Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Category: inspiration (page 1 of 14)

How to Reach Out to the Heart of God

I was not excited when my husband and I went with two of our closest friends to see the new movie adaptation of Cats. 

Although I do enjoy musicals, I’d rather see a live show than a movie (except for maybe High School Musical…Go Wild Cats!). And let’s be honest, Cats is CREEPY. 

The costumes, sultry CGI movements, and don’t get me started on the odd plot about cat sacrifice. 

If you love Cats, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I actually did find redeeming qualities to this film that struck me deep.

Even beyond the incredible ballet dancing and Jennifer Hudson’s ballad was a theme often overlooked in modern movies. 

While pretty much everyone in the movie is concerned with trying to be chosen as a “jellicle cat” so they can be sacrificed and reborn into a new and better life (I know, it’s disturbing), the main cat, Victoria, is different.

Victoria sees a cat who is all alone, ridiculed and beaten down–thrown into the alley. Grizabella is just the shadow of the star she was in the past. 

Grizabella’s heart-wrenching song and tearful gaze could make an audience weep. And while everyone rejects her, Victoria sees her, and reaches out her hand. 

Victoria could have done what most of us would do (had it all not been creepy). She could have used her talent, beauty, and kindness to get a better life for herself. 

Even I rooted for her because she was one of the only characters I could stand. 

But Victoria looked beyond herself–beyond her own needs and desires–and she chose to lift someone else up instead. 

Victoria reached into the shadows, found a rejected, worn-out, lost soul, and loved her. 

She rescued one of the least of these.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:40 NKJV

Isn’t this supposed to be the Christian walk? Aren’t we supposed to reach into the alleyways of our work, schools, and communities to find the least of these?

We all know someone. Maybe it’s that girl in the back of the classroom who’s quiet–the one everyone mocks in secret.

Maybe it’s the single mom at work struggling to pay the bills and feel good enough for her child.

Perhaps it’s the older man on the street corner who’s begging for some cash–and for someone to stop and look him in the eye.

When we reach out to the least of these–the people who are often neglected, left out, or in desperate situations–we reach out to Jesus Himself.

Lovely one, if you want to grow close to God, start loving the lost children He passionately died for.

How to Reach Out to the Heart of God

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The closer we get to the ones Jesus loves, the closer we become to His heart.

I don’t know about you, but I really want to love the Lord like crazy. My desire is to know His heart and walk intimately with Jesus. I want to please Him, just like a new bride wishes to please her groom.

So next time I ever see a Cats poster or hear the “Memories” ballad, I will remember God’s call for each of us to shine His light in the darkness.

We all have a part to play in redeeming this fallen world, and I want mine to count–not just for me–but for someone else in need.

I know I have all the reward I could ask for when I think of the approval and unfailing love of the Lord.

What about you, lovely one? Who comes to mind when you think of loving the least of these? How will you step out to reach them? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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4 Ways to Stay Motivated in the New Year

If you’re reading this post, that means you have made it through the first week of 2020! And my hope and prayer is that the last week was full of hope and expectation of the year to come. 

To be honest, I’ve never been one to set a lot of goals in the New Year. Although I’m naturally a more positive, hopeful person, sometimes I feel let down by the countless stories of failed resolutions.

Maybe it’s the new decade or the prompting of the Holy Spirit for a fresh outpouring of hope, but this year I have set goals for my personal life, marriage, blog, spiritual life, and work. 

I find that it’s always easy to set goals. The real kicker is actually staying motivated. I’m not alone, right? 

Suddenly our workout plans turn into nights on the couch with the cat, and our old habits creep back in by February. 

It doesn’t have to end this way. We can stay motivated through 2020 by following 4 Biblical strategies that have stood the test of time. 

1. Seek God Above All

If you’re a Christian, then this seems like a no-brainer. But how often do we set goals and make resolutions without even praying about them? 

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him (Lamentations 3:25 NIV)

The Lord promises His goodness when we seek Him. I believe that as daughters of God, our first and main goal in life is to devote ourselves to Jesus. And every other goal should play a supporting role to this purpose. 

The best goal you can ever set is to build intimacy with Jesus. When we do this, His Lordship will guide our lives in the right direction for His Kingdom. 

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4 Ways to Stay Motivated in the New Year

2. Be an Early Bird 

I’m not a morning person when I first wake up. I lay there for a few minutes listing all the reasons why I must get out of bed. The struggle is real! 

But despite this, I’ve actually found that I’m most productive during the morning hours. 

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalm 5:3 NIV)

Rising early is a Biblical discipline that we should still practice today. Starting our day with prayer and reading the Word will put us in the right mindset to live out our calling in Christ. 

Another benefit to completing everyday work early is that if you get the hard tasks out of the way first, then you feel accomplished and ready to take on the rest of your day! 

3. Write it Down

Vision boards are a huge trend right now, and for good reason. When we write out–or display–our goals, then it excites and reminds us of what we originally set out to accomplish. 

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18 KJV

The Bible shows us how a lack of vision for our future only leads to destruction. Part of sustaining a God-centered vision includes writing out our goals.

The best way to stay motivated when writing goals is to make sure you write them in a place you can easily see them. For me, that’s my planner. 

You could also hang your goals above your desk, on the fridge, or another easy to see spot. When your goals are right in front of you, it provides the catalyst for motivation. 

4. Celebrate the Little Steps 

It’s almost impossible to stay motivated when we feel overwhelmed by our goals. That’s why it’s important to break them down into baby steps. 

For example, I want to dedicate more time to writing. Taking small steps like blocking off certain times of the day for writing, or reading inspirational books every month, keep this goal manageable.

We must also devote our efforts in accomplishing goals to please our Savior. This means taking every step with Christ in our minds and gratitude in our hearts. 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 NIV)

None of us are perfect, but thankfully we have Christ’s perfection in us. Some goals will change, while others may fail. But it’s important to celebrate every win–big or small.

After all, every glory belongs to God. We find our greatest joy when pleasing the heart of Jesus is our greatest motivation

Thanks for reading! Have you set any goals for the New Year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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Why Your Life Matters

The Miracle of Life

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday–right after Easter of course. It’s a time of giving, delicious food, and time with family and friends. But more importantly, it’s about celebrating Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came as a baby to save us from our sins.

When I think about Christmas and how we celebrate the virgin birth of Christ, I am reminded of the fact that it was sort of a miracle I was born.

My mom was unmarried, pregnant with her third child, in poverty, and suffering health issues from carrying me. Not to mention, she was almost 40 years old! Many close friends told her to have an abortion, but she boldly chose life.

I just want to say that this post isn’t meant to shame any woman who has ever had an abortion or is considering one. God loves you, and there is no one that Jesus can’t redeem. He loves us so much that He died for us at our worst, and that love can’t be revoked.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8 NLT)

The Purpose of Life

Whenever I think about my mom’s courageous choice to have me, I realize how blessed I am to be alive. What if I never existed? I never would have made my precious friends, or married my amazing husband, Owen.

I never would have gotten a job where I can help and encourage others. And I wouldn’t be writing this post and sharing the Gospel with you right now.

Tears come to my eyes as I realize how precious we all are to God. After all, the devil must know how much we mean to God if He wants us murdered before we ever leave the womb. We are gifted with incredible purpose as image bearers of God.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

This verse is not only the inspiration for the title of my blog, but it’s also the call on my life that God gave me to remind everyone around me that they are so precious to God, and that He gave His very life for them.

The Value of Life 

Why Your Life Matters

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Lovely one, your worth is not determined by what anyone else says. It’s not even determined by what you say about yourself. God created you, and He knows exactly what you’re worth.

We have worth because God says so. On our own, we can never measure up to a Holy God. We sin, fail, and hurt ourselves and others.

But Jesus made a way to reconcile us to the Father by choosing the cross on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:18).

I know that my life, like all other life, is precious–and not something to take for granted. I want to make it my mission that every woman knows her worth in Christ, and the forgiveness, freedom, peace, love, and joy that is found in Him.

If you are feeling the Lord call your name, please say yes, lovely one. Jesus loves you in your ashes, but now we wants to exchange them for His eternal beauty.

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…(Isaiah 61:3 NIV

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

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The Promise of His Presence

Why is it that you can seem to have everything, and yet feel so empty and alone?

This world promises us happiness and fulfillment in so many ways: money, relationships, jobs, new experiences–the list goes on.

The Hollow Promise 

But what happens when that’s not enough? What about that hollow feeling? The one tugging at you, making you work until your knuckles bleed, so you can forget that it’s there.

The hollowness that leaks out as tears as you lie awake in bed at night. The hollow feeling that makes people cut, starve, and lash out at others?

This post isn’t pretty, but it’s real and raw. Because I’ve been there.

I know what it’s like to have people around you, even loving you, and still feel lonely. I know the dread of falling asleep, only to wake up to another day of pretending that everything is okay.

But I also know of the only thing that can fill this void–this hollow promise of the world around me.

His name is Jesus. 

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)

Made for More

When I look to myself or anything else to fulfill me, I always come up empty. The glow of clothing and makeup fades after a few days. Confidence in my own performance is never a guarantee.

It’s not that I don’t take joy in things outside of God. On the contrary, we weren’t made to live outside of God. 

I love my life. I love my home, my work, and my husband. But none of these things–not even marriage–can take the place of God.

We were made for more than what we can see in front of us. That hollow feeling points us to our need for the Great I Am.

A Love That Never Leaves 

Jesus promised that He would never leave us as orphans. Though everyone else may reject or misunderstand us, our Lord gives us His Holy Spirit to comfort us and make us His sons and daughters.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14: 18-19 NIV

There is no friendship as beautiful as the one we can have with Jesus. He hears every prayer and sees every tear.

He is the most faithful husband. For better or worse, Jesus isn’t going anywhere. When we repent of our sins, the Lord forgives and forgets them. He has also purposefully forgotten how to leave us.

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The Promise of His Presence

God’s love is that strong. His love is that unbreakable.

Lovely one, this post may not have started off pretty, but my prayer is that it filled you with hope.

The promise of the presence of God is the greatest joy we can ever attain. It is the only joy that nothing in this world can ever take away.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Will you choose the promise of Jesus today? 

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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3 Ways Gratitude Will Change Your Life

I used to keep a detailed gratitude journal. I challenged myself to write at least 5 things a day that I was thankful for–even on the toughest days. Although this might seem like a cute positive thinking exercise, there is so much more to a lifestyle of gratitude.

I found that even on my worst days when having a chronic illness made me bedridden or when I felt the heavy weight of being single press in on me, I could still choose gratitude.

Gratitude not only changes our thinking; it transforms our whole lives. Here are 3 ways practicing gratitude has transformed my life and faith.

Re-tracing God’s Faithfulness

When I flip through my gratitude journal from three years ago, I nod my head and smile at all of the little (and big) ways God has been faithful to me. Every beautiful sunset or time with a beloved friend or family member is a reminder of God’s compassion.

Sometimes prayers mingled with my list of blessings, and I can’t believe how many prayers God has answered! When we keep a gratitude journal or even just recite our blessings, we re-trace the history of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

 

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (Psalm 36:5 NIV)

Life gets hard sometimes–that’s not a secret. But remembering God’s past faithfulness and blessings reminds us just how awesome and powerful He is. Gratitude carries us through life’s struggles by reminding us of the one who’s always holding on to us.

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3 Ways Gratitude Will Change Your Life

Gratitude Lifts Our Perspective

I’m reading an amazing book by Max Lucado called Anxious for Nothing. This book shows us how we can conquer anxiety through the powerful Word of God, and one strategy is by expressing gratitude.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

It’s so tempting to limit our prayers by simply asking for things. Yes, prayer involves making humble requests to God, but praising God in our prayers gives us a breakthrough like no other.

When we praise and worship, our problems are no longer the focus. Instead, we can clearly see the Prince of Peace. When we lift Jesus above ourselves, we find our burdens are lifted as well.

We all want peace in our lives, but peace can’t possibly come from our ever-changing circumstances. However, when we praise God and express our gratitude for who He is, we shift our perspective towards a heavenly peace.

Creating a Heart of Overflow 

Gratitude has a powerful effect that can change the world–it gets us outside of ourselves.

When we take time to remember God’s faithfulness and lift Him up in praise, we make room in our hearts to remember and encourage others.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16 NIV)

When we find Godly contentment, we begin to see those with physical and spiritual needs that can be ministered to. A lifestyle of gratitude and Godly joy is contagious. Our hearts open up and become homes for the lost and broken–which is exactly what Jesus did. When we look to Jesus with a heart of gratitude, love and joy overflow.

I’ve recently started a new gratitude journal, and I love the way it’s changing my heart. Sometimes I’ll stop to look outside the window of my workplace and admire the sunshine, praising God for the light He shines on me every moment.

What about you lovely one? What are you grateful for today? I believe that if you start counting your blessings daily, you’ll see the light of Jesus shining through every ordinary moment.

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

Happy Thanksgiving lovely one! I hope you have a peaceful and joyful holiday surrounded by people you love. Next week I am having surgery on my elbow again, so there will not be a blog post for the holiday.  I will be counting my blessings, including your love and prayers!

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