" I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God."
- Ezekiel 11:19-20
When Luba, the photographer and master mind behind this concept, came to me and told me her inspiration for this shoot she wanted to use me for, I fell in love with it immediately. She shared this verse from Ezekiel with me and told me, “What I really want to encapsulate is the emotion of giving yourself up into holy waters and letting the Spirit change our stone hearts.”
As you scroll through the pictures, you’ll see that it starts out dark. We began shooting in the woods to relay the idea of being lost in the darkness; trapped and unable to find hope. As the story moves to the water, you can see the dark flowers I hold in the water are in the shape of a heart to represent the heart of stone. But as I slowly let that heart break, and I release it, the water begins to turn white representing the restoration of purity and God’s grace. White flowers begin to appear, and the dark flowers are slowly filtered out. At the end of it all, with everything turning from dark to light, the heart of stone is no longer existent, God has taken it and replaced it with a heart of flesh as depicted in the photos by the soft and pure look of them.
Life is often times like this. We feel lost and hopeless, trapped and can’t seem to find the light. We harbor bitterness, anger, jealousy and so many other ugly things that turn our hearts to stone. You then find yourself going through life with a heavy heart, and running away from any situation that makes you feel like you have to be vulnerable. In my own life, there was a time where I would cry out to God, asking Him to heal my hurting and broken heart, yet I never felt like He heard me. I finally broke down to one of my closest friends, and asked her why God wasn’t healing my heart, she told me it was because I wasn’t being vulnerable with God. In that moment I realized that I was asking God to heal something that I wouldn’t even entrust him with. I hadn’t handed it over to him. I was holding onto my heart of stone by telling myself that I was okay, telling myself not to cry because if I did, that means I care, and I didn't want to care. But how can you allow yourself to even heal if you aren’t acknowledging that you’re hurting in the first place? I had to make a choice to be vulnerable with God, and once I did, the healing began. I learned that its okay to cry; sometimes you need to just get it out and let yourself feel all of those emotions. I began thanking God in advance for the healing and restoration that was to come, knowing that someday I would be so thankful in seeing His faithfulness. I am on the other side of all of this now, and looking back, this photo shoot was so perfectly timed because I was truly beginning to live with a heart of flesh as well as walking in obedience to God’s will. This photo shoot perfectly captured the process that I had been going through. The best part is that Luba had no idea about any of this either, isn’t it amazing how God works? So, thank you Luba for asking me to be a part of this project, it holds so much meaning for me just as it does for you.
Speaking of being vulnerable, sharing this story is also me being vulnerable. It’s hard, but it’s also so freeing. If you’re holding onto a heart of stone, living heavy and hopeless, choose to release it to God and find that healing that your soul needs. He will take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. A heart that is like the heart of Jesus, full of compassion, grace, mercy, love… because thats ultimately what we should be after, isn’t it? A Christ like heart…
Photos x Luba Kochubey Portraits
Makeup x Ashley Mendez