Monday, 30 May 2016

True Beauty...

This past Saturday I had to do a portrait session for a young woman from Toronto named Elizabeth.  She's a worship leader/singer and song writer and needed some new images for her website.  I enjoy taking pictures of people but I can still get nervous and wonder if I can be creative enough and be able to capture the essence of who they are.  So I went on line to find some ideas and page after page came up on how to take self-portraits.  

Earlier that morning I had been scrolling through Instagram and so many times when someone posts a selfie many of the comments are: you're a babe, you're so hot, you're gorgeous, you're a hottie, you're so beautiful, and at times some really lewd comments are posted.  It hit me that that's not what we need to hear as women.  I know as women we want to know that we're beautiful. To be honest it's an area I have struggled in.  As women we are bombarded by visual media of what society/culture deems as beautiful.  Just go through the Walmart checkout and you're accosted with magazine cover after cover of women with so much flesh revealed, with perfect bodies, perfect skin, perfect hair, etc. And you can walk away feeling like you don't measure up, I know I have.  

But what a woman, especially a young woman growing up needs to know is that they are beautiful on the inside, that that is the beauty that needs to grow and develop.  It's a beauty that transcends the outside, because the outside will fade, we all get old.  Their worth and significance is not determined by their outer appearance. And yet it seems that we focus so much on the outside and when we focus on the outside the inside withers, it fades and we become shallow.  I wonder do we become addicted to these comments, like they're a quick fix for us when we're feeling down on ourselves or wondering if we're really beautiful or attractive. We post a selfie and instantly the comments come in and we're reassured once more that we are beautiful.  But I don't think it ever lasts.  There's something that needs to shift on the inside.  Our security can't come from the comments of those who only see your face but don't know your heart.  

And so back to the beginning, I did end up finding some samples of portraits that I scanned over before doing the session with Elizabeth.  She and her family arrived late afternoon, we had dinner, did some family shots outside and then headed out to do her portrait session.  

As she was getting ready to do the session, the insecurities started to pour out of her.  All the things about her appearance that she felt were flaws...less than perfect.  I looked at her and told her that she was beautiful but that the most important aspect of her beauty was what was on the inside that poured out of her to others.  Her smile is so full of life, her voice gentle and kind.

We did our photo session and got some beautiful images of her in a grass filled field, the sun shining at her back and then we headed to a church to get some shots.  At one point as I was taking her picture she said to me, "I just want to tell you that you're so beautiful and I can't believe you have four older children, etc."  And there I was faced with my own insecurities of really believing that I am beautiful.  The very thing I tried to express to her was the very thing I can still struggle with, I can feel shame even voicing it.  I should know better, I should be over this insecurity.  So often my husband will tell me, "your beauty comes from here (as he taps my heart) and out through your eyes and smile and the way you love people." 

I believe that the enemy wants us to focus on the outside, as long as he can keep us focused there it has the possibility to choke the beauty that is on the inside.  As long as he can keep feeding our insecurities, we'll work harder on the outside and the inside suffers and in that those around us suffer.  

When our session was finished we chatted some more about her insecurities in regards to her appearance, it's something she really struggled with.  I told her I really felt that God wanted to bring freedom in that area for her, for me and for so many other women who struggle.

I believe that our paths with others cross for a reason or at the very least an opportunity, that there is something in every encounter with another...or the possibility of something if we're tuned into the Holy Spirit.  It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, it could just be a smile to a stranger as you pass them on the street, a kind word to a cashier, a helping hand, etc.  But on this day with this young woman, I sensed that God really wanted to speak to her heart in her area of insecurity.  That He so much wants her to experience total freedom in Christ...knowing that her security comes from who she is in Him and not what she looks like or how others see her.  Our body is a vessel, yes we need to take care of it, but if we place outer beauty as our telltale sign of worth or security we'll never be secure.  It doesn't matter what the world says, thinks or portrays...we have a Father in heaven who has the final word.   

Things I'm thankful for...
2120. Sunshine after the rain
2121. Grasses emerald green
2122. One more week till baby Vanderlaan is due
2123. Lunch outside with my husband in the sunshine
2124. Sharing my grapes with Daytona...he loves red grapes
2125. Getting some gardening done
2126. Hugs from two excited little girls
2127. Walk on the boardwalk with three little kids


2128. Beautiful weather
2129. Strawberry sundae from Charissa
2130. Kids playing
2131. Help from Charissa

2132. A child's delight in her accomplishment
2133. A day of soaking much needed rain
2134. Quiet night with my husband
2135. Morning chat with Jocelyne
2136. A good day
2137. A couple of Matt's friends over for dinner
2138. Beautiful star filled sky
2139. Sunshine through the morning fog
2140. Robin's building their nest

2141. Working with my husband
2142. Visit with my husband's mom
2143. Nepalese gift from my husband

2144. Encouraging words from a far away friend
2145. Beautiful sky
2146. Baby Vanderlaan is on the way
2147. The wait
2148. Visit with Hilco & Joyce while we wait
2149. Beautiful Lily Ann-Marie born at 2:06 on May 5th weighing 8lbs. 9oz.

2150. The joy of new life
2151. Time at the hospital with Amy and Lily
2152. Lily finally cried
2153. Warmth of the morning sun while sitting on the porch
2154. Amy and Lily are home

2155. Technology - Facetime with Jocelyne so she could see Lily
2156. A good nights sleep
2157. Visit with my sister, brother-in-law and kids
2158. B.B.Q. at mom and dad's
2159. Beautiful top from Charissa
2160. Homemade cranberry scones for breakfast made by Charissa

2161. Card and gift from Jocelyne
2162. My mom, a blessing and example
2163. Worship
2164. Call from Will and Jocelyne
2165. Visit with my husband's mom
2166. Good Mythical Morning laughs with Matt
2167. Morning bird songs
2168. Daytona and Elmo, first time on pasture all excited

2169. Resolution
2170. The smell of tulips

2171. Visit with my husband's sister and mom
2172. The smell of fresh cut grass
2173. Lots of yard work done by my husband
2174. Lily is gaining well
2175. Red bud tree full of blossoms

2176. Found a cardinal nest with three speckled eggs

2177. Help from Matt
2178. A thoughtful gift - bleeding heart plant
2179. Refreshing light rain
2180. Tea with a friend
2181. Call from Jocelyne, Lauren and Keira
2182. Afternoon winds
2183. Twenty-seven years with my husband
2184. Dinner and a movie
2185. Charissa home
2186. Project accomplished
2187. My husband's patience
2188. Delicious meal
2189. Life and stories shared about China and Nepal
2190. Worship
2191. Arrived at Will & Amy's to help out
2192. Holding precious Lily

2193. Such tiny perfect fingers

2194. Morning cuddles with Lily

2195. Sleep smiles
2196. The smell of fresh lilacs
2197. Dinner with Charissa
2198. Listening to John McArthur with Will and a sleeping Lily

2199. Perfect tiny feet

2200. Visit with my sister

2201. Baby kittens

2202. Beautiful weather
2203. A new day
2204. Bird songs
2205. Holding a sleeping Lily
2206. The many sounds and faces of a newborn sleeping
2207. Shopping with Charissa
2208. A walk by the water and dessert with Will, Amy, Lily and Charissa

2209. Having time and opportunity to help out Will & Amy
2210. Home
2211. Seeing my husband
2212. Running out with Charissa to see Elmo and Daytona
2213. Good morning chat with Jocelyne
2214. Crabapple tree filled with blossoms

2215. Beautiful day for a wedding
2216. Charissa out for a ride on Daytona

2217. Cousins hanging out
2218. Beautiful engagement shoot

2219. Chat with Will
2220. Charissa out fishing with her dad
2221. Glimpses of a child's heart beyond the mask
2222. Cardinal eggs have hatched

A few days after the cardinals hatched some critter got them :-(

2223. Nice evening for a family photo shoot

2224. Visit with Lily my horse chore helper
2225. Kind words
2226. Breezes
2227. Chat with Jocelyne
2228. Dinner and good conversation
2229. Tea and fellowship
2230. Call from Jocelyne, Lauren and Keira, singing some songs with them
2231. Beautiful lilac blossoms

2232. Cooling breezes while cutting the lawn
2233. Robin's song through my open window
2234. My husband's wisdom
2235. God's timing, divine moments
2236. Dinner and visit with a wonderful couple and their children

2237. Beautiful evening light for a photo shoot
2238. Words of encouragement and blessing from a beautiful woman of God


  1. Tina, your images are so lovely, and as always, your words are so poignant! What a blessing you are!

  2. It's me again. I came back to look at those gorgeous blossoms! I didn't do any this year, but if I had, I'd want them to look like yours! Hope you're having a great week, my friend!

  3. Such a wonderful blog...maybe I needed this right now coz my wedding is in two months and I've been worried abt how I would look in the photos but I would keep this in my mind that moment..Thank you for posting this..May the Lord be with you :)

  4. Really really inspiring!Every woman has these insecurities at any point of her life!Praise God for the wonderful insights!Thank you!:) The pics are sooo beautiful!

  5. Really really inspiring!Every woman has these insecurities at any point of her life!Praise God for the wonderful insights!Thank you!:) The pics are sooo beautiful!