The World’s Beauty Versus You

This world won’t love you unless you are beautiful.

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This world won’t love you until you fit in size 2 jeans.

This world won’t love you until you have the designer purse and the hot boyfriend.

This world won’t love you until you are perfect.

“The truth is, you aren’t loved because you are beautiful, you are beautiful because you are loved.” (Ann Voskamp)

Looking at the world, you’d think beauty is a mix of plastic surgery, low cut, skin-tight dresses, and 7-inch high heels.You’d think beauty is putting your body on display for any eye to see.

You’d think that your beauty (and popularity) is measured by how many likes you got on that selfie on instagram.

Media will tell you if you are beautiful….as if it’s a contest. The truth is, you are beautiful because you are made in the image of the Father Himself.

When you dwell in the true and real love, you will be confidently secure. The world’s love will leave you feeling empty and lacking, reading yet another romance novel with a plot line of one-night stands and plastic surgery mishaps.

Look for the Love that paints the skies and leans in close and calls you:

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BELOVED. CHOSEN. WORTHY. BEAUTIFUL.

Listen and cling to the Love that never holds you to the world’s standards of beauty.

“Please hear me, Girl: The world has enough women who know how to do their hair. It needs women who know how to do hard and holy things.

The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.

The world has enough women who are trying to do it all — spending everything they’ve got to be found in the crowd. It needs more who are doing the only thing that is necessary — spending time at His feet, being found and known by Him.

Look at the bent woman ahead of us in the check-out, her gnarled and arthritic hand counting out the potatoes she’ll bake tonight for the old man leaning against the cart. That is the quietest reality that hushes all the media voices: We need more women who would rather be beautifully sacrificial than perfectly artificial.” (Ann Voskamp)

Go ahead. Stand tall against this world’s beauty stands. Know the Love that calls you beautiful and stand confident in the love you have received.

Beauty isn’t what you look like.

Beauty isn’t what size you wear.

You are beautiful because you are loved.

Don’t give up

Whatever it is you’re going through right now, please, don’t give up. 

Don’t give up on yourself.

& definitely don’t give up on God.


You may be in a dark season, but trust that Jesus is bringing the beautiful. He has things that He wants to teach you during your worst days. 

You may be exhausted of striving. I know, I’ve been there. You start to lose your passion and excitement for life because no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get anywhere. 


You might be tired. You might be a mess. You might be bored. You might feel like it’s all over. But God doesn’t feel that way.

He’s preparing you so He can show you the most beautiful things. 

He’s teaching you to lean on Him for your strength. 


He’s teaching you that every good things comes from Him and is a gift sent just for YOU. 

He’s teaching you that, without Him, you can do nothing. But with Him, nothing is impossible. 

He’s teaching you to bring your struggles to Him. He will relieve your burdens. Maybe He won’t take them away, but He will help you through them. 


Please believe it-the beautiful, the promised land, it’s coming. Just a few more days of darkness. Because of Jesus, you can make it through. 

Just don’t give up.

Be Gentle With Yourself

Completely unrelated picture, but ya’ll this Starbucks drink is the BOMB and its only $1. Does it get any better? Nope.

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Sometimes, we forgive others for things we don’t forgive ourselves for.

Extending to that other girl grace and patience and forgiveness while I hold myself to a standard I would never force anyone else to meet.

Unrealistic standards.

Cruel standards.

Be perfect, sit up straight, look perfect, talk quietly, don’t let them see the loud and messy. Say this, hold back the tears, make sure they think everything is okay.

We live through days of tension. Always on edge, waiting for the next moment where we have to prove that we are okay, and we are good enough.

We have our parents who accept us unconditionally and friends who tell us we’re beautiful. So why is there still that tugging on your heart? Telling you that you aren’t good enough? Telling you to not take that risk because it might put you in a position of vulnerability.

Don’t live like that .

That’s not where you were meant to live. Relinquish those chains that you bind yourself with. The devil wants to tie you up with intimidation. fear. uncertainty.

Our Lord wants to break you out of prison with grace and love.

Breathe in. Feel that? That beating heart? That’s a result of grace. So breathe it in as if you can’t live without it. Because you can’t. God extends bucket loads of grace for every moment, so grab it. Why would you hold yourself to a standard that doesn’t allow you the thing you need the most?

Maybe extending grace to yourself means unfollowing that person on instagram that makes you feel “less than.”

Maybe extending grace means quitting the comparison, and getting your joy back.

Maybe extending grace means giving yourself permission. Permission to be vulnerable and admit that you aren’t okay. Permission to say no. Permission to say yes.

Maybe extending grace means being gentle with yourself. Knowing that you are going to mess up, but that’s okay. Knowing that God’s grace can cover any mess up or failure. Knowing that God doesn’t expect you to be perfect, so you shouldn’t either.

 

It’s getting real. Part Two

the thoughts are just flowing so fast.

so I decided to continue on from my last post.

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we know what we are and aren’t supposed to do. be open with people. authentic. vulnerable. share our stories. don’t  judge others because we aren’t perfect either.

but what does that look like in a teenage girl’s life?

I think a big part of being real is not getting caught up in earthly things. money, popularity, drama.

I wrote a quote in my journal a long time ago, and I have no idea who wrote it (so if you wrote it please comment and I will give you due credit) but I think it is SUPER GOOD advice.

“Open your heart to the plight of orphans, the hungry, the persecuted, the enslaved, or even the hurt and need among your own peers, and drama won’t seduce you. The excitement of drama can’t hold a candle to the excitement of a cause, a calling. When we stack drama up against the epic story of the real world, we see it for what it really is: petty, idle, divisive, and worthless. Passion and adventure work like force fields against drama. Maturity is not boring or lesser-it is greater. If you want to catch the fire-you’ve got to get near the flame. Get excited. Get on a mission. Get in love.”

I feel like we as Americans often build our own lives, and they don’t depend on God. We have our passions in the wrong places. We have our nice cars, our nice houses, with our insurance if something bad would happen. We have good paying jobs, often in an air-conditioned office with comfy chairs to sit on all day long.

We feel safe.

But Christ didn’t call us to a life of plush chairs and safety.

Jesus Christ doesn’t fit in safe.

Over the past few weeks, my view of our Lord Jesus has completely changed. The story in Matthew 14 shows just how un-safe our Lord is.

After Jesus feeds the five thousand, He sends the disciples ahead of Him, while He goes to the mountainside to pray. That evening, He walks out on the lake to where the disciples are. and they all FREAK OUT.

“Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.'”

Peter then challenges Him and says, Lord, if it really is You, tell me to come out to You on the water. And Jesus just says one word. “Come.” That’s not very clear. He doesn’t tell Peter which side of the boat is safe to get out on. To wait until this wave passes before he tries to climb out. Just “Come.” Sometimes you have to be so crazy enough to follow Jesus even when it isn’t totally clear.

AND PETER GETS OUT OF THE BOAT AND WALKS ON THE WATER.

Peter had a brave-bold faith.

Even when he began to doubt when he looked down at the waves and the storm, he cried out to his Savior and Matthew 15:31 says, “Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” It’s in our low points and in our moments of doubt that we find ourselves holding the hand of our Savior. We just have to call out to Him.

Have you ever thought about the fact that we have no idea who else was in the boat? They weren’t brave enough to follow Jesus out into the storm. So they didn’t get to be in the story. I don’t know about you, but in the end, I’d like to be the one brave enough to be mentioned in the story.

You were born to be brave. We were meant to live out on the waves, not inside the little boat where it’s safe.

It’s out on the waves where we will find ourselves. Our God-sized dreams. That crazy-brave-bold life that Jesus is calling YOU to.

Just get out of the boat.

I don’t know what God is calling you to. Maybe it’s overseas missions. Maybe it’s being a missionary to your neighbor. But I do know that most times, you won’t feel like you are “good enough.” But because you stepped out of the boat, you are holding that hand of your Savior, and that makes you perfectly qualified.

I also know that you will have to be brave.

What crazy things are on the other side of your fear?

So being real in real life.

To me, that means meeting with friends and sharing your story, and listening to their stories. Pouring truth into their lives. Being real means finding your passion and pursuing it with your whole heart. Finding a cause. A mission. Maybe it means starting your own mission. It means being bold with your faith.

“You know all those things that you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.” (Lara Casey)

The most important parts of being real in real life though, are seeking your Lord daily, surrendering your whole heart, serving Him, and love Him more every day.

 

It’s getting real.

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“Self Protection: the self-centered commitment to act without courage, compassion, boldness, and tenderness for the sake of the other.”

“Self-protection is the intentional, though usually unconscious disposition that offers the other anything but the heart.

Self-protection can be dressed either in codependent maneuvering that lacks self-identity, freedom of choice and strength, or in counter-dependent distancing that alienates through self assertion, demanding control, or intimidation.

In either case, in extreme or subtle form, there is a failure to offer both a tender and a strong heart.” (from the book Bold Love, by Allender and Longman)

I do not want to be a woman who self-protects her heart. I want to be a woman who is authentic. Who is REAL to everyone she comes in contact with.

So right now, I’m gonna be super real, and share with you all something I wrote in a journal on a night that impacted my life.

“It’s gonna be hard, and it’s gonna hurt. Coming before God with all of my messiness. He is so HOLY, and I’m so…….me. Messy, controlling, self-conscious. I self-protect my heart instead of fully giving God room to come through for me and show Himself faithful in the hard times when I had to step out and be brave. He’s not going to let me down, because He is faithful.  But I have guilt. So much. But He covers that with love & grace. We sing about freedom, but do I feel free? Or do I feel bound by shame? What would it look like to be real? unedited? open? intimate?  I am messy. He is not. He is worthy. I am not. Jesus is willing to meet me in that messiness and show my His goodness. Am I…..Can I be willing to fully surrender & be open to Him? He wants to pick up the scattered pieces. He wants to break the chains and set me free.”

After I wrote this, I was super pumped to go out and be brave. be bold. be totally open with people and my Lord. and then I was like, wait, how do I actually do this?

I don’t know about you all, but I get super excited when I hear an inspirational message, and then that excitement dies down because I don’t know how to actually live it out in my own life. what exactly does it look like to have a heart that doesn’t self-protect? what does it look like to be brave?

To me, not self-protecting my heart means I’m going to mess up. Hundreds of times.

Let’s be honest, probably hourly.

Not self-protecting is going to take time. I’m going to have to start over. Because the only person who got it right every time was Jesus Christ. Being bold is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. I don’t want to pretend I have it all together and create this vision of perfection that other people are jealous of. Because on the inside, I’m probably falling apart. Christ doesn’t expect us to have it all together all the time. He just wants us to be honest. He wants us to reach out to others.

He wants us to talk about Him every. single. chance. we. get.

And sometimes, people might hate you for it. You won’t be everyone’s best friend. “Not everyone is going to love what you say, but it won’t matter when you are more focused on impacting people than impressing people. That’s what matters.” (Jordan Lee from “The Soul Scripts”)

We need to start meeting people where they are. People are often intimidated by someone who seems “perfect.” They won’t want to open up because they afraid they will get judged or looked down upon because they don’t have it all together.

You will do your best impacting when you share your story and your hurts and your struggles. When you strive for purpose and not perfection.

So can we start a revolution? Of being real? Being non-perfect? Being bold with our struggles and stories and how Christ has changed us? Yes? okay cool.

So be bold. Be brave. Share your story. Start impacting people for Christ.

goodnight loves.

 

summer bucket list || guest post

So I’m super excited for this post! Olivia from Summer of 1999 wrote this super fantastic blog post….and it’s getting me really excited for summer! You totally need to go check her blog out, she’s super amazing and so are the words she writes. So when you’re done reading her post, go show her some love on her blog!

First of all, a massive thanks to the lovely Colleen for having me on her blog and for putting up with my exceeding tardiness in getting this post to her. So glad I met her through the blogosphere (do people use that word? I think they do. This is my first time. I’m a little nervous.)!

Secondly, why is it called a bucket list??? So confused.

Thirdly, the actual content. Summer is so close to being my favorite season. At this point in the year, it basically is, because I just want to go to the beach and be done with school, so when Colleen asked me to guest post on her blog I was super pumped, but especially when I found out it had to do with a summer to do list. XD So, let’s jump in- SO MANY IDEAS. Okay. Chill, Olivia. Hahaha.

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  1. Go strawberry picking. This is at the top of the list, because in all reality I should probably get that done right now in later spring, but I still wanted it in this list, so there.
  2. Watch multiple sunsets. This is just a given. For all times of every year ever.
  3. Eat ice cream downtown and out in the country (and do so whenever I want and treat my friends to it, cause I can).
  4. Practice piano again daily.
  5. Go swimming in a river.
  6. Shoot a gun (partly inspired by Colleen, hehe). It’s about time.
  7. Go barefoot 24/7, which really doesn’t even need to be said.
  8. Draw with chalk.
  9. Eat popsicles on the porch.
  10. Spray each other with a hose on the trampoline.
  11. Chop my hair off (?!) Gonna need some moral support for this one.
  12. Wake up early. I actually don’t really have much of a choice for this one cause I work early, but okay. 😉
  13. Get a tan, farmer’s or otherwise.
  14. Read a mountain of books, old and new.
  15. Wear ball caps.
  16. Go to a used book store and go broke (or preferably not quite).
  17. Win limbo. Okay, long story short, we have a Fourth of July celebration at our house every year with lots of different competitions and games and I have a legacy in limbo. I REFUSE TO LOSE.
  18. Finish Geometry and Health and Economics. Home school life. These are the subjects that have been procrastinated over the past year.
  19. Write, write, write, write. Fiction, blog, musings- anything and everything.
  20. Finger paint.
  21. Go make up free. Lots.
  22. Cook full meals often.
  23. Pick wildflowers.
  24. Donate old clothes and stuff.
  25. Play in the rain.
  26. Hand write letters to people I love.
  27. Get succulents.
  28. Build a blanket fort.
  29. Have a water balloon fight.
  30. Grow + learn + love more deeply.

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Those words just flowed so fast. I feel like I have so many more ideas!!!!!! Summer’s so close, guys! We can do it!!!!! Thanks again for having me on your blog, Colleen. You’re the best ^-^ And hope to see some of you over on my blog at http://summerof1999.blogspot.com/ ?! Thanks for reading!!!

 

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for the girl without a man

 

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Growing up, I always looked forward to being a part of the youth group in my church. Every Sunday, watching all the gorgeous girls and cute guys walk down to sit in the bench, I would wonder what it would be like to be “that old.”

I had so many unrealistic expectations. I was sure that I would have enough money to afford the cutest clothes, and be able to go wherever I wanted, always have perfect makeup, have perfect grades, drive the coolest car, and have a boyfriend.

Basically, I would have my life figured out by that point. I was in my awkward stage (whichhhh is pretty much where I still am), and I thought that I would reach a certain point where I would become “cool.”

Story time:

February is always a pretty big month for the youth group. We always have a Valentine’s banquet-and the guys are supposed to ask the girls. As a 12 year old girl, I couldn’t wait to be asked out by the guy I liked. The first year I was in the youth group, I was asked out by a guy. We had fun!

But the second time the Valentine’s banquet came, I wasn’t asked out. I waited for forever. It got closer and closer to February 14. I still wasn’t asked. I had several friends look at me pityingly (is that even a word) and a few asked me how I felt about going alone.

Of course, I gave them a confident smile, and said “Oh, it’s cool. I’m chill with going as my confident, single self.” But inside, I was disappointed. I didn’t feel confident at all. Or beautiful. During the banquet, I felt excluded. I sat a table full of friends laughing with their dates. I didn’t have any fun that night.

All I wanted was to be one of the cool kids. To be noticed. To be asked out for that one date a year.

Maybe that’s how you’re feeling. 

Maybe you feel like the one girl that has never and will never get asked out. You’re watching the popular girls get all the attention, and you wish someone would notice you. You feel like the only girl your age who doesn’t have a boyfriend.

To my single girls. My girls that feel un-confident and un-beautiful because they have never been asked out by a guy. Let me tell you something.

There’s a Man who loves you more than any man on earth ever could. A Man who wrote you a love letter that says more than “I think you’re cute.” Instead it says, ” I created you, and you are beautiful and perfectly made because you were made in MY image. You are treasured and loved.”

You deserve a Man who would die for you. And each one of you can have a personal relationship with someone who DID DIE TO SAVE YOU.

He is in pursuit of your heart, and He will bring far more joy than a date ever could. He is the ultimate Prince Charming-He is the Prince of Peace, the Prince of the universe, and the Prince of your heart.

He loves you to death…..literally. He died to save you 2,000 years ago because He loves you. What guy on earth would do that?

His Faithfulness>my messiness

“Give God room to show Himself faithful.”

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This quote has been on my mind for the past few weeks as God has been pressing two words on my heart – faithful and messy.

Our God is an all-powerful God of order. He does not make messes or mistakes. Yet I am a messy person who gets everything wrong every day.

But God does not turn His face away from my scattered and broken heart. Instead, He meets me in my mess and transforms me.  He shows me that He is the only one who can put my heart back together.

But even after He fixes us, He assures us that any mistakes that we make, they will not mess up His perfect plan. If something goes wrong because of something I did, He’s not up there scratching His head trying to figure out to salvage the pieces.

In order for Him to fix us though, we need to come before Him and surrender our crazy messes. It’s gonna be hard. We hold back because we don’t want Him to see certain things, even though He already knows. We need to step back and let Him come through for us and show Himself faithful.

When we allow Him to come in, we will discover parts of Him and parts of our own hearts that we would’ve never known.

I am a messy person. And I have come to be a peace with that because Jesus takes that messiness and transforms it into a beautiful story.

I am a messy person. But I won’t let that define me. I can be confident because HE IS MY MAKER AND HE NEVER MAKES MISTAKES.He meets me in my mess and shows me His goodness. His sweet, sweet promises. His strength.

Sweet friend, I pray that you will be willing to surrender everything to Him. He wants you to know the full extent of His love. And it’ll be totally worth it.

finding Jesus in the everyday

 

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There are some days when I feel like I have it all figured out. I wake up early, have devotions, eat a healthy breakfast, sit down to do school, go to work, and get things done. Days when I think I can handle it, and yeah, I had devotions that day, but I’ve got it under control, so thanks God, but You’re not really needed today. My outfit is fabulous, I had a good hair day, and the makeup is on point. Sometimes this goes on for a week, and then BAM. Something happens. I got a bad grade on a test. My parents and I disagree on something. A friend disappoints me. But “no thanks God, I can handle this, I can work through it and figure it out by myself.” I rush through devotions every morning….skimming the chapter, writing some notes, and running off to the next thing on my list, without ever stopping to just listen, Be still. Pray. Listen for HIS voice speaking into my life. Jesus is saying,

“I’m waiting to fix your problems and give you the peace you so desperately desire. Just run into my arms. Trust me.”

But no, I’ve got it. I keep running on my own strength until the end, where I end up having a panic attack and crying for an hour because I’m burned out. It doesn’t have to be like this. Yet it often is. I count on my Type A personality to get me through stressful situations. I get easily irritated and annoyed when things don’t go the way that I think they should, and that eventually ends up in me hurting others.

Jesus is waiting for us to surrender our agenda’s and our to-do lists to Him. When we put Him in the center of everything we do, it doesn’t always end up perfectly, but it will work out according to the plan He has for our lives. As we slowly surrender our whole hearts, He gives us the strength and hope to continue and not get burned out. When friends hurt us, we know that Christ is the friend that will never let us down.

When we give Him our lives, He becomes our strength.

He becomes our joy. He becomes our focus. When our minds wander, He becomes our default. We will daily surrender our will’s to Him.

When we live in that state daily, we will find joy&hope, grace&love, and JESUS in the everyday.