Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worthy of Love and Beautiful

I want to be beautiful. What girl doesn't? I've always been a girlie girl.... make-up, clothes in the latest fashions, nails and toes done, highlights in hair, sweet-smelling perfume...... all things meant to "enhance" my beauty. And like any girl, I grew up in a culture that bombards girls/woment with messages of beauty... "use this product".... "be this size".... "have your hair styled this way".

And let me tell you, it's a crock! We are trained by our culture from a very early age that beauty has to do with our outward self.... how we look.

One of my favorite songs is "Beautiful" by Bethany Dillon.

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention
I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me
Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart, and be amazed
I want to hear you say Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

I want to be beautiful
Make you stand in awe
Look inside my heart, and be amazed
I want to hear you say Who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Have you ever felt like that? I have. I think all of us desire to be "beautiful".... because we associate "beauty" with "love". IF the song stopped here, it would be sad. As I hear the lyrics, I hear someone crying out for love.... based on their beauty, the worth they think they have.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

What we think of as important (beauty/outward appearance) God thinks differently. It is not our beauty that causes Him to love us, He loves us because He created us. He is interested in our heart-- our soul--- our spirit. He is interested in who we are rather than how we appear. Remember....

Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

Thank you, LORD!!!! As a woman, I still want to be beautiful. But I must realize that God's idea of beauty is different than my own. He gives me directions on how to be beautiful..... the Proverbs 31 Woman. God's beautiful woman is....

  • Pure- She is a woman of virtue (verse 10)

  • Honest- She is trustworthy (verses 11-12)

  • Industrious- She is a hardworker (verses 13-19, 21-22, 24, 27, 31)

  • Thrifty- She is skilled with finances, She is able to care for her loved ones (verses 14, 16)

  • Strong in character- She faces the daily challenges of life with courage (verses 25, 29)

  • Kind- She is compassionate and brings words of encouragement (verses 20, 26)

  • Wise- She walks in wisdom (verse 26)

  • Holy- She loves the LORD with her whole heart (verse 30)

That's a tall order! It can be VERY overwhelming! But we never need to be discouraged or feel overwhelmed by God's standard for beauty because He gives us, day by day, a lifetime to reach it! Join me (won't you?) in whispering to God, pleading for strength- His strength? Because through Him we can become a BEAUTIFUL woman---- one who moves through the challenges and duties of life with courage, bravery, endurance and His power! WE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL!!!!! (We are WOMEN! We are BEAUTIFUL!)

And the song? See the conclusion Bethany Dillon comes to about beauty.....

You make me beautiful, You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart, and I am amazed!

I love to hear You say Who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful

Lord, Help me to be beautiful by YOUR standard. Help me not to become distracted by the world's idea of beauty and doubt You. Amen.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Treasure Hunter

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

As an only child.... I'm spoiled. As an ADOPTED only child.... I'm spoiled rotten. :)

I have always been used to getting my way. I do not share. I don't play well with others. I've very self-centered. Maybe it was because of my "only child" status, but I think it is because I've tried to store my "treasures" in the wrong place.

I'm too concerned with stuff. I like stuff. My home, my classroom is all filled with "stuff". A co-worker has joked that if I try to put one more item in my classroom, she is staging an intervention. At home, I have so much stuff that I don't even use it all! But it is never enough..... I always want more. Newer... BIGGER..... MORE

I'm learning about stuff. Recently I was able to (finally!) purchase a new laptop computer. Less than a week after bringing it home, my home was robbed. What was taken? You guessed it! The new laptop (and a tv). I've been almost obsessed with trying to figure out how quickly I can replace these two items, and I've realized.... it's gonna be awhile (and probably that's a good thing!)

During this time of waiting, I am going to focus on my treasures...... my earthly treasures don't matter. I've still got a tv to use. I still have a desktop computer. There are lots of people that don't even have that! How dare I pout or be upset? The things that were taken was just that..... things. I should be more concerned with the treasures that I am storing up in Heaven.

What treasures are those? I think as Christians, we all want to think that we are working hard for God and making a difference in our world. Often times we are. But how much MORE of an impact can we make when we don't let our earthly treasures get in the way?

So that's my goal....... I'm hunting for treasure! Showing the love of Jesus to my students by treating them fairly and in love. Loving on those around me who may or may not know Christ's love. Acting in such a way (publicly AND privately) that people will see that there is something different about me. And the toughest one of all---- being greatful for what I have, not always wishing for more.

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silnt. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

"For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, wheter living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11b-13 (NIV)

Father, Teach me contentment. Help me to look for ways to store my treasures in Heaven, rather than here on earth. Help me to look for ways to glorify You no matter what. Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pick Me! Pick Me!

Think back..... WAAAAAAAAAAY back..... to when you were in school. Remember p.e. class? Remember those games where you had to "pick teams"? Maybe you were athletic and always one of the first chosen. Or, maybe you were like me--- clutzy, not at all athletic. I remember dreading being called LAST to join the team (or even worse, NOT being chosen and getting "stuck" on a team!)

It hurts to be the last one chosen. Why? Rejection. No one likes it. Rejection HURTS. Even if no one says it, to be picked last meant that you WEREN'T ANY GOOD and no one wanted to accept the "liability" of having you on their team.

As a teenager and as an adult, I've experienced a different kind of rejection. It hurts more than being chosen last for a kickball team.

I'm in my late 30's and have never been married. I've never really even had a serious relationship. I've barely even been out on dates. Why? I've been "picked" last. There is something "wrong" with me that would make me a liability to a relationship. Now, before you try to argue that point with me..... stop. I'm just stating facts.

There is something un-dateable about me. I truly have no idea what. I could list all of my negative qualities, but we all have SOMETHING in our lives that aren't perfect! I'm quiet, very reserved, don't make friends easily. I'm "fluffy" and aren't exactly the most beautiful; but I have good qualities too...... I guess those just don't show up as easily. I'm smart. I'm creative and funny. I love to do things for others. I'm a hard worker. I guess those things don't come across though.

I never know how to meet people. Most of my friends are married and have been so for many years. They don't know single people my age. I work with mostly women. I just don't know where to meet someone (and if I did meet someone, I sure wouldn't know how to communicate!)Over the years, I have tried different online dating sites. I've even paid money to have a membership, rather than just "creep". It's always been the same...... very few were ever interested. Or, they would seem to be interested and then I would never hear from them again as soon as they saw my photo (I'm not THAT ugly! I DON'T break cameras or anything!) Or, they would chat with me but then suddenly stop (and I would have no idea why!) Now, please don't argue that "they don't know what they are missing".... cause the common denominator in this equation is me........ something is wrong with me.

I cannot express how hurtful it is to once again be passed over. It's hard to get your hopes up that MAYBE this time will be different. After rejection, it is doubly hard to get my nerves up to try again. I often joke that God is going to have to cause someone to fall from the sky with a sign around his neck saying, "This is the One. Love, God"

I fear being lonely. I am so scared that one day my parents will not be around anymore and I will be completely alone. Yes, I have friends, but they have their own families, their own responsibilities. I am terrified that my biggest desire to have a mate and hopefully a family will never come to be. I'm scared to grow old and alone.

I have to be honest...... I see people who always seem to have a date, or a boyfriend, or a husband and I get jealous. I want that so bad for myself. It has gotten to the point that it is hard to even be happy for someone else..... because my heart longs so greatly for what they have.

For years, I have prayed about this. To be honest, I'm mad at God because of it. I don't understand why I have to wait. Or why He won't take this desire away from me. I don't know what to do to get over the anger, the hurt, the rejection. I don't understand why I have to continue to wait. What if His answer is for me to wait more? What if having a husband is never part of His plan for my life? What do I do then? How do I learn to accept what He has in store for me?

I have a heavy heart when it comes to relationships. Maybe someone else has felt the same. I just know how weary I am of rejection. How much I'm ready to give up on the hope of a family.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tattle-tale, Tattle-tale, Hang Your Britches On a Nail

Anyone who works with, has, or has even BEEN a child (in other words, EVERYONE!) knows about tattling. I think that is the one thing in my classroom that gets on my nerves the most! At least once a day, one of my third graders come to me to tell me about someone else's business. Sounds petty, I know, but it is a huge problem! Each time this happens, it distracts us from learning (and causes their teacher to have a hissy fit!)

Tattling is such a problem, that I am ALWAYS looking for ways to stop it in my classroom! One of my newest addictions in Pinterest and I've come across some really cute ideas to try in my room!Next year, I wil have a "tattling turtle", a tattling flow chart for "When to Tattle", and spend lots of time talking about what is important to tell and what isn't.

But tattling isn't just a child problem. As adults, we are prone to "tattle" on others. How? Through gossip, being nosy, making assumptions, and sharing things with others that was never our place to share. Each time we stick our nose in someone else's business or share private information about someone else, we are tattling. It hurts just as much to adults as it does to children.

Why are other people's drama so attractive to us? Does their problems make us feel better about our own? Are we so insecure about who we are that in order to feel good about ourselves, we have to drag others down?

Many times I think that Christians are the worst about tattling. We "hide" the gossip by saying that we are just "concerned" about them and would like to pray for them. Hogwash..... we are just nosy. And when we do gain new knowledge, why do we feel the need to share that with others? Or assume we know who someone is talking about and then "tattle" back to that person? How in the world is THAT setting an example of Christ's love?

I'm guilty of tattling as well. I love to hear gossip about others. I love to be nosy and ask questions when it is not my "beez wax". I've also been guilty of making assumptions about other people, and repeating things that I should have never known. I'm sure my actions have hurt others. I will have to ask forgiveness for that, try to make ammends, and accept the fact that people may have lost their ability to trust me or that I have permanently lost friends.

The Bible says plenty about how we should live our lives.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV) commands us to "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."

Wow.... so when I DON'T mind my own business I am sinning. That's not a good thought.... I want to think that my actions aren't wrong, but they are. I want to think that it is harmless gossip, but it's not. I hate to think that something I might have done have hurt someone else. Or worse, caused someone else to stumble in their relationship with God. The worst? if my actions have caused someone to reject Christ.

So, now I know that it is wrong. I know that it can hurt others. How do I stop it? By guarding my mind and my tongue. I can only do that through God's help...

Psalm 141:3-5 (NIV) "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. Let a righteous man strike me- it is a kindness; let him rebuke me- it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it."

Lord, Help me to guard my ears and my mouth. Help me to stay away from gossip. Keep me from spreading it to others and causing pain with my words. Use my mouth as a way to glorify You and bring others to You. Amen.