Monday, January 19, 2015

The UGLIEST part of me… the big reveal

I have a confession.  There is something I have kept hidden from others for years.  It’s the ugliest part of me.  It’s embarrassing and I don’t want to share, but it’s time.

The struggle started when I was a young teenager.  The teen years are filled with moments of insecurities, fears, and doubts.  There are struggles with trying to fit in, raging hormones, and out of control acne.  It is a time of discovering who you are and who you want to be. 

Is there anything about yourself that you don’t particularly like… anything you wish was different?  As a teen I made a mental check list of the things I liked and the things I didn’t about ME.  I was convinced that I was ugly.  I even had my own visual reminder of my ugliness.   I looked to those around me to confirm my insecurities and they did!  God didn’t make me beautiful like others.  I was somehow overlooked.  I was sure of it!

I kept them hidden for awhile.  How could I possibly let anyone, but those closest to me see my ugliness?  I decided to take a chance when I went to youth camp.  Surely I could trust my roommates and friends with this insecurity, right?  It was the first time in awhile I felt naked… my feet were bare and free for all to see. 

I walked casually throughout our room preparing for bed hoping nobody would notice.  I grabbed my toothbrush turning quickly around as one girl passed by me.  So far, so good!  I rushed into the bathroom brushing my teeth frantically before anyone else had a chance to come in to see me.  As I went into the stall to change into my pj’s I heard the bathroom door open.  Uh, oh… now what?  I gathered my things and walked by my friend calmly as I went out the door.

I thought I was safe until I reached our room.  I was hoping to jump under the covers before anyone could see, but I had no such luck.  One friend was sitting on the bed, dangling her legs, waiting for everyone.  My hands were full of things as I entered the room.  I had no way of hiding my feet from her.  She saw.  I know she did.  I slowly put all of my stuff away hoping she didn’t say anything.

“What’s wrong with your feet?  They look like pigs feet.”  I shrugged at her that I didn’t know, but my heart was crushed.   The innocent comments of a young clueless teenager had scarred me.  I endured the rest of the week holding back the tears.  When I got home I worked up the courage to ask someone else close to me their opinion.  I shared the incident and waited for a response.  This person looked “them” over and said “well, I guess she might be right.”  My heart sunk.  The scars ran deep.  I was right.  God made me ugly.  I was broken.

From that moment on they went into hiding.  No flip flops or open toed shoes.  No one could see. No one could know. Only the trusted were privileged.  The insecurity grew into fear… fear of what others would think.

Over the years I developed a hatred of feet.  I know.  It sounds crazy to think about now or even say.  Feet, who cares about feet?  I did.  I was jealous of those with beautiful feet.  Manicured toenails displayed for all to see.  Pretty girls, with perfect feet, wearing flip flops freely with no worry in the world.  I longed to be them.

Babies were different of course.  Who could hate the feet of little babies?  I loved their feet!  I kissed my boys toes when they were little… of course until they began getting sweaty and stinky.  I have teens now and all I can say is… gross.  The stink is beyond words.

My husband was amazing through my struggles.  He is my faithful self-esteem builder.  He never ceases to tell me how much he loves me and how beautiful I am.  He has never, ever said anything negative to me about ME.  Instead of me feeling insecure, he has helped foster my security in him and God.  He has been a huge part of the healing process.  I am blessed to have such an amazing man love me so.  Thank you God!

I thought my troubles were bad until I met others with foot issues… crooked toes, weak feet, troubling ankles and the like.  I was fortunate.  My problem was more of an insecurity, than an actual medical issue.  I needed a different kind of healing.

I went to a ladies retreat a few years ago that was themed around shoes.  They blessed us with gifts all throughout the weekend.  One gift I received was a ladies shoe inscribed with the words “walk by faith” and a plaque with a scripture on it.  This is what it says…
“How beautiful are the feet
of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:15 (NIV)

What did that scripture say?  How beautiful are the FEET of those who bring good news!  I thought about it as I read the scripture on the plaque.  I have been in the ministry for 15 + years doing my best to “bring the good news” of Christ to others.  I guess in that respect MY FEET have been beautiful.  Wow…God sees things differently, doesn’t He?

There is a song that comes to mind that I have heard before…

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You know what I have discovered the hard way… that God sees beauty differently than I do.  Surprise, surprise!  He sees a lot of things differently than I do.  I should have known.

I thought the ugliest part of ME was my feet, but I have found over my many years of hiding that God has a different opinion.  Something far more ugly has been lurking and growing in my life that needs to die… my PRIDE.

So here and now I proclaim… If God can use my “ugly feet” to reach one more soul for Him then by all means I surrender.  My insecurity, my fear, my feet are HIS.

He made me on purpose just the way I am and He thinks I’m beautiful.  That’s all that matters!


Psalm 139:13-16 says it perfectly

You made my WHOLE being; you formed me in my mother’s body.  I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.  What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well.  You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old. (NCV)

Are you struggling today with how God made you?  Is there some part of you that you detest?  I challenge you to flip the coin in a sense and try to see what God sees when He looks at you.  Let God validate, confirm, and verify to you that HIS opinion of you is what matters most!  He thinks YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL in His eyes or HANDSOME… whatever applies (giggle).  Walk in this new found freedom and shine.  You are a masterpiece friend!

Living to leave a legacy,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

"Blind Faith" - Reposting my most viewed post from 2014

Sometimes I think God likes to show up at the last minute for me.  I know, I know… God is always right on time.  Well, that is easy to say, but hard to swallow when you are living it out.  I guess Him seemingly showing up late for me does seem to stretch my faith, deepen my spiritual roots, and challenge me to trust Him no matter what.  When I think about how He has always showed up and taken care of me in the past, I can’t help but trust Him in the present.  Or at least I should.  For some reason when it comes down to times of testing, I feel the stress, I activate the worry, and here we go again. 

You would think I would have this figured out by now, but I guess not.

Have you ever been there friend?  Caught in the middle of a battle between faith and fear… stress and peace, freaking out and trusting God blindly…  Well, if you haven’t I’m sure those days are coming.  How do we know how deep our roots are if they aren’t tested by the strong winds of difficulties?  How do we know if we really trust God completely if our faith is never tested?   In the long run it’s all a GOOD thing, but in the middle of the testing it is NO fun!

Recently, I just finished a book study that has really challenged my thinking in this area of my life.  I’ve seen lots of positive changes in ME as a result which is good!  The book is called, “Unglued”, by Lysa Terkeurst. 

What is this “Unglued” I am speaking about?  It is what happens to US at times when someone or something bumps into our happy and messes up our pretty plans.  Let me give you an example.  It could be finding out you are having overnight guests’ only hours before their arrival…. Your house is trashed, the fridge is empty, and you have no idea where the clean sheets are for that spare bed.  Yikes!  How would you respond?  

Lysa shares a story of how her husband went to take a shower and there were NO clean towels in the whole house!  He waited patiently for the delivery of her towel of choice while she hunted.  There were none in her room, none in the kids bathroom, and nothing clean in the dryer or washer.  Uh, oh!  She had to revert to the old towels piled up to wash the dogs.  They were clean, but raggedy.  They would have to do!  She delivered the towel to her husband and he recognized it as one of the dogs’ towels and asked if it was clean.  That was the last straw… she blew!  “Unglued”…I hope you are catching what I am meaning now. 

The book was filled with lots of great ideas on how to manage this state of “Unglued”.  Through it I learned what kind of “Unglued” I am, why I become unglued, and alternatives to reacting in that manner.  The choice is mine!  I can’t change what happens TO me, but I can choose HOW I will respond to it!  This book has been life-changing for me… only because I am applying what I learned.

All that to say that recently I faced one of those faith-testing moments and I reacted out of character for me.  I realized through the study that I am tempted to become “Unglued” mostly when I am STRESSED or SICK. Well, stress has been in abundance lately.   Let me explain.  Late spring our landlords decided to put the house we are renting from them on the market.  We had officially until our lease was up (August 1st) to find somewhere else to live.  I was not surprised especially because this is the THIRD time this has happened to us.

We have rented several houses in the past few years.  Because of those times of testing and circumstances beyond our control, we haven’t been in a place to buy a house of our own.  When our landlords at the rentals came back into their houses to check on various things, they were amazed!

One even said, “Wow, this looks better than it did when we lived here.  Don’t tell my wife.”  By the end of each lease we were offered the chance to buy the house, but had to decline.  As a result, they decided to sell and while we were in it... since it looked so good!  Needless to say, each one sold quickly!

Now here we are again.  We were actually looking for houses to buy this time.  The house we are in is too small for us long term.  We started looking when they listed the house, but couldn’t find anything that worked for us.  We were hoping the house wouldn’t sell quickly, but had no such luck there.  Those freak out feelings started to rise up within me AGAIN, but my reaction was different this time.  I stopped when I realized I was becoming stressed.  I pausedI pondered, and I prayed.  I had anxious feelings about the future, but I knew God would take care of us.

In one weeks time we switched gears from pursuing houses to buy to looking for one to rent. Overwhelmed feelings continued to threaten to suffocate my spirit, it felt like God was late AGAIN.  But, for some reason I felt God’s peace consuming me as I thought about the future.  It felt like I was walking in a new kind of faith for me… “Blind Faith”.

A scripture came to mind immediately…

“For we walk by faith, NOT by sight…” 
             2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)

My family has been walking BLINDLY in faith believing God to do the impossible.  Since our outlook has changed, we have noticed God doing some AMAZING things!  We only had one lead on a possible rental we felt led to pursue.  It seemed like a long-shot.  It was an awesome house (or so we heard) with 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, one acre fenced yard, and lots of updates.  When we drove past it we realized it was WAY out of our price range for our budget.  My heart sunk realizing I didn’t even know where to begin to look for another possibility for us.  I immediately felt a check in my spirit to wait on “this” house.

Through a God turn of events, we were offered the house to rent at an incredible price.  We haven’t even seen the house or signed a lease, but we have such an incredible peace about it all.  It seems from the outside that God has given us each our heart’s desire in this house.  Check out our wish list of answered prayers for this house already below…

Me- house large enough to have lots of people over, room of my own to have an office, more private with space between neighbors, room for overnight guests.

My husband- wooded area, large yard, space for a garden, garage, place for his own office, space between neighbors, off the road, he mentioned randomly wanting fruit trees in the yard (we will have many).

My boys – they wanted to be close to the river to fish (its right down the road), one wanted chickens (not sure why he wants them, but there are 9 chickens on the property for us to keep), one wanted a garden (there is a raised garden already there), and they wanted a basketball goal (there too!)

My dog – presently she has to be on a chain when she goes outside.  I’m not sure what her dreams were for a new house, but I am thinking maybe she wanted to be able to run freely when chasing squirrels and birds.  She is probably tired of choking  herself on the chase.  Funny...  God even answers the unspoken prayers of a dog.  He is into every detail of this.

Wow!  God has already answered a lot of our prayers in this house and we haven’t even seen the INSIDE yet!  We are flooded with peace and excited about the future.  Yay God!  

Blind Faith – trusting God with the details of my life confidently even though 
I can’t see what the outcome might be in the end.  

He is faithful friend!  Trust Him with your worries today and watch Him work behind the scenes of your life to do amazing things!

Living to leave a legacy,


Monday, January 5, 2015

A Year of Thanks… Take two!

Can you believe it’s already 2015?  I can’t.  Time is going by way too fast.  I’m not ready for the next year.  I still have goals to reach…Personal deadlines to meet.  I didn’t read enough books, exercise enough, save enough, or seek God enough.

I did accomplish a lot of things I set out to do last year, but it always seems like those things we didn’t finish are what sticks out the most in our minds.  I’m sure glad each year we get to start over.  We are given a clean slate, a fresh page, and a new perspective.  New is good.

I’ve decided to take a different approach concerning goal-setting as I consider the upcoming year.  Instead of weighing myself down with a list of self-imposed expectations, I am changing things up.  Don’t get me wrong… lists are good.  In fact I love lists and make them every day.  

Goals are great too.  Yes there are some things I want to accomplish this year, but I’m not going to write them down and set a deadline this time

For me, this year is going to be focused on one word… 


“surrender” can be defined as this:   
to give oneself up into the power of another: yield

I want 2015 to be a year of me surrendering and yielding to God every step of the way.  I want His will and His way every day!  I want to seek Him first instead of running ahead of Him with my own ideas of perfection.  I want to fine tune my listening skills.  I want to learn to hear His still small voice perfectly as He guides me into His best for me. 

Surrender.  It’s me giving up my way so I can experience God’s plans for me.  A verse comes to mind along these lines…

“With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.”  Ephesians 3:20 (NCV)

My plans seem great to me, but God’s plans for me are so much better.  Beyond what I could hope for or even imagine.

I want God to order my steps and lead me where He wants me to be this year.  I have a verse I memorized years ago that has stuck with me ever since.  It has been my go to verse in many seasons.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Surrender.  It’s me laying ME down so God can shine through.  Surrender, Yielding… It’s a daily struggle of my flesh and spirit.  When I am weak, He is strong.

Two years ago I started a new tradition.  I saw the idea on Pinterest.  It’s called a “Thank You Jar”.  The idea behind it is to record and collect all of the good things God does in your life over the course of a year.  At the end of that year, you empty the jar and read the blessings you experienced.  The results are powerful!

New Years Day was our second year doing this.  We had watched for God-moments all throughout the year.  We scribbled them down by the month, documenting the event that occurred, and threw them in our jar.  

By January 1, 2015 our jar was bursting from the seams.  As we poured out the papers on the table to split them up to read, my heart beamed with joy.  God had really showed up in 2014.  He wasn’t there just for the big moments.  He met us daily with our struggles and victories.

The papers we read recorded seemingly insignificant things to others, but simple answers to prayer for us.  We collected 40 in all!!  God was there!  He provided, He healed, He opened doors, He fulfilled dreams, and He met us right where we were.  He was faithful!  This is a tradition we will continue… an attitude of gratitude for what God has done and is doing. 

I’m looking forward to 2015.  God has some amazing things in store for us.  I’m watching and waiting for those God-moments as I surrender my life completely to Him.  My “Thank You Jar” is ready to be filled.  How about yours?

Living to leave a legacy,