3.31.2014

What is beauty?


What makes a person beautiful?  Is it their fashion sense?  Or the way they style their hair?

The LORD made His standard very clear in 1 Samuel 16 when He says that He ‘does not see as man sees: for men judge by appearance but the LORD judges by the heart’.  

And what is good and acceptable in the sight of God?

‘...that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.’ 
- 1 Timothy 2:2-3

To be truly beautiful, we must work on our inner appearance, for this is what matters most to God.  He made our bodies, He knows every wrinkle in our face, everything that we consider a blemish, yet He looks at His creation and sees that it is good. 

Our souls are what we must strive to perfect.  God tells us to be holy for He is holy.  Of course we never reach this holiness until we enter heaven, but to strive to perfection is what He wants to see us doing.  And He will honor our efforts to obey and follow Him.


Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All His wondrous passion and purity
O Thou Savior divine, all my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
- Albert Osborn

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‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment...instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.’
- 1 Peter 3:3-4


3.29.2014

The Girlfriend Zone

(This post is directed towards the guys but girlies, feel free to chime in!)

Perhaps you’re slightly stumped by the title.  What in the world is a ‘girlfriend zone’?  You’re probably as confused by it as I was when I first heard the term ‘the friend zone’.  And it was slightly awkward that I had to learn about what that meant under circumstances pertaining to a guy thinking I had ‘friend zoned’ him.  Honestly, when I first heard that, I was like ‘Hmm...I wonder what that means.  Probably that the people in that zone are your friends’.  I was, in a way, more or less correct in that assumption.  But apparently, there’s a deeper meaning.

The friend zone is for any guy a girl doesn’t like.  

That’s basically the bottom line of it.  (To those of you who didn’t know what that meant until now, you’re welcome.  Oh and yes, if you DID know what it meant, you can laugh at my previous confusion.)  And now that I understand it’s meaning, it has surely but quickly become a pet peeve of mine.

First of all, it has been said that a guy and a girl can’t always be ‘just friends’.  At one point or another, one will fall for the other.  And usually, it’s the girl falling for the guy.  But at other times, it’s the opposite.  Yet when the girl doesn’t return his feelings, he feels that he has been pushed aside.  Into the dreaded ‘friend zone’.

Well now that’s where I’d like to focus on.  Exactly what is so wrong about being IN the friend zone?  Guys view it as an ‘oh man, she only thinks of me as a friend’ corner.  Is that so bad?  Isn’t that what you are to her in the first place?  Any relationship starts out as ‘just being friends’.  And no, I don’t say that to give you hope.  I’m saying that because it’s the truth.  And have you even considered that possibly, just maybe, you’ve ‘girlfriend zoned’ her?  She has obviously not rejected you.  She’s still your friend.  She still talks to you and wants to hang out.  Just not in an ‘I like you too’ sort of way.  And if you’re the one ignoring her and pushing her away because she thinks that you two aren’t meant to be ‘together’, then this is what will happen.

Guy: I like you.
Girl: I only think of you as a friend.
Guy feels defeated and shuts down, blocks her out, doesn’t talk to her anymore.
Girl:  Has this dude only been nice to me for the last few months just because he wanted to be my boyfriend?  Was our whole friendship a lie?  How do we go back to normal?

And the more this happens, the less girls will trust boys.

As a guy, you have the unwritten, unstated law of being a good example of a man to any girl you are in contact with.  Whether that be your sister, your friend, a girl you accidentally bump into at the store, or a random Instagram follower.  Your responsibility is to be responsible.  And by shutting out a girl from your life just because she ‘friend zoned’ you is as immature and stupid as it gets.  

Just because a girl turned you down, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll never have a chance with her again.  Be thankful that she didn’t tell you to get out of her life and leave her alone forever.  What YOU need to do is remove her from the girlfriend zone.  That place where you put all your girl [space] friend as potential girlfriends.  Yes, romantic rejection is hard to accept.  Dealing with any sort of rejection is a challenge.  But that’s on her.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.  Challenges are meant to make us stronger.

What you can do is start on a little ‘what can I change about myself?’ campaign.  

1.  Stop using the term ‘friend zone’ as a bad thing.  
When a girl hears you say that, it just reads as ‘immature’, ‘selfish’, and ‘desperate’ on her radars.  And that’s definitely not attractive.

2.  Realize that IF there really is a ‘friend zone’ it is actually a good place to be.  
I’m sure you’re a wonderful, gentle, extremely kind guy, but just like all of us girls have to realize, we can’t always have what we want, and, not everyone is going to fall in love with us.  If a girl puts you in the friend zone, it’s because she respects and appreciates you - and sees you as a friend.  Just because someone turns you down doesn’t mean you are unlovable or that there’s no hope for you.  It’s just God’s way of speaking through them to you and saying ‘This isn’t the one’.

3.  Men are the pursuers.  
Guys are the ones who get to pick and choose who they want to pursue and, ultimately, marry.  If girls are keeping to their side of the street and not pursuing the men, we do not have the option of picking and choosing and therefore, will be the ones who are going to be put in situations where we will have to reject more than guys will.  (Disclaimer:  This does not mean that we don’t get rejected sometimes too.)  Whoever this girl is who friend zoned you, could be a very mean person and laugh in your face when you pour out your heart of feelings for her, but if you’re safe in the friend zone of quiet rejection, then she probably didn’t do this.  If she did, then move on.  You deserve a better friend.

4.  It’s your choice.
Being in the friend zone can emit one of either of these mindsets.
a) You can retreat into a corner and stroke your bruised ego and live your life forever holding a grudge against the girl who turned rejected you, telling everyone how you’ve been wronged.
b) You can appreciate how she values your friendship enough to still want you in your life, trust God that she’s not ‘the one’, and move on.

5.  Stop focusing on the girl who friend zoned you.
Guys say that all the girls who have turned them down are missing out on great guys because they are sticking all of them in the dreaded friend zone.  But I think a question you boys need to ask yourselves is: ‘Which great girl am I missing out on because I’m still distracted by the one who denied my affections?’


Lastly, I want to encourage all of the guys who are feeling hopeless about never succeeding in attracting the girl they like.  Rejection happens to everybody.  But I will tell you one thing.  Your beautiful, Proverbs 31 woman is not going to come to your rescue in the self-indulgent, depressing friend zone.  She will be attracted to a man of God, though, who trusts His plan no matter how ‘wrong’ life seems to be going.  Because a true man knows that whatever He’s doing, even though it feels like chaos, there is still peace in trusting His will.  

Guys, you are amazing,  you are loveable, you are enough.  Stand strong.  Be brave.  Be the man that a woman would be proud to call her husband.  Don’t give up on us.  I promise you that there are godly girls waiting for men to come find them and be their hero.

3.27.2014

A Real Woman


A real woman is a lady.

A real woman is confident, yet humble.

A real woman is honest.

A real woman will not tempt a man.

A real woman will save herself only for her husband.

A real woman will love her husband for all he is - his flaws, his talents, his shortcomings and his successes.

A real woman will respect men.

A real woman will be patient.

A real woman has a gentle and quiet spirit.

A real woman is selfless.

A real woman has a good sense of humor but knows when to be serious.

A real woman is modest - not only in her clothing, but in her manner.

But above all, a real woman loves the LORD with all her heart, mind, and strength.  She loves Him more than she loves her man.  And dedicates her life to living for Him and pushing her husband closer to their Savior.

Men, if the woman you like, have a crush on, or are currently dating, is not striving to match these should-be-requirements-for-every-possible-interest, I can promise you that God has someone else much better out there for you.  A real woman who has your best interests at heart.  A real woman who puts God first and you second.  A real woman who loves you with the kind of love that only comes from above.


3.25.2014

Hills of difficulty


‘If life were all one dead level, the dull sameness would oppress us... It is the hill of difficulty that drives us to the throne of grace.  And brings down the showers of blessing.’
- Mrs. Charles E. Cowman


When life’s trials are pushing hard against us, and hope seems but a dim memory, it’s so easy to succumb to the world’s ways of complaining and grumbling about our current situation.  But as Christians, we can remember and lean on God’s promises of faithfulness and that He works everything out for our good.  We can draw strength from His Spirit who lives within us and be ‘driven to the throne of grace’ from which He is ever willing to provide.  Our perseverance on the rough roads is something that God will honor.  


‘Every such consent to suffer will bring you nearer and nearer to Him; and in this nearness, you will find such blessed, sweet peace as will make your life infinitely happy, no matter what may be its mere outside conditions.’
- Elizabeth Prentiss


Be thankful for the ‘hills of difficulty’, for through them, we are being tried and if persistent, found true.  

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‘For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver.  You brought us into the net.  You laid an oppressive burden on our shoulders.  You have made men ride over our heads.  We went through fire and water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.’
- Psalm 66:10-12

3.18.2014

Praise His Name


There are so many things to be thankful for.  But I think the one most deserving of thankfulness is being a child of the living God.  He deserves all our praise for it.

What could’ve caused God to look down at us and decide to save us?

          What did He see that was worth noticing?

                     What about our lives was something that He thought was worthy to be loved?

The answer to all those questions is: nothing.

Like many things God does, we can’t give a reason for them.  But through faith and trust, we can know for certain that whatever He does, He does because He is sovereign.  And for the simple fact that He chooses to do so.

I love how the Psalms are filled with so many praise verses to God.

Psalm 103: 1-4 says:

‘Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits.  Who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion.’

So often, we live from day to day completely forgetful of this one simple truth: that we are saved from our sins by a God who saw our worthlessness, yet loved us anyway.  

Is there anything better or more joyful than just knowing that?

Whatever you may be going through today, dwell on this.  Remember that He loved you enough to save you, so He’ll love you enough to see you through whatever you may be experiencing.

His love is everlasting.

Praise His Name.

3.13.2014

Everyday Blessings // 18



>> discovering this ^ quote by one of my heroes (Augustine)
>> a warm and comfy bed
>> Christmas lights (yes, even in March)
>> my band, WonderFall
>> leftover pizza
>> tea
>> new journals
>> clean clothes
>> finishing a portrait drawing
>> long phone calls
>> prayer
>> earbuds
>> making progress on a novel
>> finishing the first season of the TV show that is currently my obsession ('Arrow')
>> new makeup
>> modeling for two photoshoots
>> looking forward to my birthday

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How has your month of March been so far, readers?:)

Keep an eye out for some upcoming giveaways!  I'm so excited to be hosting some fabulous prizes from lovely people and shops.

3.11.2014

My soul waits in silence | a poem



My soul waits in silence
For You only are my shield
My rock in time of despair
My comfort when I am scared
You are my salvation
When life threatens to break me down
You are my stronghold
I will not be shaken, I will be bold
My hope is from You
I trust in You forever
You are my glory rest
And I know Your plans for me are best
My refuge is in Your hands
I will pour my heart before You
Once You have spoken
And twice I have heard this
That power belongs to  You alone
And Your lovingkindness can turn a heart of stone
My soul waits in silence...


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Inspired by Psalm 62

3.08.2014

7 Things Singles Should Remember



1. It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling with being content
Many people think that if you’re trusting God to bring a spouse to you, waiting patiently, trying to stay joyful, etc., then you have nothing to complain about.  But trusting God is never all rainbows and roses.  It’s painful.  It’s hard.  Don’t be afraid to admit this.  And seek out encouragement from other single friends.


2. You aren’t alone in your singleness
There are tons of other singles around you.  Interact with each other.  Encourage each other.  Have fun together.  Plan ‘Singles Day’ outings and go to the beach, go rock-climbing, have a Bible study. 


3. Others have been where you are
We all have friends who are happily married.  Some are quite a few years older than ourselves.  But they’ve ALL experienced the ‘single and waiting’ stage.  Ask them for advice and encouragement. 


4. Think of positive aspects to being single
One of them being, you have SO much time to do things that are important to you.  Things that your future partner, perhaps, may not enjoy as much as you do.  You can advance your skills in certain areas, pursue hobbies, go on spontaneous trips, etc.  These are all things that, if you were in a relationship, would come second to spending time with your significant other.  But while single, you aren’t ‘tied down’ (for lack of a better phrase) and can enjoy life as a single person, rather than as one in a committed relationship.


5. Stay busy
I’ve known a lot of single people who don’t stay busy and when you don’t stay busy, your mind wanders, and when your mind wanders, it usually wanders to big issues in your life - either dreams, wishes, or plans.  And if you’re single and wanting to mingle, your thoughts will most likely focus on your loneliness.  This is NOT good for you - physically or emotionally.  So STAY BUSY.  Get a job, hang out with friends, start a blog.  Keep your schedule full and busy.  And one super positive aspect to staying busy too, is that you learn to love your life because it’s full of things you love and enjoy doing (this goes hand in hand with point number 4).


6. Be happy for couples
Yes, so it can be really super hard sometimes to be genuinely happy for some friends who are together and lovey-dovey and in that oh-we’re-so-in-love stage that, to you, can be kind of disgusting.  But when we are joyful for someone else’s happiness, it brings US joy too.  And anyway, wouldn’t you want someone to be happy for YOU instead of harboring feelings of jealousy towards what God has blessed you with?


7. Work on your relationship with God
While you’re single, you have the opportunity to further your education, your job, but most importantly, your relationship with God.  The most important relationship you’ll ever have. Even more important than marriage.  And if you never do get married, if a spouse isn’t in God’s plans for your life, the time invested in your love story with Jesus will never get old, it will never end, it will never disappoint.  A boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t going to make your life perfect.  A spouse isn’t going to fulfill every single desire you have.  But God can and does.  And if you have Him, you have everything you need.


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These aren't the only things you should remember while you are single.  I'm sure there are many more that can be added to this little list, but these are the top few that I, personally, have come to learn during my single years and I hope they encourage and motivate you.  Leave a comment and let me know some other ones that you would suggest singles remember!


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‘Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.’
- Philippians 4:11


3.06.2014

Restless


We are all restless.  We all reach points in our life where we’re just ‘stuck’.  We don’t know which direction God is calling us.  We have dreams and desires but don’t know if that’s what God wants us to do now, if that’s His will, etc.

One of the easy excuses I hear too often is: ‘I’m praying about it’.  
Yes, we should always pray before hurling headlong into trying to achieve our ambition.  To do something.  But just sitting on your rear end, praying that God would ‘show’ you what He wants you to do won’t get you anywhere.

God doesn’t speak in an audible voice anymore.  And as much as I wish He would send a bolt of lightning to tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’, it won’t happen.  (Well, okay, I shouldn’t say ‘never’.  God can speak through anything so...don’t rule out any possibilities.)

But believing (and having faith) is doing.  If you have a godly desire (that’s the first thing you need to make sure of), then work towards it.  Start with baby steps.  And if it truly is God’s will for you, He will allow you to continue down that path.  I promise.  If God doesn’t want you to go after a certain something, He won’t let it happen.  I don’t know how or why.  But He’ll put up roadblocks, and when you run into them and can’t go further, that is when you know that He is saying ‘no’.  Don’t give up easily, of course.  Sometimes He makes the road a little tough to see if we’re persistent.  But remember to always hold your dreams in an open hand.  They may be difficult to achieve, but God always makes a way for you to.  

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‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.’
- Jeremiah 29:11

3.03.2014

5 Tips On Writing Letters To Your Future Husband



This is somewhat of a "repost" of an article I wrote about a year or so ago in answer to a question I had received from a reader: 

"Can you give me some tips on writing to my future husband?"

First of all, I've heard of people "not agreeing" on indulging in writing to your future spouse because it can be igniting a hope in you that God may not have planned for your life.  Which is true.  None of us know for sure if we are going to get married or not.  But just because we don't, doesn't mean we shouldn't write a collection of thoughts to him/her.  You may not get married till your 78!  Or you may get married next year.

I've heard a testimony of a lady who wrote letters to her future husband when she was about fourteen-years old.  As she got older, she thought how silly it was that she had written them, since she didn't know if she'd ever get married or not.  So she threw them away.  A few years later, she met her now-husband and after they had gotten married, she told him about the "silly" letters and he wished so much that she had kept them!  Kinda sad, huh?  So honestly, I guess it's just up to you and your personal convictions.  Pray about it.  Talk to your parents.  It may not be the wisest course of action at this time, but perhaps something to keep in mind for the future.

If you decide that it's a go, here are some tips that I've learned over the years since I've been writing him.  I started when I was about 13...and yes, I admit, the first few were pretty silly and naive.  But as I grew older, as I learned more about the world, about men, about hopes and dreams, and about pain, my letters took on a more mature ring to them.  I already have a box full of letters and am now on my second journal to my man.  And here are a few ideas that I've found useful in writing to him.


1. Things You're Looking Forward To
One of the most enjoyable things to write to my husband are things that I'm looking forward to doing with him.  It can be anything from fulfilling bucket list wishes, to dancing in the rain, to watching movies together.  And don't worry about being cheesy, girls.  Plus it's a good way of having date ideas.


2. Hopes and Dreams
Talk to him about things you'd like to accomplish together.  Goals in life that you can only do with two people.  This can also fall under the previous category, but don't be afraid to talk about more 'serious' topics.  You two will be talking about them all your life.


3. Prayers
Praying for your future and your future husband is one of the most amazing things you can pray about. Pray for him now.  Pray for his spiritual growth, his job, his school, his family.  Pray for when you two meet.  Pray for your relationship.  Pray for your marriage.  Pray for your children.  And writing down these prayers and recording them to be able to read in years to come is something really precious. (You can read my post on prayer request suggestions for your future husband HERE.)


4. Things You Love About Him
So no, you may not know who your man is right now.  You may not know everything about him yet.  But write down things you know you'll love about.  His love for God.  His love for you.  His smile.  His eyes.  Tell him that you love being his.


5. Verses, Quotes and Songs
One thing I love doing is writing down verses from the Bible or lyrics from songs or romantic quotes in my journal to him. They're fun little sparkles to add to entries.  And it's always so fun to know that you can sing those songs to him someday.  And read those verses together.  And say those quotes directly to him.

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Comment and share your favorite things to write to your future husband or any suggestions you may have!