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Do the Thing that Makes Your Heart Sing


The greatest gift you can give to the world is yourself. Your own, unique, creative self. To make something out of nothing is a sacred and holy act. 

If what you dream will bring forth any good, if it will make another feel less alone, if it will put words or melody to a person’s emotions, if it will satisfy a need or make someone smile, you need not wonder if you should do that thing or not.

For that desire, that idea, has been divinely planted inside of you to bring forth goodness to the world. 

Make music, sing songs, speak truth, write words, tell stories. Do the thing that makes you feel most alive. Your passion is like a compass that points you in the direction of your purpose.

You never know what you’re capable of until you try. But if you do try, promise me that you’ll give it your all. Devote your time, study your craft and practice until it becomes second nature. And then, share that gift with as many people as you can. To give the world the gift of yourself is the most generous gift of all.

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When Depression and Anxiety Attack

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever–Psalm 30:11-12

The only way I know how to describe depression and anxiety, is an intense feeling of dread. It starts in the pit of my stomach and spreads like poison until I’m paralyzed. My hands tremble. I feel weak. Unable to concentrate on anything, I lay down and take deep breaths and pray that the attack will pass quickly. Fear grips me even though I have nothing substantial to be afraid of. My mind grows dark. Negative, unwanted thoughts bombard me relentlessly. Feelings of worthlessness wash over me. I try to find relief in sleep but even that evades me. I have so much adrenaline pumping through my veins I can hardly eat. These are the symptoms and feelings that I had when struggling with depression off and on for almost twenty years.

It started when I was in elementary school. Just before sundown I would get nervous because sundown meant that night was about to fall; which meant that sleep was on its way and when I had to try to sleep I was left alone with my thoughts. I didn’t like the thoughts I was thinking. My thoughts made me uneasy which kept me awake. I struggled like this for a few months out of each year until I was twenty-seven.

My worst anxiety attack was in the Summer of 2009. During that time of sadness I went on a lot of walks, it was one of my coping mechanisms. One day as I was walking under the dark Seattle sky I was praying in my heart and mind about this whole depression struggle. I had begged God to heal me time and time again but nothing happened. I was finally to the point that I was so discouraged I didn’t care about life anymore. Life felt really hard. I was tired of fighting with my emotions all the time. Tired of fighting to feel normal, to feel happy. Tired of being misunderstood. I felt that I was a drain and a burden to everyone around me because I was just too much to deal with. I desperately wanted to get better for the sake of my family. I wanted to be happy and healthy if not for myself for them. That day, when I was walking, thinking thoughts to God, something inside of me shifted, that day I hit rock bottom.

That day started off as a very sad day, but it led to my very best life.

Because I know longer cared about my life, I told God that He could have it all. That He could use my life as a tool to do with what He wanted. I would do what He wanted me to do, go where He wanted me to go, say what He wanted me to say. I surrendered my life to Him that day.

After I had that change of heart I felt a physical burden lift from me. Literally, like a boulder was lifted off of my shoulders. I could feel the depression leave my body. I felt light as a feather and filled with an overwhelming sense of joy. I felt love for everyone, including myself which was new for me.

On that day, I was healed from my struggle with depression and I believe you can be too.

When I was in the thick of depression I couldn’t imagine ever being completely well. I thought that it would be something that I battled my whole life. Now that I’m on the other side of it, I know that healing is possible. Yes, I may have a predisposition to it (it runs in my family) but that doesn’t mean that I can’t learn how to cope and do what I can to overcome it.

After that experience, when the depression lifted, I still had some anxiety at times but nothing to the level of the debilitating depression I had in the Summer of 2009.

I did a lot of soul searching and praying to try and discover what the root cause of my anxiety was. I spent time seeking God and asking Him why I had struggled so much with anxiety. During my time of prayer there were specific memories that came to mind. Memories that I had buried down deep and tried not to think about. There were a host of hurts at the root of my anxiety and triggers that sparked the attacks. Emotional trauma I had never healed from, pain I had stuffed down deep inside myself, a root of rejection I had never gotten over and un-forgiveness in my heart towards people who had hurt me.

That’s the problem with stuffing our emotions, it’s like putting a band aid on. It covers up the wound so we don’t have to look at it but the wound is still there. When emotional pain is never dealt with it festers and depression is a symptom of the emotional wound that is now infected because you only stuffed the problem instead of confronting it. Pain will eventually surface to the top, it’s only a matter of time. The depression was a manifestation of all the anger I was carrying around inside myself, only that anger had turned inwards harming me even further.

In order to be set free completely I had to forgive the people who hurt me. Forgiveness is not condoning what they’ve done it’s simply choosing to release feelings of resentment and anger towards that person.

Maybe you’re struggling with depression and anxiety today, if you are, please know that you’re not alone. I believe that your best days are ahead of you. If I can get better, you can get better, I believe that with my whole heart. With Jesus, anything is possible.

Take time to self reflect:

  1. Have you completely given your life to Jesus? If not, what’s holding you back? I truly believe that this is the best thing you can do for yourself. If I hadn’t surrendered my life to God I think I’d still be struggling today.
  2. Pray and ask God to bring to mind anything that may be causing your anxiety or depression. And then give whatever is at the root of the problem to him, you were never meant to carry that burden.

Tips to stay mentally healthy:

  • Keep short accounts. Communicate your feelings quickly when you’re upset about something and then let it go. Refuse to give bitterness or resentment a place in your heart and forgive people who have hurt you right away.
  • Nurture yourself physically by eating healthy, exercising and filling your mind with positive thoughts and entertainment.
  • Nurture yourself spiritually with time spent reading the Bible. Pray and write down all that you’re thankful for. Nothing beats the blues like gratitude.
  • Think about what you’re thinking about. Purposely fill your mind with loving, kind thoughts because love drives out fear and negativity.
  • Hobbies and having fun are important. Give yourself time to do the things that you enjoy. Because self care is really self preservation.
  • If you’re feeling off. Take time to self reflect and see if you can determine why. Then ask yourself what you need to do to get back on track.
  • Have regular meetings with yourself. Do you feel you’re living out your purpose? When I’m getting off course I feel it intuitively. When I’m in sink with my purpose I feel at peace.


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Comforted to Comfort

Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God– 2 Corinthians 1:4

I had just turned twenty-one when I found myself staring down at a pregnancy test that had two pink lines in the result box. Those lines only meant one thing, I was pregnant. In shock and disbelief I grabbed the throw pillow left lying on the couch and pushed it against my face as hard as I could and screamed at the top of my lungs, then sobbed uncontrollably for days.

I thought my boyfriend loved me, just a few weeks prior he had bought me a promise ring and said he wanted to marry me one day. When I worked up the courage to tell him I was expecting his response was cold and callus. He told me that I needed to go to planned parenthood and “take care of the problem”. I was devastated. Although he was sure of how he wanted to handle the situation, I was in agony over what to do. Certain of the fact that he didn’t want to be a father, he left me. I found myself broken, alone, rejected and unsure of how I was going to take care of myself financially, let alone a new baby. I threw up everyday, all day. I suffered criticism, judgment and harsh gossip. I struggled to finish the last few months of cosmetology school and had to quit my job because I was too sick to make it through a shift at work. I was told by my Christian friends to abort my unborn child. I can see why they said that, they were trying to protect me from a life of hardship. The idea of being a single mom seemed way too difficult and many of them had already had an abortion themselves.

I’m not going to lie, an abortion seemed like a tempting option. I knew in my heart it was wrong but I perceived it as an easy way out. During those days of deciding I spent a lot of time in prayer. I was given a lot of unsolicited advice, most of it was unhelpful (although I’m sure they meant well). However, there was one person who helped me gain a new perspective. In general she was a private person but on that particular day she was brave enough to be vulnerable with me. She told me that when she was young she had an abortion and it was the one act she regretted more than anything. She carried the burden of shame, guilt and condemnation which led to low self-esteem. Much time had passed since that dreadful day but she still struggled with a deep sense of sadness that she couldn’t seem to shake. She said that every year, right around the time she would have given birth she thinks of him and what might have been had she gone through with the pregnancy. An abortion seemed like a quick fix, but it was costly to her emotions and mental health.

Because she shared her deepest pain with me, my baby lives today.

When she shared her story and her regret, it gave me the strength I needed to go through with having a child all on my own. Words cannot describe how thankful I am that she was willing to lay down her pride and be transparent with me. Her words gave me clarity and comfort in a time of fear and uncertainty.

That whole season of my life was unbelievably difficult. I prayed a lot and even though I felt that the church had let me down during my pregnancy and as a new mom, God did not. I had no doubt that He was with me. When people saw me as the scarlet letter, God reached down with His love, mercy and kindness as my savior.

We tend to think that when we mess up, God abandons us but the very opposite is true, He comes even closer.

He’s that good. No judgment, no ridicule– just love.

His presence comforted and guided me during that season. I felt Him leading me, not to give my baby up for adoption (although many people thought that I should) but to keep him. I didn’t know how I’d take care of him but I trusted that with Gods help I’d figure it out. I never knew what I was capable of until then. Now my son is fifteen years old and I can say with confidence, God provided each step of the way.

Sometimes it takes being faced with some difficult challenges to find the strength that lies within yourself.

I shutter to think of what could have been had I made a different choice, one that seemed easier at the time. I would have missed out on a person who loves me with a fierceness that I’m not worthy of, a person who brings me so much joy I can hardly stand it and I thank God for that woman who shared her story with me so tenderly. I want to be more like her. I want to use my pain and life experiences for other peoples gain. I don’t want to waste one bit of it for fear of what people might think of me. Because it’s our willingness to let people into our messy places, the places that we naturally want to hide that bonds us together.

When we’re transparent about our struggles it squelches the power that shame holds over us. It gives people the opportunity to say: I see you, I hear you, I’m for you and I’m with you.

Application:

You’ve made it through something, you may not have the same story as I do but you can’t live too long without experiencing difficulties in life.

1.) What hard situation have you been through and are now on the other side of?

2.) How can you use the pain from that situation and turn it into someone else’s gain?

3.) Who needs your words and actions to bring them comfort today?

Women Rising

The church is dying. It’s been in decline since 1976 and had its most drastic downturn in the last twenty years. But don’t worry, there is hope, a solution to the problem. You see her every time you look in the mirror, the one who brings hope and gives life. She is you. Yes, that’s right, you!

God wants to use you to bring his message of hope to the world. You are one of the answers to the churches much-needed rebirth. Rebirth, yes! An awakening– that’s God’s specialty. He makes all things new. He’s a healer, a mender, a fixer, a re-inventor, a reviver, a user of broken and unlikely people. He boggles the mind of the religious and He’s looking for women who will say yes to the adventure of following Him.

At this time in history, I believe that women are the unexpected people that God wants to use to bring the church forward. It’s time for us to rise up and elevate our voice, to fulfill the great commission. We are called to communicate, preach, teach, write, speak, baptize, evangelize, lead and make disciples.

For too long I let the opinions of others cause me to doubt what I felt the Lord speak to my heart. And now I regret that I’ve wasted precious time that I’ll never get back. I don’t want to see that happen to you.

That’s why I’m writing to you right now. I want my words to be an encouragement, offering reassurance that can be hard for us ladies to come by. I’m a girl that’s in your corner, who knows what it’s like to be discounted and disqualified because of my gender. A girl who’s done believing the lie that I don’t count, that my voice can’t move mountains. And here’s why, the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you and in me and that’s the only qualification we need.

When you have the Holy Spirit you have everything.

Whatever that dream is that keeps you up at night, chase it down. I don’t care how outlandish or audacious it is, the bigger the better. In a crowd of naysayers there I am, proudly cheering you on with a smile on my face and a glint in my eye.

We get told no constantly in life. In a world full of no’s I hear God saying a resounding YES! to us, His girls. He’ll be with you each step of the way if you’ll only trust Him and go for it.

The hard part? You can’t worry about who will disapprove of you. We have got to obey God before man and stop letting fear win. Fear of failure, rejection, and ridicule. We need to start taking steps forward in obedience and trust God with the outcome.

Lets Chat–

I’d love to hear from you! What do you feel God leading you to do? What dreams do you have and whats stopping you from pursuing them? Leave a comment below and lets get this conversation started.

Your Calling is Irrevokable

JENNIFER JIVAN

But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow do not despair for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day.Habakkuk 2:3

It’s clear that God works through people to accomplish His purposes. But the pathway to living out your calling is more about who you’re becoming than where you’re going and what you’re achieving.

Life can be unpredictable. God rarely takes us straight from point A to point B. The journey to destiny is riddled with crooked paths and zig-zagged motions. We may go around and around the same mountain filled with confusion and delay. We wonder why we haven’t reached our promised land yet.

It may look like nothing’s happening but God is at work even when you feel stagnant.

Fulfilling…

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Mothering, Identity and Putting Our Family First

My family loves one another, for love is from God; He who loves is begotten of God and is coming to know and understand God. 1 John 4:7

I used to think that I wanted to do something big for God. I kept telling Him that I would do anything, and with that, I expected that He would ask me to do something crazy hard like sell all my stuff and move to Africa to become a missionary. For many years I thought that to do something big for God meant that I would work at a church or start up a non-profit or a ministry of some sort, or preach the gospel to the masses. I wasn’t quite sure what it was that He’d want me to do but I was sure it had to be something grandiose. A lavish way to say thank you to Him for all that He has already done for me. It would be something that I could be proud of.

But the thing is, giving your life to Jesus doesn’t always mean that He will ask you to do hard things. Yes, sometimes it does. But His plan for you and me can be trusted. It is far better than anything we could ever dream up on our own. And He genuinely wants and knows whats best for us.

For me, his plan has been much more simple and a lot less glamorous than having some big ministry. His plan for me has been to simply be- a mother.

Although, to be a mother isn’t as simple as it sounds. It comes with a roller-coaster of emotions. It has it’s definite ups and downs. For some women, to be a mother is a dream come true; it’s all they ever wanted. Their dream was to get married and have kids and nothing more. Motherhood is rewarding and fulfilling to them in and of itself. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But for me, to stay home has been riddled with sacrifice. Yes, I always wanted to be a wife and mother. But I also wanted to do other things: like go to the mission field, help women trapped in sex slavery be set free, preach the gospel and serve the church. For me, to stay home never felt like I was doing enough. It’s like I was in a tug-of-war game with my ambition to do great things on one side and my simple life, staying home raising kids on the other side and when it comes right down to it, my kids have always won.

And I’m glad that they’ve won. They always have, and they always will.

Here’s why…

Mothering matters. And mothering is ministry. It may not be what I thought of as a ministry but it is something that is very close to the heart of God.

What I’ve come to realize is, that I don’t have to do anything big for God. If He asks me to, I’m ready and willing. I may want to at times but I am learning to let that need go.

I’m learning that my walk with God has less to do with what I am doing and more to do with what He has already done for me.

And there is beauty and power in the simplicity of putting our family first. We moms are training little people who will one day run the world. We have influence on them, we are leading them, teaching them, shaping the way they think and view life. Our generation is here for but a moment and before we know it the time will come when we will pass the baton to our kids. And we can significantly underestimate the power that we parents have over them and their well-being.

When I think about motherhood I think of my mom. She may not have done anything big with her life. She never worked outside the home, didn’t go to college. She led a simple life. But she was faithful to my dad and us kids. She stayed home with us and made sure every single one of our needs were met. She put herself last. She was a natural mother. Mothering was intuitive to her. She was home every day when I got home from school. We had stability and routine. We were nurtured and loved. We were read to and prayed for. She baked cookies and cooked dinner. She made our house a home. She put my hair in pigtails and then in braids and twisted them around to make buns because I wanted to look like princess Leia. She volunteered in my class when she could. She was always on my side.

It may not sound like much to the rest of the world, but it meant everything to me and still does.

My mom was a really good mom.

And because of her example, I now can be a good mom to my kids. Because I was loved well I can give love away freely.

It’s the gospel lived out. I love because He first loved me. We can’t give away what we don’t have. To be loved is to give love.

We moms are making a difference in the world. It may not look like much to the masses. But to the ones we raise, it means everything.

And one day your kids will grow up and change the world for their children too. All because of the example that you showed them.

We are creating a legacy that is more powerful than we even realize. And we don’t give ourselves enough credit for it.

I no longer need a position or title to feel a sense of worth or accomplishment. I don’t need to start something big or get a bunch of degrees or do anything else to earn Gods love or the love of anybody else.

I’m just me and I’m okay with that. I’m not going to try to change the world. But I am going to try to change my children’s world. To make their world safe, happy, healthy and filled with love. Because I know, that if we moms change our children’s world, collectively together we are raising a generation that will make the world a better, stronger, healthier place to live. And were doing it, one family at a time.

 

 

 

Whole 30 Life Change

Not too long ago I went on the Whole 30 Diet. I’ve never been one to try fad diets or have the need to be super skinny but I have a few health issues and this diet was recommended to me because of them. The basic idea of the diet is to eat only whole, healthy foods. Things like fruit, vegetables, nuts and lean meats. No beans and no grains of any kind are allowed. No dairy and of course no added sugars. Mainly water to drink. You can have black coffee, unsweetened tea and an occasional sparkling water with a splash of juice to sweeten it up a little.

Eat like that for 30 days to cleanse your body of inflammation and help your body heal. Once you are done with the 30 day diet, slowly add foods back in and take notice of how your body reacts.

What I found was that I feel significantly better eating the Whole 30 way. I feel so much better and the results were so good that I don’t even want to eat grains as much any more. It’s just not worth it to me.

Whole 30 is not a weight loss program, but on it, I lost 25 pounds. I feel healthier and lighter. My stomach feels better and I learned about what my body needs and how it functions best.

Stop Seeking Approval from People

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Galatians 1:15-17

Has God given you a dream, vision or calling? If so, don’t be surprised if people you know don’t encourage you to pursue it. The Bible said that a prophet will not be accepted in His home town. Even Jesus himself wasn’t accepted in His home town. His hometown was the only place He couldn’t perform miracles due to their lack of belief. They were blind to His gifts and deity because they were familiar with Him.

Often times, it’s the people who are most familiar with us that can be the most critical and discouraging towards our calling and dreams. They tend to see us for what we were instead of who we are, and who we’re becoming.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

The people who don’t believe in you have seen you grow, mature, blossom and change. And they’ve also seen you fail, stumble and lose more times than you’ve won.

Some people won’t believe in you and your dream and that’s okay.

Their opinion doesn’t matter. Don’t spend one more second worrying about the approval or opinions of people.

If God has called you to a job or task that’s all you need to focus on- pleasing Him.

It’s human nature for people to hold our faults against us but thank God, He doesn’t. He is constantly making us new. And the beautiful thing is, He sees our potential before we see it. We are a work in progress. We see ourselves as we are but He sees us as we could be.

I believe that He sees something special inside of you and He wants to draw it out of you and make it shine.

So do that thing, that thing that keeps you up late at night dreaming. Stop worrying about what people will think. Don’t let fear hold you back anymore.

If God has called you to lead then lead. If he’s called you to teach then teach. Whatever dream He has deposited deep down inside of you, get to work doing it. Fan that flame, stir up that gift and stop dragging your feet.

If there are no opportunities, create some. If nobody will give you a chance, maybe God is calling you to start your own venture. Stop making excuses and do what God is calling you to do. Make a plan and take steps in that direction.

Can you imagine if Jesus or the apostle Paul had waited for the approval of the religious leaders to start their ministry? The time would have never come!

The religious leaders had plenty of negative things to say about Jesus.

“Isn’t that Josephs son?”

“We know his family, where he comes from. He and his dad are just carpenters. Not schooled in the things of God.”

“Who does this Jesus think He is?”

Sizing Him up, believing that he had no business preaching, teaching, baptizing or healing. The pharisees thought he was an unqualified nobody, a nothing. But Jesus didn’t let their opinion of Him hold Him back. Jesus was on a mission. Focused and determined. He knew that he had come to set the captives free. To show people who God really is, up close and in person.

He knew what his mission here on earth was and He was focused on completing His task; in spite of what other people thought.

Then we have the apostle Paul.

Paul was at one time, a Jewish leader that fiercely pursued and murdered Christians in the name of religion. Until one day, everything changed. The day that God got a hold of Paul when he was traveling down Damascus road (Acts chapter 9). Paul experienced a dramatic conversion. A bright light and a booming voice coming straight from heaven revealing Jesus as Lord. Then God did the unthinkable, He called Paul to be a messenger to the gentiles; the very people he had been persecuting.

Can you imagine if Paul went around asking Christians and the apostles what they thought about his conversion and his calling? Nobody would have believed that God had called Him to preach and plant churches. Nobody would have thought that he was qualified to be a messenger of the gospel. And on his own, he wasn’t.

But with the Holy Spirit, all things are possible.  The Holy Spirit is the great qualifier and equipper of those that He calls.

If God has called you to do something, you don’t need to go around asking for peoples approval, permission or opinion on the matter. If you know God has given you an assignment don’t let the opinion of people hold you back. Live for an audience of one. Stay focused on your God ordained task and do the work he has given you with all of your heart.

Our Adoption Story Part 2: Waiting and Listening

My eyes wait for You and You give me food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy me with favor. Psalm 145:15-16

He whispered to my heart that He wanted my family to care for orphans. Sometimes I wonder if I didn’t have a habit of spending time in His word if I would have missed that call. That assignment. He speaks to us all the time. But we have to be listening. The idea of fostering or adopting kids was exciting to me. The more I thought about it the more excited I became. The more excited I became the more I prayed that God would bring it to pass. But still, nothing happened. Not for a long time.

When we first started to sense that God was calling us to foster care the timing couldn’t have been worse. My husband was in the midst of a lengthy interview process with a possible employer that would require a move out of state. A year later, He finally got the job and then headed off to train for seven months in Georgia, leaving me and the kids behind.

Once he graduated, we ended up house hunting in Gilbert, Arizona. I was praying for God to help us find a home that was bigger than what we needed so we had the room for these foster kids that I had envisioned in my mind. Kids that I had never met, but still, they held my heart. I told the realtor of my hearts desire, that I wanted to foster children so I needed a large space. The problem was that our budget wasn’t a big house budget, it was a small house budget. We had taken a pay cut so that my husband could have a career that he felt passionate about.  A career in law enforcement.

Our move was in the middle of the big housing crisis. Investors were buying up homes like hotcakes, making all cash offers that we couldn’t compete with. We made offers, good offers, above asking price on nine different homes but we were out bid on every single one.

Eventually, our realtor convinced us to look at a few houses that were slightly out of our price range. And that’s when we found the house that was just right for our family and our future children. A 3,000 square foot home nestled at the end of a culdesac, beautiful trees giving abundant amounts of shade right outside the front window, and a loft. Best of all, it was perfectly located. It had a park at the end of the street. Trendy restaurants and artsy coffee shops were within walking distance. And a farmers market on Saturday mornings was right down the road. Perfection. I could envision our life there, getting up early to go on family bike rides to the farmers market. And of course, I’d grab a latte made with coconut milk while we were there. We’d listen to live music and watch the kids dance and run through the fountains that shot up from the splash pad.

It sounded like heaven to me.

But life doesn’t usually unfold quite like the perfect picture we have in our minds.

Shortly after we settled into our new home I signed us up for foster classes. We were going to finally get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Until one morning, right before our classes were supposed to start, our youngest of the three children, Hailey, woke up sick. Through a series of ongoing symptoms we discovered that she had been born with a birth defect and would need to have surgery. Since it was a genetic condition and runs in families we had our other two children screened as well and sure enough, our five year old son, Ben, had it too. They both needed surgery. Two children under the age of six needed to have surgery at the same time. We were still new to town. No family locally. Only very new friendships starting to form. With that, I felt alone. The thought of them having to go through surgery was daunting to me. The surgeries ended up being difficult. Much worse than I was anticipating. Hailey’s operation was a standard procedure. Not pleasant but there were no complications.

Ben’s was a different story. When the doctor operated on Ben he accidentally made a mistake that created a blockage in his little body. The blockage endangered and damaged his one and only kidney that he was born with. Ben ended up going through a series of five different procedures to try to fix the problem that the doctor accidentally created. The whole ordeal was stressful for all of us and took many months to resolve.

Needless to say, the thought of fostering was put on the back burner. Our kids needed us. Our hands were full. We were just trying to keep our heads above water caring for our own.

So we continued to wait.

 

Body Beautiful

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14

I’ve always been on the bigger side. I was a ten-pound baby and now I am a five foot, ten inch woman. I have big bones. I have big hands, so big that I can palm a basketball. I have what some would refer to as ‘birthing hips’ and I wear a size eleven shoe. To make matters worse, now that I am a thirty-something with an inactive thyroid, my middle section is becoming less defined day by day leaving me with a larger waistline than I’d prefer. And I have a host of fine lines surrounding my eyes.

The old me tried really hard to cover up my flaws. I would squeeze my feet into shoes that were too small, or try not to extend my fingers all the way in hopes that nobody would notice how big my hands were. I’d only wear flat shoes so I didn’t accentuate my height.

But thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, God has taught me to love myself and all of my “imperfections”. Because the truth is that they aren’t really imperfections at all. This is the way that God uniquely designed me, and to not like the way that He made me is actually an insult to Him. It took me a while, but now I’m happy to say that I’m comfortable in my own skin.

My perspective has changed. Beauty is not found in the perfect sized body or a flawless face. We have lines around our eyes because when we smile, our eyes smile too. We have stretchmarks on our bellies because we nurtured the lives of precious babies in our wombs. I have large hands and feet so I can hold my babies securely and carry them where they need to go. A woman’s body is beautiful. Majestic even. No matter what shape, size or color.

You are beautiful.

Our society tries to dictate to us what beautiful should look like ,and they have it wrong. What they market to us is unattainable and unnatural. They package beauty wrapped up in unrealistic expectations that promote starvation, Botox, and plastic surgery. They create an image that is not real. One that none of us should, or could, live up to. They photo-shop real women to accentuate what they like and shrink what they deem less desirable. As if we are an object or trophy to be put on display. Leaving us feeling less than beautiful and insecure of our appearance.

Beauty, a perfect body, and youthfulness become our idol. Because we think that being beautiful and young is what makes us valuable. But that is a lie.

You are valuable no matter what you look like, and you are worthy. Worthy of respect. Worthy of love.

True beauty comes from within. It’s in our eyes. Our eyes tell our story without saying a single word. Our spirit and soul shine through our eyes, reflecting our heart. Beauty is in our body’s expression; through a warm embrace, or our hands lifted high in adoration to God. Beauty is in a soul that loves and serves others selflessly.

This body is only our vessel, the house that our spirit lives in. It is the vehicle that we drive here on earth. Our value is not in our body or appearance, it’s in our identity as children of God. To Him we are worth far more then silver or gold.

We are worth it all.

Let’s not let our insecurities hold us back. Let’s be confident and hold our heads high. Let’s embrace ourselves and perceived imperfections. Let’s love our body and care for it. Let’s respect it.

So now, I will lift my hands high in worship and not be embarrassed by their size. I will not spend one more day wishing I looked different because life is too precious of a gift to waste time dwelling on that.