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beautiful>pretty

March 6, 2012

today, as i was going about my normal procrastination rounds, i stumbled across this article. the good women project shared it on their twitter and i found so much encouragement in reading it. i don’t want to re-post the whole article, but do want to highlight one part:

“I want to be known for more than how I look. I want to be sought after for the way that I love, for my capacity to inspire, for big faith and my ability to speak some sort of truth with both amazing confidence and soft tenderness. I want to be pursued because I am an undeniable person of passion, a woman of distinction worth getting to know because I care more about making my corner of the world so much better than I do about making my face fit an ideal I know I’ll never be good enough for.

I want to trade shallow aesthetics in for a bottomless ocean that never runs dry. I want people to see my heart, all its gruesome glory, and my spirit, with its never-ending persistence to try. I want people to smile when they look at me, with or without the lipstick on, because they associate me with something more than can be seen.

I want to possess something that lasts, even if all the pretty is beaten out of me. I want to be beautiful and I think that I could be. I think – somewhere deep down, I truly believe – that I am.”

such a blessing to have read those words today. so often i find myself discouraged by my appearance and thinking i’m not anywhere close to being beautiful. i strive for words of affirmation about my looks, but never seek them about my spirit. it is reinforced throughout the Bible, including two of my favorite verses, 1 Peter 3:3-4 and Proverbs 31:30, that a beautiful spirit is far superior to external beauty. i want to be a woman who fears the Lord, loves others fiercely, and willing to give my life away in obedience to whatever God calls me to. i want to be open with others about my struggles, my hopes, my fears and my doubts. i want to be deeply invested in all of my relationships and seek to fill my life with people who will constantly challenge me in a loving, Christ-like manner. i want to stop believing the lie that i can only be loved based on how i look.

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sins are stones

February 16, 2012

it would be a straight up lie for someone to say they do not struggle with sin. it is a daily war we wage against the flesh and the worldly desires we so avidly chase after for some sense of fulfillment and pleasure. i myself know this is a struggle i will face everyday for the rest of this life on the earth. do i choose Christ? or do i choose the lies and temporal satisfaction i think will satisfy me in a moment of temptation?

depending on the day, i can run up a pretty hefty list of sins: some are habitual and enslaving and i have found very difficult to break free from. some have to do with the way i view myself and compare myself to other girls. some days it has to do with the way i speak to others. some days it’s how angry or impatient i am with others. some days it’s hate. some days it is my refusal to give up my idolatrous heart and surrender to God. some days it’s all of the above and more.

however, the beauty of the gospel is that these i am cleansed of these sins. Christ fulfilled forgiveness for my sins by his position on the cross. he died that i might know freedom from the sin that threatens to enslave me. i have been pouring into 1 Peter lately, and one of my favorite verses is found in chapter 2 verse 24.

 

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

there is so much power in that verse. Christ was victorious in overcoming not just my sins, but the sins of the entire world. he died that i may live. in Christ i can experience freedom from the sin that i so often allow to bog me down. some days i feel so defeated by my sinfulness and feel like i am helpless and hopeless in my state. but that’s a lie. there is always freedom in Christ and always forgiveness for my sins. all i have to do is seek Christ and his righteousness. how freeing to recall!

a quote from Richard Lovelace was an insert in the book i am currently reading (Holiness By Grace by Bryan Chapell-check it out! so good) i read this passage last night before i went to bed, and i found it so encouraging-especially in my struggle to overcome the same habitual sins that plague me when i seek comfort:

 

“God’s gracious provision for our needs includes God’s grace for sanctification as well as for justification. It is not enough to tell believers, ‘You are accepted through your faith in Christ.’ We must tell them also, ‘You are delivered from the bondages of sin through the power of the indwelling Christ…’

In order to combat this sense of helplessness before the binding power of indwelling sin, believers should first be assured that sanctification, like justification, is grounded in union with Christ. The power of sin to rule their lives has been destroyed in the cross of Christ; we have died with Christ, and have been raised up together with him in newness of life. Therefore, we are not to set the estimates of our power to conquer sin according to past experiences of our will power, but are to fix our attention on Christ and the power of his risen life in which we participate; for we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God…This power is accessible in our experience through faith, not through simple striving of the will.”

 

i so often try to overcome my sins and my struggles on my own. thinking that if i just muster up enough power to resist temptation, that i will not fall to the desires of the flesh. obviously, this always fails me. i have to look to Christ. i have to remember to preach the gospel of grace to myself everyday. i have to pursue holiness by pursuing my Redeemer. for he is my hope and my strength and my love. him and him alone.

 

“I am not bound to past or present sin. Tomorrow doesn’t have to be like today.”-Bryan Chapell

 

i was listening to john mark mcmillan this morning and this song came up in my shuffle. how fitting. and lovely to be reminded of (lyrics below)

All our sins are stones /At the bottom of your oceans/And all our filthy stains/Have been washed away

By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/The grave

Recompense is made for/The guilty and the shamed/For eternity is gained/In the arms of the slain

By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/The grave

Oh my soul/Praise him/Oh my soul

By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/By the blood of a son/I have overcome the grave/The grave
Oh my soul/Praise him/Oh my soul

lover of the light

January 27, 2012

i am beyond excited for these boys to release a new album in the near future…they are incredible.

moment by moment

January 27, 2012

i read this this morning on Ray Ortlund’s blog over at the Gospel Coalition’s website and thought it was written brilliantly, so i am sharing it here as well:

“If we stress the love of God without the holiness of God, it turns out only to be compromise.  But if we stress the holiness of God without the love of God, we practice something that is hard and lacks beauty.  And it is important to show forth beauty before a lost world and a lost generation.  All too often young people have not been wrong in saying that the church is ugly.  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we are called upon to show to a watching world and to our own young people that the church is something beautiful.

Several years ago I wrestled with the question of what was wrong with much of the church that stood for purity.  I came to the conclusion that in the flesh we can stress purity without love or we can stress the love of God without purity, but that in the flesh we cannot stress both simultaneously.  In order to exhibit both simultaneously, we must look moment by moment to the work of Christ, to the work of the Holy Spirit.  Spirituality begins to have real meaning in our moment-by-moment lives as we begin to exhibit simultaneously the holiness of God and the love of God.”

Francis A. Schaeffer, The Church before the Watching World (Downers Grove, 1971), page 63.

By personality, each of us is predisposed to favor one or the other, either purity and rightness or compassion and softness.  In ourselves, we veer off one way or the other.  And we do not feel wrong about it, because our defaults reflect something real about God.  God is pure.  And God is compassionate.  But God is bigger than we are.  God is all that he is all the time, and he is the measure of all that we need all the time.  Ministering in his name, but within the limits of our natural distortions, defaces the loveliness of God in the world today.  It is unfair to him and harmful to others.  And having a faithful doctrinal statement does not by itself rescue us from our personal smallness and ugliness.  It is only as we lean hard on the Lord moment by moment that his power enters in to make us larger than ourselves.  Self-mistrust and an outward looking to the Lord moment by moment — it is how we can demonstrate the beauty of the gospel.

be holy

January 27, 2012

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

1 Peter 1:13-19

truth and grace

January 27, 2012

awhile back, i was having a hard time with a lot of stuff in general….in fact, i still am. one of the driving forces behind these periods of difficulty is that i often choose lies over truth. satan tells me a lot of lies, and it doesn’t take much for me to believe them.  this leads to a huge hindrance in my relationship with God because i don’t allow him to step in and remind me of his truth. so, sometimes, he uses my friends to do so. at the beginning of this wintry season, one of my dear friends sent me a text that reads as follows:

“1 John 3:20. Kait, take your eyes off yourself, love, and see the one who’s greater than your heart, emotions, sinful thoughts, negative attitude. He chose you, loved you, died for you, called you, made you a daughter a long time ago…regardless of what you do or don’t do. PLEASE don’t believe a gospel of performance tonight, look at Jesus and behold his beauty and relish in the glorious fact that the gospel of grace is TRUE.”

normally, i would post quotes from popular pastors or authors on here, but this rang so true in my heart (and still does) that the source doesn’t even matter. the fact that it is truth does. i often find myself in a world of lies. i fall in so deep it is hard to find my way out. and that’s where i always get it wrong. i try to find my own way to escape when the whole time, there is my Savior, just waiting for me to take hold of his truth and be saved from a dark world of fear, guilt, shame loneliness and disgust.

honestly, my relationship with Jesus has been pretty rocky lately. a lot of me being unwilling to fall at my knees before the King and give up the things i choose to run to instead of him. i’m carrying burdens that i have yet to surrender to God and let him bear them for me. it’s weighing pretty heavily on me and i’m ready to let go. when Jesus said, “it is finished” on the cross, he meant it. and nothing i can do or say can change that truth. i need to stop allowing myself to believe that i have to earn my salvation and earn Christ’s love and remember that they are offered freely to me. that is grace. and that it truth.

sexual healing

December 7, 2011