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Monday, February 9, 2015

God Within Her: A Portrait Project with Jen Lebo Photography

It's been an unforgettable year.  As I was approaching 40, I had my heart set on making this the most epic year of my life.  I had NO IDEA that God had the same plans, although in such a different way.

My life changed abruptly on Mother's Day Weekend last year.  Nothing tremendously dramatic.  No health or family issues, nothing that tragic, thank God.  But I was about 800 miles away from home, in a van with a group of friends, running in the "adventure of a lifetime", when God used my pride, my ego, and my self-centeredness to break me.  He stripped me of a lot that weekend and brought me home with the realization that I had put EVERYTHING above Him.

I spent the days and weeks after that weekend crying a lot, but from the pit, God rescued me from myself, showed me my heart, and began to change me.  I will forever remember that weekend as the most amazing weekend of my life.  I have come to cherish that weekend as one that saved my life.

Slowly through the months that followed, I dove into the Word of God, and drew closer to the Lord.  My hunger for Him took over my life, and everything in it.  I wanted everything in my life to center around Him.  My marriage, our family, my fitness, and my work.  I began to see my life as not mine, but as a tool to serve the God who loved me.  I have never felt more fulfilled.

I specifically began praying for a way to use my work to serve God.  I love being a photographer and I especially love working with teen girls.  It's a wonderful thing to capture the beauty in a young lady, to show her that beauty at a time in her life when, as we all know only too well, it might be hard to see in herself.

As my desires changed, God poured into me wonderful plans to start a Bible study for teen girls, which we call Unfading Beauty (based on 1 Peter 3).  This study has been such a wonderful experience for all of us.  It is still going on, and it's open to all teen girls any time!

But I wanted to create.  I wanted to express God's love and His promises with my camera.  And as this desire grew, I felt the Lord plant the seed of a project in my heart.

It's called "God Within Her", based on Psalm 46:5 which says "God is within her, she will not fall".



With this project, my hope is to use portraits of teens coupled with God's word to bring encouragement and hope to girls everywhere.  My prayer is to create a resource for teen girls to find hope in Christ, a resource filled with beautiful portraits, encouraging Scripture, devotionals from older women who have walked the path before them, and a safe place to share prayer requests, struggles, and questions.


Often in the past few months I've heard the voice in my head say "How ridiculous!  What could a 40 year old lady possibly have to offer to help teens!  You're too old!  You're so out of the loop!  You have no idea how to do this!"

This all may be very true.

But if I've learned one this this year it's this: this life is not about me.

I don't have all the resources, but I have a God who does.  I don't have all the words, but I have a lot of Christian sisters who can help.  I don't have all the answers.  But I have the power of a mighty God.

So I'm stepping out in faith.



If you've read this far and you're not asleep, bored, embarrassed or offended by this blog post, then I thank you!!!  And I ask for your prayers.

I also ask for those who might feel led to come alongside me in this to contact me.  I know this project is not one intended for me alone.  I hope in my heart it is intended to pour God's love and His word into women young and old everywhere.  Or maybe, just maybe it's intended to pour into just one heart, just that one heart that God is pursuing today.  Maybe it's you.  If it is, know that I've been praying for you.

Stay tuned for updates here on the blog.
A "God Within Her" Instagram page is coming.
A "God Within Her" blog is coming (I pray).
And don't forget the "Unfading Beauty" Bible study.  You're all invited!!!  CLICK HERE for details.

Finally, I will be having model calls for seasonal photo shoots to create the images like the ones you see above.  So if you're a teen girl who wants to step out in faith to be a face connected to God's word, let me know.

This year is truly the EPIC year I never really understood I wanted.  I'd love it if every single one of you would join me in it.  There's PLENTY of EPIC to go around!

Keep smiling,
Jen 


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