Thinking of the word “adventure” might bring into focus images of Indiana Jones features and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It might not, however, bring to mind pictures of anything within
the realm of possibility in the middle of a COVID-19 stricken, physically-distanced world. But what if I told you that it was possible to look reality right in the eyes and to, living in that reality,
tackle the adventure of a lifetime--to start new even while living in the middle of your brokenness and in this fallen world?
The reality is you can. Well, really...we can. Because God doesn’t leave us in this world alone. First, he’s given us himself. This is what Christmas is all about, God being here with us,
not some spirit far away but a very real God, present here with us in the middle of our brokenness, our despair, our mess. But God also gives us the gift of community, people we can do
life together with authentically, no matter what life throws our way. Stay tuned to the end of this post to find out how you can get connected with CrossWalk Midtown.
Life is Precious
For some, this might be just another catchphrase. But for Anna Bebee, this phrase is a hallmark of her way of life. Anna Bebee is a member of CrossWalk’s Midtown campus. And,
she’s also a photographer whose love of photography started when she was just a child.
“It started when I was really little,” Anna says. “I’ve always noticed light. And then as I got a little bit older, probably 10 or 11, my parents bought me a cheap, little point and shoot
camera and I would just take pictures of anything and everything.”
Anna put this Kodak camera to use. The first picture she took was of her pet cat.
Enter the early 90s and Anna had children of her own. She wanted pictures of them. But in the era of big-box retail look-alike photos, Anna wanted more, “Back in the early 90s,
you would always get these coupons in the mail for JC Penney or Sears. You would get a huge amount of pictures for hardly any money, but they all looked alike...So I figured, I can
do better. I want something different.”
Realizing that she could do better was only the first step for Anna. Making it happen would be the real test. To get started, she took classes. Then, she put what she learned into
“I would take my kids and I would tack up sheepskin against the wall to get a different backdrop or I would bring in some flowers, or I would take them outside to a park and take
their pictures that way,” Anna says.
“That way I had pictures that were nice to look at but they were different than everybody else’s,” she continued.
Through connections with family and word of mouth, Anna found that there were others who were interested in the pictures she took. As her children began to enter into new
phases of their lives and word of mouth continued to spread, she found her own experience with different types of photography continuing to expand to Senior Portraits, wedding
pictures, and even sporting events. It was at one of these sporting events that the reality of how precious life is really struck home for Anna.
She sets the stage of a football game. There was an uneven match with the other team not performing well. But one player on that team stood out.
“On the other team, they had a player who was playing his heart out,” Anna said. “Well, during the course of the game, he collapsed. He was taken away on a stretcher in an
ambulance and then he died later that night.”
Even though the boy had been on the opposing team, Anna had taken “many pictures of that boy playing his heart out”. Her friend, a photographer, had also captured pictures
of the boy.
While in the moment she was photographing these images, the act may have seemed like an odd coincidence, Anna later found that these pictures meant so much more.
“We got our photos together and took them up to his parents right before this young boy’s funeral,” Anna says, referring to herself and her friend. “And, they were so thankful
and so emotional that we took the time to do that. But it made you step back and think...You know...life is precious. Life is precious and you don’t realize it until sometimes it’s too late.”
Anna credits this moment for changing the way she views life.
“It really did make me realize that life is precious. Life is fragile. Sometimes life is too short,” she says. “But it was a good feeling to know that we had those pictures to share with
his family. That’s how much they appreciated those last...that last evening, photos of their son doing what he loved to do.”
In that moment, Anna learned to appreciate more the view from the viewfinder--seeing that, even when the field of view is smaller, God’s hand is at work. There is beauty in God’s
These experiences aren’t where Anna sees her adventure stopping. The little girl who was so fascinated by the light has grown into a woman with that same passion, not just for
the physical light but also for the spiritual Light. She says her goal is to, “shine a light wherever I can and to use my photography in any way I can to help further our message at
CrossWalk and at ALA”.
Growing Through It
As we travel through the last part of 2020, chances are that there’s a challenge or two that you’ve faced during the year. Challenges like COVID-19 and even civil unrest may be a
part of these and leave you wondering: How can I get through this? For CrossWalk’s Ruth Jefferson, her goal isn’t just to get through it but instead to grow through it.
Ruth Jefferson wears a lot of hats at CrossWalk, from helping with chat hosting during online worship on Sundays to serving as the Communications Director at Midtown to now
heading up one of CrossWalk’s newest ministry, Voice of the Middle Ground. As she looks back over 2020, the responsibility that stands out the most is her work with Voice of the
Ruth started Voice the Middle Ground in July of this year after one of the events of the year left her feeling emotionally raw.
She explains, “I got started with the project because of the emotional toll that it was taking on me, the events having to do with George Floyd, the sadness and the anger that, for
me, were associated with that.”
Ruth describes a state of depression that left her feeling as though she were unable to get out of bed. In the interview with Ruth, she described a situation that had happened
earlier in her life that caused her to draw a connection between her own life and the Floyd situation that made these feelings worse. Then, a friend shared a documentary with her
that brought into focus the fact that she had a choice in how she would face her emotions.
“Pretty much after watching that I was like, I have two options,” Ruth says. “One is I can choose to stay sad, angry, and everything else. Or, the other is I can actually do something
about it and put those emotions and those feelings to good use”.
With that idea in mind, the Voice of the Middle Ground ministry was started. Voice of the Middle Ground is a gospel-centered and grace-filled ministry dedicated to affirming and
embracing the diversity God has created both in our churches and in our world. As she worked on this project, Ruth was met with a couple of surprises, the first was the feelings she
was confronted with, “I found myself dealing with the emotions and things more strongly at first”.
Ruth continues, “It wasn’t something that let up but it was something that I was working through. And so, as I’ve been working through that and getting this project off the ground
and working with different people to try and get these initiatives moved, it’s helped me to confront things that I’ve felt about myself, different ways that I’ve been putting myself down
that I hadn’t really thought about”.
The second thing that surprised Ruth was the community of support she found at CrossWalk, even as she worked through her feelings, “One of the other perceptions that I had
is that, when it came to these kinds of issues, the church wasn’t a place where these things could be talked about. But as I’ve been exploring these things, I’ve found CrossWalk to
be pretty supportive overall, not just of the project but of me as an individual also. This has been really encouraging”.
One of the things that may surprise people about the Voice of the Middle Ground ministry is that it doesn’t just look at what would typically be considered social justice issues.
It also looks to work with police officers and first-responders. When asked about this, Ruth says, “It’s important to look at the whole picture”.
Ruth admits that she still has a lot to learn, but is looking forward to continuing her journey with Voice of the Middle Ground and to looking toward growing through the
challenges of the new year as she continues her journey with CrossWalk.
If you’re looking for an authentic community to connect with, we invite you to come and check out CrossWalk Church in Midtown. Here are some of the ways you can kick the tires
a bit before joining:
One of the easiest ways for you to stay up-to-date with events and get a taste of the CrossWalk Midtown experience is by checking us out on Facebook. Also, we’re introducing
twice-monthly live streams starting on January 2nd at 11 AM. Sign up here to get notified when the live stream starts.
Another way that we stay connected and give back to the community is through Impact Groups. They’ll be starting up again soon, now that we’re almost into the new year. Be
the first to get updates about upcoming groups by e-mailing email@example.com to register.
Midtown Text Line
Are you looking for ways to connect and get inspired? If so, sign up to get weekly inspirational texts by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.