Los Angeles's Inspiring person of the month!

I'm honored to have my story published as an inspiring person in the Los Angeles area!

God is so amazing and watching Him work is incredible. Thank you VoyageLA Magazine! This means a lot to me.

http://voyagela.com/interview/meet-carrie-jean-walker-carrie-jean-fine-art-valley/

All my love,

Carrie Jean

Fashion Design Project

I'm so excited to announce the debut of the Into Indigo dress! We've worked really hard these past few months giving the world the most versatile and photogenic dress imaginable! Not only that, but this dress is quick dry and wrinkle resistant. I used to design for an outdoor brand for a few years and I thought to myself, "Why not take the elements of outdoor and add them to casual everyday wear that can be worn to different occasions"! 

I've also designed into this dress to be suitable for different ages, body types, and heights. No matter where you're at in your life, or what your body type is, you'll look fabulous in this dress! 

Over the last few months, you’ve all been so supportive as I’ve embarked on a design journey! We fit my dress and recently had a couple awesome photo shoots to show the beauty and versatility of the design! 

This next stage is called “crowdfunding”. This is the stage where once 100 people have preordered this dress, it’ll go into production! Today is the first day orders will be taken and you have 30 days to order. This morning the company sent me an extra 10% off for everyone I know, including the 30% off if you voted previously and 15% off if you preorder for the crowdfunding but didn’t get a chance to comment during the voting stage. The 10% off code is: “Indigo10”. Just use at check out!

I hope you enjoy this dress just as much as I have! And I thank you all with my whole heart for your support and encouragement! My praises to the big man upstairs. Thank you, God for leading me and for the opportunity!

Carrie

Check out the dress on the link below:

https://www.betabrand.com/womens/wrinkle-resistant-floral-print-wrap-dress

My testimony - Jesus is Lord and savior

This is my testimony and how I came to know the truth of Jesus Christ.

To paint you a quick post life picture, most of my life's spirituality had been spent in the New Age belief system, inspired by my Mom and Grandma. My childhood had some very rough, heart scaring times. At thirteen I began saving stuff in my closet to move out.  And as a teenager, I went through a rebellious phase that ended up really hurting myself in so many ways. When I was eighteen I was kicked out of my house and I was so happy with it! I was ready to live a life of my own and “I didn’t need anybody else.” Through my twenties, I genuinely believed most of my family didn’t love me and at that point in my life, I hadn’t had one true friend. Because of this, my heart grew very protective and hardened. I grew up believing that no one understood me and no one was going help me in my life. I believed only I could make a life for myself. As a young woman who didn't know God, felt unloved and is very sensitive, I became hurt and angry. These feelings drove my hurt even deeper and I set off to do everything I could to prove to everyone that I was worth something. I spent the next ten years of my life enduring the craziest things to convince people that I was someone of value. I thought that maybe if they saw I had come out of such a tough situation that they’d view me as a strong woman, and maybe they'd say, “Wow, she’s amazing!” So I went to the toughest Fashion Design school in the industry, graduated top of my class and won a bunch of awards. After that, I moved to Ohio to be a designer at Abercrombie & Fitch. Because I didn’t really want to be there, my attitude came with me and everyone sensed it. I was angry at my life in general and I didn’t know how to fix it. Right out of the gate while working at Abercrombie I decided if I couldn’t change my environment, I could change my attitude. So instead of crying a pity party a minute longer, I decided I’d outwork everyone and be the best manager ever and climb the ranks as fast as I could. And that’s what I did. I piled on so much work and placed impossible goals ahead of me just to see if I could it. I didn’t know what I was living for and I felt like the challenge of achieving extreme goals was something fun, like a game. I didn’t feel as though my life had much substance. It’s as if something was always missing, so I just kept filling it with goals and awards and trophies and grants and money and junk. Through this time, after every mountain I climbed (literally and figuratively), I felt nothing at the top. I was just there. It was beautiful at the top but it felt the same as the bottom, it just visually looked different. As I continued to achieve and do all kinds of crazy daring things people began to encourage this behavior so I kept doing it. I began to set some pretty unachievable goals just to see if I could do them.  And I did! I became a fear conquerer, doing things that scared me was a constant goal of mine.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I have believed from a very young age that being an artist is what I was meant to do. After 3 years of community college and studying Fine art as my major, I choose to switch my studies to Fashion Design. At that time I was 21 years old, and I thought, “people will always need clothes”. My choice to change my major to design was based on logic and reason versus pursuing what I truly loved to do. I didn’t understand how to become an artist or make money as an artist. I figured I could paint on the side and that would be enough. My drawing teacher at that time, whom I had for 4 semesters told me not to chose fashion. I remember this conversation vividly. At the end of the semester, she asked me why I wanted to be a designer. I told her because it sounded fun. Then she asked me what I stood for in life. What did I believe in? I felt annoyed with this question because I didn’t have an answer. I really didn’t think about who I was or what I was doing. All I wanted to do was to get from point A to point B and have a job that made money so I didn’t have to live poor anymore. So I stuck to my plan and pursued fashion designed.

My parents taught me that there will always be someone more talented but you can always choose to outwork them. With that motto in mind, I worked as hard as I possibly could through design school and continued this work ethic through every avenue of my life. Fast forward to my first job. I was working as a designer and it was my 6th year in as a Senior Designer at Abercrombie and Fitch. It was high winter in Ohio, January 2015 and somewhere around -15 degrees. I was training for a national fitness competition after receiving overall winner as the state of Ohio 3 years prior. I was writing a book, I had started my painting business and I was working a ten plus hour full-time job that was extremely stressful and frustrating. I was actually doing so much, that I had to schedule in hours of forced sleep every night just so I would get some rest. I guess you can say I took the work ethic advice to the next level!

At that time I decided to quit my job without a job to go to. I was so overwhelmed and so stressed out, I had nothing left to give. A few weeks before this, my mom had come out to visit me in Ohio. I had made a big mistake to fall in love with a guy who a year and a half later told me he had been engaged to another woman for 5 years, then a few months after this he decided to marry a girl who was my one of my closest friends. It was pouring rain outside and my mom drags me to church, to which this was my first time ever attending. As I’m listening to the sermon, the pastor talks about how God removes peoples from your life because what’s behind them, is more than just the man, sometimes it’s evil. As the sermon spoke to my exact life situation, I still thought nothing of it. Proceeding this, the pastor asks us to open our Bibles to a verse he was going to preach on. Knowing nothing of where anything was in the bible, I grabbed the ribbon to open the pages and the ribbon was on the exact page the verse the pastor just asked us to turn to! This stood out to me because my mom had given me this Bible years before this moment and I had never opened it once. After this, the thought crossed my mind, “Could this something? Could Jesus really be real”? And, even then, it wasn't enough for me to see the truth.

Fast forward a few more weeks. I was in my apartment packing and giving away all my things. I began to think that I didn’t want to move across the country with a car. So I went to a car dealer to sell it. When I arrived at the dealer I met this really nice man whose name was Aaron. He was Jamaican and had just moved to the USA from Jamaica only a few months prior. After talking with him for a few minutes and me admiring his accent, we went to his cubical while we waited for the appraisal on my car. We talked for a few minutes and I told him I was leaving my job to hopefully begin to pursue my dream of being an artist. At that moment, the energy in the room changed. Aaron looked at me and told me he had a message for me, that I was supposed to read Jeremiah 33:3. What moved me to tears was that I had been seeing the numbers “333” for at least 7 years. Every time I saw these numbers, I thought there was a bigger meaning to it. He didn’t know what the verse said, so we looked it up together. The verses read: “Come to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things you do not know”. The reason this moment stood out to me is that most my adult life I had been searching for the truth of God in all kinds of belief systems. At the time I was heavily into the new age belief system. Believing in things like astrology, aliens, crystal healing and little bits of several other beliefs systems.  Proceeding this, Aaron began speaking to me in a hastened way. He said to me I was going to be an artist for God! He said I was going to spread the word of Gods truth and love to the world! He spoke for about 10 minutes non-stop and intermittently saying, “I don’t know why I’m saying these things”. He spoke fast but very sure of what he was saying. It was obvious to me, this man was not making up what he was saying. It’s as if he was guided to say all that he said to me. It flowed so smoothly and gracefully. There was a feeling I’ve never felt before while in that moment. And after he spoke to me I told him about how I had been seeing the numbers “333’ for a long time and he laughed and smiled. It was definitely one of the coolest things that have ever happened in my life! I drove home, called my mom and told her what happened.

When I arrived home without the conscious thought to do so, my body collapsed on the floor in prayer position as if promoted to do so and I began thanking and praising God. This was unique to me at the time because I didn’t find out until later that we are supposed to be praising and thanking God all the time! That evening I placed my faith in Christ. I didn’t understand how I knew He was real, I just did. After that, many Christian people came into my life instantly! Amongst all this, so many other small things happened where God was clearly showing me He is real and He was there! After this, my mom and I drove across the country to take me home. One evening in a hotel, I had an awful dream I was being attacked by demons. They were swirling around me, pulling my whole being into the ground. It was excruciatingly painful, I felt paralyzed and afraid. In my dream, I screamed out, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ"! I have no idea how my spirit knew to say this phrase, but it did and the demons went away. I woke up crying and was really afraid. My mom said to me I needed to get baptized ASAP! We arrived home by chance on the Saturday before Easter and I was baptized on Easter day! It was the most beautiful series of events that lead me to Lord! 

Now that I had made it home to California it was time to celebrate!!! Just kidding! I had been through so much, I felt like I needed to hibernate! At this point, my entire life, my belief system, and my identity changed. I was so overwhelmed I experienced a full burn out. Thanks to an amazing Christian therapist and the Lord all mighty, I was on my way to healing and recovery after a few short months. After that, I spent the next two years working as an outdoor designer. That job was amazing for me at the time and I was able to learn so much about God and really get rooted in faith. The Lord blessed me with new friends at a bible study I prayed for and instantly was connected to and I had now been able to work on mending and rebuilding family relationships that had been damaged in the past. So many wonderful things happened! Through this time, I wondered about the guy at the car dealer who said I was going to be a painter for God. My mind kept playing games on me. (Enter in my last post called “Waiting on God” here) In February of 2017, I was laid off my job. After about 8 months of frantically searching for another full-time job in fashion, I learned I needed to be patient and wait for the Lords heavenly gifts. I learned that God would provide and what I needed to do was take a leap of trusting him and really truly set a forward trajectory in building art business. So, here I am excited to be a painter for the Lord and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through art! Keep checking here for more updates and posts! I can't wait to see what God will do next!

Waiting on God

Waiting. The space in time where you are now and something you want in the future. Waiting can be excruciating, exciting or bring anxiety. Whatever feelings we may experience, they're feelings that arise in us while pondering unknown outcomes. As a new Christian, for me waiting is new. Allow me to provide some backstory before I continue. 

Two and half years ago I discovered the only truth. I set my faith in Jesus Christ! It was the most freeing feeling I've ever had! For about 5 years prior to this I searched for God for many years in the New Age belief system and found nothing but artificial and momentary relief from life's constant hardships. I wondered if this was really all life was about? Something just didn't seem right, so I began questioning everything! It was in His perfect timing when Jesus gave me faith to truly see who He really is! Instantly my new life in Christ was a stark contrast of goodness and love to the old life of torment, pain, and loneliness. Knowing little of the faith, I assumed my belief in Jesus was all there was to it. Life would go on, and I'd be happy. I wasn't quite sure what to do. Meanwhile, God brought in so many amazing Christians into my life. They really just started popping up out of nowhere! I was frankly so overwhelmed by love, I had no idea how to respond to it. But it was clear to me then, it was Gods way of showing me He was real and He was right there. As time passed, God continued to show me He was there and my faith grew. I felt confident with where I was as a new believer, but I also knew I needed more exercise to grow spiritually. What was most evident was I needed help responding to the Holy Spirit to live out the new life I'd been given. I had trouble hearing Gods direction, and I continued to make choices based on the way I had always made decisions. I used to create a plan, set goals, then achieved those goals. I didn't know any other way to live. I had spent 30 years of my life making what I wanted to happen, happen. I never waited and never sought God for direction. In our "work hard" and "live out our passion" society I drove myself to an all-around burnout because I never waited. I was the "take the bull by the horns" kind of girl, and no one could stop me! Something about the way I was created has this "press on until the end" mentality. No matter how difficult the path or how tired I was, I continued despite the pain. When I should have stopped for a moment to reflect on what I was doing, I pushed through it until the end. In today's world we might call that perseverance and a strong work ethic, and maybe some of it is. However, I learned very quickly that the gas pedal couldn't be full throttle all the time and perhaps waiting was a good thing. It couldn't be that hard, right? Little did I know what God had planned for me around the corner...

It was December of 2016. I broke up with my boyfriend at the time. Devastated and heartbroken, again. One month after that, I was laid off my job. And a month after that, I crashed a dirt bike injuring my shoulder for six months. Oh, and to top things off, I was sick through this time for three months straight! At first, I had a difficult time understanding what was going on. Why were all these things happening at once? And why had I applied for a hundred jobs and not one of those companies wanted to hire me? Naturally, I went into fear and wondered why God would do this to me? I played the blame game for a while towards God and woe was me. At the time I didn't want to believe I had been brought to a desert place, so I continued to try and bring myself back up. After months of responding this way, I only received more anxiety and more fear. As time passed, it was brought to my attention through many outlets that I needed to be leaning on God, not my own capability. I began learning more about God, and I started to realize some of what He was doing in my life. God showed me the places I held onto as my identity. And the only way of redirecting me was to keep those things away from me, so all that was left was God. I realized this season in my life was occurring because my heart was in the wrong place. The things I valued and places I spent my time were the exact opposite of where God wanted me to be. He wanted to develop my character and change my priorities. He wants my heart to be on heavenly things, in a relationship with Him and other people over worldly things.

Proceeding this loss of a significant other, my job, income, and the ability to do any exercise, I found myself still. This was the first time my life seemed to have come to a screeching halt! In the silence of being sick in bed, with a hurt shoulder, no job, and no boyfriend, God taught me some significant lessons. One of the reasons I was having a difficult time following the Spirit was because I didn't trust God and I didn't find my identity in Christ. I was unable to perceive Gods thoughts towards me, thus unable to follow His guidance. I couldn't hear Him because I didn't really know Him. I knew about Him, which is much different. What I learned, was that God not only wants our closest relationship to be with Him, but He also wants us to live out our lives as He created it from our inception. And we can't do that without knowing Him. Not only is this what He wants but it's for our good because He loves us. It's so we'll continuously seek Him as provider and not seek earthly goals or achievements to please our carnal nature. The closer we are to God, the easier it is to follow His direction and live the life He made for us. Without Him, we choose on our own. And for me, I know what my life looked like when I decided, I became broken time and time again. 

After everything I've learned, I still struggled with what I was supposed to be doing. How was I suppose to get closer to God so I could hear Him? In the space, while waiting on God, I found anxiety (which I never knew I had). I experienced fear! "How am I going to pay for my life? No one else is going to do it for me", I thought. I found sadness, loneliness and sometimes even hopelessness. Now, if you know me, your thinking "What?! Carrie?! Hopeless and unhappy?!" My entire life, I've been a bubbling ray of hope and I could find joy and positivity even in the darkest times. But somehow this was different. These feelings made me wonder why I couldn't snap out of it this time. Why was this different? Well amongst all this change that was going on in my life at the beginning of this year, I was also facing some other major changes that occurred over the two years prior. My faith changed, I quit my high paying job to move to Sedona to work at an art gallery that ended up failing after two months of living there. Then I had to move back home, find another job and re-adjust to that new position, new home, and new people. I was exhausted and overwhelmed! At that time, I didn't love the way my life was on the outside, so I starting working towards exterior changes. I continued seeking these changes, setting goals and attempted to achieve those goals, which normally works for me. Only this time everything remained the same. I learned real fast that if you can't change your circumstances that it's probably time to start changing inward. I heard prayer was powerful so I began to pray for inward change. I'd pray for things like, "Lord change my heart and my mind. Rid me of my fear to follow you. Help me take up the cross. Help me trust people again. Help me show others love. Grant me a heart of forgiveness. Grant me a heart of gratitude and giving. Help me not let money have power over me. Change my eyes for the men I find of interest. Help me not live in this world but in your will while here on earth". Through all these prayers and many more, I knew there might be rough waters ahead. But I was ready to endure to become a changed woman! With a survival mode mindset, I thought I could handle anything God threw my way. I believed I knew what it felt like to be in pain, so if the road to transformation was painful, I assumed I'd respond correctly. To be frank, I was a bit scared and slightly prideful in thinking I could handle this kind of major transformation with ease. I also thought God could fix all these circumstances in my life if He wanted to. It felt like He was the cause of my sadness and pain and I believed when He was ready He would fix it. However, I know God is about perfecting love, not coddling love. Which means He's more concerned with building my character. And if it took me "kicking and screaming" to realize my stubbornness and pride, then God will let me walk through that trial until I learn it. The only person who was in control of my response to my current circumstances was me. God is not a puppet master, we have free choice. He will guide us towards His sovereign will but the how we get there, what we do while we're waiting is up to us. And during this time in my life, I really struggled with the inner changes. I had a bad attitude and was acting very stubborn. I didn't want to let go of my full-time fashion career I had worked so hard to build for myself. And after a lot of reading about God and His character, it struck me. I was looking at it all wrong! God is the one who gave me the opportunities. God is the one who gave me the finances. God is the one who created me to work hard and persevere. When all this time I thought everything I had done was because of me, it was really God all along!

Through these last eight months, I've been waiting; waiting for a new job; waiting for health and a healed shoulder. I'm waiting to meet my true love... I'm a romantic! Waiting for financial freedom and family peace. Waiting, waiting and some more waiting... And through this long time when the things I valued most in life were all no longer there, I heard God! One night while falling asleep I heard Jesus speak to me! I knew it was Jesus right away, I could feel it! He said to me, "A pigs prayer will bring you a bruised apple." I woke up and thought I should write it down, but I fell back asleep. After waking up in the morning, I told my sister what I heard, and I wondered what it meant. I couldn't recall anything in the bible about pigs and apples combined with prayers. So later that day I googled "pigs, prayers and apples" and the first and only site that showed up in my browser was a story called, "The horse and pig." It's an old fable about a horse and a pig roaming around looking for food. They come upon an apple tree, and the horse praises God for the food. He has a great attitude and gratefully receives the blessing from God. The pig, however, is rummaging around on the ground eating the smashed rotten apples and has a bad attitude. He says he can see how they will run out of food and when they do, they'll move along to the next source of food. The horse looks down at the pig and offers to share every other fresh apple. The pig grunts, and says okay. After receiving a few fresh apples, the pig says, "TOO SLOW"! The pig preferred to eat the smashed apples on the ground! He was more comfortable with doing what he knew rather than waiting for the fresh apples from on high.

After reading this, I was laughing so hard! First off, how genius is God to deliver that message, so clever! I love Him and praise Him so much for knowing the details of my personality and what I need to hear Him. My major take away, and how this story applies to my life was instead of rummaging around frantically seeking another job in fashion; God wanted me to stop and understand that He is taking care of me and that I need to trust Him, even if that means to wait a long time. I can't tell you how many times over this last ten months of waiting for job direction did I say, "This is taking forever!" My family and friends can testify. I believe God has given me this time to know Him, gain trust in Him and reevaluate my life. I've always made plans; now God is teaching me how to follow Him. The kicker here for me was the practical application. I understand the lesson, now what do I do? Well, the story of the horse and the pig also revealed some guidance. It said for me to challenge myself and take the time to know God; To be in a relationship with Him so I can follow His voice. Without knowing Gods true character and trusting in His promises, we will have a difficult time discerning which direction to go; And that is precisely what I've been experiencing. From what I've read, how to be closer to God is to pray, for everything! Talk to God about anything and everything and then watch Him work! Through prayer, we should ask, be thankful and praise Him as well as repent and forgive. The more I do these things, the more I can see His love renewing my heart, mind, and soul! Even without doing these things, God has shown me so much grace in my life. I can see how He loving draws me back in closer to Him, even in times I haven't said sorry for what I've done. That's God, and that's His grace! This alone has opened my eyes a tiny bit of experiencing His character. Secondly, God asks us to read His word daily. The bible is the heart of God. Reading His word helps us learn about Him and spend time with Him. In doing this, I feel renewed by His spirit every time, and that makes me want to keep coming back! God also asks us to take the steps He asks us to take. When we do, we'll find how great they are, and our trust in Him will continue to build. Our love for Him grows, and we begin to want to spend time with the one who loves us, the one who created us.

As of now, I'm still technically "waiting". But waiting in action and with a hopeful and excited attitude. Now I wonder what God's going to do next in my life!? I'm praying and trying to hear His direction. It isn't easy and let me tell you the day I became a believer in Christ, I had no idea this was what was in store for me. However, the refinement God provides for each person is incredibly worth it. My life has changed so drastically it's jaw-dropping. And not changed because I tried to. Sure, I had to make a choice, but it's obvious God hasn't given up on me. He wants all of us to change for the better. And He's very specific on exactly when, where and how He decides to implement a change in us. I believe getting to know God will never end and that's exciting! As I continue to wait on the Lord, I'm excited to see what's next. And not just now but a few years down the road, five years, ten years, twenty years! Who knows what's going to happen next?! What I do know, is God is changing this girl who never felt loved and is showing her love. He's changing her "plan everything" way of life in exchange for an easy going attitude. I read in a devotional that we should hold our lives with an open palm. We never know what tomorrow will bring, but it's our choice to choose our attitudes and whether or not we'll change and trust Him. If you've never accepted Jesus as your savior, I suggest you do it now. And if you're still wondering who He is, seek Him. God says when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him! God never gives up on us. The question is, are you going to answer the next time He calls? I vote you say yes and live out the life God intended you to live. Like in the fable of the Pig and the horse, the story says, "The life God has planned for you, it is good".

After a month or so of writing this post, I realized I wasn't waiting on God at all. He was waiting for me! And so I've begun to build this website for my art, to glorify the Lord. Because that's not only what He's asked me to do but being an artist has always been my dream! I can't tell you I'm the best artist you've ever seen. In fact, I full well know there are many others whose talents and skills succeed mine. But what I do know is, when Gods involved, anything is possible! I'm excited to write about my life on this blog and watch God work season to season! Stay tuned!

Verses: Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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FerverentPrayer; Story of the Horse and the pig: https://books.google.com/books?id=2aw8DQAAQBAJ&pg=PT103&lpg=PT103&dq=a+pig%27s+prayer+and+apples&source=bl&ots=DcMZb-zhGP&sig=ItRm4YHtyMv16RJijOzASXoRs-Y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidm_i5pfHWAhWHwlQKHVC5BWYQ6AEIfTAZ#v=onepage&q=a%20pig's%20prayer%20and%20apples&f=false