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Before my LIFE group and I went around town to ask women what scars made them beautiful, I didn’t know what to expect.  Would it be too forward to ask people to revisit their past pains?  Theoretically, I knew it would be an interesting question – our struggles shape us and strengthen us.  But I had no idea how moved I would be to meet so many people willing to share about the adversity they faced that made them stronger.

Our scars are beautiful.  When I think about my own scars, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness.  In the times when I wasn’t sure if i could keep going, His promises to be a shelter and refuge rang true. He traded my ashes for a crown of beauty, and as I look back at the scars, I see that God somehow made them beautiful.

Enjoy this week’s installment!

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Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

It’s here again!  A new installment of our “Beautiful Friday” series.  My LIFE group went onto campus on a nice day and asked various women the question: why do you love being a woman?  The wide array of answers was a testament to women’s diversity/values/interests. 

Admittedly, I’m not the “girliest” of girls.  Until this post, I hadn’t seriously thought about what it would look like to value my identity as a woman as opposed to a general “human being”.  Day by day I’m learning to appreciate myself as God made me: my strengths, weaknesses, my quirks, and even the things about myself that even I don’t understand.  While we are all so different, there’s much that we can share in celebrating our roles as women and empowering one another to be MORE than what we are now.  And I think that’s why I love being a woman.  Although we can be SO complex/complicated/layered/etc it allows us to relate to so many others in profound ways.

In the spirit of interaction, why do YOU love being a woman?  Are there any answers given below that you agree with?

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I’m not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.

Just this morning I was sharing with two of my friends how I wish I was “better” – I wish I had more skills, had more going for me, had an “x factor”.  And I was honestly really upset about it.  I felt like the Queen of average: not considerably smart or stupid, not considerably funny, not exceptional, not pretty etc.  Honestly, even writing out these insecurities makes me cringe because it’s such wayward thinking.  Long pitiful story short, I truly believed that God didn’t have much in store for me because I wasn’t much – destined to be average. Hence the pity party.

This evening I watched “Nefarious” a documentary about sex slavery.  It followed a team of people who were discovering how sordid the sex trafficking industry was and how far it extended. Towards the end of the film, there was a gripping portion where two women who were prostituted for 10-30 years shared about their encounters with God.  The two shared how they were convinced that they were hopeless: utterly defeated and ashamed by the laundry list of their acts as prostitutes.  At points close to death, they each encountered God.  They both described this feeling of being completely seen by God (all of their past deeds) and being completely loved and accepted.  God did not condemn them and He set for them a life of freedom and purpose.  After decades of being convinced that they were nothing and “too far gone” – God found them, saved them and showed them the worth they had always had.

God makes no mistake.  He makes His sons and daughters with love, hope and purpose.  One of Satan’s greatest feats is to convince us that we are unloved, hopeless and without a purpose.  We’re captive to the lies that we are not enough.  And in the sea of our self-pity, we spend an inordinate amount of time on ourselves and miss out on the call to love our neighbors, to  “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

There is far too much going on in the world that is against God’s heart for His sons and daughters.  We need to stand in the gap, pray for God’s justice and rule to come and heal our land, and do whatever it is He calls us to do.

I’m not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.

I have a confession: I drive drunk frequently.  

Okay, it’s not alcohol that I’m drunk on, but it’s emails, text messages, and sports scores.  

I just saw in the local news that a mother of four kids in the Ann Arbor area died in a car accident; she was texting while driving.  My first reaction was, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so dangerous, didn’t she know better?”  But that was quickly squelched by the realization that I am just as guilty of driving distracted: I often check my emails, text messages, and sports scores, usually at stoplights, but I often make phone calls while in motion.

There was actually an article in CNN this week about distracted driving and the dangers that it poses.  Apparently the risk of a crash increases by 4xs when we drive while using a cell phone.  There are other stats in the article that are very compelling and make me think twice about my driving habits.

As I reflected on these two articles and my own habits, I realized that it comes down to living a hurried life and an artificial sense of urgency. Reading that new email is ‘urgent’; sending that text message is ‘urgent’; checking that sports score…okay it isn’t urgent, but my curiosity gets the better of me.  Whenever that little envelope icon appears on my screen, it begs and taunts me to check it, no matter what I was doing at that moment.  

We live in a culture of instant gratification and impatience, both of which I doubt are very Christ-like. (If patience is a ‘fruit of the spirit’ [Galatians 5:22] then I guess that makes impatience an anti-fruit?) Don’t get me wrong: I love technology and I’m not trading in my cell phone for a landline, but I definitely need to grow in patience and delayed gratification. Perhaps driving and red lights can be moments to sit still, quiet my frantic mind and just enjoy the day.

Here are the articles mentioned above:
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/03/ann_arbor_mother_charmaine_dau.html
http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/28/us/distracted-driving-dangers/index.html?iref=allsearch

Hello all!

A friend and I set out on campus one day to tell women they were beautiful and ask them, “what makes you beautiful?”.  It was a great chance to see how people are made so differently and wonderfully.  Check it out!

What is beautiful about you?

 


came across a song this morning that really encouraged me. as i was reflecting on my life and on those who are close to me, i also wanted a “quick fix” and was getting frustrated with myself, others, and even God. the lyrics of this song really blessed me, and challenged me to see that an intimacy with Christ is the greatest gift that we can have. i highlighted a few things that really jumped out at me.

We pray for blessings We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

** ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near

What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise