I wish that you could see that beauty is within your heart
Too many of us allow our insecurity or the words of others to try to restamp our value.
Simply put? God only made one of you. You are the only You which will ever exist or be.
He made you in purpose, just the way you are:
And you were made with such care, your skin, your body and your hair are perfect just the way they are
He thinks you are wonderful, exquisite, worth His pursuit.
There could never be a more beautiful you
Whether you are a guy or gal, this is true of you.
Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t like one part of your appearance? God does! He likes the curl which refuses to be tamed, every ounce of extra weight and your baby toe which sticks out a bit.
Because it’s part of YOU!
Beloved, please tune in to His love as He continues to speak truth, freedom and purpose into us.
You are irreplaceable.
No one else is meant to do what God has planned for you to do here on earth.
No one else can bless His heart like you do.
No one else can love Him as you can.
You are the crowning achievement of creation, for you are made in His image.
He is so beautiful beyond description, and somehow we mirror that beauty in a way we may never fully grasp until Heaven.
May you walk, head held high, as the Beloved. A one of a kind expression of His beauty and love wherever you go.
Quoted Lyrics by Jonny Diaz, “More Beautiful You.”
The movie Big Fat Greek Wedding has a scene where the father of the bride welcomes the parents of the groom to the family using a comparison of apples to oranges.
I can relate.
I have often felt like a round peg tying to fit into a board filled with square holes. It kinda goes, but not really. A misfit, not really finding my place.
Years ago, someone read my mail & God spoke to me about being the me He created, and to stop comparing myself to others with different talents & giftedness.
I have tried hard not to do so over the years, leaning heavily into His embrace & relying on His strength.
Over the past few weeks, a new type of enemy assault has been trying to break through my defenses and lure me back into the comparison trap.
That I don’t fit in the body of Christ.
This followed my final drafts of the Bible study chapter being submitted… “Maybe they won’t get where you are coming from, you aren’t good enough to be a part of this team, your work is substandard next to everyone else’s.”
Each & every time, I have taken these thoughts captive and brought them to Him as God instructs us all to do when we are bombarded by enemy.
But there was an unexpected strain of doubt which sneakily moved beyond my defenses, and began to take root.
Maybe it’s true….
I am not good enough for this task….
Yesterday, God showed me how untrue that was in the produce section.
You see, I am part of the Body.
We are all one Bride, making herself ready for Him.
But there are so many varieties in the differences we all have from one another.
God whispered to me I am a green apple compared to the many red apples. For He has given me a gift of speaking Life to the Body. My gift may not be the same as yours, but each of our has a place in the Body it belongs to, and compliments one another’s.
I will always be part of His Bride, one of the Body.
So will you.
Tell the enemy you too have had enough with his manipulations, accusations & doubt sowing.
Be who God designed YOU to be.
All the wonderfully hand crafted by the Father you-ness He had in mind when He made you.
There never has been, nor never will be, another you. Ever.
You’re it, apple of His eye!
And He thinks you are beautiful, but never more so than when you are living out the calling He has just for you & pursuing Him with everything You’ve got.
Keep me as the apple of your eye
…Whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye…
There are a lot of things about me which I love.
My ability to multitask
My love of puns & fun
My voice when I sing
My love of music
My curls (95% of the time)
My passion to learn
My burning yearn for more of God
When you add all the gifts, talents, spirit & soul, and mix in my uniqueness to the packaging God custom designed, I am the result.
God didn’t just whip me off a conveyor belt, He took care, with planning & purpose & love in mind, as He set about making the spark of cells that would become me, only me.
Ever thought about just how much ‘detailed programming’ God invested in your creation?
He thought about making you, and you came to be, at exactly the right moment in time & history.
You are no accident.
I came out with more than a few quirks:
My pinkies are significantly shorter than the rest of my fingers.
I have a few birthmarks, my fave being the upside down heart on the back of my left leg.
I have freckles, and skin that turns shades of red vs lovely tan like colors.
I have a mouth on the smaller side for all the teeth that tried to come in.
I have a limited trunk.
I visibly cringe when I hear a wrong note.
I don’t like coffee, beer or cigarettes.
Just as my gifts & talents are by His design, my quirks were also known by Him.
My whole life was taken into consideration before He created me.
The same for you!
You are so well known by the Master Craftsman.
Not only does He know your strengths & quirks, but two other key factors:
He knew you wouldn’t do well on your own, so He placed you where you would have family; by blood or by choice.
He knew you would fail. To live up to His standards, others expectations, your own hopes & dreams.
The need for Jesus was woven into our very DNA to help us become alive as He designed, as only He can bring to life.
Out of love,
He gave us each a custom gift.
Because of how we lived,
because of our hurts & shackles,
because of our great need,
He gave us His most precious gift, new life through Jesus.
He not only set us free
& made us clean,
He welcomes each of us
who come to Him
with arms wide open
into our forever family.
When we begin to truly live
our lives with Him,
following His leading
as He guides us,
our gifts and talents awaken
and begin to make sense,
as we become one with
His unique action plan for us.
How I live out become more ‘me’ will look very different from someone who is an extrovert, a gifted athlete, or evangelist, for example.
I am so thankful that God gave us direction, through His Word & through Holy Spirit’s prompting within those who accept His lead.
I am very grateful that the God who designed and shaped me is continuing to do so as I ask for His help navigating the life laid out ahead of me.
I am especially moved when I remember the pain Jesus purposefully chose on the cross to show me (you) His passion for me (you).
Embrace the freedom to be yourself. He wants you to be the you He designed for you to be, with Him walking closely beside you every step of the way.
As I become more ‘me’, my prayer is I reveal more ‘He’ to those around me.
That my efforts to live reveal His hands keeping me safe, His love anchoring my heart, His wisdom in my choices, and His glory when I hit the mark!
I am a rarity amongst most of my family & friends.
I don’t need to do coffee or tea to wake up in the morning.
I like to think of myself as naturally caffeinated, which is another way of saying I am wide eyed & bushy tailed from the moment I get up. I don’t need coffee or caffeine to get me going in the morning.
I have struggled over the years with many social events and family gatherings, as caffeine and I don’t get along.
Caffeine seems to spur on the growth of ovarian cysts, and brings on headaches when I cheat, usually by giving in (mostly in my mind, but not always) to peer pressure.
Because some people get offended because I don’t like coffee.
I worked professionally as a barista for 2 different coffee shops, one chain and one independent, for a collective total of between 6-7 years. I underwent a great deal of training (just short of my coffee master, as well as being our store tea expert) to recognize blends and regions of coffees, similar to what a wine sommelier undergoes. I know the difference between a well brewed coffee, and an incorrectly balanced one. I can tell what kind of food will pair nicely with the coffees I taste.
But I don’t like it.
And likely never will.
I am a tea girl, through and through.
The thought of a chai latte sends happy shivers down my spine.
My collection of green, white, rooibos, honeybush and herbal teas , with a few must have favorite black teas for special occasions brings a smile to my face whenever I glimpse it.
I walk into my favorite tea store, and feel at home.
You could say with accuracy, I am a tea lover.
Those who know me best understand this. When some of them enjoy their coffees, I enjoy my tea when we get together to hang out.
So why am I bring that up?
Because no matter how much anyone else tells me I must like coffee, i know I don’t, and won’t.
I love the smell, I love grinding the beans, I like making and serving coffee, but unless I am paid to drink it for educational purposes, I don’t.
Whether straight up, sweetened or with any kind of milk, I prefer tea.
The same for many of you. You may love something that other people around you may not like at all, or vice versa.
You may like the team that never makes it to the play offs.
You may wear red when this season navy is the new black.
You may like hanging out with family or at church, when your coworkers are out at the pubs or dance clubs.
You may watch PG and General rated movies instead of the 18+ ones frequenting the big screen.
The only 50 shades of gray you may care about are the ones popping up on your head.
You may take good natured ribbing, be on the receiving end of some pointed criticisms or be accused of close mindedness for your likes and dislikes.
Here are the lessons I have learned about being in these situations:
1: Look them in the eye and smile. Don’t give them the power to make you feel less than.
2: You don’t need to apologize for your view point. If you believe marriage to be sacred and live your lifestyle accordingly, you don’t have to defend it, etc.
3: Your “no” is enough when someone challenges you or criticizes you. Respectfully say “I don’t agree”, or “I see it differently.” If the person is being unkind, or doesn’t respect your boundary, walk away. If the Spirit leads them to genuinely ask why, ask for His leading to answer in the way He will best speak to the seeking heart open to hear the truth.
4: Be yourself. If you like green, wear it with all the flair and enjoyment you want. If you love to sing in the shower, do it. Who cares if you sing in tune?! Love paisley or plaid, decorate whatever you want in it. Enjoy it.
5: If someone will be hurt, demeaned, put down or crushed by your actions, they aren’t healthy likes. Spend some time seeking God and figuring out His best for your life. Just coz everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean God wants you to.
6: God made us all unique, but with one common trait: we were all meant to be in community, and united to Him. We are all different, but all meant to be supportive of one another’s giftings, calls and uniqueness. If you are surrounded by people who aren’t, or who ridicule your choices, find a new circle of support. Life is too short to miss being yourself, fearful of not being liked because of what you love. Or Who you love.
So I have learned that it is okay to be myself. God doesn’t want us to try and be who we aren’t.
I am one of a kind.
No one else will ever like all the things I do in the same combo pack.
And I am okay with that now!
You should be too!
How much does a snowflake weigh?
Someone who measures such things determined that an individual snowflake weighs 0.02* grams. At that weight it would take 50 flakes to make a gram. For comparison, a Hershey’s kiss weighs 4.7 grams – equal to about 235 snowflakes. There are about 95 kisses in a pound. Using the kiss-to-snow crystal calculator that comes to 22,325 snowflakes/pound.
*this would be the heaviest end of the spectrum. Most are much lighter, weighing from 0.001 to 0.003 grams.
In reality, it’s hard to measure the weight of a snowflake. For one thing, each snowfall is different. Some snow is light and fluffy, and some is heavy and wet. That’s due to the water content in the snow, which is related to the temperature high in the clouds where the flakes began forming, and the temperature of the air they fall through.
An individual snowflake doesn’t weigh much in the big scheme of things. Yet God designed each one uniquely, placing great care in its creation.
And despite its miniscule weight, it still manages to fall to earth, again as part of God’s plan.
Why am I bringing up snowflakes during winter?
Because of last night.
Last night, while worshipping, I “saw” how snow & the weight of His glory relate in how they both fall.
Each snowflake is designed for a purpose, and only fulfills that purpose when it falls with the rest of the snowflakes in the same snowfall or storm.
On its own, it isn’t particularly heavy, but when you add up the weight it forms when it piles up, it can be quite significant.
Each snowflake’s composition is perfect for the design of its fall, the exact amount of water contained within to be the perfect part of the team alongside the other snowflakes….all unique yet made to fall together.
There are two ways snow is a great example of the weight of His glory.
We are all like those snowflakes. And He will perfectly fill us with the right amount of water (living water, His Presence) so we are filled for the purpose we are to live out that day….so we can share it with those around us.
His glory? Its weight falls like the snowflake. Perfectly attuned and made for its recipient. And when a group gathers seeking His Presence, the weight of His glory gets heavier, as He falls on everyone in the room. Some can sense it landing heavily, others sense a light touch. He uniquely meets each of us with the exact right weight, more than enough for us in that exact moment, but never exactly like someone else’s.
Just like each snowflake, God’s Presence falls on each of us how He knows it will best soak in & water us.
When the weight of His glory falls heavily, as a heavy snowstorm can cause traffic to come to a standstill, so does time seem to come to a standstill. The air gets thick, charged with power and spiritual electricity as He enters the room in His majesty.
The weight of His glory
falls snowflake by snowflake
until the full weight
of His tangible Presence
in a fantastic
Unlike how we have no control over the snowfall, we can ask God to come to us.
His word promises He will come when we seek Him:
Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit.
-Jesus, Acts 1:8
He will come when we seek Him. Exactly how & the when is up to Him. Who He falls on with the weight of His glory? That depends on us:
Read the Word. The God you find described there is real, and wants a real relationship with you.
Take some time to seek Him every day. Even a five minute break can be used by Him to refresh you. An extended period of time where you just seek and wait for Him? Even better. Even in the midst of being about His business on a short timetable, Jesus still made the time to spend with His Father:
As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.
Luke 5:16 MSG
Worship Him for who He is. He loves to be praised, and promises to live where He is honored & lifted high:
Yet you are holy,enthroned on the praises of Israel, Your people.
Psalm 22:3 ESV
Thank Him for what He has done. For making you His. For caring for you. For the blessings He has already poured out on you and the ones He promises are to come:
I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
Jeremiah 29:11 MSG
Believe He will come:
Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a mustard or poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.
Matthew 17:20 MSG
Just like the snow, which continues to fall, so will the weight of His glory when we keep seeking Him.
It may feel like a snowflake landing on your nose. It may be like a tingle or charge of static electricity. It may feel like a heaviness on your shoulders. It may feel like a heat wave, a fresh burst of wind, bubbling up joy or a peace unlike any you have ever known.
He will come. Just as sure as winter will always come again!
(PS. Here is a great song to hear to help set the atmosphere to seek Him: Weight of Glory)
Image from: http://www.kidzworld.com
After losing this piece twice by trying to directly post it to Facebook, I have decided to press through and post it as my blog post for today.
It relates to the Christmas story, so I am going to run with it 🙂
I bet Mary & Joseph felt very lonely in their separate situations before getting married.
Its not every day you see an angel who gives you remarkable news.
Notice the angel didn’t appear to both of them together about the coming of Jesus, but individually.
They weren’t alone, for God was with them through it all, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t feel lonely along the way.
I have decided to go public about my previously private struggle with loneliness.
This week, I have realized I also struggle with SAD. This is the third winter I have felt blue, which doesn’t help my lonely feelings other than to amp them up.
There, i said it.
This morning, I felt like a freight truck of obvious collided with me as I read the article I have linked below:
I can relate to entering a full room and feeling alone. Set aside, like I don’t belong.
Then I hear the whispers of truth combat the lies the enemy has planted, like land mines waiting for the right pressure to ignite.
I am wanted.
I am set apart, not set aside.
I have been lovingly handcrafted with care.
I am irreplaceable, unique, one of a kind.
There will never be another me.
I have a purpose that only I can fulfill.
God is with me.
24/7, I am in his gaze and on His heart.
Loneliness is an emotion, more like a side effect that may come with a job, or particular situation.
Purpose is a fact. Recorded for you to be able to revisit as needed.
How can we tell which of the people we know or meet are struggling with loneliness, feeling unwanted?
We can’t always tell. Many of us hide our struggle away, because we fear the rejection that could come if we admit it out loud.
And we can’t always hear God say who is struggling in our hustle and bustle, because the reality is we aren’t always listening at the right moment.
There are three key things you can do with everyone you meet which can help, and make you appear approachable:
1. Make eye contact.
3. Share a kind word, encourage them if you can.
Spending time in the Word helps steady me, as does getting enough rest, and regular time with my support team.
Spending time in the world can heighten my struggle, so I try to limit how much I do in a day, to try and maintain my perspective, especially in the winter.
Christmas can be a time of heightened emotions. The extra weight of expectation can weigh heavily upon us as we try to get more done in the same amount of time, preparing for the holidays.
If you struggle with loneliness or being unwanted, this can make you question why. Why bother?
The Christmas story gives a beautiful example of why God can down to be with us.
Its actually the highlight of the story to me, because it meets me exactly where I am at.
When the angels invited the shepherds to the birth of their King.
Did you know shepherding is one of the loneliest and lowliest jobs of the day? Shepherds were the outcasts, pretty much one step above lepers. They were sent out to live with their flocks, a lonely job, especially if there was only enough flock for one.
God purposefully invited the lowliest to sit at the feet of the Mightiest, and worship Him.
Not only that, but their invitation was mind-blowingly amazingly special. A whole choir of angels singing His praises, and the invitation to join them in welcoming their King.
We have all been invited.
Some times, we need to be reminded of our invitation.
Reminded of the truth:
God didn’t come for only those who have it all together.
He chose the humble to parent His son, a virgin betrothed to a carpenter, from a small town.
He shared the good news first with outcasts & outsiders before the insiders were notified.
The only fanfare in His arrival?
The spectacular display of angelic voices- seen only by the shepherds and their flocks. Yet God didn’t see that as a waste, rather a special invitation it would be hard to ignore.
Our position, our emotion, our standing- none of that can disqualify us from our invitation…
All are invited to worship the King this Christmas:
May you too find hope in His Presence this Advent, and may He rekindle your joy at His arrival.
His purpose for coming to earth?
For all to feel welcome.
Come to the manger.
Come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
God with us.
Everybody should have a Hoho.
Not the snack cake variation, but the kind that comes in the mail.
What is a Hoho?
Their creator, Crystal from http://www.littlebitfunky.com says it best:
Isn’t she cute?
I have struggled off & on for years with how I look… mainly because I have listened to too many peoples’ versions of what they think beauty is.
I don’t think I have ever felt beautiful. I don’t think I am the homeliest of the bunch, but I am no supermodel.
I can tell you, partly due to the ministry & work of Crystal, that I have been able to accept my uniqueness, my You-ness (which is pronounced Eunice). I was looking at these hohos she makes, and felt the whisper that I too was unique and lovely in my own right. I don’t have to be perfect. And I am lovely in my uniqueness.
There is only ever going to be one Hoho of a kind. No two are exactly identical, as the variations in design & size are endless.
The same is true with us.
God made each of us as unique creations. On purpose. By design.
And says “It is good.”
I bought my funky hoho to daily remind me that I am beYOUtiful.
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.
God is pleased when we accept ourselves as His unique craftsmanship. Wanted, planned, designed.
The pleasure Crystal must have when she hears how God is blessing the children (& a few adults, I am sure!) with the comfort & reminder of their cute cuddly hohos.
Accepting we are beautiful by being ourselves is a priceless concept sewn alongside every stitch of these hohos.
If you need a reminder of how God sees you, the Bible has many verses on how much God loves & cares for us, and considers us treasures.
A very visual person, my Foxy Hoho will be reminding me of many such verses daily.
Thank you, Crystal for your hoho ministry, & exceptional craftsmanship!
PS. I will be HOlding onto the truth of who I am in Christ, and asking Him to HOld onto me.
Hoho, get it?! 🙂
Tied with blue, certain shades of green are my favorite color.
So I decided to see what the color green represents today….
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/colorselection/p/green.htm states (italicized, with my comments in regular font, interspersed with my fave green items ;):
Green is life. Abundant in nature, green signifies growth, renewal, health, and environment.
I feel I come alive when I am surrounded by green. I find it an energizing color, especially my sea foam moss green fave shade.
Green is a restful color with some of the same calming attributes of blue. Like blue, time moves faster in a green room.
Okay, that is a cool fact that I did not know before now…time moves faster in blue & green rooms 😉 I do feel cozy on my sofa:
Or when i’m looking at my accent pieces, against the mint walls in my kitchen:
It’s also the color for “go” on a traffic light.
I like to wait for go signal before I move, especially when taking giant leaps, so that confirms this is a good color choice for me.
But as I tend to like more bluey greens, I think I should dig some more for what my fave shades of green means…
Green (excerpted from: http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html)
Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility.
Mmmm. The first three appeal to me, but I guess as spring is a time of new growth, fertility can apply 😉
Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision.
Aha! I knew there would be a reference to sight. I find I see more clearly when around my fave green shades, so this quote means that might actually be true!
Green suggests stability and endurance.
I am fairly stable and can go the distance….again, a good fit. 😉
In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope.
AHAH! As a wordsmith, or herald, this resonates big time with me!
My favorite word/attribute is HOPE!
My favorite color (green) indicating hope is not what I expected, but again…COOL! And it fits me so well!
The tea pot in this one reminds me of being welcomed home.
Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.
As aqua is kind of one of the bridge colors between green and blue, this is also a good fit with me.
All kidding aside, I feel the most me when I am surrounded by natural more neutral colors- moss sea foam minty greens, walnut browns, sky blues, watery aquas, driftwood greys, sandy beiges.
I feel I connect with the Creator when I see, wear or are surrounded with those colors.
I do appreciate all the colors he has provided, but not all of them speak to me like my fave clothes (or my purse) do when i put them on.
What I like doesn’t mean you need to like those colors too.
I am me, you are you.
We are all free to enjoy what God has placed before us through our own uniqueness.
And that is fine with Him.
So today, I am extra thankful for sea foamy mossy green, and how God speaks to me through it. 😉
We were fashioned with care.
Hand made by God.
Crafted in the secret place.
On display as His handiwork, for all to see.
We are each a walking creation, made in the image of our Creator.
God took what He wanted us to have from each of our contributing parents, added His sweet purposeful touches to the DNA- our talents, gifts, dreams- and with a spark we came to be in the secret place within our mothers.
But God didn’t leave it there.
We are not only made with care.
He cares for us.
And with one seemingly reckless act, God paid the outstanding account, in the enemy’s log book of our wrong doings, with the spilled blood & the offered body of Jesus- the son of man & God.
Love with a passion we can barely comprehend, that such a God would wrap Himself in flesh, live among us and make a way for us to reconnect with God, and join His family, forever.
We are each His beloved.
Psalm 139 includes fascinating account of how you and I were fearfully & wonderfully made by God.
The rest of the bible is His love story, written for us, of how God cares for those He has handcrafted with such purpose and care.
Each and every one of us.
Who has ever been, is or ever will be on this earth, in all of history.
Take a look around you. The similarities and differences make each one of us unique yet stamped with the same Creator’s handiwork.
Made by the Master craftsman.
For His glory.
May you start the day knowing you are here on purpose, made exquisitely with love by your Creator.
It is no accident you are alive.
Don’t miss the rest of your story by not knowing the Author.