Bold Beautiful Perfect: Hanna
Bold Beautiful Perfect: Hanna
“Jesus changed my value from worthless to cherished, from overlooked to priceless, and from ugly to beautiful. He freely and willingly poured into my brokenness a beautiful substance the world longs for and tries to counterfeit.”
Tell us about yourself, Hanna!
I am an International Best Selling Author; mental health advocate; writer; and overseer at Safe Harbor Clinic, a thriving Outpatient Mental Health and Addiction Center in Long Beach, Mississippi. I have a deep compassion for the broken, the unseen, and the forgotten struggles experienced by those in my community.
I am also the curator of Seasons of Grace by Hanna Lorraine, a faith based Instagram page created in congruence with my self-published devotional, to encourage believers in the “thick of life”; to get through difficult times by the power of a flourishing relationship with God. He has enabled me to use my experience of walking through redemption, infused with various service projects and platforms; to provide encouragement to those around me by pointing them to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. My goal is to maintain an advocacy for others struggling to find peace in their cognitive, emotional, and spiritual health.
I am married with two boys and enjoy being active in my local church.
How did you come to understand your beauty?
It is our nature to focus on what is gone, what is lost, what has been taken away, and what is missing. We focus on the empty. We highlight the void and we emphasize the lack. For years, I focused on what I did not have when it came to my appearance, where I came up short in my abilities, how I failed so much in my past, and how I did not measure up in comparison to the world’s definition of being beautiful.
But what does Jesus say?
He is the well that does not run dry. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is our ever present help. He is our steadfast friend. He is the solid rock. He is the beginning as well as the ending. He is immovable, unshakable, and he will never leave. Jesus is the all in all of anything I may be missing. He is the shape that will fit every hole and empty space I have. He is the piece that fits every puzzle and the substance that overflows my empty cup.
Shifting my focus from loss to Jesus illuminated my eyes to see what great gain I actually am in possession of – and can never be taken away, ever. By inviting Jesus into my broken and empty spaces, He began to fill with His grace, love, and forgiveness those places I felt were “less than.” There is a Japanese art form called Kintsugi. Google defines this as “putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.”
When I invited Jesus into my brokenness and the ugly places I possessed, I became beautiful. Jesus changed my value from worthless to cherished, from overlooked to priceless, and from ugly to beautiful. He freely and willingly poured into my brokenness a beautiful substance the world longs for and tries to counterfeit. I no longer have to settle for smoke and mirrors, being fake, or shying back in the background. I can hold my head up high and be proud of the beauty of Jesus radiating from all the places I once desperately tried to hide. I am beautiful, and that is that.
This project is all about inspiring women to see their beauty. What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
If you and I were to sit and have s’mores together, I would tell you that I understand the energy you put into being perceived a certain way. I understand trying not to let the secrets of your past out. I know the fear of “if someone found out.” I can tangibly describe that shrinking feeling of seeing yourself as not good enough, and therefore letting opportunities and relationships pass you by. Thus you begin to see yourself as “less than,” as someone who is not beautiful. I get it.
I too have heard that voice telling me why I’m not good enough to reach out into new relationships and new opportunities. I have heard “you’re damaged and a charity case” as a repeated mantra in my mind, too. I have listened to a list of reasons telling me that although I’m saved by grace I will somehow always be unusable and ugly to God. I get it.
All that I’ve described falls under one word: shame.
Shame is a vice that shackles us and is often linked arm in arm with fear, doubt, and condemnation. It uses our energy to keep us looking over our shoulder, to fret about how a situation could expose or draw attention to that detail we’ve been keeping locked away. Shame holds us back from opportunities to minister, robs us from the blessings of fellowship, and stops us from taking that first step towards a calling. It makes us say, “Not me!” “Why me?” and “No way!”
Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (NASB). In Christ, we are no longer labeled or defined by our past, by our sin, where we came from, what we did, what was done to us, and what we do not have. In Christ, we carry the same identity of His righteousness and His BEAUTY. That identity is heir to fearless fellowship, is capable of ministering, and is fruitful in obedience to the call from God.
God wants us all free from shame just as much as He wants us free from sin – so much so that He gave up His son, Jesus, to take on our shame upon Himself. We all know about how Jesus took our sin, but we need to also know that He took our shame as well. Don’t let another second pass living in shame. God will exchange your shame for His beautiful, bold confidence. He will enable you to see yourself as a beautifully redeemed, purposeful, useful, wanted, and beloved child of God.
It’s time to give Him your shame.
What did the shoot mean to you? What did it feel like to be selected?
Being selected for this photo session truly made me happy. I saw this photo session as a platform to champion what God has done in my life to another audience, an audience I probably wouldn’t normally be able to reach. I choose to live my life with the mindset to reach as many people as I can with the good news of the Gospel and the goodness of Who God is, through whatever opportunities come my way. This session ministered to me deeply in the areas that are healed and the areas that are still healing.
The moment I walked into Brandi’s studio, I immediately felt the walls pulsate with love and acceptance. There was a tangible substance in the air, like an aroma, but better, that made me feel seen, heard, and valued. Brandi does not have just a photo studio, she has ministry that pours God’s heart into every image captured and every person in front of her lens. Her staff is so warm and she herself is the definition of true beauty, inside and out.
Anything final words you’d like to share?
Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (NIV).
This one line is God’s promise to faithfully transform all things into things of beauty at the right time, in His time. That means the ugliest, desperate, chaotic, messy, and difficult to look at situation will one day become a landscape of beauty. This beauty will not glamorize our own efforts or persistence; rather, it will testify of God’s unrelenting faithfulness woven throughout our complex uncertainty. This unmatched beauty will draw others to “come and see what the Lord has done.” Thus, strengthening hope and renewing faith that God is transforming their ugly into beauty.
So hold on. In time, we will all look back and not see the ugly and the messy, but rather His unparalleled beauty brought forth in “its due time.”
In the meantime, hold onto these words Jesus pressed into my heart while I was surrendering my broken pieces to Him.
“Created with purpose.”
“Fashioned with intent.”
“Molded by design.”
These are the words engraved upon you. Your first breath ignited a firework of possibilities and illuminated a beautiful future full of promise. You were set in motion by choice, not by accident, by the very Creator of the universe.
His fashionable hands made His dream of there being a “you” a reality. You were His dream, you were His choice, you were His masterpiece.
The God who created you did not make a mistake, nor did He make you inferior. You were made with a raging love and a fierce devotion to see you flourish in His will. Not one detail about you was overlooked, under thought, or ignored. You are the blended, beautiful handiwork of the One who creates only good things. You are purposeful. You are valuable. You are needed. You are wanted. You are loved. You are beautiful.
You are beautiful and you deserve to live in the freedom that Jesus has purchased for you!
To book your own fabulous Portrait Session, contact us through the inquiry form below.
International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.