Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: faith (page 1 of 21)

What a Disney Princess Taught Me About Faith

Am I the only one who’s so excited for all of these new Disney live-action movies? I absolutely loved Aladdin and the Cinderella remake that came out a few years ago.

But the Disney remake I am most excited for (and nervous about, to be honest) is The Little Mermaid.

Ariel has always been one of my favorite princesses, but for all of these years I never really questioned why.

Then one day a dear friend and I discussed Disney princesses and the influence they hold over children. She pointed out that Ariel was quite flawed.

I mean, she’s a 16 year old mermaid who trades her voice and basically her whole life to Ursula, the sea witch, in order to win the love of a human prince she previously rescued.

I pondered this for a while, wondering why I admired Ariel so much when I knew that compromising who you are for a guy is wrong.

As a daughter of God, I only want to be sold out to Jesus Christ. But the more I meditate on the life and ministry of Jesus and how He died such a gruesome death for us, the more I believe that Ariel’s story might hold more Biblical value than I originally realized.

A New Life

First, I want to clarify that Ariel did not trade her voice for just a man. Yes, she loved Prince Eric. But long before she ever saw him she was obsessed with the human world above the surface.

In the famous scene when Ariel sings “Part of Your World,” you can see all of the treasures she’s gathered from the human world. Even the song lyrics themselves describe how she wants to walk and dance. How she wants to experience human life.

Ariel didn’t just want a man–she wanted a whole new life.

Similarly we are called to a new life in Jesus Christ–the only perfect man and Son of God who gives us access to the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6 NIV

We are called to die to ourselves and live the mandate of the Gospel to love God and others.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 NIV)

Although I wouldn’t say that The Little Mermaid is an allegory for the call of the Gospel, Ariel’s devotion to a new life does parallel with the cost of following Christ in this world.

Crazy, Reckless Love

Ariel’s dream and sacrifice to live her new human life is admirable, but what about her boy obsession?

We can’t deny that Eric was the catalyst for Ariel’s choice to leave the sea. But is this obsessive, risk-taking love really something we should be teaching young girls?

Actually, yes. But we need to prioritize our love. You see, Jesus’s love for us was pretty crazy–some would say reckless.

He suffered persecution, pain, and beatings that left Him looking less than human. He was nailed on the cross to pay for the sin and failures that we caused.

And through it all, His prayer was “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).

Then, after three days, Jesus rose from the grave in victory over sin and death. We now have the gift of eternal life, endless love, and purpose when we choose to follow Jesus.

What kind of amazing, reckless love is this?

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What a Disney Princess Taught Me About Faith

(Image from Unsplash)

All of us are craving a love that the world just can’t give us. But God’s love for us is so powerful that He made sure a perfect sacrifice was made to get His wandering children back.

Yes, Ariel hinged her life on a decent human being whom she loved. How much more is Christ’s love for us, when He died for us at our worst?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

Going Deeper Than Disney

Although I don’t agree with all of Ariel’s choices, I think that maybe we could use a little more commitment and wholehearted devotion to one another in a world where divorce rates are sky-rocketing and people are too scared to commit to anyone.

This passionate, sacrificial love can be beautiful–as long as you keep Jesus Christ as your first love. When we start to walk out the calling of deep love in our lives, we will find a satisfaction greater than anything else in this world.

Ariel is still my favorite Disney princess, and that’s not just because I think mermaids are cool.

She has challenged me to live a life of deeper love and devotion to God and others. She has reminded me of the One who payed the ultimate price on my behalf.

What about you, lovely one? Do you think Ariel is a good role model for girls? Who’s your favorite Disney princess? Let me know in the comments below!

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The title image featured on this blog was created by Paige Miller, a wonderful friend and talented artist. You can find more work from Paige by visiting her Instagram @paigemillerart

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Uninvited By Beckie Lindsey–A Book Review

Sometimes we read books that touch our lives in a thoughtful or emotional way . Then there are books that really transform us; books that become a part of our souls and influence how we view the world. 

Beauties from Ashes, a young adult book series by fellow blogger and author Beckie Lindsey, has transformed my way of thinking about prayer and spiritual warfare. 

I’ve already reviewed book one, Secrets, here. And now I’d like to share my thoughts on book two, Uninvited

Faith Meets Fiction  

I bought a hard copy of Uninvited not only because I love the feeling of holding an actual book in my hands, but because the cover art is so cool! Thankfully the content lives up to the alluring cover. 

Uninvited continues the stories of Krystal, Mackenzie, Tammi, and Sadie as their present lives mix with their traumatic pasts and intertwine with one another.

These characters are real and relatable, without falling into the “teenage girl” stereotype. I like how Beckie mixes strength and vulnerability into all of her characters. 

The plot of Uninvited is driven by the collision of present events and the secrets of each girl’s past. There’s friendship and boy drama, along with some real life issues such as eating disorders, sexual abuse, depression, and abortion. 

All of these topics are explored in a realistic way that is still appropriate for most teen readers. Premarital sex is also a topic that Beckie writes about, and I believe she does it in a believable way that is still God honoring. 

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Uninvited by Beckie Lindsey

(Photo owned by Beckie Lindsey)

Supernatural Suspense 

One of my favorite aspects of the Beauties from Ashes series is how Beckie portrays spiritual warfare. Angels and demons are interwoven throughout the story as they battle for the souls of the main characters. 

Fans of books like the Screwtape Letters or This Present Darkness will love the way the supernatural collides with the everyday world, and how prayer changes the course of these girls’ lives. 

Overall, I would say that Uninvited is my favorite book of the series yet! It has drama, humor, romance, and the spiritual element that drives the plot into supernatural suspense. 

And if you love cliffhangers, Uninvited ends on one so big that I’m thankful the third book, Daybreak, is already on sale! You can find the links to these awesome books below. 

What about you, lovely one? Do you have any awesome book recommendations? Please comment below! 🙂 

Order Secrets, Uninvited, and Daybreak here! 

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How a Season of Growth Can Transform Your Faith

It was one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. And believe me, I dream of some crazy stuff. I rolled the ankle of my jeans up to reveal tiny green stems with leaves sprouting from my legs.

Yes, lovely reader, I was Groot (any Guardians of the Galaxy fans out there?). I was seriously freaked out by this dream, and paranoid that I really would become some sort of plant woman. This was only a few months ago, but I had forgotten about it until spring came with its budding trees.

For me, this dream represents growth. Growing is never easy, and something that all of us fear at some point in our lives. Growth involves change and stepping out of our comfort zones.

Growth strips us of our safe hiding places and reveals our hidden nature. It breaks and rebuilds. It tears apart and transforms. For more on what God has taught me in this season of growth, please read on.

Growth is Painful, but Powerful

Growth hurts. Just ask any pregnant woman, and they will tell you the discomfort and pain that comes along with a growing baby stretching out in the womb.

As human beings, we want to do things the easy way. However, masterpieces are created with time and effort. And the truth is that you are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). 

In order to grow and pursue the awesome calling God has for your life, sometimes you have to let God refine you. This will hurt, and it may even feel like the Lord is disciplining you. However, God is helping you grow as a person by stripping you of the things  that hold you back from Him.

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Sometimes we must be led to a place of need in order to completely surrender our lives to the only One who can truly transform us. In order to grow, we must be refined. This refining process removes the dirt and gunk clogging up our souls in order to reveal the gold.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10 NIV

Growth Takes Time

I frequently wish that Jesus would just perfect me this instant. That He would take away all of my failures, weaknesses, and temptations so I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore.

But perfection in the the Lord’s eyes looks quite different from our expectations. Godly perfection requires growth, and growth takes time.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (Philippians 3:12 NKJV)

We need to be patient with ourselves in order to nurture our spiritual growth and maturity. You can’t force a plant to bloom, and the same goes with people.

If we didn’t have any weaknesses, then we wouldn’t need Christ. His death and resurrection was a one time event made for all of time. When we learn to surrender our weaknesses to God, then we can lean on His strength and glorify His name. Once we realize that growth isn’t about us, but about Jesus and His plan, we will flourish spiritually. 

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)

Growth Breaks Through Darkness

When a seed is buried in the ground, it is surrounded by darkness. Yet somehow, the water and nutrients from the soil help this seed to sprout and break through the ground–into the light.

Lovely one, have you felt surrounded by darkness lately? When plans don’t go our way or one of life’s storms hit, sometimes the darkness can leave us feeling lost and alone.

However, we are never alone. Just when we think we are without light–without hope–God shines a light into the darkness and helps us break through the soil of our circumstances.

The Love of Jesus Empowers Us to Grow in Grace

The dark times of life are some of the worst, and often times, people will shrink back. As believers in  Christ, we are called to press on in faith, even when we can’t see the way out. We must trust that God is nourishing and preparing us until we are ready for our breakthrough.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28 NIV

The love of Jesus empowers us to grow in grace. And this grace helps us transform little by little into our highest calling–a child of the Most High God.


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

(Photography by Adarsh Ik and Jay Ma)

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What Godly Confidence Really Looks Like

Nothing can squelch self-confidence like having health issues. Having physical limitations and not being like everyone else is hard. And it’s something I’ve struggled with for the last six years.

Although God has done tremendous healing in me and blessed me with excellent healthcare, there are still moments of struggle. One thing I choose not to do is drive. I have POTS and vertigo, which make driving uncomfortable.

I have some visual sensory issues and great anxiety with driving, and this has affected my confidence in significant ways. Not only is not being able to drive inconvenient, but it’s also a little embarrassing when you’re almost 24 years old and graduating from college. But it’s still my choice–at least for now.

The world preaches for us to have self-confidence, but what happens when that fails us? What happens when we screw up, or when the person we trusted wholeheartedly lets us down?

What I’ve learned over the past six years is that in order to have a lasting confidence, you must be rooted in God-confidence. Read on to find out what Godly confidence truly looks like.

Running to God

Where do you run to when you feel weak? Where do you turn to in times of trouble? As human beings, we tend to seek others for comfort and familiarity. This isn’t bad, as God created us to be relational people.

However, when we completely depend on others to make us feel good about ourselves, we turn into people-pleasers who can lean towards perfectionism.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15 NIV)

The thing is, people will let us down. Even those closest to us can wound us deeply, but the Lord never will. Jesus is always there for us and goes before us. Even though it may feel like we are alone, He never abandons us.

When we realize that we can always turn to God and that He is our refuge in times of trouble and pain, we develop strong confidence when life gets rocky.

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Godly Confidence

Confidence is rooted in trust. When we trust in the Lord, we know that our confidence will never be shaken.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2 NIV)

Listening to God

It’s almost impossible to feel confident when people make you feel like you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. But I’ve come to realize that this will happen again and again.

Satan can even warp the words of those who love us to make us believe lies about ourselves. So who do we trust? Do we place our confidence in the words of others, hoping to hear nothing but positive things? Or do we turn elsewhere?

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

A truly confident woman roots herself in the Word of God. The Bible will always be true and relevant to our lives, no matter how much time passes.

Just look at my past posts! Everything I write is based on what the Word of God says. He says we are loved, valued, redeemed, and set free. We have purpose. Anyone who tells you otherwise is going against the truth.

Instead of believing the lies of the world, root yourself in scripture. Your confidence will grow as you begin to speak the truth over your life.

Remembering God

When we feel like life isn’t going our way, it can zap the confidence right out of us. I know I hate feeling like I’ve lost control, but the truth is, it was never in my grasp to begin with.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NIV)

Although we should have plans and goals for our lives, we need to remember that God is sovereign. When we forget that He is on the throne of our lives–and of the whole universe–then we start depending on ourselves.

We cannot create the perfect life for ourselves. Things happen that are beyond our control, and that can actually be for the better. Although I don’t always like having a chronic illness, my healing journey has increased my faith and led me closer to God and to people in ways I couldn’t imagine.

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)

When we surrender our dreams and our will over to the God of all creation, we can rest peacefully and confidently knowing that we will be taken care of.

Jesus has called us into a great life. Yes, that does come with pain and struggle since we live in a fallen world. But it also comes with abundant blessings that can only come from confidence in God’s faithfulness.

I know that self-confidence will never last in the long run. The only true source of eternal confidence comes from running to God, soaking up His Word, and remembering that He is always faithful.

This, lovely one, is true confidence.


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

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The Christmas Promise

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45 NIV)

Sometimes we go through difficulties or hardships that seem to never end. Maybe even our faith gets shaken, as we question whether God will create a breakthrough.

When Elizabeth saw the young, pregnant Virgin Mary walking down the road toward her home, I can only imagine what went through her mind. An angel of the Lord visited both women with the good news that they were supernaturally pregnant.

Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, had struggled with infertility their whole marriage, yet the Lord considered them righteous (Luke 1:6-7).

This is how the Bible shows us that even though the children of God are made righteous through His blood, sometimes bad things still happen. Sickness invades us, or loss afflicts us. But there is still hope for those who believe.

Suddenly, Elizabeth saw the grace of God when she became pregnant with the prophet John at such an old age. She also witnessed how God took a poor virgin girl from a no-name town, and made her the mother of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world.

All of her prayers were miraculously answered after all that time!

What promises are you looking for the Lord to fulfill? Is it healing from sickness? Is it to get married or have a child? Or is it to pursue a career goal or lifelong dream?

The promise I am currently waiting for is healing from chronic illness, and I know God is faithful. If He can do wonders in Elizabeth and Mary, surely He can still work miracles in me.

Keep believing, lovely one. There is blessing in the waiting.

the christmas promise

(Photo Credit)

 

Update on My Arm: I got my splint taken off on Wednesday! It feels so good to be out of it, but my arm is very stiff and weak. I am doing physical therapy at home, so please pray that I will gain strength and range of motion back.

Thank you so much for all of your support. I pray you all have a very merry Christmas!


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

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

**I’m on Twitter!** Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

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