Beauty Lies Within

1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelery and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in GOD’s sight.”

Each day, we wake up and decide what to wear, how to fix our make-up, and pick the perfect style for our hair. We then proceed to spend hours making ourselves “presentable” – much less Beautiful!

Is this all necessary though? I mean, are we not enough as is? As we were Created to be naturally? Or must we endure hours of beauty treatments to truly be beautiful?

According to this passage in 1 Peter, all of this work is not at all the object of beauty or modesty. Beauty comes from inside – a gentle and calm spirit exuding love and compassion. This is true beauty.

Now, check your heart. Are you loving others, showing of your calm and gentle spirit? If so, your beauty is shining through and will last longer than anything physical will. 

Beautiful = Peace & Love.



Disappointment=Today I received two rejection letters. One from a job I had recently applied for and one from the magazine I was hoping would give me my first professionally published piece. 

June 2011 is upon us this week. Now, halfway through the year, I am re-evaluating things. Life is not what I had expected, not where I expected it to be by my 23rd birthday, which is just over a month away.

I have lost count of the number of doors which have closed to me, stumbling blocks in my way, and rejections that I have opened. The two I gained today add to the growing disappointment I feel in my life lately. On top of this, I am also at a crossroads in my professional life. One big decision that will cause a big change in my life no matter which road I take. Thus, making me feel both stuck and cornered at the same time!

I know the way most around me want me to go: The way of security. This is the route I have been on my whole life. However, I am unsure this is the best way to go. To go this way would be to take a temporary break from the dream that GOD has placed on my heart. For the first time in my life, I am really being forced to look at what is more important: certain earthly security or complete obedience to GOD. This is particularly hard for me, since so far it appears that He seems to have led me to many places I never expected or wanted to be. Then again:

LEAH probably never planned to be married to a man who never grew to love her.
BATHSHEBA probably never expected to be the King’s mistress, leading to the death of her husband and son.
RUTH probably never dreamed of having her husband die leaving her with little in the world.
STEPHEN probably never imagined his life ending in a stoning or PETER’s upside down on a cross.

None of these situations seem very positive, and yet each was used by GOD to expand His Kingdom.

Being in the middle of a painful spiritual growth spurt (not unlike the physical ones experienced as a kid), I don’t understand the point of all the rejection and disappointment. I don’t see how it plays into being able to walk in the dream GOD has revealed to my heart, but I know growth is happening . I feel my faith muscles stretching and strengthening more than ever. Though I do not see what GOD is doing, I know He is working. And, though I find myself in temporary disappointment, I look forward to being able to share my future learning and joy with you!


Recently, God has been teaching me what it means to live in Freedom. I have learned what it is to live in a cage, slaves to sin and brokenness. I have learned that many of us, when given the opportunity to live in freedom are too afraid to make the move.

Galatians 5:1 tells us that Christ set us free for freedom, so as not to be bound again by sin. He opened up our cells and broke our shackles, allowing us an opportunity to experience true freedom. However, we can sometimes go back (or never leave) because the change is so big and the difference is so scary.

God showed me that was what I was doing in my life. Returning to be a slave to the anxiety and stress that had been my sin and brokenness, simply because it was how I knew to deal with life. God has been teaching me what freedom is and what it is not.

Freedom is NOT:
Living anxiously.
Worrying about how our decisions affect every person around us, trying to please them all.
Submitting to a life that makes us miserable simply to be “content in all things.”
Trying to mold ourselves to be anything other than what God created/called us to be.

Freedom IS:
Knowing who you are and whose you are, as we learn in Ephesians 1:45.
Knowing that we were created with a purpose, as we learn in Ephesians 2:10.
Knowing that God always has our best interest at heart, as we learn in Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11.
Hearing God’s call & following, ignoring those who would think us foolish (much like the disciples).

We can get so used to life inside our cages. We find sustenance and safety there because it is all we have known. But life outside is so much sweeter. God has created each of us for a specific function in His Kingdom. We are each His masterpiece, beautiful masterpieces created for His Glory. The only way we can truly live up to the call is to allow Christ to set us free and be free.

I invite you to leave the cage behind. Give everything to God, and step into the life of freedom He has waiting for you. I promise, you will be glad you did.


“Waking up I see that everything is okay…
Slowing down, I look around and I am so amazed…
This innocence is brilliant (I hope that it will stay)…
It’s so beautiful it makes you want to cry…” –
Avril Lavigne ‘Innocence’

I just discovered this song today. And as I listen to these words, they pull on my heart in a special way. As someone who once struggled with depression, the words strike a chord inside. Though the battle is now won, complete wholeness took almost two years.
After over ten years of struggle, I remember the day I woke up and felt this way. It seems like only yesterday the dark cloud hovered over my head. Perhaps because, in a sense, it was just yesterday. The last remnants of that dark cloud finally lifted after an amazing prayer time with some amazing women. Initially, though, it was two years ago. Around February of 2009. 
GOD saved me from the darkness that suffocated me. He reached down into my storm and sent away the clouds around me, opening up my lungs for what seemed to be the first time. Now, the Joy I live with is indescribable. I have hope. I have a future. I see in color! Beautiful, rich, vivid color! 
My Abba finished off my storm last night, proving that if I let Him, He has the power to heal every area of my life. He holds me in His hands and replenishes my Joy and Hope each day. A light is in my eyes that was never present before.
This is GOD’s power in my life. Victory over the demons that threatened to keep me from living. He has the same power for your life. 
Determine the spiritual or physical cause of your despair, get the right treatment in place, and watch GOD work. For me, it was all spiritual warfare. The enemy was battling for my mind. If it is physical, brain chemistry, let GOD work through medicine. In either case, bring it to Him. His power will set you free. Simply ask and Joy can be yours.

“He ordered His angels to guard you…” Ps, 91:11
 (The Message)

Securtiy: My American Idol

Here I sit on my lunch break staring down the barrel at many questions and much uncertainty. Questions I would love to wake up and have answered tomorrow. Uncertainty I wish would become clarity.

In the midst of it all, in an Aladdin-esq scene, I hear GOD ask, Do you trust me?

And my response, much like Jasmine, is a very guarded, Yes.

You see, my life has been a quest for one thing: security. A sense of home. Something I have never really had. The American Dream if you will. It has been instilled in me my whole life, and yet has equally eluded me. I had once thought I would for sure have it by now. But, alas, I face daily threats to a life I deem secure. Just when I think I have it figured out, I realize my idea of security is really a smokescreen. A way to hide in comfort from the real security: a life completely abandoned to the Will of GOD.

Christ told us it may not be a comfortable security. Even He did not have a place to rest, a place to call home. Yet, He was completely secure (Matt 8:20, Luke 9:58). It requires us to sacrifice, to carry a cross of our own (Luke 9:23). Though it may get uncomfortable and will require sacrifice, His will is the most secure place to exist.

GOD has been dealing with me this week regarding my American Idol – Do I trust Him to meet ALL my needs in spite of a lack of obvious “security”? Am I willing to abandon this idol and walk forward into any place He calls me to, even a Nineveh? Or, am I going to follow my idol and risk ending up drowning with no way out but a fish?

At one point, anxiety was so overwhelming in my life that following the unknown out of security would have paralyzed me. But, after prayer, I realize the peace that accompanies following GOD‘s direction. His security will be so much greater compared to the dream/ideal I have carried my whole life.

So, again I hear, Do you trust me?

And this time, I place my hand squarely in His and jump.

God’s Fingerprints

Fate. Destiny. Divine Design… Call it what you will, but things work out the way they do for a reason.

Miracles. Magic. Angels & Demons. Coincidence & Chance. Whichever you believe, GOD’s power is shown. Working all things great and small according to His will and good pleasure. 

Our job: Trust. In all of lie’s chaos and confusion it all comes down to one thing: living a life pleasing to GOD. A big part of that is trust. Trusting that He is with us always, setting our feet on the path He has chosen.

In all things, He is at work to ensure the good of those who love and serve Him (Romans 8:28). When we follow GOD, we can look back over the trials in our lives and clearly see in hindsight where His hands were in that situation.

For instance, my roommate and I recently went to LA and had our car break down. We were delayed by a day. GOD’s hand there? We didn’t break down until we reached Vanguard, a place where I had friends and we had a place to stay. GOD kept us safe and led us to a place where our car could break down, but my soul could be cared for by much needed friendship.

GOD is constantly leading me, calling me to move in one place or another. Create one work of art or another. Talk to this person or that person. Many would be tempted to call all of this crazy coincidence or fate or some other thing. But, I clearly see the hand of my Creator on all of it. And Acts 2:17 tells me the same thing: GOD’s Spirit is over the land and I, not only as a daughter but as a Creation, have that Spirit.

Next time you see a coincidence, big or small, take a closer look. Do you see His fingerprints?

Broken Hallelujah

 “When all that I can sing is a broken Hallelujah. When my only offering is shattered praise. Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins. And I will worship You and give You thanks. Even when my only praise is a broken Hallelujah.”

Much of my life, this is all that I have felt I could offer GOD. A broken Hallelujah from the ruins of a shattered heart. This heart I saw as worthless and inferior, but it was simply all I could offer to GOD. It never quite felt like enough to me.

I look(ed) around me and saw I was surrounded by beautiful and talented people. People who seem(ed) to have it all together. Whole people.

Sure, I knew I was smart – but that was the extent of what I felt I could contribute to the world. The world didn’t even get my shattered heart. They got smarts and fierce loyalty, GOD got my shattered pieces.

Now I know that even my shattered pieces are O.K. They are enough because GOD makes them whole. And, in making my heart whole, He shows me who I really am: ABBA’s Child. He made me for a purpose. He made me His beautiful poem. A quirky, smart, talented poem. And, in Him, my beautiful brokenness is made whole.  

Song lyrics: “Broken Hallelujah” by Mandisa

Ecclesiastes 1 Kind of Life

“Meaningless, Meaningless!…Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2

Do you ever feel this way? Apathetic about life because everything is meaningless? I call those times my “Ecclesiastes 1” times.  Those days, weeks, even months when nothing seems to matter at all.

If you continue in Ecclesiastes you will find that all our toil is for not. We all die one day, and yet here we go working away, living out the mundane details of life, we strive for whatever the world views as success, and we run ourselves ragged trying to atain things that may or may not be a part of what GOD has for us. Eventually this realization of “meaningless” leads to apathy.

APATHY: one of my least favorite words. One of the most dangerous words for my life. Apathy means if nothing else, the enemy has me standing still. Complacent with the life before me… Unmoving towards the path GOD has placed before me. I get comfortable with where I am, I realize that forward movement really doesn’t mean anything, and I stop. I have been stopped by both apathy and anxiety, and I will tell you: the result of paralyzing anxiety cannot compare with the foul stagnation of apathy.

Apathy keeps us from realizing the potential GOD has placed in all of us. It keeps us from the basic purpose each of us has on this earth: “Fear GOD and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” Ecclesiastes 12:13.

So, whenever you find yourself in the midst of an Ecclesiastes 1 kind of a day, week, or even year, remember that you still have a purpose. It may not be clearly defined; you may not be in tune with what it is, but the purpose is there. Remember on an Ecclesiastes 1 kind of a day that Ecclesiastes 12 is soon to follow. When all seems “utterly meaningless” you must still “fear GOD and keep His commandments.”

You have a purpose in GOD. Take heart, He sees your toil, and in the end, life for Him is the only life lived well.