This post is a departure from my regular photography blog posts, but there's someone I'd like you to meet.
Wendy Bruner is a women's ministry speaker and story-teller who lives in Southern California. She draws experience from her many years of acting in Hollywood and from her everyday life as a devoted wife and mother to speak words of encouragement into the lives of the women God has placed in her life. She speaks at Christian women's conferences and shares her love for the Lord through story-telling, acting and Bible application.
I first met Wendy in Sunday School class at our church when she and her husband lived in Texas. Right away I sensed that she had a special gift for speaking God's truth into the hearts of other believers - especially other women. And passion? She had it in abundance. Her enthusiasm is contagious!
Several years ago she and her husband Matt relocated to Southern California where they started their family. They now have three beautiful boys, Caleb, Brody, and Asher. Wendy's family is her number one ministry.
While I was in California this past fall, Wendy and I had a chance to reconnect. We met up in Santa Monica, California for a little sight-seeing, shopping and some great food and conversation. We also carved out some time to create a few head-shots for Wendy's new website. I couldn't bring myself to post her portraits without first introducing you to the person and the heart behind the beautiful smile.
Wendy's passion and ministry motto is "Moving Women...Closer to Jesus". Through the use of her talents as an actress, story-teller, and Bible scholar she seeks to encourage other women as they walk with God. I recently asked her to share a little about her ministry for this blog so all of you could get to know her a little better.
Here's what Wendy had to say:
"Since I was 18 years old I've felt God calling me to keep learning about Him, keep honing the talents He's given me, and keep loving on the women He brings into my life. He gave me a vision that one day He would bring those three aspects of my life together. I feel that today I am at the threshold of that promise fulfilled."
"I have studied and grown and sought after Him in faith and worked hard as an actress in Hollywood. I have loved purposefully those He's given me to love and now am excited to minister to women with a combination of storytelling/acting and Bible applications."
"That said, I am also a full-time, at-home wife and mother of three young children. My eldest is in Kindergarten and the ministry I have at home is full time. I have been encouraged by many women speakers to stand my ground and minister at home with the first fruits of my energy. I pray continually for insight into how to do that at home and also I ask for wisdom on the number of projects each year I should commit to outside of our home."
I've only recently gotten to know Wendy more personally. I can tell you that she lives what she preaches. She has encouraged my heart in many ways and I am honored to call her my friend. How exciting it will be for me to watch how the Lord will use her in the years to come. I encourage you to visit her website and read her blog to learn more about Wendy and her ministry.
Now for the pictures:
When it came time to discuss her head-shots, Wendy had a pretty clear vision of what she wanted her portraits to convey. She wanted them to show how God is calling her to serve Him right where she is and how important she feels it is for her to take the time to stop to listen for His voice amid the busyness of her day-to-day life. Daily, Wendy purposefully seeks opportunities to hear God's voice calling out to her - even when everything around her constantly vies for her attention. Her portraits needed to portray a "seeking after God" and a "willingness to answer his call" for her to serve those He daily puts in her path.
I knew exactly how I wanted to convey her vision. Being at Santa Monica Pier afforded the perfect environment. I'm thrilled we were able to create images that portray Wendy's heart. Though life continues to go on around her, she purposefully stops right where she is and just listen for God's voice - and disciplines herself to seek after Him in the middle of chaos.
What a great example.
He doesn't call all of us to go to Africa. He calls us to minister right where we are. Most times, God has already placed someone in our lives who needs encouragement or a helping hand. We can minister right in our own homes and neighborhoods.
How about you? Who is it that God wants you to love on this day? Who is it that needs you? Are you taking the time to listen for God's direction in your life like Wendy is?
For some of us, we may need to purposefully take some quiet time away - time to ourselves - in order to hear God's voice. We may need to refresh our own souls by basking in His love before we can turn around and invest ourselves in others. Seek Him and rest in His love for you. Then pour out that love to those around you.
I thank God for people like Wendy who are willing to follow God's leading in their lives - and for those like her who care enough to encourage others in their endeavors to do the same.
Wendy's website features a schedule of her upcoming events. She also maintains a blog with articles written to encourage and inspire the hearts of women. I encourage you to stop by. Wendy is currently working on writing a daily devotional book she hopes to have published in the next year. She is also accepting speaking engagements for the year 2011. Check out the ABOUT page in her website for more information.