Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Author: fearfullywonderfullyme (page 1 of 60)

When It Feels Like Your Life Has No Direction

I remember sitting in the library of my local community college. I was trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue, and how to go about life while facing a chronic illness.

Any young adult can relate to the pressures of this world. It’s like as soon as you turn 18, you need to have everything all figured out.

College majors, jobs, dating, and relationships. There’s just so much to figure out, and sometimes it feels like you’re the only one without a clue of what to do–the only one without direction.

When you feel like your life has no direction, this is actually an opportunity for God to reveal His purpose in incredible ways.

A Godly Perspective

God is omniscient, which means He knows everything. He has an eternal perspective that our human minds can’t comprehend.

Although we may feel lost or confused in this life, nothing about our lives ever takes Jesus by surprise.

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ (Isaiah 46:10 NIV)

Sometimes we face challenges or disappointments that rattle our faith. Whenever we face life’s hurdles, we have two choices:

We can choose to reject God and trust in ourselves (or give up), or we can cling to the promise that His ways are higher than ours.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)

God’s plans may be different from ours, but that’s a good thing! My life looks drastically different than I thought it would 3 years ago, and I’m so thankful for that now.

Surrendering to Purpose 

Trusting in God and clinging to His promises starts with surrender. Often times we want our lives to go a certain way, and when there’s a plot twist, we feel lost. Other times, we just don’t know what it is God’s calling us to do.

There’s beauty in not knowing. This is where our faith can truly flourish. When God derails our plans, it’s always because His purpose is greater.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

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When It Feels Like Your Life Has No Direction

Although it may seem like we are walking in darkness, God is leading us down a path that develops faith, character, and promise.

When it suddenly feels like you’ve lost all direction, this is the perfect opportunity to say “I trust You Lord,” and surrender your future to the one who is always faithful.

A Present Direction

So we know that Jesus is good, and that we can surrender our lives to him in full trust. But what action can we take to better our lives in the waiting?

As a recent college graduate, I know all too well the haunting uncertainties of the future. What will my career be? How will I take care of myself financially?

Worrying about the future doesn’t do anything but make us feel stressed and worn out. I recently received a wise word that has helped me through this season of uncertainty.

Live in the present moment.

Although this might sound like a hippie slogan, it’s actually Biblical.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)

God has everything all figured out, and when we surrender our lives to Him, His plans will always come to pass.

We find joy every day while focusing on the Lord and the small ministries he places before us. When we worry over our lives, we miss out on the opportunity to love others and build God’s Kingdom.

When you live a life that’s fully surrendered to God and His daily provision, there is a peace and joy that goes beyond all understanding.

Maybe we got it all wrong. Perhaps a life with an earthly direction isn’t as important as we thought. Maybe our plans are just a distraction from the true purpose God has given us.

A woman who is dedicated to Jesus has a life of purpose and direction. When we look to the Kingdom instead of this world, we find all that we are truly looking for.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

Hello lovely readers and followers! It’s been so long since I’ve done a fashion post, but I’ve heard from many of you that you miss them. Today I’m sharing with you a business-casual outfit that is modest and easy to wear at many workplaces.

I’ve been working part-time at a counseling office since last winter, and I love what I do. I assist the office manager in new client intakes and phone calls. They are so much like family to me that it kind of makes me sad to leave.

But all seasons in life change, and God has brought a new season upon my life. Not only am I getting married, but I now have a new full-time job that I am excited to begin. I guess that means it’s time to reassess (or shop) my wardrobe!

(Note: This post is not sponsored by the companies listed. All opinions are my own.)

Career Essentials  

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

There are some items that are just office staples. For me, this would be cardigans. I got this red cardigan from Goodwill brand new. It’s Target brand, and you will find a bunch of their new clothing at Goodwill since they partner with them.

Target’s cardigans always fit well and are of nice quality. This red cardigan stands out against black, taking any outfit from plain to dazzling.

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Making a Statement

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

Let’s talk printed pants. I’ve always stayed away from printed jeans, but loose fitting tapered pants have become my new best friend. They are light and airy in the summer and early fall months, but still professional for most offices.

I love these pants because of their bold colors. They make a statement, and both red and blue are flattering colors for most skin tones. The Japanese-style floral pattern also stole my heart.

I got these pants at H&M two years ago. I also scored the lovely floral pants below for $10 last spring. They have the best deals! 

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

 

Pulling it All Together

No outfit is complete without the right accessories. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been a little lazy in the jewelry department. I don’t like anything bulky, but sometimes I still want to make a statement.

Career Outfit Inspiration + Life Update

That’s why I love this pendant I inherited from my grandma after she passed away. The long chain feels light and looks vintage, while the geometric shape of the pendant gives a modern feel.

A simple pair of black flats tie this look together. Flats always look simple and classy, but my feet are super narrow and hard to shop for. I found these ballet flats at Payless, and they have the “scrunchy” sides that keep my feet in place!

I hope you’re enjoying the rest of this summer. Fall brings many transitions, both in the season itself and in our everyday lives. Although things can be scary, I’m learning to embrace life’s adventures as they come.

What about you, lovely one? What new adventures have you been on this summer?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography taken by Lauren N. and owned by Emily Susanne 2018©)

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The Secret to Finding True Strength

I’ve never thought of myself as a strong woman. I’m not too physically strong, and I’m definitely emotionally sensitive. People have often seen me as delicate, which is a wonderful feminine quality the Lord gave me.

However, the way I view strength started to change the week my Grandpa was dying in the hospital. He fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a brain bleed. He was in a coma, and passed away after four grueling days.

My aunt and I were in the hospital hallway when she told me that I was strong. Somehow, I managed to keep calm in the chaos. I helped whenever I could and was always there to hold my grandpa’s hand.

Inside, I just wanted to curl up and forget this nightmare was even happening.

Truthfully, the only way I was strong enough for this was through my faith. And that’s when I realized that if I wanted to become strong, I had to seek something beyond myself.

The Pride of Our Strength 

As human beings, we tend to hide behind our strengths. We take pride in being physically strong, or emotionally tough. We revel in our intellectual strengths or our resourcefulness.

Our human strengths are nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, they should be celebrated. God has given all of us unique abilities and strengths. For some, it’s easier to see what they excel at, while others carry a more quiet strength.

The problem isn’t with our strengths, but when we hide behind them. When the focus in on being the strong one, sometimes we lose vulnerability. And without vulnerability, we lose the ability to let people in.

Not only does a lack of vulnerability shut others out, but it also prevents us from intimacy with God. Christianity is more than just a religion, it’s a relationship with a Savior who wants to transform our hearts.

When we hide behind our strengths, we become prideful. Pride prevents us from seeing our sin and repenting.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NIV)

The only way we can let go of our pride and become vulnerable with Jesus is when we come out from hiding behind our strengths.

Out of Hiding

The problem with coming out of hiding is that it exposes our weaknesses. I know, that’s a word none of us like to hear. Weakness is associated with failure and not being good enough. These are the deepest fears of most individuals, so why would we want to expose them?

The thing about Jesus is that He wants our weaknesses. He wants us to let Him into our ugly parts and sinful messes. He already knows them anyway, so why are we hiding?

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 NIV)

Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we’ve been trying to hide from God. Instead of coming to Him for help when we mess up or rebel, we run and hide, which only makes our failures worse.

Everyone has weaknesses, and none of us are without sin (1 John 1:8). When we hide ourselves from Jesus, we miss out on the opportunity to have a relationship with our Lord that is full of love and freedom.

The Power of Weakness

Our human strength is weak in comparison to the strength of God. Although we may give off the appearance of having it all together, eventually our weaknesses catch up with us.

But what if I told you that the secret to your greatest strength is found in your weaknesses? You would probably think I’m crazy, but this truth isn’t from me. It’s from God.

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The Secret to Finding True Strength

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

When we let go of the lie that we are strong enough to handle everything life throws our way, we make room for the Holy Spirit to display the power of God in our lives.

Letting go of our pride and choosing Jesus as our strength gives us a supernatural ability we could only dream of. This strength has nothing to do with our own abilities, but the endless ability of God to work miracles in us and through us.

The strengths God gives us are not even about us. Although we all want to feel capable and self-confident, there’s something so freeing about giving Jesus all the glory.

As daughters of God, our strength should be one of beauty, quietness, meekness, and humility. Our strength should reflect the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, a gift the world can never take away.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Unsplash)

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Music Videos and the Message of Modesty

When I clicked on Lauren Daigle’s music video for her new song “You Say,” I was amazed at her beautiful voice and powerful lyrics of discovering our identity in Christ. Knowing our identity as God’s daughters is a major theme of my blog, so of course this song is playing on my phone non-stop.

But that’s not the only thing I noticed about the video. Right when I clicked on it and saw Ms. Daigle’s yellow crop top, I knew she was walking a tricky tightrope.

Christians in the comments section were divided. Some said that modesty standards are too prude, and that men should learn to control their own lust. Others said that examples like this could hurt teen girls and convince believers that the Bible isn’t serious in its call for modesty.

To be honest, I find truth in all of these positions. It saddens my heart that such a beautiful song like “You Say” is overlooked by people fighting over Ms. Daigle’s outfit. However, I felt the need to write this post, as I can see that modesty is still a big issue in this culture.

Shifting Standards

Modesty is an important virtue and should not be ignored. However, we must also fight the tendency of our hearts to fall into legalistic rules regarding clothing.

Standards of modesty vary by culture. Although bearing our middles in the U.S. is what many would consider immodest, in other countries, it’s everyday fashion. And although it’s normal for women to wear jeans in many countries, it’s actually frowned upon in others.

Our standards of dress change just from time of day. For example, my office attire isn’t the same as the clothing I wear on a casual lunch date with friends. 

The point is, when we come up with all of these legalistic standards on what is modest or what is not, we fall into the trap of the enemy. The devil would rather have us busy over measuring everyone’s hemlines than on giving to charities or preaching the Gospel.

It’s easy to fall for the lie that our clothing or actions help us earn God’s grace. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our clothing does not determine our salvation or God’s love for us. Only the sacrifice of Jesus does that.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)

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Outward Focus

When our heart is focused on what others are doing or how they are dressed, we put ourselves at risk for judging others.

I admit that sometimes I look at the way a person is dressed and may think that it is improper and not setting a good example. However, I don’t know anything about this person and where they are in their walk with God.

When we judge others for what they wear or other things that we don’t agree with, we are the ones who ultimately lose. Instead of finding common ground and ways to connect with one another, we build walls. This isn’t what Jesus would do.

I’m not saying we can’t judge whether an action is sinful or not. If you’re in a close relationship with a sister in Christ who is clearly backsliding, you can gently shed God’s light into her life to help her repent. But that can only come from a heart that’s free of judgment against the person.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2 NIV)

Judging other Christians based on their convictions can keep us from seeing the issues in our own hearts. Perhaps instead of questioning a music artist’s clothing choice, we should examine our own wardrobe.

The Case for Modesty

So far we’ve established that modesty varies by culture and often falls victim to legalistic standards. We’ve also explored judging others based on choices like clothing, and how that can harm our witness.

That being said, there is still a case for modesty. I’ve written about the subject many times, and I fully believe what Scripture says about modesty. So let’s break it down.

in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Timothy 2:9-10 NKJV)

The key word here is moderation. Although many people think modesty is about not tempting guys, that really isn’t the point of these verses. Women in this Biblical time period were too focused on their looks and getting attention through their clothing. This is something women (and men) still struggle with today.  

True modesty means balance. We shouldn’t walk around looking like we’re from the 1800’s. However, we need to avoid clothes that are too revealing, costly, or attention getting.

Modesty is a heart issue. You can dress up head to toe in a burlap sack and still miss the point if your heart isn’t focused on Jesus. Whenever we get dressed, we should ask ourselves if this outfit reflects our identity as royal daughters of God.

Lauren Daigle’s video is a sign of the deeper need we have to connect with our identity in God. Instead of focusing on her shirt, I’m going to focus on her beautiful music and the amazing message of our worth in Christ. This is the message that truly matters.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Unsplash)

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Hello lovely readers and followers! Today I am reviewing the book Reluctant to Wed by the lovely Anneliese Dalaba. This is a special opportunity for me, as Anneliese is the wife of my former pastor. I had no idea she was a writer, so when I found out about her book, I knew I needed to check it out!

(Note: This is not a paid review or sponsored post. All opinions are my own.)

Reluctant to Wed is a regency period romance novel that centers on Emma, a young woman from a small farm town in Pennsylvania. In order to save her family’s farm, Emma agrees to move to England and marry the Earl of Devonport (also known as Devon).

Emma dreams of a marriage full of love and faith, but Devon is looking for a marriage solely of convenience. Due to hidden fears from his past, he is unable to trust women and marriage. However, Emma’s beauty and forthright personality begin to awaken his heart for her. Unfortunately, circumstances and people from their past may keep Emma from her dream marriage.  

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Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

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Characters

Once I read about the premise, I was drawn to the story immediately. I’m not well read in the regency period genre, but Emma is the type of main character that I could see Jane Austen dreaming up.

I love character driven plots, which is what Reluctant to Wed is. Emma is sincere and straightforward, especially for a woman of that time period. Reading about her transition from an American farm girl to a British lady in high society intrigued me. Although Emma lacked any major flaws, I still felt she was a believable character.

Devon, the second protagonist, was definitely a favorite character of mine. I loved him and hated him at the same time! Although I could tell he was a man of integrity and had growing feelings for Emma, he was also stubborn and haunted, leading him to make poor decisions.

Anneliese also knows how to draw a reader into the lives of the supporting characters. I was especially fond of Emma’s maid, Bessie. I would really love to hear more about her life story in a separate novel–she is that dynamic!

Favorite Quotes

Learning to accept whatever life handed to her was her goal, and she would not allow anything to bring her down. Her faith was in God and she trusted Him to see her through. (p. 50)

She’d rather hurt because she dared to love than to become bitter and gain a cold heart. (p. 136)

Devon watched her walk gracefully across the room to the door. She was grace and fire. (p. 41)

Reluctant to Wed: A Book Review

Final Thoughts

In addition to the interesting characters and premise, I also enjoyed the plot of Reluctant to Wed. Although the pace was slower at times, every sentence was valuable in building Emma and Devon’s world and moving the story along.

I also love the way Anneliese wove the message of the Gospel and Godly values into every chapter. There are many romance novels claiming to be Christian, but don’t even mention the name of Jesus. Anneliese made God a main character in the story in a refreshing way.

I also appreciate that this novel was clean. Although the reader can tell that Emma and Devon are attracted to one another, it is not overdone. Any mention of sex was referenced in their marriage and in a tasteful way. This novel would be appropriate for most teens.

Overall, I highly recommend Reluctant to Wed. If you like romance or regency period novels, then this is a novel you will enjoy. It’s filled with romance, drama, suspense, and even moments that made me laugh aloud.

I look up to Emma’s character as a great role model of a strong, humble, and Godly young woman. If you’re ready to fall in love with a great story and dynamic characters, then you’ll definitely fall for Reluctant to Wed.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

(Photography by Joanna Kosinska and Vinicius Henrique)

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