Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: christian blogger (page 1 of 12)

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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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

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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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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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Finding Your Anchor in Life’s Storms

I shall not be moved; I shall not be shaken. How many times have I repeated these familiar Bible verses in my mind, thinking that as long as I am truly rooted in God, nothing will ever rock my world.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8 NIV)

But the world keeps rocking and rolling all around me, and sometimes, no matter how hard I cling to the grace of God, I find myself rolling along with it.

I shake with every burst of bad news. I tighten my grip as my feet slip on unexpected losses or financial stress. No one is immune to the unsteady waves of this sinful world.

So how do we stay rooted?

One day I realized that I had it all wrong just asking this question. It was during my lunch hour at my new job. I was sitting outside on the patio, watching the ripples of the company pond as people walked along the wrap-around trail.

It was a breezy day, and I noticed how the ornamental grass waved about in the wind. I marveled at how even though the thin, almost hair-like blades of grass swayed and rocked, they were never uprooted.

Steady they held on, anchored in the ground by an invisible root system designed to protect them from life’s wind and rain.

And that’s when I heard the voice of Jesus whisper that He is my anchor.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, (Hebrews 6:19 NKJV)

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Finding Your Anchor in Life's Storms

Life will move us, lovely one. It will move our earthly bodies and minds in ways that feel almost impossible to recover from. But when we anchor ourselves in the love and salvation of our Savior, we find that our eternal soul and spirit can never be moved.

Just like that plant, we have an invisible root system that anchors us in the Kingdom of God. This allows us to walk confidently through the storms of this life, knowing that our God is always holding onto us.

Though the earth give way and the mountains be cast into the midst of the sea, we remain rooted in Christ. Although life and the choices we make may move us, God always has us right where He wants us.

I want to remember that I always have an anchor in the unsteady waves of this world.  I want to remember how all that I am is secured in the loving arms of my Father.

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

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