beauty & fitness pt 2

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Before I start giving recipes, or exercises, or beauty tips, and before we move on, I want to make *one* thing clear.

There will always be the deceiving lies media shove down our throats, those “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not pretty enough”, or “I’m too fat”, because of those toothpick-thin expectations of Hollywood.

It kills us, because we want to be beautiful, desirable even. But you don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful. You don’t have to be fit to be desirable. Our beauty comes from a deep, abiding love & passion for the Lord (Prov. 31:30).

God loves you *so* much, and you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and NOTHING, no mirror, no magazine article, no number on the scale can EVER change that.

Ever.

Now, I’m *not* saying that it’s wrong to eat well or exercise or to lose weight. Within themselves. In fact, I think it’s important to strive to be healthy. However, if you’re doing it to gain the approval of the world … then there’s a problem. If you’re doing it to impress your friends,  I just wanna let you know, that if they really were your friends, you wouldn’t *have* to impress them. Your friends would already accept you for who you are, not for how thin you are. And if they don’t…that’s their problem, not yours.

We both need to see ourselves how God sees us, not how man sees us.

Are you with me? 🙂

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Health is very important, especially for women. We cook, clean, make babies, grocery-shop, raise children, and are helpmeets to our husbands & fathers. We have a lot on our plate. 🙂

I believe that God has given us everything that we need to feel our best so we can do our best at these things, and be able to put all of our strength into what He has called us to do.

“She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.”

~ Proverbs 31:17

I don’t think that what we look like on the outside is more important than who we are on the inside, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to not take care of ourselves. I think it’s beautiful when a girl neither becomes obsessive about her health nor neglectful of her health, but rather when she’s in the middle: balanced. When she’s happy with who God made her and how God made her (whether she has a bigger forehead than most girls, or if she’s short, or has bigger thighs, or anything), but takes care of herself by eating healthy and exercising when she can, and doesn’t talk negatively about how she looks to others or to herself. Ever. (Which I know is not easy to do!)

We do, of course, need to eat healthy on a day-to-day basis. We need to strive to honour our bodies, which are temples of God.

Do we want a body that is sick and tired and lacks in the energy to do the things God has called us to do in this life?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t! If you really think about it, we could accomplish so much!

And yes, there are times to decline an unhealthy choice to make a more healthy choice. I’m still working on how to balance that. I’m not perfect at it. But I want to be able to feel my best. A big reason I’ve chosen this lifestyle is so … I can be the best me I can be, and be able to do the things which God has called me to do. 😀

And, yes, I do realize that this journey is not an easy one. But, as I like to say about a lot of things …

I don’t need easy. I just need possible.

breaking free (rom. 6)

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“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

… knowing this, that our old man was crucified with [Him], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

For he who has died has been freed from sin.

 … Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord … For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [leading] to death, or of obedience [leading] to righteousness? But God be thanked that [though] you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. “

~ Romans 6, NKJV

I did not do this. For a long time, at the end of the day, I would always whisper ,”Tomorrow,” and did nothing about my sin. I was guilty, and in pain, but I just Couldn’t. Let. Go. Not on my own.

I tried. I can at least say I tried, with my own power, with my own strength, determination. I mean, don’t those words make sense to the soul, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”? If I tried, if I really, really tried, I could overcome my sin. No problem.

Until it was.

But I tried. I tried my darn hardest, but I would only just fail and fail all over again, and why, Lord, is this not working? I tried again. And failed. Tried some more. Failed. And I would *not* learn my lesson that, just maybe, I couldn’t do it on my own?

I tried and tried. And for a while I succeeded. But that did not last long.

You see, I’ve always been the independent kind of girl. I don’t take help from anyone, no matter how much I need it. If you ask for help, I will jump up and help you immediately, no questions asked. But you help me? Nuh uh. Noooo way will I ever let you do that. I’m strong enough. I’m capable enough. I can do it, gee wiz. Why do people doubt me?

But someone can do that for only so long, until they break.

But I don’t break, I can’t break, I won’t let myself break. I’ll stand firm, I’ll stay strong, I’ll overcome this, by golly, and no, God, I don’t need Your help, I don’t want Your help, and I don’t need You, I sputter.

But you do, My princess.

These words of His caress my weary soul, as my lip quivers and tears of surrender trickle down my cheeks. Because I know I do, and I know every word, every denial for help is slowly & painfully breaking me. It’s a form of torture, really.

And I couldn’t go on any longer like this.

So I closed my eyes, whispered a prayer from the heart, and reached out my hand.

And I break free from my bonds.

I don’t know much about this thing called grace, the hows and the whys, but I know that I need it, and it’s something I could never live without. It’s something I can’t get until I completely dump my worries, my sin, my fears, my guilt, and, really, everything, at the foot of the Cross, that place where grace and suffering meet. And it’s not a one time thing, where you do this and that’s it.

No.

It’s something you have to do every year, every day, every hour, every moment. Every day you throw your cares and concerns, and run with reckless abandon to the One whom your soul loves. That’s the meaning of, “Go, and sin no more.”

To this day, I still struggle, I still sin, I still flail in the flood of chaos and corruption, but I always know where to turn to.

And, because of this, my life couldn’t be any better. And I close my eyes and worship Him until the day He takes me home.

as soft as clay

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“But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand”

Isaiah 64:8

I look back this past year, and see how far I’ve come. The Lord has shaped me, and molded me, and I am slowly becoming more and more like Him.

I cannot boast.

I cannot boast in myself, but only that the Lord has taught me many, many things that have challenged, changed, stretched, and grown me.

But one thing I thought I’d share, one of the first steps I made on my journey.

Throughout my life, I had let myself stop growing, to become stale clay, clay that is not easy for the Potter to mold, to work with, to perfect.

I refused to let the Lord shape me and mold me into a better person, because I was afraid it would hurt too much. 

And you know what? It did hurt. I’m not gonna lie.

But you know another thing?

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It’s worth it.

It’s worth it because I love Him so, so much and I just couldn’t bear to to see Him disappointed in His creation, and I want Him to be happy with what He sees.

So my lips whisper over and over this year, “He is the Potter, I am the clay.”

If we are to be clay, we must be willing to let go, of our plans, what we want, and give ourselves up to be made holy in His sight, and to completely surrender to His soft, loving hands. If we are stubborn, if we are unteachable, if we are hard, stale clay, why should we expect God to do great things with us?

But we cannot become soft by own free will.

It is up to the Potter to make us soft & teachable again.

Romans 9:21, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

And you know, I know it hurts. I know it’s something we don’t want to do. I know we don’t want to give up our dreams, and our pride, and our lives for Him.

I know.

But, this year, I want you to ask yourself this question, really and truly, in all honesty …

“Am I obstinate, or unyielding, or am I as soft as clay?”

for all those who are weary (matt. 11:28)

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Morning comes early. I roll over and turn off that annoyance which is screaming at me to wake up.

And I groan.

Just *one* more minute.

Please? Oh please, just one more minute. But I don’t take another minute, because, inside, I know that for me one minute ends up being forty minutes.

My hand fumbles around for the phone, and I squint at the number glaring at me through the darkness. 4:03 am.

Insert another groan.

I slide off my bed and stumble over at least a hundred things before I reach the door 6 feet away. I then walk into the kitchen, the cold grating against my weary bones and I stare blankly at the coffee machine having no idea how this thing works.

I sigh. Life without coffee is hard. Especially at 4 o clock in the morning.

I walk into the living room, and grab the stack of messed up papers and books and sit down to study for that dreaded time of year …

FINAL’S WEEK. Gulp.

So I study as hard as my coffee-deprived brain can function.

6:00 am.

I put everything down so I can get ready for school. I go to the mirror, and feel bad for anyone who ever saw me. My eyes, bloodshot, from that almost four hours of sleep, and my skin pale, but contrasted with the accented dark circles under my eyes.

Good morning, sleeping beauty. (Not.)

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Five days in a row. Stress and lack of sleep weakening my body, functioning with the bare minimum. I look pale, thin, sickly, and, in another word, scary.

And I feel awful.

Where can we go when we are in need of peace and rest from the chaos this world gives us?

Usually, we go to sleep. And that is not a bad thing. However, whenever we feel exhausted, over-loaded, overwhelmed by the burdens we have to carry in our day to day lives, there is only One place where we should go.

Not to sleep. Not to the T.V. Not to food, nor the computer.

Before all that … we should go to the One who refreshes our souls and brings life to our weary bones when our knees are about to give and our bodies shake under the stress we try to hide.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28

No matter how busy, or how tired or weary we are, the Lord is our Hiding Place, our Rest, our Peace, our Comfort, in hard times ❤

…Amen? 🙂