Go Ahead and Twirl…

We bought my daughter’s dress for her junior prom last week. It is a traditional ball gown in a beautiful shade of pale blue, made for a princess with a long, full skirt. She looked like Cinderella when she came out of the dressing room. I choked back tears because she was simply breath taking!

It reminded me of seeing her at our wedding. She was 7 years old and dressed in a white dress with a full, knee length skirt that flowed out and around her when she twirled with excitement in her eyes. Ladies, can you remember twirling when you were little when the skirt or dress fit the occasion?

A few years ago, we used the theme, Sky for our Vacation Bible School. The movements to the songs were graceful and flowing, with lots of twirling and soaring of our hands through the air. I can still remember one little girl, around 5 years old, dancing and twirling for her Father in heaven with complete abandon.

Every woman was once a little girl. And every little girl holds in her heart her most precious dreams. She longs to be swept up into a romance, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, to” be” the Beauty of the story. (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John Elderidge)

Isn’t that so true? Wouldn’t it be nice to stay in the innocent, unabashed delight of a little girl twirling in her dress? Yet, life beats that out of us somehow and we begin to believe messages like: you aren’t pretty enough; you aren’t thin enough; you aren’t smart enough; you aren’t strong enough; nobody wants to see you twirl; you aren’t enough. And before you know it, the twirling stops.

Listen, God is whispering to you to twirl! In His love letter to us, He tells us that we are chosen, beautiful and more than enough. In fact, we are a royal priesthood and we are fearfully and wonderfully made to accomplish glorious things!

I encourage you today to bask in the innocent delight of a Father who delights in You! I encourage you to dance, twirl and know in your soul that He could not love you any more or less than He does today. Make no mistake when you come out of the veil of lies that the world has sold you, He is waiting and you take His breath away!

I can’t wait to see my beautiful daughter twirl in her dress in a couple of weeks and I pray that she never stops twirling.

Be hopeful and go ahead and twirl!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalms 37:23‭-‬24 NLT

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

73 is the new 43….

I just spent ten glorious days with two of my favorite people: my mom and dad. They both turned 73 this year; but, you would never know it. Their genuine zest for life and overall health could put me and some of my friends to shame. I have always admired them; but find the older that I get the more that admiration grows. I want to be like them when I grow up. 😉 So, I thought that I would share some things that I have observed about them.

Put God first in everything you do: your life, marriage, home, vocation and decisions. Do everything for His Glory. Remember it’s not about you. It’s about Him. Always.

Surround yourself with things that you love. My parents have pictures of family everywhere. They also have family heirlooms, cows, crosses, lighthouses, positive affirmations and other things that they love around their house.

Take time to prepare a good meal and sit down to eat it family-style.

Climbing stairs is a good thing. My parents house on the river is only accessible by a flight of stairs. And their bedroom is up another flight of stairs.

Spend some time gardening. Both of my parents are Master Gardeners and they love to grow flowers, vegetables, and herbs, which means they spend time outside tending to their garden. (Oh and those good meals mentioned above involve lots of homegrown, seasonal vegetables.)

Give back to your community. Volunteer and promote commerce, fellowship and service within your city. Roll up your sleeves and work when help is needed.

Games are good for your soul and a great way to keep your mind active and alert. My mom is an avid bridge player and is involved in playing cards each week with other women. We love to play board games when we get together as a family.

Take time to sit outside and soak in God’s creation. Watch birds. Enjoy the sunshine. Float on the river. Watch stray kittens play. Ha!

And no matter your age, keep dreaming. Look forward to what God has in store for you next. Talk about the future, make plans to travel and imagine amazing things for your life. In every season. You see, eternal life begins now in Christ. What are you waiting for?

Be joyful!

I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:10‭-‬13 NLT

A River Runs through It….

I went kayaking yesterday with my man. We put in at my parent’s house on the Greenbrier river and went about 11 miles. It was a beautiful day on the river. Each stretch had its own unique personality: the banks looked more or less plush with greenery; the flow of the water varying; and the mountains surrounding grew larger in some areas. (I noticed that my husband and I have both grown in our mid-sections as well.) Yes, change is inevitable on the river. And growth is a given.

A couple of years ago, the river experienced flash flooding which devastated this particular area of West Virginia. There were areas of the river where debris was still piled, including a couple of boat trailers that had been swept up in the flood. In the midst of such beauty, there were reminders of past devastation and hurt.

Our lives unfold before us much like a river. Each season is unique and brings it’s own set of obstacles and beauty. Sometimes the mountains we face seem larger; sometimes the waters we manuever are more turbulent; sometimes the scenery surrounding us is more plush and sometimes flood waters come out of nowhere and sweep us away.

Yet in the midst of it all, God stays constant and in complete control, orchestrating the ebbs and flows. Lest we forget that He created the beautiful, powerful, ever-changing river itself. He knows each stretch like the back of His hand. And He knows you too. And me. He also knows when we need a flood of water to wash us clean or maybe push us through to our next calling.

Now let me tell you about my favorite part of our kayak. Just around one of the bends, a gorgeous long haired golden lab came swimming out to see me. He swam up to my boat and laid his nose in my hand in the water for just a brief second and then swam back home to the river bank. It truly delighted my soul and made me giggle with joy.

God will show up along the way and surprise you with simplistic joy and satisfaction. Sometimes it will seemingly swim out of nowhere and leave you astounded at His goodness and perfect timing. So, I say, let’s keep paddling. Our journey will end in complete healing, complete joy and complete satisfaction. In Christ. And His river always runs through it.

Be joyful!

But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing. Ezekiel 47:12 MSG

Photo creds to my beautiful daughter.

My Father’s Eyes

Jesus in our Eyes by stasiabv on DeviantArt

We attended a birthday party on Saturday, where I found myself surrounded by the most gorgeous women. The weather was beautiful, allowing us to sit pool-side under a gazebo. The faces around me were no less radiant than our surroundings. I allowed myself to take it all in, enjoy the easy conversation, abundant laughter, delicious food and found myself thankful beyond measure.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could see ourselves through each other’s eyes? I found each friend breath taking! I could sit back and take in the whole picture. I wasn’t zeroed in on the flaws in each lady. No ma’am. I was focused on the value of each person and their unique design. Plus, we all had one thing in common: we all have a deep relationship with Christ. I have prayed with these beauties, cried with them, studied God’s Word with them and laughed with them. You see, I had the inside scoop and the essence of their nature became the beauty in their faces.

Then, this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks. God, our Father, sees us in our fullness. Our flaws are covered by his Son’s blood. He has prayed with me, cried with me, studied His Word with me and laughed with me. The essence of His nature has become the beauty in my face. There is nothing that I can do that will make Him love me any more or less. There is nothing that I can do to make Him see me any more or less beautiful than I am. Right now. In this season.

Father, help me see myself and others through Your eyes. To borrow some lyrics from Amy Grant:

She’s got her Father’s eyes, her Father’s eyes
Eyes that find the good in things
When good is not around
Eyes that find the source of help
When help just can’t be found
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain
Knowin’ what you’re going through, and feeling it the same
Just like my Father’s eyes.

Be joyful!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
Psalm 139:13‭-‬18 NIV

I Think I am Van Gogh…

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Flower creds to the true artist, Lori Beane. Thank you for making my painting beautiful!

 

Amongst the many spiritual gifts God has granted me, I am also quite an extraordinary painter. (Just ask me or Muscle Mom and we will tell you it’s true! Ha!) A favorite sister in Christ hosts painting workshops at her café. I attended one last night. I love everything about it. I love the easy conversation that takes pace. I love how everyone walks around and admires the talent of each unique rendering, I love the laughter. And I love the fact that the talented hostess has assisted me with every canvas, correcting, embellishing and putting her true gift into my mediocre attempt. I also love that my husband awaits my arrival home and graciously gushes over my canvas too, And that he has never complained when I deck our walls with original pieces, especially during the holidays!

I left the workshop last night feeling so refreshed. I met some neat new women. I enjoyed quality time with one of my best friends, who painted with me. And I was struck, once again, with how each participant can gaze at the same canvas; yet, leave with their own interpretation of it. Each one unique. Each one beautiful.

Looking around the workshop last night, the beauty and wonder of each face was remarkable: straight hair, freckles, brown eyes, dimples, laugh lines, pink cheeks. Each uniquely designed in the image of our Father, the original canvas. And each given her own eyes to look through, her own personality to pull from and her own unique perspective in which she takes in the original canvas. From that perspective flowed each brush stroke, each color chosen and each variation of the original art.

And it all took place under the watchful eye of the hostess, the original artist. If asked, she would offer advice or her own touch on your canvas. Her perspective came from  love, care and a true desire for each one of us to succeed.

We were made be the Master Creator to be creative. He expresses His creativity through us in so many ways. He does it through His design. He does it through the gifts that He entrusts to each of us. Different talents that He wants us to use successfully. He stays close by, ready to offer advice through His Word and prayer. And with His love and care, we will see His handprints all over our lives and He will be glorified!

Okay, so I don’t really think that I am Van Gough. But, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And you are too, And I do love to tap into my creative side whenever given the chance, with a little help from my friends. And a lot of Hope in my Father!

Be joyful….and be creative!

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 NIV

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

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Every Sunday morning, I am surrounded by the most gorgeous girls. Each one beautiful with shining eyes and open hearts, desiring to study God’s Word and get closer to Jesus. You see, I teach a Sunday School class at my church for high school girls. It is an absolute joy to spend time with them each week and often I marvel at the beauty surrounding me.

Monday through Friday, I spend each morning at my home away from home, my gym, where I teach fitness classes. A mostly female crew, the faces that surround me are equally beautiful. They are women of all ages and all sizes. They are strong, radiant, capable and wise. Each one striving to be the best they can be. They too, are a privelege to be around.

Here is the sad truth about both of these groups of women. They truly have no idea how beautiful they are. They have bought the lie that somehow they aren’t enough. I would imagine that there self worth is often dictated by the number on the scale, the image in the magazine or the tag on their pants. They haven’t quite let it sink in that they are royalty, made in God’s image, and secure and complete in their identity in Christ.

Part of the problem may be the mirror on the wall. We size ourselves up, tear ourselves down and make unhealthy comparisons. The mirror on the wall is a liar. It doesn’t capture the beauty of our souls, our graceful manner, nor does it show the new creations that we are in Christ.

The mirror that we should be gazing into is the Word of God. His scripture is where we find the Truth about who we are or better yet Whose we are. We are simply a reflection of our Father and the pages of His living, breathing Word is where we find out that we are holy, righteous, chosen, and good.

My prayer for you today is that you remember to seek His Truth for your life. You are enough. You are actually more than enough, you are the apple of His eye. And His beauty reflects, radiates and shines so brightly in you.

Mirror, mirror on the wall…Jesus makes us the fairest of them all!

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9‭-‬10 NIV

Be joyful!