Posts Tagged With: beautiful

Who am I Living to Please?

Word of the Day: Acts 7:1-9:22

So, I had a whole other post half-heartedly written in my head and when I started writing it down and it just didn’t feel right.  I put down my pen, picked up my Bible and said through tears,  “LORD, what is Your message for ME today?”
I have spent so much time taking down and delivering messages for other people lately. And right now I’m the one hurting.  Much more than I expected I would.  My Grandpa just died yesterday and it’s hitting me with more force than I expected.  Every little thing seems to bring me to tears right now. And the people asking me, “how are you doing?” is annoying me. They may not intend it, but they all seem to be asking me if I’m staying strong and holding it all together.  Well, I guess the answer is, “no I’m not”. But really, should I be?  Should I be holding the sadness in so that it can swallow me whole later? Should I stay strong so that others aren’t made uncomfortable?
For so long I’ve lived my life for others, for their pleasure and satisfaction. Why? What good does that do me? And even though I’ve tried living for Christ (in the way others told me I should) that didn’t seem to ever work out either. So I wonder if perhaps I should start living for me instead. Start living to please His Holy Spirit inside me so that when I stand in heaven and look back on my life I can say I loved me. So that I can say I loved seeing Him in me coming out in ways I never expected or could have hoped.
This morning when I asked God what His message for ME was today He pointed to Acts 7:20 “Beautiful in God’s sight”.
Today, right now, when I’m trying so hard to write and be faithful and do His will.  Right now when I’m stinky and frumpy with my trusty Purdue sweatshirt from college, yoga pants,  crazy hair, no make up and even unbrushed teeth. Right now when I’m broken to bits and hurting and weeping constantly. That’s when I am truly beautiful in His sight. When I’m leaning on Him with everything I have because I recognize how weak I really am, how desperately I need His help because I simply can’t do this on my own. That is when I’m the most beautiful to Him.

image

(He made me take and post this picture)

Ok, I shared mine, what was your personal message from God through His Word today? If you’re brave enough, take a picture of your beautiful self and share it with us!

Categories: 365 Life, Acts, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Beauty

1 Kings 3:16 – 6:38

Word of the Day: “And the king said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.’ Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, ‘Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.’ But the other said, ‘He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.’ Then the king answered and said, ‘Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is the mother.'” 1 Kings 3:25-27

The day was dreary and dismal as the rain pelted the roof reminding me that I had to go out. I had to go to the bank, and the water office and the post office, in this… blech! Little did I know what beauty awaited me, in this, the dreary and dismal. I pulled up the collar on my coat, took a deep breath and plunged into the cold wet day; freezing rain is no fun. What happened to the sun? It feels like years since we’ve seen it and played in its warm rays. Summer, are you ever coming back?

I get into the car to see the windshield covered in ice and breathe a prayer, “Lord, please don’t make me go out in that rain any more than I have to. Please let this ice come off with the wipers. Please.” One, two, three, click, YES! “THANK YOU JESUS!” The engine purrs as it pulls out of the muddy driveway and into the slush-filled street, here we go… blech! The song on the radio calls my attention, wasn’t this the song that I had stuck in my head all morning? Interesting Lord. They sing to me, “I know you’re out there, and I know you care, just like an angel watching over me…” and I wonder, really? Sometimes it’s hard to feel like God cares about me when it feels like everything around me is going wrong. Hmmm… maybe the weather just has me in a bad mood, I know God cares…right?

As I pull into the bank parking lot I thank God for the closest parking spot being open, “Thank You Jesus!” Running on my tiptoes so that the back hems of my pants don’t get too wet I yank on the door and sigh, we’re here…again. I was just here yesterday, for the exact same errand, a cashier’s check for the mortgage… But I forgot all the paperwork and didn’t have any amounts, sooooo because it was ten minutes to closing time I had to leave empty handed and come back in this…blech. I walked up to the same teller as yesterday and smiled, “Let’s try this again shall we?” She grinned in recognition. While I was waiting for her to fill out all the appropriate paperwork I got started filling out my check for the water office and putting our return address on the envelope for the post office, might as well make the most of my time while I’m waiting, right? All finished I bid the teller, “Have a good day, and stay dry!” as I breathed deeply in preparation of the blast of cold air that was bound to greet me when I opened the door. It did, it was even stronger than when I had gone in. Leaning my hat into the wind I slid myself back into the driver’s seat of my car, grateful for the break in the wind allowing me to breathe again.

And then it happened, as I rounded the side of the building on my way out of the parking lot I saw it. My shoulders drooped as my photographer’s heart quickened. A frozen fence with fingers of ice dripping down… how much was this picture, this child of my heart, worth to me? My thoughts raced in disagreement, “I have two more places to go before home, I’ll get soaked, AND it’s freezing out there!” But my photographer’s heart would not be denied that perfect “babe” of a picture. So while my skin and brain were ranting, my hands shifted the car into reverse to pull into the nearest parking spot.

Five minutes and completely frozen fingers later, I re-entered the warmth of my dry car, sopping wet coat sticking to the back of the seat. I had it, that one great shot that takes several bad shots to get to; I had it! But what’s more, I had something else. To put a name on it, is difficult. Maybe the more I write the better I can explain it, but I didn’t get into that car with only a great picture, I had something else in tow too. Salvation.

Photography is a therapy for me, there’s something healing in the capturing of beauty in unexpected places. When I left my warm cozy spot on the couch (curled up in a blanket with the dog and my Bible) and ventured out into this dreary mess of a day, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted with beauty. I was going to the bank, and to pay bills! Yet Beauty found me all the same, and she called to me from a frozen fence in the rain. Was I willing to sacrifice the dry safety of my warm car to capture her? Was I willing to put my comfort on the line to take her home with me and share her with all of you? Honestly, not at first! But those desires that God plants in our hearts, they can’t be denied. They can’t be rebuffed forever. What God plants, God tends. Like the good shepherd that He is, He cares for His sheep…even when it doesn’t seem like He is. I know He’s out there, and I know that He cares. He is watching over me, and He’s watching over you.

The delight of taking that one good picture put a smile on my face that lasted all the way through the rest of my rainy day errands and on to home; where I came straight to my computer to look at it again, and it took my breath away.

There really is Beauty in the blech.

 

Categories: 1 Kings, 365 Life, Waiting, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 12: Proof

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you, on the day that you were created they were prepared. Ezekiel 28:13

One morning God gave me the following vision of a jewelry store.  As I walked into the store the first thing I saw out on display was some costume jewelry.  Out.  Where anyone could look at it, touch it, or take it if, and whenever they wanted.  This jewelry was not special, it was not expensive and it was definitely not something you would hand down to your children.  This jewelry was not valuable.  It would be pretty at first, nice to look at, but it would tarnish quickly, and could easily be replaced or thrown away.

As I continued into the store I came to some nicer jewelry.  This kind of jewelry took up the majority of the store.  It was still on display where anyone could see it, however, it was locked in a glass case where you had to ask permission from the jeweler to open the case and take the jewelry out before you could touch it.  This jewelry was nicer and more expensive than the costume jewelry, however, pretty much anyone who walked into the store could ask to touch it and be granted permission.  ANYONE could come and look.  And stealing it would take a minimal amount of effort.

Finally I came to the priceless jewels; 4+ carat diamonds, huge and rare rubies and sapphires, and heirloom collector’s items.  THESE were NOT on display.  These priceless jewels were hidden, locked up in a safe with a combination that only the “high up” jewelers knew and only the special customers, that had enough money and intent, could see them let alone touch or buy them.  These items were SO special that they were NEVER advertised, they were never on display, they were a secret, because they were so precious.

Ladies, WE are that jewelry; our bodies.  The way that we see ourselves and treat ourselves are the different levels of jewelry and display.  How do you view yourself?  Do you see yourself as the costume jewelry, cheap and disposable?  Nice to look at but after a little while the niceness rubs off.  Or, do you see yourself as the nicer jewelry?  More expensive, the men have to ask permission to touch, but anyone can still look, because hey, you’re nice to look at?  Or are you the priceless jewelry?  Locked, hidden in a safe for the one and ONLY person who’s shown enough interest to have you and the ability to take good care of you.  *Sniff*  As I was just typing that, God said to me “I see them as the priceless jewelry, even if that’s not how they see themselves.”  *Sniff*  You.  Are.  So.  Beautiful to Him! You are priceless, covered in priceless jewels set with gold!  YOU!  He is talking to YOU!  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  Start believing it for goodness sake!

For the longest time, as far back as I can remember anyway, I saw myself as the jewelry on display, not the costume jewelry, but not the priceless jewelry either.  I’ve always been petite and for the most part relatively skinny and not too bad to look at if I say so myself.  When my breasts started developing I, of course, wanted to show them off to the boys.  I wore revealing clothing, not too revealing my parents wouldn’t let me, but once I was out of the house… well that was a different story.  I was trying to attract the boys’ attention with my body, because honestly, it worked and I didn’t know any better way.  I enjoyed their looks, they made me feel good and worth looking at.  When I got married my necklines somehow dropped even lower than they were before!  And even if the necklines weren’t low, they were loose so if I bent over to care for one of my children I was showing the goods off to anyone with eyes!  Oh how God has opened my eyes to the folly of my ways.  My body belongs to my husband and my husband alone!  My breasts are for HIS eyes only.  Before, when they were on “display” for everyone to see – not all of them mind you, but the cleavage and fleshy parts – they weren’t specifically for Christian’s eyes only.  However, since God has led me to change my dressing habits and to cover things up more, my breasts are for my husband alone.  Making them more special and “entertaining” for him.  Think about it, when you know that your husband ONLY has eyes for you, how does that make you feel – pretty special and important right?  Now put the shoe on the other foot, when your husband knows that your body is ONLY for his eyes and enjoyment, how do you think that would make him feel?

Do you know what the verse BEFORE our opening verse says?  …You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Ezekiel 28:12b)  WOW!  In the Garden of Eden, they were naked.  And this verse is telling us that while in the garden and still naked they were PERFECT in beauty.  The next verse tells us that not only were they perfect in beauty; every precious stone covered their bodies.  In our natural state, naked, our bodies are perfect.  Period.

God created you just the way that you are.  I think Dawn McConnell said it best in “God’s Plan for Married Sex” when she said,

“He chose your legs, your thighs, your dress size, eye color, hair type.  You didn’t make you, God did.”6 We should be comfortable in what we look like and who we are as God created us, women.  Have you noticed that subdivisions these days don’t have straight roads anymore?  Do you know why that is?  Curves are more pleasing to the eye than straight lines.  One of the main characteristics of the woman’s body – is curves!

OK, I have a challenge for you today.  It is something that you will probably read this and say “No way am I doing that!”  But, that’s why I’m challenging you.  I’m double dog daring you to do this!  Write down on a note card: Psalm 139:14 Take it into your bathroom and stand in front of your mirror, full length if you’ve got one.  Then start at the top of your head with your hair, and work your way down to your toes.  Study your body and as you study it say to God “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful and I know that full well.”  Then, I triple dog dare you to do the exact same thing naked!  The effect is amazing, believe me!  Through God’s amazing love and this exercise, (which I learned from Lorraine Pintus and her amazing book Intimate Issues) I am in love with my body just the way that it is.  I love the silver in my hair, because it’s proof of how I’m getting to grow older with my husband, who is already blissfully bald.  I love the lines on my face, because they’re proof of years full of laughter and smiles.  I love the way that my breasts sag, because it’s proof of all the time that I spent holding and nursing my infants, watching them grow and bonding with them.  And I love the fact that my husband still loves my breasts and is still obsessed with them, I’m sure you can relate!  I love the “pooch” of my belly and the gigantic scar under it, because they’re my Mommy badge of honor!  I was blessed beyond measure to carry not one, but TWO babies in that belly, and some women never get to do that.  My hands, oh my hands!  The things that they’ve done!  Both good and bad, but either way, it’s been my hands that have done it all from comforting my children, to writing this book, to pleasing my husband.  I love my legs and feet, and the fact that they have taken me everywhere I have ever gone.  My body is amazing and full of “proofs” of a life filled with happiness, hard times and mistakes that I’ve survived and God has turned into “glittering rainbows”.

Just like the leaves that God paints in the fall of their lives, full of new color and light, we too grow old beautifully (no matter what those pesky commercials tell us).  Our lives can be full of light and color, but we have to allow “THE light” to shine through us like the opals, the jewels, that we really are.

Christian’s comments:

Yup, God only made so many perfect heads, the rest he covered with hair. I was in college when I first started losing my hair. I would wear a hat all the time and try to hide it. When my forehead started getting further back, I started cutting my hair shorter and shorter. Then, on my thirtieth birthday, I shaved it with a razor for the first time. Tamar really liked it, and I never went back. I have embraced my baldness (my flaw) and it is now a part of me.

How many of you husbands were like me? In jr. high and high school, how many of you chased after the costume jewelry? Go ahead, raise your hands. No one is looking. When my hormones were raging, I went after a LOT of girls that fit into the costume jewelry category. Most of them would have “the goods” on display for anyone to see. I would chase after them because I was only after one thing and they seemed to be the easiest way to get it.

Luckily, God had other plans for me. Most of the girls wouldn’t even go out with me. I wasn’t enough of a “sure thing”. Whenever one would go out with me, we could never seem to hook up, no matter how hard I tried.
As I grew older, I started dating girls that fit in the nice jewelry category. And, surprise surprise, the relationships lasted longer and were more enjoyable. There was less pressure. I didn’t have to worry about the girls dumping me for more of a “sure thing”.

At last, halfway through my senior year, I found my priceless jewelry.  My Tamar.  Husbands don’t become distracted by the costume jewelry that you see day-to-day. Don’t even give it a second glance. Instead, concentrate on the priceless jewelry you already have.

On a side note: Husbands and wives please pay attention to what your daughters are wearing out in public. Seems like everywhere I go I see young girls wearing skimpy tank tops and short shorts. They are barely wearing more than bathing suits. And don’t get me started on those! Please teach them some modesty. They don’t seem to understand the attention they are getting from wearing the skimpy clothes is not the attention they want. They aren’t just attracting the attention of the boys their age, but from dangerous people who really want to do them harm. Please help your daughters to not become pieces of costume jewelry. Please teach them to respect themselves. Help them to see that they are priceless jewels.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 10: Finished

Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: Forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty.  Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.  … The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold. Psalm 45:10, 11 & 13

I think that it is just in womanly nature to want to be seen as beautiful.  Don’t you think?  Ahhhhh, but to be seen as “all glorious within”, now THAT’S beauty!  A beauty that makes the KING desire us.  You see, Jesus sees us, sinful and broken, and beautiful just the way that we are.

The other day my 3-year old daughter was quiet, a little too quiet if you know what I mean.  When I found her, she was covered from head to toe in marker and was so proud of herself.  As I was cleaning her off I told her “Honey, God made your skin beautiful just the way it is.  It doesn’t need any decoration.”  As soon as the words were out of my mouth it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and put it all into perspective for me.  When God sees me putting on my make-up and nail polish He sees His daughter coloring on herself with “markers”.  I realized that a lot of times we see our bodies as a blank canvas.  But God sees them as a finished masterpiece, a true work of art; worthy of protecting and cherishing, with no need of further ornamentation.

Pascal once said “Man is so made that if he is told often enough that he is a fool he believes it.”4 As women, when we are told a hundred times a day by our commercials, that we’re not young enough: “here THIS makeup will make those wrinkles disappear”.  We’re not skinny enough: “buy this weight loss program and shed those holiday pounds”.  We’re not pretty enough: “buy this hair color – you’re worth it”.  All day long we hear the ways that we’re not enough this or enough that.  After awhile we start to believe it!  Then, when our husband comes home and tells us he’d like to have sex, we don’t feel good about ourselves and IF they’re lucky enough to get lucky, many times it’ll be with the lights off.  We have got to GET OVER IT!  We’ve got to stop listening to the advertisements and start listening to our husbands!  Listen to GOD!  Our real beauty lies in how HE sees us anyway.

For example: One weekend, while camping in Brown County State Park in Indiana I had been continually amazed by the scenic vistas.  All weekend long I desperately wanted to see a spectacular sunset that would color and tint the whole sky above an endless span of tree tops, rolling hills and valleys filled with trees while comfortably seated next to my wonderful husband.  *Romantic sigh*  It would’ve been amazing.  But, alas, the whole weekend I did not get to see that sunset.  However, as we were driving home on Sunday evening the sun began to set, and as it did the sky began to light with bright reds and blues and the clouds turned purple.  It was magnificent!  And although it wasn’t as impressive over the Indy skyline as it would have been over one of those vistas, I WAS sitting next to my wonderful husband watching the sunset after a great weekend together.  And then the beauty of it all hit me.  God still gave me my sunset!  And then I heard His voice, the one I love so much.  “I think YOU, Beloved, are more beautiful than anything you’ve seen this weekend.”  I, of course, started crying.  MORE beautiful than the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen?  Me?  “Yes my Beloved, you all are; My precious creations.”  Tears welled up in my eyes and a sob choked in my throat as I stared over my husband’s shoulder into the beautiful purple and blue fading sunset.  “Wow!  More beautiful than that?”  What better words can a very self-conscious woman hear than, “more beautiful than the most beautiful landscape or sunset you’ve ever seen!”  And YOU ARE too!  You are THE most beautiful piece in God’s creation collection.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10 Paul writes about his struggles and imperfections, so to speak.  Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me – to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul sums it up perfectly doesn’t he?  It is through our weaknesses that God’s power is perfected!  Our strengths are our strengths and we very easily get caught giving ourselves credit for them.  But our weakness, now that’s a different story isn’t it!  It is through our weaknesses that God’s power working through us is the MOST evident!  Think about it, God chose a man with a stammer to be His spokesperson to all of Israel during the Exodus!  He chose a regular old girl to be the mother of Jesus Himself!  There was nothing impressive or special about her, she wasn’t even rich or anything!  The only thing it really says about Mary is that she was “Highly favored” by God and willing to be used by Him.  God takes ordinary people and does extraordinary things with them, through their weaknesses and willingness!

God is not all tied up about how perfect we already are, what He cares about the most is our imperfections, and how He can redeem them.  Take an opal for example.  I’ve always enjoyed the way that the rainbow sparkles through them; and I was amazed at what I found when I researched them a bit.  Opals are mainly made from silica, which is round in form.  As an opal is created over hundreds of years the little silica balls line up next to each other.  Since they’re round they can’t line up perfectly which creates gaps or “imperfections” between them.  When the light shines through these imperfections it creates that “fire”, or rainbow sparkle, in the opals like a prism.  The red color in an opal is created by the light reflecting through the largest imperfections in the silica formations. The funny thing is, the more red there is in an opal the more it is worth.  So in other words, the way opals are valued is by their imperfections rather than their perfection.  You see, to God, our value lies in our imperfections because it’s through our imperfection that His light shines through us and glitters like a rainbow!  Those things in our lives that the devil meant for harm, God rejoices over us when we repent of them and then uses them for His good purposes!  God works in you, and in doing so He makes you shine and glitter like the priceless jewel that you are; His most precious family jewel, His work of heart.

Christian’s comments:

Your wife is beautiful! I wouldn’t know personally, but if she wasn’t beautiful to you, I’m guessing you wouldn’t have married her.

Husbands, look at your wife. Go ahead, look away from this screen for a minute and look at her. I look at mine all the time. Look at her “imperfections”. They are what make her unique. Think back to Tamar’s example of the opal; the bigger the “imperfections”, the more valuable the stone. Another example is coins. If a coin is stamped incorrectly, its “imperfection” makes it more valuable.

You guys need to tell your wives that they are beautiful. Let them know that they are the beautiful jewels that they are. Tamar doesn’t wear makeup anymore. I think she is more beautiful without it and make it a point to tell her so every chance I get. You guys need to do the same (not my wife, but yours). Do it when she is at her most vulnerable, when she’s naked. It is when she’s naked, that all of her “imperfections” are on display. That’s when she needs to hear that you think she is “perfect”.

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , ,

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