Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beautiful

Is the Word of God something I trust in? When I read the Bible, do I believe what it says? Yes I do. Wait, I meant YES, I DO!!! Then why do I have trouble thinking some verses don’t apply to me?

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”
(I worry with the best of them!)

Philippians 4:19 “..my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”
(So why do I work so hard to provide what I think I need?)

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(Rest? Me? I don’t have time to rest.)

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
(I’m pretty good with the first half of the verse, but I tend to lean a bit too heavily on my own understanding…)

But this next one? Ugh, how could it apply to me?
Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Me? Wonderfully made? Hello! I’m wrinkled, 5’1 ½” (on a good day), freckled, weigh over 200 pounds, have fine and purple hair (ok, I did the purple to myself!). I’m not graceful by any means and my IQ prevents me from being considered a nerd. So um, yeah, how does this verse apply to me?

For years, my comments generally sounded something like this: “Don’t take a picture, I’d break the camera lens.” “When I back up, I should beep.” “Participate in sports? Not me, I’m a klutz.” “Describe myself? Short and fat. How’s that?”

My husband and a couple of my children often asked me to stop putting myself down because it bothers them. I tried, very hard, to stop belittling myself. Then, insert dramatic music here, someone very close to me gained weight after giving birth to her second child (Go figure! You gain weight when you have a baby? Who knew?) and she started doing the same thing to herself and it really hurt me.

Whenever she makes a negative comment, she laughs it off, but I remember doing the same thing. I would make fun of myself to prevent anyone else from doing it. It’s sort of an ironic defense mechanism. She is not only creative and fun, she’s truly beautiful. But lately, there isn’t a person on the planet who would be able to convince her of it. So I started praying about how to show her the true value of who she is.

Do you know what happened? No, God didn’t provide a miracle healing of her self-image, He didn’t show me a verse to give to her. What God did was to put a mirror in front of me.


And OUCH! Those lessons are often the hardest to learn. I’ve spent years being self-deprecating, putting myself down, and insulting myself in front of the people who love me most. What does that say to them? I was allowing my opinion of my appearance to affect how I thought others viewed me. It wasn’t until God placed this mirror in front of me that I was truly able to see the damage I have caused. Therefore, I will focus more on what the Bible says and less on how I feel. Feelings can get us in trouble, that’s “leaning on your own understanding”.

I will encourage others to trust scripture over opinion. Read Proverbs 31 about the wife of noble character (yes, impossible to fill her shoes, but I do have a point).

Proverbs 31:10-12 “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:25-27a “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household"

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her”

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

EPIPHANY! Did you notice it? There is no mention of her physical appearance anywhere in the passage. How we look on the outside is not what makes us beautiful! Our character, the way we treat others, our attitude, our speech, and our faith are what make us, as women, beautiful. The Bible says it and I believe it. Now it's time to start acting like it.

In conclusion: Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Me! CAS, made in the image of God! That makes all the freckles, wrinkles, 200+ pounds and purple hair. Beautiful to the One Who matters most. My Creator!

Wishing you the best of blesses and the least of stresses. God thinks you’re beautiful, and so do I!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Family Time

THAT’S NOT FAIR! As a mom I’ve heard the phrase many times. (I’ve often heard it as a wife, friend and co-worker too.) I have a full-time job, a part-time job, I’m attending college full-time and I have teenagers at home, a husband, grown kids and grandkids. Herein lies my dilemma, aka as the age old question: quality time or quantity time? What is considered “fair”? Is it more important to spend a specific amount of time with the family or more important what I do in the time I do spend? After my own personal experiences and research, I have come up with an answer that surprised me.

NEITHER and BOTH

I know, Earth shattering isn’t it? Sometimes there is no “right” answer. Families, and the family members in them, need different things at different stages. To the sleep-deprived parent walking the floor with a screaming child at 2 am, taking care of the baby’s needs counts as bonding-time. An elementary school-age child needs direction. A teenager wants as much space as parents will allow, but at the same time needs to know they have boundaries. Adult children want their own lives but also want to know “mom” and “dad” are still available. I’ve struggled with being ‘fair’ in the amount of time I spend with my children and grandchildren, being ‘fair’ with the time I give my husband, time I need to devote to school, work, church, friends, etc. I’ve learned something incredibly valuable. Trying to be fair is exhausting!

My youngest, JT a few days old 1996

God, in his infinite wisdom, gave us all the same amount of time. There are 60 seconds in every minute, 60 minutes in every hour, 24 hours in every day, 7 days in every week, etc. I do the best I can with the time he has graced me with. I love my family; they are precious to me in ways I cannot describe. I am so busy and stressed that I sometimes forget that and God reminds me my family is a gift. I will treasure all the time I spend with them: a few minutes of really good conversation or a few hours just sitting together watching a movie. All times are important and I consider ANY time with my family a blessing.

As you can see, my blesses still outweigh my stresses; continued prayers that you will find the same.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Repair It or Replace It?


“The computer is sluggish and not operating properly, shall we get it fixed?” Nope, toss it and buy a new one.  “The hem came out of my skirt, where do I get it repaired?”  Just donate it and buy a new one.  “My car’s engine is making a strange noise and I don’t know what it means.”  Bring it in and we’ll help you replace it, no money down!  -  We live in a “throw away” society; rather than “repair it”  our culture has a “replace it” mentality.  This does not only apply to material possessions (computers, clothes, cars, etc) but in marriages as well.  I do not believe this is what God intended for his beloved children. 

In The Beginning…

 Mark 10:6-9
"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.'  'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,  and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
There are rare occasions when divorce is sanctioned by God (i.e. adultery) however that is not usually what destroys a marriage.  It is the little things, the tiny disputes which used to be few and far between, it is the disagreements over the budget, the feeling of having your time controlled and bitterness over differences.  These add up and instead of talking it over, seeking forgiveness or counseling…a lawyer is called.  In a moment, “what God has joined together” is  ripped apart.  I see a world where spouses are taken for granted because they can be replaced and this makes me sad.  This is not the legacy we should leave our children.  I’ve been divorced, I’m a child of divorce but I’ve also seen firsthand God’s redemptive power.  My  father has now been happily remarried for 28 years.  My mother has been happily remarried for 23 years.  Thankfully God does allow second chances, I have also been remarried for 6 stressed but blessed years.  Is it easy, calm, without conflict?  In a word…NO.  But I don’t want a throw-away marriage.  I want something worth working for, someone worth fighting for, someone who believes I’m worth holding onto. Some days I take my husband for granted, but I always want him to feel respected and loved.  Some days I feel taken for granted, but today, I feel cherished.  Today, my wonderful husband sent me the following text and asked me to include it in a blog:
“My wife is the heart of our family, she is the one EVERYONE goes to for answers and advice.  She is the one who devoted her whole holiday weekend to everyone but herself.  From cleaning the kitchen after others made a mess, to doing all the laundry, to helping me with my projects and playing with the grandkids.  And don’t forget, she also makes sure to fill my ‘love tank’ no matter how tired she is.  My wife is one-of-a-kind.”
Yes, I'll take my "blessed but still stressed" life ANY DAY! Praying the same for you.  CAS