressing out over lately. Ever heard of a fortiori logic? Let me use an example to demonstrate this logic. It basically states that if I can lift 100 pounds, I can obviously lift 50; as well as everything leading up to 100. It's basic logic. If I can do this really big thing then clearly I can do little things. The same is true for God. If God can supernaturally take away all of my blood problems, He can help me restore a friendship, He can help me with my ministry, He can give me courage when I need it; He can do these little things. I can be assured of that. And so can you. Heck, Jesus died on the cross to take away all your sins; He conquered death and darkness; He is big enough to handle your problems. I promise.

   God is so good. I am so blessed to have seen a miracle this morning. I pray that it gives Him glory and that I can be a testament to how amazing He is. 

   God needs only to say the word, and you shall be healed. Have faith.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Finding My Voice In A World Full Of Noise

   Over the past year my photography skills have gotten significantly better. I almost cringe looking back on old pictures I used to like They were not good. Since getting my Nikon I have really been able to mature as a photographer and really ignite a passion for art in myself. I never wanted to be a photographer; that is, until a a few years ago. I always loved sharp images and fancy cameras, but I never thought I would be able to hold, let alone operate, one of those cameras, or take such beautiful shots. I was content to sit back and stare and beautiful pictures. Of course, I had been begging my parents for a camera since I was 10, I just wanted something simple so I could take pictures at Camp and such. I don't really know how or when, but now I am head over heels in love with photography. I asked my mom if I could save up money for lights and a backdrop kit and turn our garage into my studio; something totally insane, yet I could pull it off if I put in the work. I also have two paying photography jobs coming up that I am crazy excited and nervous for. I am doing a baptism and a friend's senior pictures! Never could I have ever imagined working as a photographer. But I'm living my dream, even though this is just the beginning.

   Right now I want to find my voice. My style. I don't want to copy others work; I want to create my own ideas. The photographers who have inspired me are Nicolas Bruno, Kyle Thompson, and Francesca Woodman. And today I was looking at Brendon Burton's work too, which is also very good. I want to take in inspiration and also to be one to others; which is a hard thing to balance. You want to be a teacher and also continue to learn at the same time. I'm trying to find my signature, you know, something that you'll see and think "Yep. This is Faith's picture." I'm excited for this journey. I have found that photography is my outlet for everything. It's therapy. It's how I speak when my words fail me. It's how I can illustrate ideas that stick with people and compel them to feel differently. Art brings forth emotion.

   I was having some trouble with this the other day after a photoshoot I did with my sister. I told her I felt that I needed an explanation for the pictures I took; almost like I needed to justify them. So I told her this and what she said to me blew my mind. "People don't need an explanation, it takes away the true meaning of art; and it doesn't let people find their own meaning." That was enough to snap me back into myself. I already knew that, I had blogged about it a while back with some other B&W's I had posted. I had simply forgotten with pressure of "What will people say/think?" And now I will mention again: I don't need to explain myself. Gosh, it really is ridiculous how easily I forget that.

   This really wasn't supposed to be that long. Whoops. Anyhow, here are some pictures I took of my sister and I just love them. She is the perfect model and our downstairs bathroom is the creepiest thing ever and I love it. I also have some pictures coming up for Good Friday/Easter that I really liked and will post later in the week or next week. Also, if the picture has a caption then it will be written below it. Let me know if you like them!

Playing With Fire

(And I'll throw in a picture of me with my Bucky shirt. Mwahaha.)

Now, I don't need to explain myself ever but just so we're clear, I don''t support smoking. Duh. Its not "cool." Look into the real meaning behind these pictures. Just because I photograph something doesn't mean I support it. I simply call it as I see it. This is life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Because Bucky

   If you don't follow me on any social media or haven't checked my Twitter feed on the left panel of my blog, you might not know I am totally obsessed with have a great fondness for Bucky Barnes. Also the actor who portrays him in the Marvel movies; Sebastian Stan. Like with Loki, it's a long story. One, I won't explain to 98.7% of the people I encounter on a weekly basis. I used to stress over making sure people knew my reasons for things but over the past week I had a glorious epiphany! I don't need to explain myself to anyone! How about them apples?! I don't have to say why I love the people I do or why I act a certain way; why I'm quiet sometimes and loud the others, or why I eat really healthy for a week and only junk food the next. I don't have to feel the need to explain away everything or to justify my reasons. People ask why and if they don't approve of my reasons it makes me feel like crap; and then I sit there until I can find a reason that suits the questioner and then I still feel anxious afterwards. But no more. A lot of people who ask these sort of questions are just looking to degrade me; so if I give reasons, real, legitimate reasons, I like you and think you're worth the response. And I think you're genuine.

   ANYHOW! Since I've been doing some really heavy blogging I figured I'd give you a break. So here is to me not caring about what people think and having my own deep reasons for things and no one else knowing said reasons! Enjoy!


(Seriously my heart just.....
Plus it's Bucky and Fall Out Boy!!!!)

I mean seriously. One does not simply hate on Bucky Barnes. So there you go! Now if you'll excuse me I am dying from comic book withdrawal and need to find the nearest comic book shop so I may sit with my people and geek out over comics because that's how I roll. (Plus the Winter Soldier last scene just made me fangirl like the Marvel geek I am.) I am currently trying to find someone to blame for my love for Marvel but I realized this one is all on me. It was of my own doing. 

   I hope you enjoyed the awesomeness that is Bucky. If you need me I'll be either crying in a corner somewhere recovering from the Winter Soldier or reading comics.

My new response for people judging me. I DON'T CARE. I LOVE IT.

For more Bucky Barnes awesomeness follow THIS link!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Piercing The Veil

Let me start off today by saying that the responses I got from my last post were incredible. It got almost 150 views, making it my number 1 post. Plus I have never gotten so many comments ever! Those along with emails, Facebook messages, and people talking to me at church about it. Thank you guys for all of those. You've all touched me a lot.

   Now, onto today's post. I have been blogging since 2009 and I realized that I have never posted about the one topic I basically dedicate my life to. It's a topic that has always caught my attention and I've always loved spreading awareness of. As a teenage girl, I struggle with self image, something that is very common. If you think about that, it's really quite sad. It's more common to hear a girl say they hate themselves rather then they're like themselves. I would even say its a very rare occurrence that you hear someone say they're happy with how they look. I began thinking about blogging about this when something happened to me this week. If you know me than you know I love Operation Beautiful. (the reason I started this blog!) What this movement does, is people put up encouraging post it notes in public places; my favorite spots to hit are dressing rooms, swim suit section, bathrooms, and makeup aisle. Sometime earlier this week I went to check up on my notes because I like to see how long they last. To my surprise, I found someone had written a response to my "You're beautiful" post it. What she said broke my heart.

   People hate themselves so much to the point where they sincerely can't take a compliment. It gets worse. Here are some facts and statistics taken from the ANAD website; a nonprofit for raising awareness for and preventing eating disorders.

   Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder.
   Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
   91% of woman surveyed on a college campus said they have tried dieting to control their weight.
   Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness in adolescents.
   10-15% of people struggling with anorexia or bulimia are men.
   The body type portrayed by the media as the ideal weight is only achieved by only 5% of American females.
   69% of girls in grades 5-12 reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body.
   And 20% of woman with eating disorders die due to complications with their disorder.

   I almost teared up typing that. Now, there was one more thing that brought me to write up this post. There is a movie being made called A Perfect 14 about plus sized models. I decided to do my research on it. I would like to show you a picture of what our society calls a "plus size" model.


   This picture (taken from her Facebook page) is of Laura Wells; a plus size model. Let that soak in. THAT is what we consider "big?" I'm sorry but SERIOUSLY?!?!

   It's time for me to give everyone a little history from the ever changing modeling world. Models from the 50's looked like this.

   Gorgeous! Then in the 60's there was a girl named Lesley Hornby. Although you probably know her as "Twiggy." A teenager at the time, one who was naturally thin, broke into the fashion world and began to change the industry. Because apparently looking average was now overrated. So "Twiggy" became the new face of fashion and modeling! Everyone wanted to look like her; big brown eyes, thin frame, full lips. She was now the face of beauty.

   And then bam! Now all the models become crazy thin! Now woman that would have made gorgeous models in the 50's and considered "plus size" models. Whatever that term even means.

   I guess what I'm trying to say is this: what's the big deal about weight anyway? When did fashion become more important than health? Lesley Hornby was a healthy girl; she was born thin; but taking her, one of very few people born that way, and making her the new "ideal" is just wrong. So many girls look to the media to tell them what beautiful is. And once they realize they don't fit the mold, how much do they throw away to achieve it? Well according to statistic, 24 million people throw away their lives because they want to be thin.What's with the obsession? Maybe I'm not asking you this question; maybe I'm asking myself. I have found myself caught in wishing I were this way or that way; more like that girl or less like myself. Maybe I write about these things so much not to convince you, but maybe I hope that by writing it so many times I'll finally be able to convince myself of its truth. In my head I know all these facts; I know I'm beautiful. And honestly I'm sick of the weight obsession, so why in heck do I keep wishing I looked differently? Why do I compare myself to so many other girls?

   Eating disorders prevail because they aren't stopped at the root. No one ever wakes up one day and develops and eating disorder. It comes gradually. It starts with a thought, and idea; and then it takes root in your mind. Maybe it's just skipping one meal every now and then. But soon its skipping breakfast each morning, and then lunch, and then you stop eating altogether. But its just until you drop a few pounds...right? Even if it never gets that far; even if you just convince yourself to eat healthy all the time or exercise a lot. But you beat yourself up over missing a workout or eating a chocolate cake. In my opinion, that's when it needs to be addressed. Because mentally, something is out of place.

   I think we all have a disorder. We obsess over things because we think they can cure us of our sickness; we try to compensate for things we lack. My small group leader once said that "we all have something we run to when we're upset, and that thing shows where we're not trusting God." We are in a horrible state without Christ. We're empty. And when that part of us is missing we try to fill it with useless crap; we try be skinnier, or smarter, or more talented, so people will love us; we cut to feel in control, we use sarcasm to hide hurt; but what we really need is a love from our Father. We run to so many things to try to fill the void of our own imperfections. We try to clean up our sin by ourselves by making ourselves look beautiful to the outside world; maybe because we think if people see beauty on the outside it will mean we have it all together on the inside. One of my favorite lyrics from an Icon For Hire song is "but my disorder can't be cured by a bottle. blade, or dose." Have you ever run to one of those things? We think all these remedies can cure our disorder; make our sick heart become healthy. My dear, only God can do that. This is where we pierce the veil; cut the problem off at the root. Stop lying to yourself; its more than just "I want to be skinny or beautiful" I think it's more like "I want to be loved" and "I want to seem ok." 

   God loves you. He came to heal you. Running to another problem to solve to original one isn't going to make it any better. Jesus came so that you may have life and have it in abundance. That should free you! You don't have to be perfect! That pressure is gone. Jesus came and was perfect so we didn't have to be; He was scarred so we didn't have to cut. He came to fill the void in us knowing that nothing else ever could. You are His precious treasure. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that God loves us more than any other created thing. I am in love with flowers and the sunset and the stars; those are my favorite thing He created. I would probably choose those things over people. Yet God doesn't. He looks at a sunset and then looks at you and says you're more beautiful. He doesn't say "I would think you're beautiful but..." or "If only you could drop a few pounds." No. You are gorgeous just as you are. You don't have to pretend to be anyone or anything. You can let go of the obsession now.