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…

20180323_112854-1
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

The Number on the Scale….

scaleYep, I had to face it this weekend. I landed at urgent care with a raging sore throat and terrible cough. I had successfully put it off; but now the moment had arrived. I had to face the number on the scale. This hate relationship with the scale started early for me. If I am brutally honest, I have avoided trips to the doctor many times because I simply didn’t want to face it. Please don’t judge me too harshly. The number on the scale has way too much control. I readily admit it. That number can dictate how I feel for the day. It can bring shame, guilt and embarrassment by the droves. It can also bring enormous amounts of relief, success and short lived happiness. However, what it never has provided is freedom.

This particular doctor’s visit confirmed many things for me. It confirmed a major throat infection (no strep, thank God) and bronchitis (“ain’t nobody got time for that”). What I have dwelt on since the doctor’s visit has not been concern for my own health. Nope. I have been consumed with the fact that the number on the scale is up. You see, I have been struggling with my weight my entire life. The last couple of years, hormones and menopause has made it more difficult for me to maintain my weight, let alone lose. For the last few months, I haven’t felt like fighting it. And the number on the scale shows it.

Why do we allow this number to have so much control over us? I know that I am not the only one. I work in the fitness industry (I laugh that God has made this part of my story given my serious issues with self esteem associated with my weight). I have witnessed the look of complete devastation on a client’s face after facing the number on the scale. It is heart breaking.

I remember when my current boss (who is a fabulous, fit, God-fearing woman) suggested that I consider becoming a certified Personal Trainer. My thoughts went something like this, ‘Are you kidding me? I don’t look the part. The struggle is beyond real. I am living proof that you can’t out exercise poor eating habits. Who would ever look to me for advice on getting in shape. You must be seriously delusional.’ Why do we allow the number on the scale to dictate what we are worthy to do? Or not to do?

I have lived 45 years allowing the number on the scale to dictate so many things: whether I will be in the picture, whether I will go to the beach or pool, whether I will feel attractive that day, whether I will enjoy lunch with my family, whether I should wear that outfit or not, whether I am worthy to be loved. In fact, while I am being honest, I can probably tell you what the number on the scale was during each season, vacation, happy or sad time of my life. And it played an unnecessary role in each one of these occasions. (Yikes! Lord, please help me not be the only one.)

I have been leading an amazing Bible Study for women by Kelly Minter, entitled, “No Other Gods”. What I am realizing is that this number on the scale is a false idol for me. It has sold me a lie about who I am. I have allowed the number on the scale to take up way too much space in my life, mentally and emotionally. And I am so tired of it. It is beyond time to lay this one down. It is beyond time to replace this idol with my Lord and Savior Jesus and let His truth reign in my life.

I am so much more than that number on the scale. I am made in the image of my Father in heaven. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against these things.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT) Now, my friends, this one scripture is some solid truth that I should sink my teeth into instead of the number on the scale.

Are there struggles or idols that you have allowed too much attention in your life? Lay them down. Let them go. They are nothing more than stumbling blocks that keep you from serving and pursuing the only, One True God. Let’s get on with living boldly for Him.

He is the only number on the scale that matters. He is my number One!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Be joyful!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

malone-campaign-wall-mirror-walnut-o

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!