Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"I Am Beautiful"

[When] a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple [which is] called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple." Acts 3:2 (amplified)

"I am beautiful!" " I am beautiful!" I am beautiful!" This was my makeover challenge meditation this past week.  How simple those three words are. I. Am. Beautiful. Yet as I was saying it to myself over and over again I struggled to believe that I am beautiful.  I thank God for the opportunity to meditate on this word "beautiful" because it allowed me to see what was standing in the way of me fully accepting the beauty he has given me. 

This meditation started on Sunday, when in prayer the Holy Spirit directed me to look up the word beautiful in my concordance and make a study topic of it. 

I learned that God doesn't see beauty the same way we do. Take the story of Jacob when he marries Leah and her younger sister Rachel. Leah wasn't the chosen wife of Jacob he wanted Rachel, but Jacobs soon to be father in law gave him Leah instead because she was the oldest and then gave him Rachel after Jacob had insisted that he still wanted to marry Rachel. (see Genesis 15-30)

Genesis 29:16 says that " Leah had weak[a] eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful". I don't know if that means that Leah had a lazy eye, or that she needed glasses, but it was important enough for the author of this book to call attention to the fact that Leah had an eye condition versus her sister who was pretty and had a bangin' body (sound familiar).

Regardless of the reason that Leah was not favored by Jacob she was favored by God because she had a purpose to fulfill. It was through their son Judah that the bloodline that eventually led to the birth of Jesus was continued.

Sometimes the world we live in hyper focuses on the what we look like more than the who we are which often opens the door to whether we are accepted or rejected in certain social circles.  

I believe this causes many women including myself to see ourselves through the perspective of how people treat us; turning us into human receptacles for people's perceptions of who we are versus focusing on and projecting the truth of who God has purposed us to be. For many years this created a very confusing and crippling affect on my self esteem. I was always looking and craving human attention and affirmation especially from men (Leah had this problem too,see Genesis 29:31-35). This created in me a beggar mentality taking whatever was given to me instead of setting a standard for how I should and deserved to be treated.  

 This opened the door to a lot of hurt and emotional abuse over the years, but I am thankful that God saw me through the eyes of purpose. That the truth of who I am was born and the limitations and burden of superficial beauty was lifted from me.  I am no longer beautiful for what I look like but for who I am. 

This weeks makeover wardrobe challenge is an example of looking through the eyes of purpose.  The fabric I used to make my bloused was from re-purposed lace curtains and satin pajama pants.  Be blessed!

Monday, September 3, 2012

" A New Creation"

"Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" 
2 Corinthians 5:17 (amplified)

This last week was a series of "I made it". I made it to church for Sunday school and didn't fall asleep during worship service, I made my first garment for the fall wardrobe challenge (hooray!), I made it to drop off and pick up Asabea from school by the hair of my chinny chin chin NOT late, I made sure my family had dinner and breakfast, I made time to clean the house, I finally made it back to my morning jogging schedule, I made it to Wednesday evening bible study, I made it to make sure I spent quality time with my kids each day this week, I made it without frivolous spending (this is incredibly amazing!) and most importantly_ all of the above I made it moments could not have happened had I not made it a priority to honor God in all that I do and set time aside each day to seek his face in prayer. 

It feels good to know that I made it! because there were many times in my life before I walked with God when I didn't know if I was going to make it.  When depression crippled me and hindered me from being everything that God created me and predestined me to be. When I couldn't get out of bed and see that there was hope for a better day.  When I would cry out to God and ask him when things were going to get better. I know that I am not alone.  That there are many people who suffer from depression.  You just have to look at the many prescription medications on the market for depression to see that we are a country filled with people struggling to see light in the darkness.  John 10:10 says:

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)". (amplified)

My life with Jesus has rendered me a new creation in Christ providing me an opportunity for full spiritual, emotional and physical healing.  I no longer walk with depression because I chose to give it to God.  There are moments where darkness wants to come pulling at the doors of my soul, but I have made a conscious decision that nothing is going to stop me from living my filled with "... the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes]  which is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge](Galatians 5:22-23 amplified).I am not saying that each day is perfect but I am saying that its a lot easier knowing that I am not alone and that I have help from a higher power.

Its because of His spirit that lives within me that I am able to do all things through Him who gives me strength.  It is also the reason that I am able to present to you my first piece for the fall wardrobe makeover challenge.  Tadaaaaa!

I hope your inspired to be a new creation today. Be Blessed!

Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Makeover"

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7

It has been two years since I decided that I was no longer going to be a slave to my credit cards and the debt that comes with it.  And as I am writing this I am realizing that this month marks the one year anniversary since I have paid 98% of my credit card debt off.  This was a huge deal for me because my credit card habit was really about me dressing to impress and gain acceptance from others. When I made the decision to kick the credit habit, I didn't realize that I was also making the decision to accept myself for who God created me to be instead of for what others thought of me. I soon figured this out when the Lord instructed me to give away every garment that I ever bought on credit.  Like any disobedient child upset by being punished for their behavior, I cried and tried to reason with my heavenly Father.  In the end I decided that I was going to trust God knowing that what he had for me had to be better then the mess I had made of my finances and allow him to rebuild my wardrobe.  Isaiah 54:11-12 says: 

"O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, and all your walls of precious stones."

I chose to believe that my rebuilding process was underway but God can"t rebuild you on a faulty foundation.  He had to tear the whole thing down, so that he could build me up again.  Rebuild he did!  It was a slow start. After the birth of my son, I wore my maternity clothes until they became to big, from there I realized that my new cash economy could not afford Lane Bryant and all the name brand stores I used to shop at.  So I was at the mercy of God and the thrift store (which I love anyway. I am just thankful that most of them have bountiful selections in plus sizes now). If I bought something new it was deeply discounted.  This last year however, has been the toughest. Not working and receiving a steady paycheck to working toward building my own business really meant that I had to get crazy creative with my own wardrobe. 

Well, I am please to announce that I get to graduate to the next level of my rebuilding process.  "The fall makeover!"  I am revamping everything, my attitude, my wardrobe, my hairdo even including a manicure in the budget.   However, what I am most excited about is my wardrobe.  This last year I focused really hard on improving my sewing skills even taking a few couture level sewing classes to help me improve and learn new techniques which resulted in me having the confidence to make myself a few simple dresses and a skirt to add to my summer and spring wardrobe.  This fall I am stepping it up and challenging myself to sew a new garment a week to add to my closet.  From skirts to jackets, to tops, a dress or two of course and I may even get bold enough to make a pair of pants ( fyi pants are the hardest thing to sew and get to fit properly).

In order to help me stay focused and true to my word I plan on sharing each of my new creations with all of you!  I am actually in the middle of finishing my first garment.  A lined pencil skirt in a navy printed cotton. Can't wait to let you see it!  

As always Be Blessed!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Something Sweet

 "Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4 amplified).

Parenting is hard work!  I have never had a job where I was a full-time servant, playmate, housekeeper, teacher, tutor, counselor, financier, and chauffeur wrapped into one.  Yet, despite my moments of frustration,complaining, fear and at certain points resentments (lets be real we give up a lot of ourselves in order to rear our little ones and at times there can be some ugly feelings attached to it) I don't regret being a mom.  

For the last year I have been really praying and asking God to give me what i need to be a more godly mother. In this last week I have finally received the release of God's blessing in this area of my life.  I have found myself yelling less and talking more, more patience and almost no frustration, accepting more and admonishing (punishing) less.  I find myself actually meditating and walking God's truth as spoken through Ephesians 6:4. Below are a few bullet points of what I have learned along the way.

1) I learned to daily surrender my children to God, remembering that my kids really aren't my kids.  They are just like us God's creation gifted to and through us to bring them up in God's truth and ways.  

2) Each of my children have their own unique gifts, interests and personalities and I have to accept them for who God created them to be. 

3) I am learning how to rely on God's strength and not my own as it relates to parenting. I am a work from home mom which means I am pretty much on duty 24/7 that takes a lot out of a person.  God is the only one who has the strength to keep me moving and whole.

4) Just because my children are having a bad day doesn't mean I am NOT doing a good job or at least the best job I can in that moment. It also doesn't mean that i have to have a bad day. I have the power through Christ Jesus to shift the environment in our home.

5) In matters of discipline and/or character building I am learning to rely on what God's holy word says concerning the situation and not my own wisdom.  (I have found this to be incredibly successful with my 7 year old.  After reading a bible verse with her regarding a situation we are dealing with and a short conversation about it, she is a totally different person).

6) My kids want unconditional love and acceptance just like i do and the more I practice this with them the more I see them grow in this with each other.

As good as it feels to know that i am changing as a mom it hasn't come with out its challenges case in point I have been struggling with patience the last couple of days and today was especially trying because I didn't have a set plan in place, but around 4:30pm I decided to stop struggling and start praying.  As always the Lord answered my prayers. He said:  "Go to the grocery store and get some sugar.Bake some cookies with the kids."  All my kids needed was a little sweetness in their life and as I am writing this I am realizing that that is all I really want too.  

To God be the Glory! Be Blessed!