Saturday, August 18, 2018

Real Beauty in Marriage

The world tells us that beauty is defined by the way a woman looks and by the way she presents herself. If a woman shows enough skin or dresses a certain way, then she is perceived as “sexy” according to the worlds standard of beauty. Girls, let me tell you something, YOUR BODY IS NOT FOR THIS WORLD TO DEFINE! Your body was designed by God to be precious, pure and the temple of God to be loved, valued and treasured by you and your husband. Brad has ALWAYS told me that confidence is sexy, not what I am wearing or how much skin I choose to reveal to the world. You see, it is NOT the worlds approval I should be looking to gain. I should not be getting dressed thinking, “Will others think I look good?” “Do I look like the Pinterest model I posted wearing this?” The problem is, we as women have lost our own confidence in beauty because we are aiming to fit the standards of this world. We are aiming for a beauty that DOES NOT EXIST!

            I am THE WORSTsigh… I literally beat myself up almost daily with a lack of confidence in myself because I feel as though I JUST CAN’T KEEP UP. I often feel like age has approached me at warp speed and taken over my body like a magnet attracting every virus and bad thing out there and zapping it straight into my body. The last year I feel as though I have been on an uphill battle with my health and yet I am not getting anywhere. My insecurities and confidence has taken a beating to say the least. I beat myself up that everything I have gone through has aged me drastically and now I battle wrinkles, lines, dark circles; REALLY, just name it!

            However, I struggle when my husband tells me I am beautiful or pretty. I don’t see it, how can he? The problem is we live in a world that tells us what beauty should be, what marriage should be. We live in a world that has lost value on what is real and what is not.

            The truth is: Marriage is not always pretty. It is not always beautiful. In fact, its messy, hard, challenging and beautiful all wrapped into one. There are really great days and really bad days. There are days when I do not like him and there I days when I know he does not like me. Marriage is about CHOOSING one another in a world that says you can find something better when life gets hard. Marriage is about love, partnership, forgiveness, grace, AND…the ability to pursue God TOGETHER! I think that is my favorite part. I have never said that Brad is my soul mate. He does NOT complete me. The problem with asking a spouse to complete you, is that we place that person above God and then they become an idol. If I put Brad above God and place him as that person in my life, then I am setting him up for failure EVERY SINGLE DAY! NO one can complete me except for GOD!  I had to learn this early on in our marriage. I loved Brad so much that I did place him and my love for him above God. I had to learn that I could not look to another human, especially my husband to find my value and worth, I had to find that in Jesus Christ alone. Once I did that, I realized that my husband did not complete me, but yet he complemented me. Together we were better. We were able to Pursue each other and Christ together with encouragement, love and forgiveness.

            You see, Brad calls me Beautiful. He calls me pretty. He calls me his because we choose to say, “I still do” and fight for a love that’s worth fighting for. He loves me at my worst and forgives me when I am unforgivable. He accepts me for me. You see, Brad is a daily example to me of God’s love, grace and mercy to me every day. God accepts me when I feel unworthy. He loves me when I am unlovable. He calls me Beautiful, and He calls me His! I am a MASTERPIECE; created, designed and DEFINED by HIM…not of this world!
       So, girls; when you feel like the world is telling you you are not pretty enough, good enough and will never measure up... REMEMBER...Silence the lies of world. Do not let the World define you. You ARE a masterpiece, created to be loved and valued and SO much more than an object because of the way you look and/or dress. Stop comparing yourself to the worlds vision of what beauty SHOULD be. Look in the mirror and see the reflection of who God designed you to to be and NOT the lies of an imperfect world. Social media will show you the fairy tale life of the perfect body, perfect skin, perfect family and perfect everything you think you want. The problem is; perfect doesn't exist here on earth. Behind every filter, perfect picture and flawless imagine is a REAL person with REAL insecurities JUST LIKE YOU! God did not call us to be like the world, He called us to be different. Be the change. Be the reflection of beauty this world NEEDS to see. Be the light in the darkness. Be imperfectly perfect in His image. Be you! 

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Fear is a LIAR

Fear is a Liar
            I could see the two lines slowly begin to appear. My heart was racing and my stomach had knots. The two lines became darker and darker and fear overtook my entire body. I was terrified of being pregnant. Scared really. You see, grief has a funny way of seeping fear into your life. I had wanted another baby so desperately and yet I knew all too well the grief and hurt of desperation. After Bethany had died, I went through 3 more of those pregnancy moments. Three more times that I had to feel the moment of thinking that just maybe this would be the time, and yet I could never let myself be excited because fear overtook my entire soul.  I lived so deep in fear that if my children were not in my sight or my husband was ever late from work, I had full blown anxiety attacks. My heart ached and my soul longed to find peace. I desperately wanted to be set from the prison I had found myself chained to, but I had no clue how to live in freedom. Fear had encapsulated every insecurity and doubt I had ever had.

The truth was, fear had held me captive from the inside out to many times to count.

At times, fear has shaken my ability to be a good wife, mother and even teacher. It has kept me from building relationships or creating friendships for the fear of not being good enough for who I am. It has left me alone, shaken and broken with no hope.

The problem with fear is that fear is a liar. Without the armor of God, Satan will literally paralyze us from the inside out.  God did not give us a spirit of fear; fear is not of the Lord. Fear is a choice that we allow to seep into our very core and control every thought and breath until we are gasping for air to be set free.

Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

So often I let the words of this world scream louder than the whisper of His voice on my Heart. I have to choose to listen to what is true and real and cast my fear, doubt and anxieties on Him. I have to tell myself, and let myself hear His voice whisper that, I AM enough. I AM good enough and HE overcame this world so I did not have too.

I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”

Jesus Christ IS that perfect love. 9 years later after Bethany’s death, my grief no longer consumes me. I no longer live in fear like I once did. I never had another baby after Bethany and yet God turned my anger and fear into peace and Joy. It was His love that pulled me from my darkness and taught me to be content where I was in my life.  God had to show me that my children were never mine to begin with, they were His. She was His. The three I lost after her were His. The three that I am so blessed to be a mother to everyday now, are His. Living in fear does not change that, and will not ever change His ultimate design or plan for their lives. I had to learn that I was wasting precious moments by letting my life be crippled by fear. Bethany gave me the most precious gift in the world. She taught me that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Today is a gift and God is in complete control of how many days we are given. There are moments I still struggle, but yet I remind myself that I can choose to live in fear or joy. I choose joy. Joy that I had her at all, and Joy that I have this life He has given me to serve others and point others to Him in ALL circumstances. When fear begins to seep into my soul, and my insecurities seem to big, I remind myself that fear...


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Always More

            Cars were backed up as far as I could see. Traffic was insane and I was beginning to question my own sanity for even coming out in this mess. Horns honking, people screaming and cars inching along as if we were not going anywhere at all.

I have never quite understood holiday traffic. I swear these people come out of hiding just during December. This same trip across town a month ago would have taken 30 minutes and yet it took almost 2 hours. THIS IS NUTS!

I felt as though I would inch 2 feet forward only to move nowhere at all. My nerves were shot, lines were long and I honestly believe people were losing their holiday spirit by coming out in this mess.

My mind began to race as I thought of my own life over the last year. It felt crazy similar to this Holiday traffic. This last year has been anything but easy. In fact, this year ranks up there as one of the hardest and most challenging years we have faced in a while.  

Much like the cars, I felt as though I had been inching along only to hit a million bumps in the road. I had lost my spirit, my joy and so much more this past year. I felt as though any curve ball that could be thrown our way had been a million times over.

I was defeated. Depressed. Alone. Exhausted. Helpless.

It would be so easy to look on this last year and allow those feeling to encompass my entire soul.  It was so easy at times to let people and life situations still my joy and distract me from what was real and what was important. I was so consumed with the burdens surrounding me that I allowed my circumstances to take over. At times I honestly began to feel helpless and alone in my own surroundings that I forgot that I was never truly alone, and my circumstances never defined me.

The truth is, this last year was a year of growth, learning and restoration. A year where I was wrapped in an unbelievable amount of grace at every turn and frustration. My faith and praise failed too many times too count and yet the grace of my Savior never did.

This has been a season of growth and reflection. A season where I have learned that every day may not be perfection, but yet it is imperfectly perfect because I get to live it. There have been too many challenges that have left me on my knees before the Lord, but they have left me stronger and more grateful than ever for this life I have with my children and husband.

I will NEVER forget this last year of my life. I will NEVER forget the trails, the burdens, the growth and all I have learned by learning to lean even MORE on my Lord and Savior.

This has been a season when I have realized that He is always with me, always there, and ALWAYS MORE than I can ask for or IMAGINE.

No matter what you are going through today, RIGHT now. NO burden is TOO big for Him. There is nothing that you can't take to the foot of the cross. You are NEVER alone, He is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than you can imagine. Seek Him, go to Him, Trust Him today! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
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