Confession. I am a recovering addict. Chances are, you are one too. I have been enslaved to "likes" and trapped by numbers for a lot of my life. The number battle seems to wage a war in my heart each day. Even before things like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I measured myself by how many people complimented me or knew me. In college I struggled with the numbers I saw on the scale. They never got low enough for me to feel beautiful and my body suffered from it (read more about my story here). It seems like we are constantly trapped by numbers and never appeased with what we see.
Have you ever been hurt by another believer and left in a dizzy mess of confusion? Have you ever been the one to inflict the hurt, whether intentionally or unintentionally? The answer to that second question may be a little harder to come to, but the honest answer for all of us as fallen human beings would be yes. We have all hurt and we have all been hurt. We have all felt the pangs of brokenness and betrayal. Reading this may even stir feelings of resentment in your heart because you are currently in the tangled web of fighting for forgiveness and you can’t seem to get out of the mess. Whether you are currently in a battle or will be in one, we must all learn to fight the right fight.
I wanted to close out our Well-Watered Women series for this season with a post on the spiritual discipline of journaling the Word. The journaling I am referring to here is not a diary or a method to self-discovery. The journaling I am referring to is diving deep into the ocean of God’s Word, writing down and recording prayer and praises, and memorizing Scripture through writing. The point of this journaling is simple - to know God more. I am excited that you are joining in with me and pray that your heart is stirred to spend time in the Word each day, hungering and seeking after Christ alone.
The dream of becoming a momma is embedded deeply in the fabric of a woman's heart. I remember caring for my baby dolls when I was a child as if they had life and breath in them! As the years progressed and I grew older, this longing continued to grow and strengthen. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always simple and always the same - "I want to be a wife and a mom!" Regularly I would have conversations with friends about how many kids we wanted to have someday. My answer was usually five, on average. Everything about marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood looked so glamorous and easy from the outside! As a single woman, I would have done anything to have the privilege of a ring on my finger, a baby on my hip, and a husband to love. If you are single and reading this post, you know this deep, unfulfilled longing all too well!
My heart is excited and expectant about today's "Well-Watered Women" post! This is now the 8th post in our series of digging into how we can live life intentionally for God's glory through knowing His Word, studying it, and living it out in our day-to-day lives! You can catch up on the series by clicking here! Today's topic will cover one specific way that we can share the Word - through filling our social media feeds with truth. God is doing a new thing, and I want to be a part of it! I pray you will join me in living life beautifully for the glory of God!
The Lord has been challenging my heart lately with this question. I dug up this post from last fall and was convicted and challenged once again. I pray that you are as well as we ask ourself the question - what if?
The following post is raw. It is a tiny glimpse into a struggle I had with an eating disorder in college, and my heart in sharing it with you is that more women would find freedom from the bondage of eating and image through Jesus. Eating disorders are one of the most hidden sins of our society, especially in the church. As followers of Jesus, we need to stand firm against this yoke of slavery and speak about the lies that women are believing all over the world about their image, food, and worth.
My hands were completely a mess. I was in the backyard with all my paints, pencils, and sketchbook. Everything around me was ravishing and eagerly waiting to be brought to life through pen and paper. The dirt I sat on didn’t phase me as I gazed at the flowers in my dad’s tiny garden and drew the spectacular beauty before me. These were no Monet paintings, but they were made form the very depths of who I was. They brought my heart to life. They were me. As a little girl, creativity was my identity. In school I wasn’t known for my basketball skills (which are literally non-existent), but for my art skills. I hung out with my art teacher and worked on projects with her during our breaks. I embraced every poster project as an opportunity to make something beautiful. I will never forget doing a project on Mother Teresa in middle school. I painted a watercolor portrait of Mother Teresa on white poster board as if it were my chance to show the world the beauty of this woman’s life through paper and brush.
Today we will follow-up yesterday's post on the "daily scroll" with more ways on how we can champion our sisters-in-Christ through strolling through life with them. Yesterday we talked about criticism and how it can lead us to a negative attitude toward our friends. Instead of criticizing others, we can compliment them and encourage them in the Lord. Another way we respond to what we see scrolling through social media is to copy others instead of copying Christ.
Our fingers have been programmed in this day and age to scroll, double tap, text, and type. The other day my friend was telling me that her three year old can open the iPad and turn on his movies without help. Our minds and hands have been rewired to go straight to our phones. Without even realizing it, we take part in the "daily scroll." Instead of taking a walk with a friend, we scroll through their lives. Picture after picture on Instagram, post after post on Facebook, tweet after tweet on Twitter. We scroll, scroll, scroll and take in so much that we don't know what to do with the information overload. I know that the "daily scroll" has left me feeling disconnected, fruitless, and down most days. You may find yourself in the same delusion after your own daily scroll.
Glancing at the test, the two pink lines caught my eye. Two. Not just one. Two pink lines. I looked at my husband in stunned surprise and held it out for him to see. He led me to the couch and I proceeded to miss the couch and just fall straight to the floor in my usual dramatic fashion. We’re pregnant. We both sat there for what seemed like hours letting it sink in deep. The surprise and excitement mixed with the worry and unknowns filled out hearts with a flood of emotions. The next nine months were going to change our lives. The day we found out we were pregnant was exciting and overwhelming.
Last March I had no idea where Life Lived Beautifully was going. To be honest, I was at my wits end with trying to make a small business work. I was trying and trying and trying and getting no where. My heart was so weary and my spirit was defeated. I was on the brink of giving up and throwing in the towel. At the time, I had been making necklaces, stationery, and art prints. Though I loved creating these things, they weren't bringing my heart life and I knew there was something more. I longed to share Jesus and His truth, but I didn't know how I was to do it! I read through the journal I was using in this season and found these honest words of desperation:
At the beginning of this year, I almost quit Instagram and social media altogether. My heart was in a deep struggle. Through the scrolling and the posting I found a lack of encouragement and noticed that my heart was prone to be filled with an overload of information and a self-centered point of view. At the time, I had just begun creating stationery and art prints for Life Lived Beautifully and longed for it to make a difference. (It wasn't until April that the Lord gave me the dream for the "Give Me Jesus" Journal.) I didn't want to post another picture that people would scroll past and not pay attention to. I wanted each word and each post to matter for the Kingdom.
Mornings are my favorite time of day. The earth is still, the coffee is brewing, and my heart has yet to get after its' long to do list. I hunger after the stillness that can only be touched in the morning time. The reason this time of day is so dear to my heart is because it is when I meet with the Lord. No distractions, no things done, no one to talk to, just me and my Lord. This time is sacred and holy, the most important thing I do each day.
I have been an avid-journaler since I was in the 7th grade. I attended a private, Christian school and had a Bible teacher who taught us about the importance of studying the Bible as well as journaling. Prior to hearing this, I only considered journaling as a sort of diary where I wrote down my feelings, what happened in my day, and anything else that popped into my head. Needless to say, there wasn't much fruit from these diaries in elementary school, other than the fruit of laughter when I read what I wrote! My teacher had us start a journal in class that we used to answer hard questions and study the depths of Scripture. I began to see the importance of writing out my thoughts, thinking critically, and talking to the Lord each day.
Modesty. It’s an age old word that makes most people cringe on the inside, even in the church. Debates about modesty have divided believers while most ideas of its' meaning have no true Gospel foundation. The term modesty has always seemed to be a mysterious word that is tiptoed around but never grasped or studied. Most people are afraid to embrace the subject and others reject whatever it might mean. When I was younger, the term modesty always brought to mind the picture of a nun or Maria from the Sound of Music; fully covered from head to toe with no color or creativity. This didn't sit well with my love for fashion!
Dear Single Self (& Single Friends),You are not alone. You never were and you never will be. I feel I need to repeat this, you are not alone. In the world of singleness it is easy to feel, well, singled out. Kind of like you are wearing a scarlet letter that say available and alone. You may feel lonely and you may feel hopeless, but don't allow feelings to direct your steps. God has promised to never leave you or forsake you. Never. He has promised you life that is abundant...today. (John 10:10) Your years are not wasted and your life has already begun. Don't look ahead to what might be. (Matthew 6:33-34) Be grateful for the beauty of today. Each new moment is a gift from the Lord and is also a trust. How are you using your singleness to bring glory to your Creator?
We are all worshippers. The question is never, am I worshipping? But daily we should ask ourselves,what/who am I worshipping? The definition of worship is "the act of worshipping God or a god." We either worship the one, True God who is worthy of our affection or we worship little gods that deceive us into thinking they are greater than they are. One area that often gets worshipped in today's culture is fashion and dress. We place our affections on clothing, things and affirmation (all of which won't last). We spend countless hours (and a lot of money) worrying about our looks, our closets and our appearance. Just like Romans 1:24-25, we worship the created and not the Creator.