Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Barbie’s Got a New Body

Barbie's Got a New Body!

 

 

You owned a Barbie? Me too! Today, 85% of American girls ages 3 to 10 currently own at least one Barbie. And I am so happy to see that Mattel has finally made some moves to recognize beautiful woman are not all 5’9″ and weigh 110 pounds.

Based on a European call-girl character, Barbie first graced the shelves in America in 1959. For nearly 60 years she has been the iconic definition of beautiful; a doll whose proportions are virtually impossible to obtain. While the original Barbie will still be available, the new Barbies have three versions – curvy, tall and petite. Curvy Barbie is slightly plumper, with wider hips, thighs and calves. Her face is also fuller. While these new shapes don’t encompass every body shape, it is a stride forward in communicating with our daughters and granddaughters that beautiful comes in many colors and sizes.

New Barbie Line

While this is a very long time to have a toy with so much prominence in our culture influencing the way we have felt about our bodies, our hair, ourselves – it is a major victory for girls moving forward. It’s a new opportunity for us as women of the 21st century to keep the conversation of beautiful moving from one size for all to one size fits all. We’re told in Ecclesiastes, God made all things beautiful.

That includes you. It includes me. It includes our friends, our daughters and every human that He has made in His own image.

Don’t stop sharing with the women in your life the truth: we are amazingly and remarkably made and now we finally have a doll that can help. I don’t think this Barbie will simply take off. It will take moms, grandmas and aunts who will be brave enough to push past original Barbie and usher in a new normal.

 

 

The book winners from last week’s posts are:

“His Revolutionary Love” from “Getting Your Girl Ready for Valentine’s Day” – Susan G. who posted on January 27th at 4:34 p.m.

“Meet the New You” from 4 Keys Steps toward Real Life Change is Shasta who posted on January 29th at 10:32 a.m.

Please forward me your full name and address to Lynn@LynnCowell.com and I’ll get them shipped right out!

 

Lynn

Friday, January 29, 2016

Four Key Steps Toward Real Life Change

4 Key Steps toward real life change by Elisa Pulliam

 

Today, I am so excited to introduce you to Elisa Pulliam, author of Meet the New You: A 21 Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life ChangeThis is one book I read cover to cover and found it to be so helpful, I just had to give a copy away! (We’ll do that today at the end of Elisa’s post!)

Four Key Steps Toward Real Life Change

Do you know what the secret is to experiencing real life change?

Oh, yes, there’s a secret. It’s not a magic pill. It’s not some big expensive program or eCourse you need to invest into. Nor is it something that you should hire someone to accomplish for you, although that would be ideal. It’s not even something that you can demand of God, although submitting to Him will make the process a whole lot easier.

The secret to real life change begins with the “ah-ha.” What’s an “ah-ha”?

As I learned through my life coaching training, and have come to see in my own life along with working with clients, the secret to real life change happens when we reach the magical “ah-ha” moment. It’s in that moment when we discover the heart of the issue and our part in it, with a desire to own the next steps. That’s because most of what we perceive as a dead-end, stuck-in-a-rut reality is not as hopeless at we think it is. We can change our approach. We can embrace a new mindset.

     While we may not be able to heal thyself, we can certainly choose an attitude that lines up with a eternal perspective as we move through treatment.

     We might not be able to change their behavior, which is causing havoc on our personal life, but we can choose a response that reflects the heart of Christ and the truth of Scripture.

     We might not be able to erase the past, however we can move towards seeking God to heal our wounds and give us a new way of thinking that is in line with His Word.

See, the real life change we crave is often a matter of embracing a biblical mindset over focusing on our circumstances — that’s because most of our circumstances are out of our control.

While there are limits in what we can do to change the circumstances of our lives, there’s nothing stopping us from inviting God to change our character and countenance as He accomplishes His purposes in us and through us.

It’s a process of real life change that starts with harnessing the “ah-ha” moment momentum and then moving forward practically and purposefully in what I call the 4 Key Steps Toward Real Life change:

1. Identify What Was and What Is:

Clearly articulate the circumstances, mindset, and habits that need to be changed,  even pinpointing how it all           came to be, along with the “ah-ha”moment that invites real life change. Write it down as a reminder in the future.

 

2. Count the Cost:

Prayerfully consider what the cost is to not move forward in real life change. Consider what will happen if you            stay “as is” compared to take the sometimes uncomfortable and scary steps forward.

 

3. Own the Obstacles:

Consider the obstacles that made change impossible in the past and may make it challenging in moving forward.        Own your sin and be honest about temptations, as you make choices about what to do differently.

 

4. Prepare to Persevere: Brainstorm ways to seek help and accountability for moving forward. Set a goal date or a “check-in” date to have a finish line, or lap marker, to press on towards.

 

Real life change is possible, if you’re willing to participate actively in the process with the Lord. God’s sustaining, transforming power is available to you, my friend. He’s just waiting for you to say “yes” to His sanctifying, abundant life-giving invitation.

 

Elisa Pulliam is passionate about women experiencing a life transformed by God for the sake of impacting the next generation – a mission fueled by God’s redeeming work in her life and twenty-plus years in youth and women’s ministry. She is the author of Meet the New You: A 21 Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change, a book designed to help women get unstuck as they encounter God personally and put into action biblical truths and life coaching principles relevant for their life today. Elisa is the founder of moretobe.com, serves as the Executive Director of kingdomhearts.us, and tremendously enjoys working as a life coach and coach trainer as the owner of Authentic Life LLC.  However, she considers her greatest roles as wife to Stephen and mom to four amazing children.

Connect with Elisa at elisapulliam.com.

Today, I am giving away a copy of Meet the New You. In order to be entered for an opportunity to win, please share in the comments section of my blog below, which key step you think is the most challenging. I will announce the winner next week!The life coach book you need!

Lynn

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Getting Your Girl Ready for Valentine’s Day

 

You are loved. You are Wanted. In Jesus, you are adored, affirmed and accepted.

Valentine’s Day and school.

I don’t know about you, but for me, those two were a lethal combination.

Whether it was elementary school, walking home with my red paper-covered box containing no Valentine from “him” or my first Valentine’s Day in high school with no flower from my crush, Valentine’s Day for me was just another reminder.

No one wants me. 

Or so I believed at the time.

I know a lot has changed from my days of growing up, but one thing has not.

For many, Valentine’s Day feels like Single Awareness Day; a day that only makes them feel more alone.

So while this day is still a few weeks away, I want to encourage you to begin thinking of those in your life who need to hear:

You are wanted. 

You are loved.

You are adored, affirmed and accepted.

Before the cards and candy arrive to those around them, pour what Jesus says about them:

“My beloved is mine and I am his …” Song of Solomon 2:16

While others may rejected us, He wholeheartedly accepts us.

Let’s make this Valentine’s Day one where those we love feel loved!

  1. Take a moment today to make a list of those around you who need this truth this Valentine’s Day. 

2. Next, stop by the store and pick up some cards. They don’t have to be expensive. The Dollar Store has lots of pretty ones               that will work.

3. Fill the side of the card with verses that speak of their value and worth to Jesus.

Here are a few to help you get started:

1 John 4:16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (NIV)

1 John 4:9, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” (NLT)

Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (NIV)

Psalm 36:5,7 “Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies … How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (NIV)

4. Pop the cards in the mail, making sure they arrive before Valentine’s Day.

Looking for additional ways to pour Jesus’ truth into her heart?

His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You, teaches young women how Jesus’ unchanging love changes absolutely everything.

Finding Jesus to be the filler of my love gap made all the difference!

Today, I’m giving away a copy for you to share with your daughter, friend or family member along with the Valentine’s Day card.

To be entered to win, simply share your favorite verse speaking of God’s love. If you’re in a hurry, simply say “I’m in!” I’ll announce the winner next week!

 

Lynn

Monday, January 25, 2016

When You’re Desperate

While it is natural to despise being in a desperate place, it is here, in the exact place we want to escape from, we can come to know God by experience.

 

I’m what some might call a “half-full” type of gal. Looking on the positive side comes natural for me. Sometimes in life though, there is no bright side to look on.

This is exactly the place where the Israelites are at.

In Exodus 6:3, God is speaking to Moses: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.” (NIV)

Dictionary.com tells me I could replace the word but in this verse for the word yet. God Himself appeared to these three patriarchs listed, yet there was a side of Himself He didn’t reveal to even them. He went on to tell Moses He was ready to show the Israelites this part of His character, by His name LORD, to make Himself known to them.

Typically, I don’t think of the word know as a really deep word. There are lots of people I know: my dry-cleaner, those I volunteer with at church, my neighbor whose dog runs away to my yard now and then. I’m thinking that’s not the type of knowing God is speaking of.

My Hebrew-Greek key word study Bible has a little number next to the words make myself known. When I follow the trail to find out the Hebrew meaning behind this phrase, it tells me the Hebrew word is yada: to know, recognize, understand. In fact, this word yada is the same word used in Genesis 4:1 “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” (NKJV) This word yada is deeply intimate and can only be understood by experience. The depth of yada seems lost in the simple English words make myself known. 

God makes this promise, to make Himself known to His people, right smack in the middle of trouble; big trouble. Pharaoh had just amped up their work load as slaves; making the burden of making bricks for his projects even more difficult by taking away their materials. Beyond discouraged, they wondered where is He? Had He deserted them before He even began to help?

It is here, in the middle of their doubt and discouragement, that the LORD says He is going to make Himself known through experiencing Him.

There, under those horrendous conditions, where they are desperate and in a hard place far beyond their ability to dig themselves out on their own, He says You will know me.

With miracle upon miracle, God clearly makes Himself known like He never had before.

Because He does, they do.

They experienced God.

They felt Him, as the sea was driven back with a strong east wind. (Exodus 14:21)

They saw Him as their enemy was drowned by the powerful crashing waves. (Exodus 14:27)

They knew Him as they experienced Him like they never had before. (Exodus 14:31) 

While it is natural to despise being in a desperate place, it is here, in the exact place we want to escape from, that we come to know God by experience. To not only know of Him: who He is, His character, history and words; although those things are incredibly important, but to experience Him.

Yes, to feel Him. See Him. Know Him.

Our God wants us to experience yada; to know Him by experience.

Friend, do you need to experience God today? I do! While I am a firm believer that faith is not based on feelings, I also see here, in His word, that my God wants me to experience Him.

So today, I’m taking Him up on it. In desperation I am saying, “I want to know You, God. Make Yourself known to me.” Will you join me?

 

 

Lynn

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Don’t Date the Church

Don't Date the Church

 

Today, I am so excited to share a guest post with you from Marian Jordan Ellis of Redeemed Girl Ministries. I read this post, “Don’t Date the Church” and thought it was so good, I asked her if I could share it with my friends. This is one you’re going to want to pass on.

 

Here’s Marian:

 

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine dated a guy who —out of the blue— bailed on their relationship.  Fun coffee dates and long romantic talks resulted in an awkward silence. After a frank conversation about his distance, she learned that he held a listof the perfect woman in his mind— and she didn’t quite measure up.

Ouch, right?

Soon we discovered this was a pattern in his life. Countless beautiful, Jesus-loving women had failed his perfection test and thus he remained alone. The issue wasn’t with my friend, but with his inability to commit. His unrealistic expectations left him always assuming the grass was proverbial greener. While the problem of commit-phobic men could be a blog all by itself, I’m not here today to pick on my brothers in Christ.  I do, however, want to acknowledge how all of us, can from time to time, do the same thing with the church.

Sometimes, Christ followers can act like the guy who is waiting for the perfect girl. We will “date” the church instead of faithfully committing our lives.  We hop from one service to another, taking good teaching from one place and incredible worship from the another, without committing our selves to love, give, and serve alongside a community of believers.  Joshua Harris defines the problem this way:

Most essentially a church dater tends to be critical. We are short on allegiance and quick to find fault in our church. We treat the church with a consumer mentality—looking for the best product for the price of our Sunday morning. As a result, we’re fickle and not invested for the long-term, like a lover with a wandering eye, always on the hunt for something better.

— Joshua Harris, Stop Dating the Church

The problem with this “consumer mentality” is that it flies in the face of the true meaning of the church.  Instead of consumers, we are called to be givers. Givers of our time, resources, life and love. The church is not a building or a worship service, it is people. A group of people called out of darkness and who live as Christ’s ambassadors. We go to the buildings, services and events to worship, serve and give… not to be served. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but we so often miss out on the great and glorious work God wants to do in and through us when we don’t commit.

Ironically, it is when we give of ourselves, truly investing in the life of others, that we find life and discover the joy of Jesus.

Anyone who’s ever dated has either heard or said the following words: “It’s not you, it’s me.” This is the all-time classic break up line. But in the case of dating the church we must flip this cliché, “It is about you, and it is about me.” What my oh-so-clever play on words is meant to convey is that you are the church and we are the church.

We are the Body of Christ and we are meant to be together.

3 Reasons You Should Commit to a Church

1. You are the church.

Listening to a podcast or reading a book by your favorite preacher does not substitute for the role God has called you to play in this world.

Your active involvement in your local church enables you to use your gifts and talents for the glory of God. If you find something missing in your local church or have a compliant, maybe God wants to use you to be the solution. Don’t be acritic, be the change. Your spiritual gifts matter and God works through all of us as we get involved.

2. We need a squad.

The Christian life is meant to be experienced within community. We need each other.  Read my last post, Better Together, to understand how community meets our deepest needs.

3. We are transformed together.

We are transformed more into the image of Christ as we engage in relationship with other Christians. All too often people bail out when a conflict arises in a group or when disappointed with a leader instead of following the Biblical guidelines of forgiveness, repentance and restitution. It is only within a committed body of Believers that we are confronted with our junk and the messiness of others that requires us to mature.

When we run away we times get messy then we miss out on the beautiful maturing that God wants to do in us and in others.

Friends, I pray you would prayerfully seek where the Spirit of God would have you invest your life and serve. Find a local body of Believers and make a commitment!

Love Y’all

Marian

 

Marian Jordan - Redeemed Girl

Marian Jordan Ellis is a Bible teacher, evangelist and the founder of

Redeemed Girl Ministries. Her powerful testimony of coming to

brokenness and emptiness and her dynamic account of the grace of

Jesus permeate all of her writings and speaking engagements.

Whole in Christ and ready to tell any ear that will listen, Marian has a passion for women to discover the abundant life in Jesus. She is the author of six books: Sex and The City Uncovered, Wilderness Skills for Women, The List, Radiant, The Girlfriends Guidebook and Sex and the Single Christian Girl. She is a graduate of SouthwesternBaptist Theological Seminary.

When Marian isn’t writing or on the road traveling to women’s events, she loves cooking, spending time with friends, horseback riding and all things HGTV. Today, Marian lives in San Antonio with Justin, their two boys and one very spoiled dog.

You can also follow Marian on instagram + twitter @marianjordan

Lynn

Friday, January 15, 2016

Getting the Confidence You Wish You Had

Confidence doesn’t come from doing everything right or having it all together. Confidence comes from knowing we are loved. Jesus gave it; we receive it. -

 

If you are joining me here today from Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Encouragement for Today, welcome! Let’s continue to connect, ok? It’s easy! Just sign up to get my blog posts automatically by clicking here.

I’d also love to connect with you more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest too!

Could you relate to my opening paragraph in today’s devotion? You’ve seen a woman, obviously confident, comfortable with herself and you’ve thought, I want to be like that. I want confidence.

I used to think either you had confidence or you didn’t. Maybe like being an extrovert or an introvert, confidence was something you were born with.

I no longer think so.

It sounds weird for me to say, “I became confident when …” Is that cocky to say?

I think it would be or could be depending on how I finish the sentence.

If the next words had anything to do with me, it would be downright prideful.

But it doesn’t.

Like the “sinful woman” described in Luke 7:37-38, confidence came in my life as result of experiencing love. Unconditional love. The type of love that swept in and helped me get out of bed when I was sad this week. The type of love that doesn’t look down on me, tell me I’m weak or I just need to push through and get through.

His love, Jesus’ love for me, is the love that gives me the confidence I need to live each day when living is hard. When the things we have built our confidence on in the past are gone, swept away before we could grab them and hold on to them.

His love is where we get the confidence we have always longed for. 

The woman in the gospel of Luke encountered unconditional love and it gave her the confidence to push past rejection.

His love can and will do the same in us, if we will open our hearts, become vulnerable and allow Him into every crevice of our souls. Even the painful or dark places.

This woman, the one who was brave enough to walk into a room of powerful men to anoint Jesus’ feet with oil, knew she was wanted. Jesus cared about her and for her. She had encountered Him. Seen love in His eyes. Witnessed the way He cared for others and she allowed that kindness to reach in and completely change her.

Love empowered her.

His love, can and will empower us, too, my friend!

Like the woman, though, we have to encounter that Love. We have to spend time with Him, getting to know Him and opening our heart through prayer and worship, to Him. He will come, meeting you exactly where you are, and bring His transforming love with Him.

I share my story of how His love transformed me as well as walk you through discovering this love in my book, “His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”.  I wrote this book for young woman to know He is the love each and every one of us is looking and longing for. Maybe this is just the resource you need to find the confidence you’ve been looking for.

I hope you’ll choose to sign up and join me each week for my Wednesday Wisdom Tips. Together, let’s dig deeper into His love and find this confidence we long for.

 

Lynn

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Chain Reaction

 

One act of courage by a woman can open the door for another to be courageous. Let's start a chain reaction!

Without the action from one courageous woman the action of the next would not have been possible. 

What power truth my daughter Mariah pointed out to me as I was sharing with her Wednesday’s Wisdom Tip:A Chain of Courage.

If the midwives in Exodus 1 were not courageous by defying Pharaoh’s edict, Moses’ mother, Jochebed, would not have had the opportunity to hide her new born boy, Moses, in the Nile. Her Hebrew boy would have been dead.

If Jochebed had not courageously hid Moses, Miriam would not have been bold enough to speak to Pharaoh’s daughter. There would have been no need.

If Miriam would not have been courageous and spoken to Pharaoh’s daughter … who knows what would have happened to the millions of Israelites Moses was chosen by God to lead out of slavery.

But they were.

They took steps of bravery, making it possible for the next woman to be brave.

One act of a courageous woman can open the door for another woman to be courageous.

I’ve been pondering on this chain reaction and thinking of so many women in history who were courageous and opened the door for others.

Harriet Tubman, (or “Moses”, as she was called), lead approximately seventy slaves out to freedom during the Civil War and became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Her name was feared by slave owners because of her courageous acts.

Women, like Harriet Tubman, who were a part of the abolition movement sparked the suffrage movement for women’s right to vote and own property.

Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army, led the way for women to be able to publicly share the gospel.  Her act of bravery opened doors for women coming behind her to be able to live out the calling the Holy Spirit had poured into their lives as well. Catherine Booth opened the doors for me and you to publicly speak, sharing the Word of God as He stirs His words in us.

I could write posts all year long of the courageous women who have gone before us, opening doors so that we can have the opportunity to be brave and make a difference in our world at our time.

One of my life joys is watching my daughters as they become part of this chain reaction. Mariah, a social work major, is passionate about seeing laws changed when it comes to rape in our country, especially rape on our college campuses.

My youngest daughter, Madi, has a heart to help women reach past their insecurities and difficulties to reach their fullest potential.

How about you, friend? Where will you take a step of courage, in the footsteps of women who have gone before you?

Me?

I’ve been challenged this week by my friend, Suzie Eller, to ask God the question: Is there something you want me to do? I know there is. I’m knocking on doors; seeing which one will open.

Let’s be brave together, friends. God has more for us in 2016; to give in order to see others participate in His glory. Keep the chain of courage going on and on and on until Jesus says to each and every one of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

{Wednesday Wisdom Tip} A Courage Chain

Lord, make me a link in the chain of courage of women who have gone before me.

 

“When I see _________, I am drawn to that person.”

What word would you fill in the blank with?

Mine is courage.

When I see courage lived out, I want to be brave too!

Courage is what stirred in my heart as I read the legacy of the lives of Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed and Miriam.

Who are these strange named women?

The story of this chain of courageous women is found in Exodus 1 and 2. Let’s follow the effect fearlessness made in history through the lives of these women.

Act of Courage 1: Shiphrah and Puah, midwives in Egypt, are commanded by Pharaoh to kill all males as soon as they are born. Bravely, Exodus 1:17 tells us, “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.”

That’s a whole lot of social change being stirred up!

Act 2: Jochebed, Moses’ mother, upon his birth, courageously decides she will not obey Pharaoh either. Rather than kill her son, she hides him at home until she can do so no longer. When she can no longer keep his existence a secret, she puts this one she loves in a basket, hiding him in the Nile River. How brave! What faith!

Act 3: Miriam, Moses’ sister, stands by watching the basket boat. But she isn’t just observing. When Pharaoh’s daughter calls for the basket to be brought to her, this grit of a girl steps up and addresses the princess, giving royalty advice on how the child can be taken care of.

Do you see the chain effect that one woman’s courage had on another’s?

Shiphrah and Puah decided to go against Pharaoh together.

Jochebed, in the same steps of the midwives, chooses courage instead of compromise as well.

I have no doubt that Jochebed inspired her daughter to show her prowess to the princess.

I want to be a part of a chain effect of courageousness too!

As a young mother, my mom stepped out of her social norm, embraced Jesus as her savior and became a prayer warrior for her 8 children. Even though several were already adults when she came to know Christ, through her prayers and life testimony, all of them serve Him today.

I’m next in the chain of courage. Seeing my mother’s fearless faith gives me courage. Courage to believe for my children’s’ salvation and bravery to to make a difference in my world.

And I pray my children will follow the steps of Miriam, on the look out for where God can use them and when the time is right, boldly step up with the wisdom God gives them. In fact, they are already doing so.

Friend, where are you in the courage chain?

Is God calling you to be the first in your family to break out? To step up and bravely take steps to bring change to your family line? To redefine “normal” in your family’s legacy?

Maybe like me, you are blessed to have witnessed the courage of another and it has empowered you to be brave. We have to be careful not to grow comfortable 0r complacent when we’re in the middle of the chain, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit to keep courage going.

Let’s be brave. Let’s display daring boldness and in turn, teach others.

Where do we start:

  1. Pray for courage.
  2. Surround ourselves with others who are courageous.
  3. Read books of those who have been courageous. Here are a few I recommend:

Kisses for Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie J. Davis

50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Let’s spur each other on today. What small steps of bravery have you already taken? Where are you going to be brave today? How can we teach the next generation to be brave?

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Lynn

Monday, January 4, 2016

When You Question God {Monday with Madi}

I would rather embrace what I have been given, than wait for change & stay stagnant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if I can go into too much detail about what has been occurring in my life, but let me try to explain the number one thing that has been pressed on my heart since I have gotten to college.

I had finally gotten out of high school, which were the worst years I had ever experienced. I figured that once I got out, entered a new environment, and ridded myself of unhealthy behaviors, I would be free. But sadly, I was not as correct as I thought. Although at college I felt better in certain aspects, other issues surfaced.

Maybe you could call this “optimism”, or being overly idealistic; thinking that everything will go perfectly, once I just rid myself of the problem. But sadly, this issue is not one of being overly positive. This battle, of learning to not run from our issues, but recognizing, and then embracing them, can be agonizing.

I have been so challenged lately, with so many “why?” questions. When I went to counseling in high school, I assumed that my depression was situational, and would soon fade once I got out of that place. Sadly I was wrong.

When I got to college, everything was perfect. I was away from relationships that had damaged me, my painful memories, and who I “used” to be. I was brand new, right? Now I was “perfect”, ready to be used by God and be the beautiful girl I was “supposed” to be all along.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. I noticed about half way through my first semester, unresolved conflict, disruptive thoughts, extreme sadness, and lots of anxiety were still within me. Massive waves of sadness would come and then go and I would be fine again. Anxiety and pain edged their way back in my heart yet again. Sometimes, I don’t feel heavy at all. In fact, I feel like I’m on top of the world. I feel like I can accomplish anything, do everything. Then the depression hits again and I feel defeated, like I have to start my healing process all over again.

After a very hard conversation with my best friend, who by the way could not be more of a gift sent from God to me, she helped me realize how badly I needed to go back to counseling. I needed to start to be honest with myself. Who ACTUALLY wants to be so honest that it hurts? What about those thoughts that are so morbid or so embarrassing, you are afraid if you even spoke them you will be shamed and never looked at the same?

Sometimes we don’t want to do that, do we? We can be as honest with people, as honest as we want to be, but wouldn’t you say that even for the most vulnerable human being, there is that one question that can make you shut down? There is that one topic that when it gets brought up, it can make your heart drop to your stomach almost immediately? You stop dead in your tracks and it’s almost like your whole body cringes as your peer tries to ask you a deep question. That was me, sitting in my psychology class one day.

God spoke to me within that hour, about many topics we were touching on. He showed me how I had kicked so many of my hurts and struggles to the curb because of how badly I strive to be perfect. For some reason, I have always thought that would be when I am finally beautiful. Perfection suffocates me. I am always so focused on where I want to be, how internally healthy I want to be, how happy I would kill to be, and how much I want to please everyone, that I lose myself in it all. And time and time again I forget to even be concerned about my own well being.

For years, upon years, I have prayed for God to please take away these emotional and psychological things that I try to handle within me, and yet they don’t go away. Why is that? Aren’t we so scared sometimes to question God? We don’t want to be disappointed. And, we don’t want to ask ourselves the question: whether He chooses to heal me, or He doesn’t, will I still praise Him just the same? Will I still view Him the same, rejoice in His name all the same, and follow Him just the same?

We don’t like to ask those questions, because that requires trust to the highest degree, and if there is anything in my life that I wrestle with more than anything at all, it is trust. And yes, I have noticed that often shows up in my relationship with the Lord as well.

I can remember being 13 or 14, asking God to take away these painful thoughts and terrible feelings, and yet they have stayed. But, I have decided that I am not going to be too scared to ask why anymore. And I am not going to run from myself. I would rather start to embrace what I have been given, then wait for change and stay stagnant.

What is the question you’re too scared to ask God? Maybe you’re like me, and you have a type of internal disorder that you have to battle daily. Maybe your question is why did you allow my family to fall apart? Why won’t you heal my loved one? Why don’t I feel Your presence? Why does no one love me? Why can’t I love myself?

Whatever it is, do not be afraid to ask. Your doubt, lack of trust, pain, whatever it is, can and WILL bring you closer to the Lord, if you let it. What will stray you away, is yourself. It is hard to not shy away and hide when we are sad, confused, or ashamed. But we are the people He came for, the hurt people. Not the proud people. In John 16:33 He says, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” This verse is so bittersweet. We have the victory, but that never comes without a price. He has already paid the price for us, but we have to be willing to receive it in order to make any progress. We have to admit our brokenness and get vulnerable.

 

 

Lynn

Saturday, December 19, 2015

21 Ways to Love Like Jesus Loves

See with the same loving eyes as Jesus.

 

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Loving like Jesus loves! What a challenge!

Yet, it is a challenge, really a command, that He has equipped us for. With the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us and with the Word of God to give us clear direction, we have exactly what we need.

Here are 21 Ways We Can Love Others:

  1. Turn the sound off our phones and set it out of sight when having a conversation.
  2. Listen; giving 100% of our undivided attention.
  3. Don’t rush others.
  4. Send a text telling someone how important they are to you.
  5. Give a gift that says, “I know you and am thinking of you!”
  6. Send a hand-written card in the mail.
  7. Help a friend clean her house.
  8. Give the gift of loyalty, promising to never gossip about them. Let them know.
  9. Share a strength you see in her life.
  10. Look a person without a home in the eye, acknowledging their value.
  11. Express to a friend you will never give up on them.
  12. Be a hugger.
  13. Be honest even when it is uncomfortable.
  14. Give the gift of an afternoon of relaxation.
  15. Extend love when someone has disappointed you.
  16. Pray with a friend immediately when they ask for prayer.
  17. Text an encouraging verse.
  18. Write out a prayer and put it where they will find it.
  19. Share with them a quality in their life that makes you a better person.
  20. Take the humble route in an argument.
  21. Share your favorite pick-me-up verse with someone who is down.

3 resources to empower you to gain revolutionary love

Today, I am giving away a “Love Bundle” which includes: a necklace and heart box, an “I Love You” mug and a copy of His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You, Devotions for a Revolutionary Year and Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants to one commenter.

To be entered for a chance to win, please share below one way you will choose to love this week. If you are short of time, just say, “I’m in!” The winner will be announced Wednesday in my Wednesday Wisdom Tip.

 

Lynn