Monday, March 31, 2014

What IF

I have recently discovered a not-so-original tool for dreaming: asking ‘What IF?’. Think about your family, your church, your community and start your thoughts with ‘What IF?’ It allows you to open up your mind and let some of the pre-conceived or possibly invented hurdles fall away. It puts a positive spin on the question and helps us see a larger picture.

Lately, here are the ‘What IFS’ on my mind:

- What IF loads of Christians actively prayed for different areas of the city? Or specific people groups? Or both victims AND criminals? What if we actively prayed for prevention in specific areas? I know some Christians do this- what if MORE of us did?

- What IF I don’t give my kids all of the comforts this country offers and allow them to have to search for something more? What IF they found something worth more than cute dresses and shiny new toys? (see quote below, yo)

-What IF I have had enough privilege (26 year of it) and it is time for me to have much much less and to share much much more.

-What IF this generation could share the gospel in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades? What IF we could make it real for people by being honest and forming real relationships?

-What IF we could care enough to stop stuffing our faces (I do it too), and start feeding empty, swollen bellies?

-What IF….

I have been reading ‘Kisses from Katie’ about a girl who moved to Uganda after high school and now has 14 Ugandan kids. I thought I had read it- but it kept being brought up by my friends and I realized I had seen many quotes from the book, but never actually read it. So far, I am blown away by:

“I should envy them. At six years old, these children know what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. These children know the greatness, the wonder of our God. I’ve had people ask me why I think Africa is so impoverished, but these children are not poor. I, as a person who grew up wealthy, am. I put value in things. These children, having no things, put value in God. I put trust in relationships; these children, having already seen relationships fail, put their trust in the Lord. This nation is blessed beyond any…”

I’d love to know you’re What IFS- please share!

Love,

Mrs Manlove

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Filled. And some future ideas for the Church

This weekend I have been filled in so many ways. Filled with love, passion, and just joy. I had the privilege of attending a womens conference here in Wichita with my favorite speaker, Jen Hatmaker. I wrote about her books Interrupted and 7, which both changed my life in many ways HERE. 

I learned a lot from Jen this weekend. About Jewish history that helps us better understand the life of Jesus. About what being a Disciple really means. About how to pour my own life out for others. I worshipped with 250 other women who were passionate and actively worshipping and it was so good for my soul.

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This year I have asked some hard questions. About the church (as a whole- I’m not singling mine out : ), about Christians. I feel like I have just scratched the surface of some ideas- there is always more to learn. As I mentioned in the previously linked blog post, I have always known a lot about Jesus, but it is only recently that I feel like I have begun to KNOW Jesus. I know Jesus better because I know in a more tangible way that my life or my childrens lives or anyone elses life has no more value than a terrorist. A rich housewife. A stripper. Any politician. Anyone. This has lead me to some new ideas about the direction of the church.

The church is a body. There are many people with many opinions. These are merely my opinions of where the church could head and what it could look like. I want to preface these with how much I love our church. I think there are so many people working hard to be Christ-like, to serve others, to have a missional mind-set. These are merely a few of my ideas for pressing forward into a new age not written specifically to our church- but out there in general. Many of these things could also be applied to just individuals as well. Here are the two of the more established ideas on my mind:

- Becoming ever- more “outside of the walls.” There are a growing number of people who have either had a bad experience in the church, don’t understand the church, or are just flat out not interested in getting up on Sunday. I would LOVE to see a first big step of spending one week out of the month where service is oustide among the ‘other’ people.

I’m convinced that if it is cold, if it is hot, if it is uncomfortable, if we have to push a few elderly members in wheelchairs, if our kids misbehave, if it is (again) uncomfortable- something might happen. How many times do we (myself included) need to hear that getting outside of your comfort zone is where things happen? What if different kinds of people were not only ‘welcome’ to come to our service, but they were chased down and offered a time of joyous worship and relationship? It would probably be awkward at first. As Jen Hatmaker said it would be ‘us’ and ‘them’ at first. But it could become just us. Lets seek the people out that Jesus would be ridiculed for eating with. I want to meet them.

-Allowing ourselves to be exposed. It has been so good for my soul to be near some women this year who have shared their darkest moments and what God has done for them. I don’t think you have to shout all your ‘junk’ from the rooftops, but being honest about our brokenness is powerful. I believe it does two major things: 1- It allows people to see that Christians are not trying to act like they’re perfect or that they can do what they want and still judge others. It takes away some of the criticism we get from other groups. 2- It allows others, including people in the church, to realize that they are not the only ones who don’t have it all together. That they are not alone in a certain sin. That God is more powerful than the thing they struggle with. Another note from this weekend with Jen H- “walking in the light is less about being “good",” and more about living exposed and honest.” God shines a light in the darkness. Satan wants us to have secrets and to hide. Both allowing yourself to be broken and allowing others to know about it is powerful. Less monotone in the front of the church and more wavering voices and shared stories- love.

Thank you for stopping by. My opinions are my own and necessarily that of family or anyone else : )
Love,

Mrs Manlove

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Christopher + Emily Engagement | Wichita Kansas Photographer

They’re not just a sneak peek anymore…Emily- your full gallery will be up tonight!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Love,

Mrs Manlove

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Around here | March 2014

Our babies are ready for spring. Here is some sunshine and some florals to help. Happy almost-April!

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Love,

Mrs Manlove

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chris + Emily Engagement Sneak Peek

I love when I get calls from friends from past to photograph their future : ). I went to high school with Emily and I am thrilled she asked me to photograph her engagement and wedding. Here is just a sneak peek of my favorites from their session at Great Plains Nature Center.

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Look for more soon!

Love,

Mrs Manlove

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chris + Jena Part 1 | Wichita Wedding Photographer

Here is part one of a beautiful wedding from the beginning of this month. Chris & Jena- it was obvious how well loved you are by so many people. On a very cold and icy day so many people came to celebrate.

Thank you to Lucia Sherman for 2nd shooting with me!

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Boys relaxing before the ceremony.

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Love,

Mrs Manlove

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baby K | 13 Months

Baby K is walking up a storm. Her big sis took a rare nap and I caught this cutie all alone. My photography style is usually shiny and digital, but I liked the softer stuff for these : )

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Love,

Mrs Manlove