Why is Beauty so HARD?!?!?!?!?

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I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan where we currently are experiencing the snowiest November since sometime in the 1800’s.  The bonus to that is I teach Middle School by day, so that gave me two glorious days off of work for snow days!!  (THANK YOU JESUS!!!)

I tell you about the snow so you understand how THRILLED my heart is to be heading to Florida in less than a week from this post!!!  WOO HOO!!!!!!  AS I type this I see that tomorrow it’s going to be in the 80’s there!!!  Oh my Michigan friends . . . . please don’t hate me!!!  ;  )

The reason I tell you this is because I’m heading down to speak at a CHRISTmas women’s event at Real Life Church in Clermont, Fla.  I can’t wait to serve these women on Dec. 1!!!  But getting ready for this event has been more difficult than I anticipated!!  Trying to decide what to wear to a Women’s Christmas event on Dec. 1 in 80 degree weather is too much for this freezing Michigander to handle!!!!  I keep asking anyone that might be able to help me to know WHAT I SHOULD  WEAR?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I think I have that figured out . . . . . as least I sure hope I do!!!!

But in addition to that I have been using a dark brown and a navy blue eye shadow for years and it’s time to replace them.  I figured I would get the same colors and be done!!  After all . . . . . HOW HARD CAN THIS BE?!?!?!?!?!

I go walking into the mall, arm in arm with my man ~ (yes, I thought taking him along was a good idea, because how long could this really take?!?!?!)  I had a recommendation from someone about a certain eye shadow that she loves, so I went searching for it.  I started at Macy’s, nope.  The gal there sent me towards JC Penny’s, nope, not there either.  Leave Penny’s let’s try Bare Minerals.  The woman there didn’t want to HELP me . . . . she wanted to SELL me stuff!!  Back to Macy’s to see Rachel . . . . we are now friends!  Rachel says I have to go INTO JC Penny’s.  Off to Penny’s to try again.

If you are anything like me I hope you can sense the frustration and the impending MELTDOWN that is coming!!!!  This shouldn’t have been this hard!!  But I felt like I was trying to find a needle in a haystack!!  Evidently I was looking for a MIRACLE!!!!!

I have to be honest.  This hunt was not pretty!!!  I felt in over my head on a topic I felt totally intimidated by!!!!  With each stop at a makeup counter I felt like I had to re-explain what I was looking for, without sounding too pathetic!!!  I had NO IDEA what I was really looking for!!!  And since I didn’t know what I was really looking for I felt like no one could help me find it!!!!

Beauty . . . . . the quest for it can be so hard and complex!!!!  It can be so daunting as we try to find the perfect item that will make us look less like what we see in the mirror and more like the woman we are LONGING TO BE!!!!!!!!  The woman Jesus sees me to be.  So much of the struggle lies in the fact that I can’t see past my own faults, failures and foibles to see they beautiful and amazing woman that I truly am!!!!

We are told that we are made NEW in Christ!!!  The old has passed away and the new has come!!!  In Christ I am a NEW and BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING CREATION!!!!!!!

Someone needs to tell that woman in the mirror that she has been replaced by someone SO MUCH MORE AMAZING than who she believes herself to be!!!  She needs to realize that Jesus has come to RENEW HER . . . . REBUILD HER . . . . RESTORE HER . . . . . .REDEEM HER!!!!!!  Someone needs to tell this woman in the mirror how LOVED AND BEAUTIFUL SHE REALLY IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Earlier this week I sat next to a friend of mine that does not have long for this world.  Each day is an unexpected and precious gift to her family.  She is dying from cancer and is so very close to being swept up into the waiting arms of Jesus!!  When I sat next to her the first words out of my mouth were, “You look GREAT!!”  Looking back, who says that to a dying woman?  I know, it sounds crazy, but she really did look great!!!  But in reality she looked more than great . . . . she looked BEAUTIFUL and RADIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As I think back to that night I smile as I picture her with her bald head rapped in a scarf, eyebrows painted on, her smile sweet on her lips!!  I’m here to tell you that woman was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!  Tears as I think of her pure beauty!!!!  From the inside out!!!!!!

Oh girls . . . . how do we define beauty?!?!?!?!  Pretty sure it’s not at the makeup counter at the mall!!!  Pretty sure it’s not trivial words spoken from men!!  Pretty sure it’s not found on the clothes rack!!!!!!  Pretty sure it’s not found in the next diet book!!!!

Beauty . . . . . .

Our beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as our hair, jewelry, clothes, but it should be an UNFADING BEAUTY from our inner self . . . . this is where our truest beauty should come from!!  (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Yet some of us feel as though our lives are way too messy for beauty!!!  But Jesus promises us that from the mess of our ashes our beauty will arise!!!  Our past does not need to define us, we don’t need to get stuck there, but from our past is what Jesus uses to draw us to Him and draw out our beauty from the depths of our hearts!!!

So what does beauty look like in us . . . . . it’s begins with our minds and what we think on . . . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about these things.

Oh yes . . . . these are the things I want my mind, heart, and soul to dwell on!!  I want my beauty to come from the deepest part of my heart that is held tightly by Jesus!!!  Not a fleeting beauty . . . . . but a beauty that will LAST!!!!

So . . . . . . yes . . . . . I did find some new eye shadow.  But it doesn’t do anything to change the core of who I am or who I want to be.  But it did make me stop and think about my own beauty and listen to Jesus a bit more on this topic!

I hope you will take some time with Jesus today and ponder your own beauty.  Take some time to listen to what your sweet Jesus has to say to you about your own beauty, how He sees you and what He has to say to you!!  I’m thinking you might just hear Psalm 45:11 come from His heart to yours!!!

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Packing for the Trail

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Well here I am, my second snow day.  Some may call me spoiled . . . . I call me BLESSED!!!!  =  )  And LAVISHLY LOVED BY GOD!!!!!  =  )

This has been some great time off!!  Today not only was it a day off, but we also had no power.  God has a way of getting our attention when He wants it.  So I stayed tucked in bed . . . . .. yes, it was those fleece sheets again!!  (see yesterday’s post for more on the sheets)  I just curled in to the heart of God and listened to Him urging me forward in my journey.  I was surprised by the stubbornness that He was met with!!

I don’t want to press forward!!  It’s too hard!!  Too scary!!  Requires more sacrifice, discipline, strength and resolve than I have!!  It’s too far to the other side!!  I’ll never make it to where you are calling me to go!!  Lord, I have lost my “want to” and I don’t think I want to go anymore!!

OH MY!!!!!  When I type that all out I feel SO SILLY!!!!  Not only do I KNOW BETTER . . . . . but I AM BETTER!!!  Not in my own strength . . . . BUT BECAUSE OF JESUS!!!!!

So . . . . today I started with this prayer . . . . Lord, CHANGE MY WANT TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a good dose of Bible, prayer and time with Jesus I have found my feet to be on the path to where He is calling me to!!!

So what the path to following Jesus look like . . . . death to self, life in Christ . . . . sacrifice . . . . listening and obediently following . . . . . remembering WHERE I came from . . . . remembering WHERE I am going to . . . . . remembering WHAT HE CALLS ME TO DO ON THIS JOURNEY!!!!!!!

2 Cor. 4:1, 16 urge me to NOT LOSE HEART on this journey that can be tough!!!!  But forward with Christ is the direction I LONG TO GO!!!!!!!!!

So here are the things I am packing with me for the trail . . . .

1)  Memory Verses . . . . each week I’ll add some more to my heart

2)  Intentional Weekly Plan . . . . . I have to listen to God for instructions along the way and WRITE THEM DOWN

3)  Daily Celebrations . . . . . I’m going to note where I am successful EACH DAY . . . . celebrate obedience

4)  Journal Daily . . . . not just a record of events, but the journey of my heart

5)  Prayers!!!

I know this would be a GREAT POST for Jan. 1 . . . . but I can’t wait that long to get going!!!  How about you?!?!?  Can you wait until then to start your journey that God is calling you to . . . . or do you need to start packing your bag today and get moving?!?!?!?!  If you’re on the trail, let me know!!!!  We are all going to the same place . . . . THE HEART OF GOD!!!!!!!  We may have different views of the same road, but we are all on the road!!!!

I would LOVE to hear about YOUR JOURNEY!!!!  Comment below and keep me posted as I keep you posted on my journey with Jesus as well!!!  WELCOME ABOARD!!!!!Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.48.33 PM

Come and Play Simon Says . . . . . sort of

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Today was an AMAZING DAY for me!!  It started with that fabulous phone call in the dark of morning thwinter picat announces to my waiting heart that today is a SNOW DAY!!!!!

Let me tell you what this means to me . . . . . God has just given me the GIFT OF TIME!!!!!!!

THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!!

I have ALWAYS SAID that TIME is my most precious commodity!!  I can earn more money, but I can’t earn more time.  But today, the challenge set before me . . . . . . what was I going to do with my time?!?!?!

As I lay curled up in my fleece sheets – yes, you read that right, I have fleece sheets!!  It’s like sleeping inside of a cozy sweatshirt every winters night!!)

Oh how quickly I digress . . . . . . those fleece sheets do that to me every time!!!!!

Back to my phone call . . . . I then began to ask God what HE wanted me to do today . . . . and then I drifted off to sleep!!!  I always think I’ll get up early and make the most of my day off, but sleep won out again this morning!!!!

Once my eyes peeked back open I began my request to God again . . . . what did HE want for me today.  I was surprised at His response!!!  What I expected to hear was a list of all these spiritual things that I should be doing!!!  You know like reading the whole Old Testament, memorizing the book of Psalms, praying for all my family, friends and the entire unsaved world by name, fast all day and if possible put on some sack cloth and ashes for good holy measure!!  (good thing I have a fire place)  I was ready for whatever He was going to ask of me today!!  I was already thinking ahead to how I would outline my day with all these spiritual activities I would no doubt be doing . . . . . . but I listened . . . . . and there was His still, small voice in my heart . . . .

Lean into Me.

I re-listened because it had to be more than that!!  And sure enough . . . . there was more . . . . .

Lean into Me, moment by moment, step by step today.  Don’t get ahead of me.  ASK ME ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!!!!  Don’t make one single choice before you ASK ME FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!

So basically today was going to be like a game of Simon Says and God is Simon.  I get that!!!  How hard can that be?!?!?!?!?!

GAME ON!!!!!!!!!

So here I am in the afternoon of my snow day and I realize as you are reading this you are laughing at how naive I can be at times!!!!!  Yes, I have realized very quickly that this version of Simon Says is much harder than I anticipated!!!!  This was a very hard request placed before me!!  I am working my hardest at this, but asking Him about every little detail is not my usual routine.  I usually take care of the softball decisions and let God handle the bigger stuff.  Today I am getting the fuller picture of what it looks like to NOT MAKE ONE SINGLE MOVE WITHOUT ASKING HIM FIRST!!!!!

Breakfast . . . . what to wear . . . . what to do next . . . . . what chores should I do (I was excited when He nixed doing dishes)  . . . . what blanket to grab . . . . . lunch . . . . . . where to sit . . . . . what to do next . . . . . what to do about my headache . . . . . . . do I write today, if so, what to write about today . . . . . .

I haven’t been 100% on the mark listening today, that’s for sure!! I don’t think I’m even close to that, but my heart is understanding more than ever what it looks like to WALK WITH JESUS, MOMENT BY MOMENT!!!!!!!!  NO DECISION IS MINE TO MAKE!!!!!!!!!!!  THIS IS NOT MY LIFE . . . . . I AM DEAD TO CHRIST, HE IS ALIVE IN ME, SO I MIGHT AS WELL LET HIM MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!

Walking with God, step by step, takes practice, skill and DEATH to our own wants, wishes and desires!!!  But today has been sprinkled with some very delightful times that I would’ve missed if I weren’t listening to His voice!!!!

We have all played Simon Says, and we knew the rules, we didn’t make a move until Simon said we could.  Girls, welcome to the new version of Simon Says . . . . . the rules are the same, and God gets to be Simon every time!!!!!!  So starting NOW . . . ask God what HE WANTS YOU TO DO NEXT . . . . . listen to what God says . . . . . . .  do it . . . without hesitation. . . . . .

And the winner of this game is . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh, you know the answer to that!!!  ;  )

Enjoy the rest of your day!!!  I’m off to see what God wants me to do next . . . . . .