Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

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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.


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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.


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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.


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3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching Owen, my fiance, practice karate. He’s a black belt, which absolutely blows me away. His passion for martial arts and learning new things is so inspiring, and I felt honored to be able to watch him in his element.

Although some people may consider me graceful, athleticism is not something the Lord has gifted me in. So I was in awe watching Owen and his friends as they showed off their skills.

There are several lessons I’ve learned from watching just that one hour of practice. There were moments when the teacher (called a sensei) corrected his students or gave them some karate wisdom. However, I found that most of this wisdom reflected Godly principles on humility, perseverance, and focus.

Overcoming Failure With Humility

Even though Owen is a black belt, there were a few instances when he messed up a kick or got hit while sparring. Even the sensei messed up at times! It didn’t surprise me that these awesome people failed, but rather, how gracefully they handled each failure.

Each student was humble enough to acknowledge his mistake and accept correction. They were humble and open to receiving wisdom.

This is the posture we need to have towards God. None of us are perfect, but when we mess up or sin, we must be willing to humbly repent and receive forgiveness and instruction in order to live righteously.

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:9-10 NIV)

When we take the posture of humility like David from the Bible, God will honor us and lift us up into victory.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 NIV)

Pressing on Through Trials

Owen helped his sensei teach a newer student different kinds of kicks, and although it was harder for the student to grasp, he never gave up trying.

Perseverance is one of the core values that makes faith possible. The things we want to achieve often take more time and effort than expected. The things we want God to do often take longer than we want them to.

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3 Lessons Karate Taught Me About Jesus

However, when we learn to persevere, we find that it builds our character and strengthens our faith. If life came easily and we got everything we wanted immediately, then there would be no reason to have faith or hope. But there is beauty in pressing on toward the things we are hopeful for.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

A Karate Focus  

One thing that surprised me as I was watching Owen’s karate practice was the way the instructor often told the newer student to stop overthinking.

When the student was sparring, he was trying so hard to predict his opponent’s next move that he failed to recognize the opportunities for attack right in front of him.

This is so common in my faith walk, and I know I’m not alone. Often times I get so worried or caught up in my own thoughts that I lose sight of Jesus.

Life is exciting, challenging, and surprising. There are so many distractions the enemy hurls at us to take our focus away from God and fill us with anxiety and temptation instead.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)

When we are so focused on trying to figure out our next move and how to win at this life, we open up a target for the devil to attack. The only way to win this spiritual battle is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is sovereign and is the only one who will never fail us.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2 NIV)

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to watch my future husband practice such an incredible sport. It’s amazing how, if we have our hearts turned toward the Lord, we can find Godly wisdom in everything around us. When our focus is on the only One who truly matters, it changes our perspective on everything.  


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(Photography by Jason Briscoe and Luke Stackpoole)

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Choosing Freedom in a Sinful World

Happy Independence Day to all of my fellow American readers and followers! And of course, a big hello to those from other countries who are reading this post. I’m so glad you’re here 🙂 Today is a celebration of summer, the birth of America, and more importantly, of freedom.

When it comes to the word freedom, many images come to our minds. We picture fireworks and family cookouts. We see soldiers sacrificing everything, including their lives, in order to protect our country.

While all of these images are beautiful and accurate for the American Independence Day, true freedom goes beyond even our patriotic celebrations. In order to understand what freedom really looks like, we must know the God who paid the price for our liberty.

A State of Bondage

Whether we realize it or not, we are in bondage. This world is full of sin and its consequences. We are lying to ourselves when we say we’re not in bondage.

Things like hatred, violence, jealousy, selfishness, lust, addiction, abuse, and shame fill our lives. No one is left unaffected by sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8 NIV)

This sin stems from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Almost everyone knows the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. Although it may seem like some cute ancient Bible story, the consequences of mankind’s first rebellion still affect us all today.

No one is perfect, and we all fall short of God’s standard for holiness. We must realize the state of our sin and the eternal separation it places between us and the Lord. Once we know how sinful we are, we can truly repent and make a change in our lives.

The Price of Freedom

Okay, so now we understand that we are in bondage to sin and shame. We also know to repent, but how do we experience freedom? What must we do to free ourselves from sin?

The bad news is that there is nothing you can do to free yourself from sin. Remember when I said that we will never be perfect? But that’s okay, I have great news!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are all justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24 NIV)

The price to pay for sin and eternal separation from God is through death. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the ransom for all of the world’s sins by dying on the cross and rising again.

It is finished, lovely one. Jesus paid the price once and for all, and the only thing we need to do is turn to Him and accept this precious gift.

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Spirit of Freedom  

Although we were once slaves to sin and shame, Jesus freed us by His death and resurrection. How amazing is it to know that we can experience true freedom even in the midst of living in a sinful world?

When we choose to follow Christ, we are no longer slaves, but children of God. We have a perfect Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally and wants to watch us walk in freedom.

Choosing Freedom in a Sinful World

We are no longer separated from God, but have His Holy Spirit inside of us to empower and guide us. Instead of a spirit of slavery, we now have God’s Spirit of freedom!

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:6-7 NIV)

Today is a great day, lovely one. It’s a day of celebration for the joys of freedom. Will you choose the eternal joy of the only true freedom found in Jesus?


Happy Independence Day and thank you for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

FearfullyWonderfullyMe would like to thank all military members for their service in protecting our freedom. God bless America!

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