Shekinah Spears barely avoided a life-changing—possibly fatal—car accident. She and her sister, Variel Francois, were on their way home from a Mary, Mary concert, and the two girls were singing with the radio and laughing. Variel Francois was driving. Inexplicably, the car slid off the road just in time to miss another vehicle coming straight at them. In that moment, sitting in the car on the side of the road, Shekinah knew God was watching over them.
“It hit me that very instant,” Shekinah said. “I could have died, but God’s hand was protecting both of our lives in that moment.”
That near crash was years ago, but Shekinah recounted the memory when Sarah Annerton of Pixel Me Photography asked her a series of questions regarding God’s faithfulness in her life story.
Sarah, the photographer for Valley Fellowship Christian Academy’s school portraiture, had given students a worksheet with prompting questions to work on before she took their 2016 yearbook portraits. She called the activity, “The Faithfulness Challenge,” and offered students the opportunity to enter their responses in a drawing for a $25 iTunes gift card.
Sarah explained, “We each have evidences of God’s faithfulness and beauty in our lives, yet many of us fail to recognize them. My goal for using the worksheets is to encourage students to take the time to reflect upon God’s promises and see how He is revealing Himself through their ever-evolving life stories. My hope is that such reflections will prepare students to go out into the world and share their testimonies, impacting many for the glory of God. The portraits…serve as a documented reminder of God’s faithfulness that brought them to this point in their lives.”
In addition to being a tangible reminder of the good [and even bad] times we may have experienced, portraits have a way of reminding us where we come from. When those Valley Fellowship Christian Academy students are grown with their own children, they will be able to open an old yearbook and reflect on the grades they prayed for or how eternally thankful they are they didn’t end up married to their ninth-grade boyfriend.
“Part of our business goals for personal photography is to get people to recognize…how [God] has brought them to where they are now – even using the painful moments in life to reveal Himself and His love for us,” Sarah said.
A Story Worth Telling
It takes a lot of practice to get to the point where you can share your story in a way that reaches others. You probably wouldn’t start with the day you were born. Instead, you’ll likely focus on those life-impacting moments when you thought all was lost and God pulled through for you—like the time Shekinah and her sister didn’t get in a car wreck.
“We want to help people recognize that God has been involved in their lives…and that their life story is beautiful and worth sharing,” Sarah said.
And once the students recognize that, conversation can begin—conversation that will ultimately reach more people for Christ, Sarah said. Her biggest desire is that her Valley Fellowship Christian Academy clients will see God in every aspect and use their stories to spread knowledge of His love with others.
Learning to share their stories is one of the biggest lessons students will ever learn, but Sarah knows quality portraits are also important in documenting lifetime milestones. That’s where her training as a photographer kicks in.
Sarah Annerton is a Certified Professional Photographer—a designation that requires training and testing from Professional Photographers of America. So, with Sarah’s extensive photographic training and her purpose-driven mission, clients get quality portraits that have a specific purpose – to tell life stories.
Pixel Me Photography is also known for stylized portraits. You can see more examples of those in this story. If you don’t have a student at Valley Fellowship but would still like a portrait session done, check out the Pixel Me website.
The Community Journal is happy to partner with Pixel Me Photography as Sarah continues on her visual storytelling journey to document how God has worked in the lives of others.