Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

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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.


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(Photography by Adarsh Ik and Jay Ma)

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Online Dating and the Christian Girl

Online dating. It’s a term that causes controversy in the minds of many. We all know the horror stories of creepy online profiles and dates gone wrong.

However, I don’t think that online dating has a worse reputation among anyone than Christians. You might as well wear a cone of shame if you’re going to admit you’re on a dating app.

But what if it’s possible to meet a nice guy online who also happens to love Jesus?

Well, it actually is possible. I met my fiancé online last year, and even though it isn’t the most “romantic” way to meet a person, we couldn’t be any happier about our love story.

So what is better, traditional dating or meeting someone online? Can a Christian girl navigate the world of online dating in a Biblically sound way? Read on to explore this topic!

The Myth of Traditional Dating

A lot of times when I tell someone how I met my fiancé online, the standard reply is something like this: “that’s nice for you, but I prefer to meet someone the traditional way.”

It almost implies that meeting someone online is artificial, or that your relationship is less special if you first made contact behind a screen.

As a shameless lover of all things romantic, I get it. We all want the movie scene where two people stumble into each other and realize they have a spark. This does happen for some, but for most of us, it’s just a fantasy. 

There really is no “traditional” way to meet someone. Most people meet by social contacts. Work, school, church, and other social groups tend to attract those who are like us.

Even meeting my fiancé happened because I realized we already had social connections. Online dating tends to work this way, as the developers of these companies know that using your social media, location, and interests is going to bring you near people who are more like you.

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When you think about it, traditional dating is a vague term. What is traditional in today’s hookup culture definitely does not agree with dating practices 50 years ago. Tradition also varies by culture, ethnicity, and family.

Online dating is just another way of meeting someone. Although it carries its own unique risks, it’s kind of becoming a tradition of its own in this digital age.

Dating Wisely 

Instead of asking whether it is better to meet someone online or in person, the real question to ask is how do we date Biblically?

Worldly traditions and practices change constantly. We certainly do not “date” the same way as people did in Biblical times. In fact, the Bible says very little about dating and courtship.

The only way we can date Biblically is to date wisely. This applies to meeting someone in any given situation, including online.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)

God is the source of all wisdom, and He wants to bless us abundantly! Although we should consider the advice of those around us, we must remember that God’s Word is what ultimately stands true.

Letting God Lead 

When meeting someone online, it is always best to use Internet safety precautions and get to know the other person slowly. In fact, online dating can be a great way to ask a person some initial questions without being blinded by the attraction of seeing them in person.

When it comes to establishing a romantic relationship, it is wise to pray about standards such as purity, faith, commitment, integrity, and kindness. Everyone is different in what they are looking for in a person, but these core values are standards that should never be compromised.

Online Dating and the Christian Girl

Yes, it is difficult to find a nice Christian guy online, but meeting serious Christians is hard in any situation. Whether you choose to date online or meet someone in person is up to you, but it is important to be led by the Holy Spirit and sound Biblical wisdom.

Remember lovely one, the best love story is one that is led by the Author of love. Always trust in God’s timing and His ways. He will never let you down.

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases. (Song of Solomon 8;4 NKJV)


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These Little Moments: A Letter to the High School Graduate

To the High School Graduate,

I know it feels like it’s taking forever to leave school, and that you can’t get out fast enough. But slow down a minute, I promise it will be worth it.

Maybe you’re excited to leave; to embark on new adventures such as college, a new job, or independence from your parents. Or maybe you’re more like me, leaning on the side of terrified because you have no idea what to expect.

You see, this is the pattern of life that never ends. We expect, hope, and dream. We fear and are lost as to what the future holds.

You might not get into that college you applied to, and even if you do, it won’t be everything you’ve ever dreamed it would be.

You might not land that job you thought was easily yours. Maybe the one you do get will take you to places you only dreamed of going.

You might not end up with your high school sweetheart. In fact, you might be single for quite awhile. That’s okay. It’s good to learn about yourself, and to be comfortable with who you are without somebody else.

You might not follow the path or timing of everyone else, and that’s okay too. After all, a late bloom gets to enjoy days of longer sunshine and warmer weather.

College is exciting, daunting, and confusing. There is so much to learn and so many new people to connect with. Choose your friends wisely, as they help determine the course of your future.

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Remember that you are more than your work or your grades. Though these things can bring you purpose and joy, they should never be your source of fulfillment.

You see, the only thing that ever really lasts forever is what is rooted in eternity–in heaven. If you have Jesus, then you have the one thing that nothing in this world can take away from you.

When you’re young, you feel invincible. Although the trials of life will come, they can never take away your salvation.

Breakups, failure, job loss, disease, disability, unmet expectations, addiction, and even death can never separate you from the love of God. As long as you hold fast to His presence, you have all you will ever need.

Although there are trials and pain in this life, there is also great joy. The joy of a bonfire with close friends, or the smell of coming home during Christmas. The joy of accomplishing something you never thought you could, or the mysterious adventure of falling in love.

Hold on to hope and expect joy. Life is offering you amazing opportunities, so take them and run.

Keep on wondering and wandering. Stop and look at the world around you, never losing your childlike spirit. Everyone is rushing ahead to grow up, and while you should always be growing, never forget that the Kingdom of Heaven is made for children.

Never give up; not on faith or hope. And always believe in the power of love. As you walk across that stage, take a deep breath. Slow down–if only for a moment. These little moments are what shape us for a lifetime.

These little moments are what shape us for a lifetime.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

(Photography by Baim Hanif and Annie Spratt)


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I’m Getting Married!?

The Big News

I have some news. Many of you may not be surprised by this announcement if you follow me on Instagram. However, since all of you lovely readers and followers are like family to me, I wanted to announce this formally on my blog.

Eleven months ago, I met a wonderful man named Owen who decided to pursue me. We’ve been dating and building a loving relationship that’s centered on Jesus Christ. On April 7th 2018, Owen asked me to marry him.

And I said yes!

I'm getting married!

We took this selfie shortly after Owen proposed. Of course, we were in Target. Isn’t that where every newly engaged couple goes? We were actually there to find a sizer for my ring, but I was so happy I just had to get a photo! I was so in shock that day, and sometimes I still can’t believe it.

Butterfly at gardens

Owen proposed to me at a local botanical garden, right outside of the butterfly house. We got some amazing photos of these stunning creatures! My initial reaction to his proposal was, “is this real?” I was honestly so shocked. Although now I can look back on my reaction and laugh, it was an incredible moment.

Owen and Emily--getting married

Now What? 

So what does this mean for the blog? Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere! I feel that the Lord is moving to keep growing this blog. Writing is the ministry that I am dedicated to, and encouraging other young women is still my passion.

If anything, moving on to this next phase of life will only enhance my blog posts. I now have more material to write on regarding Godly dating and relationships now that I have this experience. I’m no expert, but I’m sure the journey will definitely provide me with teachable moments to share.

Thank you so much for sharing in our joy! Owen is a wonderful guy who always makes me laugh. Everyday I’m with him feels like an adventure, and I look forward to countless more adventurous days as we build a life together. God is so good!

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Psalm 126:3 NIV)


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3 Myths About Prayer (And How to Pray Authentically)

Jesus, I need You right now. How many times have I whispered these words–or sobbed them–in desperation.

When nothing else works, and all of my strength is used up, I finally let down my defenses and say the simple words. I let God in.

But that’s the thing about prayer that most people don’t understand. Even I didn’t understand for the longest time. Prayer is not a one-way request line to heaven, but an intimate conversation with God.

Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s silly. But it’s always real and always raw.

Of course, we must unlearn a lot of what culture and other Christians have taught us about prayer in order to fully dive into these real conversations with Jesus. Read on to learn 3 myths about prayer, and how you can pray boldly and authentically.

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3 Myths About Prayer and How to Pray Authentically

Myth #1: Prayer Needs to Sound Holy

You know holy prayers. The ones that sound all reverent, tip-toeing around raw human emotions that are a little undignified or ugly.

The one thing we must understand to combat the lie of holy prayers is that holiness is not something we can attain by ourselves. If we could, then Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross would be a wasted effort.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)

Let me tell you this, lovely one. The death of our beautiful Savior was not in vain. And when we choose to give our lives to Christ, we are giving up our own false sense of holiness for His true holiness.

So if our prayers don’t need to sound holy, what should they sound like?

The opposite of a holy front is vulnerability. God doesn’t want what sounds good or proper, He wants what’s in your heart. The pain, the fear, the anger, the joy. All of it. Of course we should still view God with reverence, but we can worship God’s holiness and still be vulnerable.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:21-23 NIV)

The author of this Psalm isn’t pretending, nor is he holding back. Real vulnerability is humility. It’s trusting God enough to surrender our feelings, and in return, let Him fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Myth #2: Prayer Needs to Be Long

Have you ever been in a prayer circle with someone who takes forever to pray? Of course, they might just have a lot on their heart, and that’s cool. But I’ve noticed that when someone around me prays long and intricate prayers, I want to copy them.

God isn’t impressed by the length of our prayers. Longer prayers aren’t more attention getting, nor do they grant us more favor.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

Our prayers do not need to be loud and showy in order to get God’s attention. When it comes to prayer, we as Christians can boldly approach God and ask Him anything. He hears us, and He knows just what we need.

Instead of longer prayers, we need bolder prayers. If we have the confidence that God is listening and is always there to help us, then we are empowered to pray boldly and simply. 

Myth #3: Prayer Needs to Be Repetitive

I know I’ve been here. My anxiety-prone mind loves repeating prayers–just to be sure God hears me. As if repeating a specific prayer will make things go my way.

But we know prayer doesn’t work like that. God already knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2) and is not impressed by a lot of fancy words.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NKJV)

God is a good Father whom we can trust. Our repetitive prayers can be a sign that we don’t trust Him to do what is right in our lives.

This doesn’t mean we can’t ever repeat a prayer. In fact, the Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer. The difference is in our level of trust.

When we don’t have faith that God will come through for us, we repeat our prayers out of fear. However, persistent prayer can be a reminder of how faithful our Heavenly Father is.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Prayer looks different for everyone, and there is no correct length or specific words to say in order for God to hear us. True prayer is a conversation with Jesus. It is pouring your heart out and then waiting in God’s presence. It is vulnerable, bold, and persistent.

Authentic prayer is when our heart’s desire is to connect with the heart of God.


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

Check out my 3 Myths About Purity post here! 

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