Today's post is quite a personal one. I hold this subject close to my heart because I know the struggle of it all too well.
Who am I?
What am I made for?
Who will I be?
What will I become?
For many years I went through life asking these questions. It always seemed I could never come up with a good enough answer, an answer that seemed to never be pleasing to me, or the people around me.
I have tried to think back and pin point the moment I felt this self doubt. It seems to have lingered into my earliest memories. This reality crushes my heart. The thought of young girls and boys going through this same struggle I once had, crushes my heart.
I remember feeling lost, confused, sadness, not being enough, hatered, dissatisfaction, guilt, being plagued by anxiety...so many untrue thoughts I construde about who I was and who I had to be.
I feel incredibly blessed to have lived a life without Christ. Now, please don't hear me the wrong way. I wish I would have gone through my whole 25 years of existence thus far worshiping our Creator. because He is worthy of that. He deserves that love, that praise, that dedication.
But I am blessed to be able to take a look into my past and see what a life truly lived for myself, a life lived to glorify myself, looks like. Because when I compare a self glorified life and a Christ glorified life, My heart falls even more in love with my Creator.
I hated myself, I strived to please the idols I placed in my heart, I gave into worldly beauty, I gave into so many unrealistic standards. all these untrue lies lead to a self destructive, heart broken me.
I could never be beautiful enough, I could never be thin enough, I could never be number one, I could never be the best me. I strived to please others and to please the void I felt within myself.
But not so surprising enough, all of the idol chasing, people pleasing, self involved beauty led me to nothing. Nothing good I should say, it led me to a darkness I wish to never know again.
It breaks my heart to see this artificial beauty that is so sought after, but the motivation that drives this unrealistic sense of perfection is incredibly dangerous.
I have come to realize my motivation to fill all those empty voids was a selfish, self involved, self destructive, me me me, motivation.
But friends there is some good news. Some news that will change your heart. Some news that will make you new.
This process was not an easy one for me, I believed so many lies for so long. It's incredibly difficult to unlearn what you had been taught for many many years. After all, wordly living does not line up with biblical living. It took a few years to realize this seed that had planted itself years and years ago was still growing. Not growing into a beautiful flower that was soon to blossom and show its beauty. More like a single strand of vine, that grew into several strands of vines, that grew into thousands of strands of vines, that grew into every empty space I had left empty. To me any space that is not filled and rooted in Christ is an empty space , an empty space waiting to be filled with something else, something dangerous that will soon consume your everything.
The first few years of my newly regenerated heart, I believe I lived a very incomplete gospel. I believe Christ had a hold of my heart, but I also believe I was living a very one-sided Gospel. A Jesus loves you and thats all that matters Gospel. It wasn't until I realized I still had this life sucking vine growing into every sinfully unguarded place in my body, that I realized I was not fully leaning on my Creator.
Every morning I would wake up and over analyze what could be better about myself, almost like I was a computer collecting all of this damaged data, sorting out a way to be better, to be undamaged. And I realized when I did this, I was telling Christ His creation wasn't good enough. I was saying I could make something more beautiful with more makeup, more diets, more exercise, more more more. I can make this more beautiful than what you did Jesus.
What a crazy thought to have.
Take a look outside, Its the most beautiful picture I couldn't ever imagine to paint. Take a quick second to think about how your body functions. Its amazing, the craftsmanship is perfection.
Needless to say, once I really realized what I was really saying when I critiqued myself, I jumped right off my pedestal, and praised the One who truly is the artist. No human could ever create a more beautiful me. I thank Christ for opening my eyes up to this truth. I have so much more freedom to just be content. To be in the moment. To enjoy those moments. And to not worry about how I look in those moments.
Loving Jesus is important. Knowing what he had called you to do, knowing His truths he has laid out for you are just as important. Without these guides we are still worshipping a self centered incomplete Gospel.
I believe our journey with Christ is in a constant state of growing. Up until the day we die. We will never achieve pure holiness. But as time goes on and as our knowledge continues to grow our hearts continue to grow, and we become more and more holy. Because when you center yourself with Christ, when you are intentional about making Him the roots in your life, you're more likely to be a better refection of His holiness.
When I root myself into Christ's truths, I can better decipher the lies I tell myself. When Christ is put in the center, I am able to lean on Him. I am able to really believe the words I am reading about His perfect creations. His holiness opens my eyes to His truths.
I know Christ created me in His image. And Christ is perfect. And that means I am perfect. But only because of Him is this true.
You see, I'm done chasing this artificial dream down a rabbit trail. I'm not beautiful because I can fix this and this and that, I can always fix something about myself, even when I fix that something, something new is broken. I'm beautiful because I was created specifically this way, for a purpose, for a reason. And nothing can change these core truths. These are the roots in which I grow from.
So Friends, If you struggle with identity and feel as if you are not beautiful, if you feel you can never be good enough, know that you don't have to be consumed by those lies. You don't have to please everyone around you for their words of affirmation. You are perfectly and wonderfully made. Don't wait as long as I did to crack open a bible and see theses truths. They are right there in front of your face. Peace is right there at your finger tips.
For the past week I have been thinking a lot about the life that my children will live. I pray daily that they will love their Heavenly Father and glorify God in all that they do. I even pray for their future spouses. That God will bless them with a Godly marriage with Christ as the foundation.
As I thought a lot about this lately I find myself concerned for my children. This world is full of so much evil and my heart aches just thinking about them finding themselves part of the evil of this world.
Lord please protect my little ones!
I have a journal that I write in every so often. It is filled with letters to my 3 year old daughter, Jaylin. I started writing in it when I was 38 weeks pregnant with her (just a few days before she entered this world). Someday I will share this journal with her and I hope she cherishes it like I cherish the memories that I share in the book.
I want to share with you a letter that I have been mentally writing.
I have prayed for God to give me the right words to say and it's time to write it out and add it into her journal.
My dearest Jaylin,
I am so blessed to have you in my life. God chose me to be your mommy and I couldn't be more thankful that He did. My sweet girl, I pray for you. I pray for you daily that you will grow up to be a Godly woman and Lord willing, a Godly wife and mother. I pray for the man that God has already chosen for you to marry. If marriage is in your future then God already knows who you will love, cherish and grow old with.
Mommy was watching a show on TV the other day called The Bachelorette. This show is a perfect example of what God did NOT intend for the process leading into marriage.
1 Girl...25 men...all fighting for her love.
I pray someday a man does fight for you. I pray he has to fight so hard to find you because your heart is so hidden in Christ.
I watch this show and see such heartbreak, such dishonesty, such betrayal, such hatred, such anger.
25 sinners fighting for one sinners love.
On this show I see exactly the type of man I pray you do not end up with. I hope if a man even close to being like any of these men is dropped kicked the moment he comes near you.
As I watch this show I find myself coming up with a few points I want to share with you and I pray and pray that you will remember these and take these to heart:
1. You are SO deserving
I know your dad would say that no man is good enough to deserve you, which is absolutely true, but listen to me, sweet girl, YOU are deserving of someone wonderful, YOU are deserving of someone great, YOU are deserving of a Godly man that treats you with respect and has a crazy unconditional love for you.
Wait for this man. Wait for the man that loves you so deeply and strives for that Christ centered marriage that is so important.
Mommy wishes that she protected her heart for Daddy. Mommy wishes that she wasn't so broken by so many men by the time she reached the man God intended for her, which was your Daddy.
You never know if a man you THINK is the one could possibly be intended to be someones future husband. Be careful, my love. Be so incredibly careful and guard that little precious heart of yours.
2. You are worth something
I'm not talking about how much money you are worth, although there really is no price big enough to put on you. What I mean by this is that there may be times in your life when a boy makes you feel worthless. That can happen so easily. I pray this never ever happens to you, but if it does and you find yourself listening to Satans lie telling you that you are worthless, you tell Satan to take a hike back to hell in the name of Jesus!
YOU are worth something! You are AMAZING. You are INCREDIBLE. You are BEAUTIFUL. You are SO SO SOOOOOO LOVED by God, Mommy, Daddy, your brother, all your family and friends!! Never forget that!
3. Your heart doesn't need to break
There may be a time in your life when a boy "breaks your heart" . Let me tell you something. Your heart cannot break if you guard it and let God be your first priority when it comes to who you love.
Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."
Put God first in your life and guard your heart. This verse couldn't be more true that it truly does determine the course your life will take.
I hope the course your life takes leads to Christ.
4. You will end up with a bad boy no matter what
This is kinda a silly title for this point, but what I mean by this is I can promise you that you will end up marrying a sinner. You will not find a perfect man out there.
But, you can find a Godly man. Still a sinner, but still a man who loves God more than anything in his life. I pray so often for this man that right now his parents are raising him in a Godly home and his father is an incredible example of what a Godly husband and father is.
Also, that his mother is an example of a Godly wife and mother and shows him what his desires should be for his future bride.
I also pray that I am that example to you. I pray that I am that Godly wife and mother that sets an example to you. I pray that your Daddy is an example of the kind of man you want to spend your life with, because let me tell you, your Daddy is an incredible man and I would LOVE it if God blessed you with a man as great as he is.
God loves you, Jaylin. He has such a wonderful plan for your life and I hope you can trust that plan He has for your life no matter what.
There may be a time where God's plan doesn't make any sense to you and you wonder why some events happen in your life. I wish I could explain to you why bad things happen sometimes, but I can't. All I can tell you is to remember what James 1:2-4 says,
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
Those times in your life where you don’t know where to turn, you don't know how to face them, you don't know what to do and you feel like things are falling apart. Remember to consider the trial a gift. A joy. I know this sounds like a challenge and it is, but how you handle the trial portrays the person you are. Allow trials to do their work in you. Allow them to help you grow in your relationship with Christ.
Turn to your Heavenly Father in these times and seek HIM through prayer and His word to find your strength.
In addition to this, know that your daddy and I are ALWAYS there for you not matter what. You will always be our baby girl and we will always and forever love you no matter what! Never be afraid to come to us with anything you are struggling with. Daddy and I both know how hard life can be and we never want you to hesitate to come to us with anything.
Mommy and Daddy will continue praying for you daily in all of these ways. I know you are only 3 years old right now and there are not many worries in your little life right now, but someday you will face many challenges and I am praying for you now that God is first in your life and you always seek HIM.
You are a precious gift, Jaylin. I wish you could just stay 3 years old forever, but I know you must grow up eventually. But for now, I am going to tuck this letter away into your journal and share it with you when you are much older and can understand these words.
For now, we will just have your only worries in this world to be where your paci is and whether or not you get a cookie after lunch.
I love you, Jaylin. More than words could ever say!
For me, nature has a sense of healing. I've always felt a calmness when submerged into creation. Even before I truly knew my Saviors almighty, beautifully artistic, amazing, hand of being THE creator.
I wonder if many of you feel this same way, this same undeniable connection to the earth. The earth as in, the dirt, the vast waters, the smell of freshness, the green grass, the tiny creatures that walk beneath our foot steps, the sand that meets our toes, the sun shining through the green leaves above, the endless details, big and small, that make our earth function and keep us tiny beings alive.
Well, I feel this undeniable connection.
My soul longs for it.
I find it interesting that I have always felt this connection to the earth. Even when I was walking to the beat of my own heart, I felt it. At the time, I didn't know what this feeling truly meant. But now that I can see it with clear eyes, I know this connection I felt was a connection with my Creator.
He had a big plan for my heart.
Even though I didn't know it, He was revealing Himself to me. Showing me this beautiful art piece of His.
I stood in awe then, and I stand speechless now.
When I dig my hands into His earth , watching the small pebbles slip through my fingers, I'm reminded of the dust He created man from. When I am wading in His vast waters, I feel his love rush over me like a title wave. When I close my eyes, and feel the fresh breeze against my face, I feel Him breathe life into me. When the warmth of the sun hits my face, I feel the warmth of His love.
I feel peace.
I praise Jesus for this blessing He has presented to us. It's here, right in front of our face. His words turned into life. All around us.
He speaks to us.
He reveals himself to us.
Often times I forget that I just have to look outside my window, my tiny self absorbed window and see His creation.
I get so lost in the world, that I loose sight of His majesty. But yet, here it is, right in front of me. Always revealing itself to me.
And when I step just one tiny step onto His creation. He reminds me. He heals me. He humbles me.
Yesterday I had an evening out with my husband to celebrate our 4 year wedding anniversary. Let me tell ya, I absolutely love my littles (something you should learn now is that "littles" is what I call my kids) and I love being a mom, but when I get those nights out alone with my husband it makes me want to jump up and down like back in high school when the cute boy asked me out (okay that rarely happened for me)! I spend everyday with my kids. Everyday I am home with them, loving on them, playing with them, feeding them, wiping their noses, snuggling them, teaching them and pulling my hair out once in awhile. But, I wouldn't change being a mommy to them for anything, but when I get that chance to be only a wife for a few hours, I am more than happy to oblige! So yesterday when I walked out that door with just my husband, I was one very happy girl! We both live very busy lives, so I told him that I didn't want to talk about work, business, to do lists and pretty much anything that makes me want to curl in the fetal position and cry tears of stress. My request was just a night out celebrating our marriage, our life, our kids and how much God has blessed us. I wanted to laugh together, talk about things that made us smile and just be two crazy kids in love. So that's what we did!
It was a beautiful night in Downtown Grand Rapids. After finally finding a parking spot we walked to our destination where we would be consuming delicious food. Dinner at Hopcat was what we decided and it couldn't have been more perfect! We got a spot outside, there was a pleasant breeze and I had a handsome guy sitting across from me.
As I sat there listening to him share stories with me and laughing at my witty personality (hah). I had this feeling of pure joy rush over me. The Lord has blessed me so greatly. This man is not perfect in anyway, in fact nobody is, but I couldn't have asked for a better man for me to spend my life with. I cannot ever doubt his love for me. And bonus! He is an incredible daddy to his littles!
So following dinner we started walking hand in hand through Downtown Grand Rapids (one of our favorite places to explore) and ended up at a small local coffee shop that was seriously the cutest! We ordered a caramel latte to share and sat outside the coffee shop as we continued to spend our evening together. And to top things off, the foam was shaped as a heart!
Again, I found myself feeling so blessed to have this man in my life. Thank you Lord for your blessings in my life! Thank you Lord for this man you chose for me to do life with!
So here is what I want to tell all you mamas out there. Go on a date with your hubby! Or go have some time out for yourself. Take some time to dwell on the blessings in your life. It is refreshing and so healthy for your marriage and for you personally.
Grab the man you love and skip going to see a movie. Take him on a date where you sip a latte together, laugh together, learn more about each other, and have some time where you can both act like two kids in love again!
Today I am so full of joy and thankfulness for the evening I got to have with my hubby last night. Celebrating the 4 years we have spent together and husband and wife.