Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Beautiful Thing.

It’s a shame that beauty has come to be synonymous with a perfect model in an advertisement. Beauty often has little to do with it. That kind of beauty is often disposable, faddish, and even debatable, contingent upon the job the Photoshop guy did to fix her nose.

Physical, outer appearance has a lot to do with how we perceive beauty but not a lot with how God sees it. This passage,

Your adornment must not be merely external – braiding of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. [I Peter 3:3-4]

Does NOT say, “Don’t you dare care how you look because that’s bad”.

It’s saying that outer appearance isn’t even half of it.

Say what you will, but most people wouldn’t argue about a truly beautiful woman. It’s more than the outer appearance, better than any miracle makeup. Something inside sort of just glows and makes the rest of her so attractive.


She’s confident. This isn’t to be confused with prideful at all. Someone who is perfectly content with where God has her can’t be prideful because she knows that the glory belongs to the Lord. She wouldn’t even think about taking that glory for herself. She shows her confidence by expressing her freedom. She is free to be who He created her to be. Fear of what others might say or how they will look at her won’t influence her because her mind is renewed to the truth of God’s word. She is rooted in Him and is refreshed by that truth every day. And she shares that with others so that they can be encouraged in the Word and renewed by His truth!

She’s open about her failures. Beautiful people aren’t sin-free people. They’re people who can look back, admit that their past isn’t pretty, and use that to God’s glory. How? I think God must bring people into connection with one another because it always seems like He puts one person with “a past” into the life of another with a similar story to encourage and challenge. Failure in the past is often an open door to a glorious future. No one can be branded by their past sins without their consent. And God is faithful in the life of a person willing not wanting to be branded by where they’ve been. He uses that openness in the lives of so many people.

She has perspective. Her life is not hers to live and she lives in active knowledge of that. Her life is not a mere nod to the idea that she has been bought with a price; she actually lives from that perspective. Everything she has is hers to give. Because she has no “right” to her life, no valid claim on even the next breath she will take, God has every right. He can freely shine through her because she is His. And because she is His, she is available to others. She loves His creation and the people He has created. She wants to know them, to serve them, to love them… because He loves her.

She knows where she’s going. Even if she doesn’t know the next step she will take, she’s following God with all she has. The direction of her life and the pattern of her heart are to follow Him. His word is a lamp to her feet and a light to her path. She is faithful to obey what she knows, stay true to Him, and trust Him with the outcome. The truth is that she may have a vision of where she’s actually going or she may not. She might be following blindly in regard to the plans set for her but with eyes wide open, focused on Him, the author and perfecter of faith.

So what makes her so attractive? It’s the hidden person of the heart, the person she is at the core, the person who loves God more than all others. That’s what reflects inside her and shines out, creating that glow. She’s a woman of God.

And it’s a beautiful thing.

[I’ve been thinking about all of these things lately, and much of what I’ve written has come from conversations with some exceptionally beautiful people in my life. God has been faithful to provide people who constantly encourage me in His word and in His truth and it has been wonderful. I am learning what it means to be a beautiful person myself and as I see myself in the mirror of God’s word, I realize how far I have to go. That’s okay because I’m not perfect and God is faithful to perfect. All the same, I thank Him for truly beautiful women who encourage me to follow Him with all I have.]

Friday, September 25, 2009

I saw this quote and had to say something about it:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~Buddha

Whatever my feelings may be about the writer/speaker of this quote, I definitely agree with what he has to say. I don't think that belief stands on its own. Belief must be grounded in something somewhere for it to be real.

When I was little, I believed in God.
Growing up in church, a lot of kids do. They go to church, know a lot of Bible verses, can explain Jesus' death on the cross, and really articulate the Christian faith. I think that's really awesome, but I remember having thoughts in my head like "What if I'm not a Christian?" when the pastor would talk about what happens after death. "If you died today, would you go to heaven?"
"Well... I believe in God. I believe that Jesus died. I believe that I sin. I believe that the Bible is God's Word"

Monday, September 21, 2009

retreat fun.

Moody student retreat was last weekend. Very good for fellowship, meeting (so many!) new people, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time with the Lord. Two and a half days of all those things and more - just what we needed!

Emily, Erica and Lindsay: The slides were crazy. We look terrified but weren't.

Old roommates: A redhead, blond and brunette. Classic.

Me, Nick, Erica: Late-night thawing out with cocoa.

Jamie, Erica, me, Emily: Enjoying the river. Pre-kayaking.

Me, Emily, Molly, Erica, Tamar and Kelly: some of the girls from last year, just hanging out in our cabin :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

True Obedience: A Thought Process

Obedience, true obedience, is NOT:

“This area needs to change in my life. I know that I need to stop doing it. I need to conquer it… but first, let me finish it up. I was enjoying it, and there’s only a little bit left. I should finish before I obey and give it up. God will understand. I’m still obeying!”

Children are taught this concept early*. When Mom says, “Turn off the TV and do your chores right now”, it means NOW. Obedience is turning off the TV immediately and doing chores – not finishing the program and then turning it off to do the chores.

True obedience, then, is obedience to the letter. When God shows something in my life that is hindering me or that is sin, true obedience means dropping that thing like a hot potato. Otherwise God gets second-best – we give Him a yawn-in-the-face when we show partial obedience.

Our hearts and minds should be so united to the truth, so renewed and revived in HIM that our lives are lived from truth: true obedience, true love, and true commitment. Partial obedience is fake obedience. “Partial” and “obedience are pretty much oxymorons”. A true God deserves a true heart; a heart that’s committed to being His for the taking.

True, pure obedient hearts make no excuse. They don’t think about it. They obey. They love the Lord with heart, soul mind and spirit, so fully that to stop and think “Should I obey?” isn’t a question, but contrary to their nature. Their minds have steeped in truth long enough so that second nature is obedience. Heart and mind are one with God. Purity and simplicity result and great joy fills up hearts**.

Lord, give my heart restoration. Renew me in Your truth. Set my mind on you, not this world. Give me a pure heart of love and devotion to You. Show me your truth and how to truly obey You. Show me Yourself!

* I feel obliged to say I came to this realization not all that long ago. It’s simple in its truth and I could really have saved myself from some harsh consequences. Ah, spankings. In many ways (mostly with God) it's still a constant struggle to wholeheartedly obey... an area I have difficulty reigning discipline over. I recommend prayer. It's been working very well.

** The picture reminded me of the freedom found in true obedience. It's fresh, freeing, and joyful. Truly. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Teach me Your Way

Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will give thanks to You, O Lord God with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.
For Your lovingkindness toward me is great,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
Psalm 86:11-13

New Home, Indians and Pig Out In the Park

Welcome to my new home! I now live in a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in the same complex as I did last school year.

Here's the view from my back door (old apartment can be viewed between the two middle trees):

We'll start from the front. I don't have a picture of the front on hand, so bear with me. Once you enter our apartment, you'll see the bathroom on your immediate left. Through that door is...

...our room! This picture is taken from the door by the living room but this is it in all its glory... Ashley's unmade bed and my mattress, complete with Monkey. We don't do anything in this room but sleep and get ready so there's nothing special.

I took that last picture from the wall right between the living room and kitchen, so here's the kitchen. It's small but we don't have a lot of stuff right now. On the wall you can see our message board which we love!
Up next is the living room. This is the best room because it has actual furniture and stuff on the walls. We spend all our time in the living room.

We spent an afternoon hanging things on the wall, including poster frames filled with fabric. We're so creative:
There they are on our biggest wall. That's a lot of blank white space but we've filled it for now :)
...and another view of the living room! This room doubles as the study room/dining room because the dining room has no table yet, only storage for Ashley's bike. On the left of the window (which we keep open when we're home because we don't have a/c), are pictures we drew and on the right is my China scroll. Furniture was free!
And here's my roommate! We made dinner one night and took a roomie picture with our peas. See Mom? We eat our veggies!

Last weekend, many Moody students (300 or so) went to the Spokane Indians game. It's possible that you'll remember me going last year - this year was so much better because I knew people! I didn't watch much of the game because I was talking most of the time but I did take a picture!
And then Carson and I took squish pictures. This is the only one where both of us were smiling... and also the only blurry one. Sad day. But oh well... It was a good time!

Today we (roommate, fiance and I) went to Pig Out In the Park. No school on Thursdays (it's wonderful!) so after picking up some job applications here and there and taking our school pictures, we went to Riverfront Park to walk around and eat. We had already had lunch but it was still fun to go and see what people were selling. Not too many people were down there but it's a five-day little festival of food. It smelled so good! Here are just some of the booths along the river:
And Ashley and I with the pretty flowers. Carson volunteered to take a picture of us and I'm glad he did!
And my Huckleberry ice cream. I've not had a huckleberry before today but they're popular around here so I decided to try it - very good!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Being a child of God does not indicate that we have it all together, that we always trust in God, that we never struggle, or that we are perfect.

It's a process.
It's a journey.
It's a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash.

Why is it so hard to both understand and to put into practice?
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