Thursday, April 30, 2015

If Mirrors Could Speak

by Hannah Morris

“Mommy, it looks like there is a baby in your tummy. Mommy, your booty is soooo big. Mommy, when you walk your booty goes like this (hand motion for jiggle)!” 

These were my 4-year-old daughter, Willow’s commentto me while I was getting dressed one morning. Don’t you just love kid’s honesty? They call it like they see it, literally.  

I immediately had several options on how to respond. I could: 

  1.  Start sobbing  
  2.  Justify my belly because I ate a big breakfast, and as for that“jiggly” booty; well, you gotta shake what yo’ momma gave ya, right?  
  3.  Laugh it off since she is only four. 

I went with the third option, but if this conversation had happened a few years ago, you would have probably found me in a corner crying.  

I consider myself a physically healthy person, but it took me a long time to become healthy in the way I see myself. Go stand in front of a mirror. What do you see? 

I am pretty sure that most of you will say that although you see some good things in that reflection,the majority of your focus will be on your weaknesses. Dyou immediately see your stretch marks or wrinkles,your cellulite or big tummy?

For me, it didn’t matter if I was 9 months pregnant feeling like the baby was literally about to fall out, or if I was skinny and toned. I always seemed to focus on my imperfections. It was like the Fun House mirrorthey have at the State Fair; you know, the ones that distort your reflection? They make you look short and wide or tall and thin? We all know which reflection we would rather see! 

That distorted view was how I used to see myself. My husband would tell me that I looked good, but I always responded with “thanks, but I need to work on….  I was my worst critic. 

Then God did something in my heart a few years ago that completely changed the way I see myself.  saw a video of a woman who went out on the streets and asked other women to describe their body in one word. Here are some of their answers: 
  • imperfect 
  • very average 
  • frumpy 
  • stubby
  • overweight 
  • several of them even said disgusting   
At the end of the video she asked one question,“How am I going to teach my daughter to love her body if her Mom can’t do the same?”  

That question changed everything for me. I want my daughter to love her body and see her beauty, inside and out. have to model that for her. I never look at Willow and see her imperfectionsshe is absolutely beautiful in every wayThe Bible says that we are made in God’s image, and if that is true then we are all beautiful, because He IS beauty.  

1 Peter 3:3-4 says,Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 

I can honestly say the most beautiful people I know are the ones that truly exemplify the heart of God, because your heart shines through to the outside. The Scripture doesn’t say that it is wrong to wear jewelry, makeup, or fix your hair,but it says that true beauty comes from the heart. Incorruptible beauty is a gentle and quiet spirit and is precious in the sight of God. It is beauty that lasts forever 

I asked my kid’s to give me one word that describes what makes me beautiful to them. Grady said “kindness” and Willow said “precious”.Then I asked thethe same question to describe Willow and they said “funny-ness” (that is in a 7-year-olds vocabulary) and“cuteness”. I wasn’t sure what they would say, but I really thought their word would describe a physical attribute. Instead, they saw the heart shining through and THAT was beauty to them.  

If a seven and four year old can get it, I think it’s time that the rest of us understand this truth too 

Real beauty comes from the inside; it shines brighter and makes more of a lasting impact in others lives than any physical attribute we possess. Focusing on the condition of our heart and allowing that beauty to shine;THAT is what true beauty is. 

So when I see my imperfections now it is so much easier to look past them and focus more on the condition and beauty of my heart. It allows me to have a healthy view of myself and I can find joy in the reflection I see in the mirror 

If your mirror could speak to you today,what would it say? 

Meet the author:
Hannah Morris is a stay-at-home mom taking care of her two kids, Grady and Willow. She recently celebrated her 11 year anniversary with her husband, Josh. She believes that the greatest calling on earth is to do exactly as Christ commanded, which is to love God and love others. She's passionate about seeing this fulfilled in her life and the lives of others around her

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The {Perfect} Mom

Have you ever known or met "the perfect mom"?  You know, the one who is always well groomed never to be seen with no make-up, whose kids are so well behaved and never throw fits, whose house is spotless, who rises early to read her Bible and exercise, whose husband is perfect as well and never ever has a bad day?

Yeah I haven't met her real life anyway.  The truth is there is no such thing as perfect.  Yet, somehow in our minds we look at most women around us and go "why can't I be more like her?!?! She's got it all together and I am just a mess!!".  But the problem is that we only see a glimpse of each others lives.  We don't live with each other 24/7 to see the good, bad and the ugly.

Just last week I had a "mommy melt down" moment.  I had these moments quite often when our kids were babies and toddlers so I was surprised to find myself in one again since our kids are much easier these days.  I was standing over the stove cooking dinner, my kids were driving me crazy and I remember thinking "I am SOOOO going to Target when Matt gets home!  I'm out of here!"  (Side note: Matt and I now joke about "I'm going to Target" because I used to use that as my out when the kids were younger).

As soon as that thought came into my brain I heard the Lord say "why do you have to wait until your husband gets home to use the authority I have given you and usher peace back into your home?  Do it now."  So, I begrudgingly went to the living room and turned christian dance music up HIGH.  I'm sure our neighbors thought I was crazy.  But guess what...IT WORKED.  My kids stopped fighting and pouting and we all had a dance party in the living room.

The "after" dance party picture. I almost cropped it but then thought "nope I want them to my mess!" Also, if you look closely the song playing is "Overcomer".  Seems fitting. :) 

When my husband got home that night I ditched my "going to Target" plans and we all had a peaceful and joy filled night of laughs, playing and a family dinner.

So you aren't perfect?  Neither am I and it's okay.  God never asked us to be perfect but He did ask us to allow Him into every area of our lives.  As a mom and wife we have been given a unique authority over the atmosphere of our home and all we have to do is listen to God and let Him show us how to usher His presence in when things get a little crazy. :)  Sometimes it will take a special trip to Target(or wherever your happy place is) and that is okay too.  Just ask him, he cares!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are you Type A OR Type B?

by Kendra Hunt

We are living in a time that glorifies very specific things about women. The barrage of media confirms its love of women that are constantly working. They have perfect houses, magazine styled nurseries, perfectly dressed children, picture perfect dinners, no dishes in the sink, fruit cut and prepped at all times on the counter, and on and on. Many would call women driven to do all of these things Type A personalities.

Thank God for these women that set the standard high, but can I just say that Type B women make the world a balanced place. You know us! We could wear athletic clothes to every event and not feel bad about it. We can enjoy a hearty bowl of cereal for dinner (no pictures please). We are perfectly fine sitting down with our kids while the kitchen cries out for some love in the form of a good cleaning. Yep, that's us.

As a Type B girl, I adore my fellow Type A girls. They keep me accountable for things that may not ever cross my mind otherwise. They push me to put a little more time and effort into areas that don't play a part in my normal day. They remind me that the details matter. Type A girls are original the pinners on Pinterest! Amazing!

Knowing that God made us all different is important, but even more important is loving those differences. We must learn to appreciate and use the differences we see in each other. I once had a friend tell me that she loved for me to visit because I truly never noticed the 'messes.' And she was right. My focus tends to be on fun and less on function.  While I have many times in life that I wish I were Type A (and I know my husband has wished it too), I have learned the value in how I am wired. Even in my relaxed nature, I have a purpose.

Here is what I have learned about my Type B personality: I need outside motivation. I need those Type A ladies. I need time in the Word. I need fun little quotes. I need goals!! I cannot depend on my personal drive to get things done. There is no shame in loving the Type B that God created me to be!

As a girlfriend – embrace those ladies that have completely opposite personalities. You need them and they need you! It is a match made in heaven. Literally!

All my single ladies – Don't count out that guy because he is not your “Type.” There is strength in your differences. Yes there may initially be conflict in your differences, but as you both grow it will become something beautiful for you to operate together! Like peanut butter and jelly! Like salt and pepper! Like milk and cookies! Like bread and butter! I am sorry I don't have any healthy pairs that are better together.

The Bible says we are wonderfully made! Whether you are Type A or Type B, God made you exactly how He designed. He loves everything about you, quirks and all. Know who you are! Know your strengths and don't give up on those things that are categorized as weaknesses. Fill your world with people that will challenge you, whether you need to learn to stop and smell the roses or you need to learn to throw away the roses that died 2 weeks ago in that vase on your table. God loves them all!

Meet the Author:

Kendra's boys say that she spends her time making dinner and wrestling them for hugs. Kendra spends the rest of her time as a full-time mom, a full-time pastor's wife, a part-time accountant, a ladies group leader, a PTA board member, and the director of the mentoring program for Gateway's NFW campus. She recently wrote the book, “Encouragement Between Loads of Laundry” and while Kendra doesn't even enjoy making dinner, she is proud that it is first on her boys' list! The rest are just details!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Count the Cost

I have shared before that I tend to be a very driven person and am passionate about many things.  It drives me crazy to meet people who have amazing gifts and talents who don't put them to use simply out of fear.  While I often blog about living life outside of your shell and just going for it, I feel lead today to remind you to count the cost.

I can't take credit for this term because it was my good friend Kristen from The Beautiful Deep who reminded me of this just a few days ago.  I had called her to talk about switching from Blogger to Word Press(since that tends to be what everyone is recommending these days).  While she gave me some great advice on switching, before we got off the phone she said "just remember to count the cost".  

This has been going through my head for a few days now because it is challenging me.  How many times has my own family suffered because I said "yes" to too many things?  Opportunities I just knew I had to pursue but really when I look back it was my family and other relationships that were sacrificed.  

So often, especially those of us who are parents, we get focused on making money and advancing in life that we forget what really matters.  Yes, providing for our family is important but was it worth it if in the end we have no relationship with them?  If our marriage ends?  If we lose friendships because we no longer have time for a simple lunch?  I love this reminder from Ecclesiastes 2:11:

So today, instead of giving you a charge to take off and go do.  I am giving you a charge to be.  Before you start that blog, new business, new job, new ministry, new fitness program ask yourself "What is the cost?"  Will it cost time with your family that you will never get back?  There is nothing wrong with pursuing dreams but we must have boundaries so the things that are most precious to us are not sacrificed in the process.  

I, personally, will be determining my "yes and no's" with our future in mind.  Twenty years from now when my kids are grown and married will I regret not spending more time with them?  Will I regret putting too much focus on having a clean home rather than just getting down and playing with them in the mess?  

God will not call us to something that makes us sacrifice our family, health and relationship with Him. Just because it's a good thing does not mean it is a God thing. 

I pray these words that my friend spoke to me will linger with you as well as you seek God's direction for your life!  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Confession Time

I am beautiful.  

Wow, I can't believe I just said that!  God gave me a post to write a few months ago and the name He gave me was "I am beautiful".  You might have guessed it but the blog post has sat around for several months because I have argued "Lord, how can I title a blog post that?  Or say to the world that I think I am beautiful?  How arrogant!  And on top of that, there are days that I simply do not feel beautiful so I wouldn't want to lie".

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said out loud "I am so beautiful!"?  I never have and the Lord asked me to do it.  I have to admit that when I did immediately lies jumped in saying "yes but look at your belly, you still have stretch marks.  And do you see those bags under your eyes? You look like a hot mess."  I now realize that the reason God asked me to say this out loud to myself in the mirror is to bring those lies from the darkness into the light.  You see, we all have thoughts in our head that are not true but we don't realize we are being driven by those lies because we don't give them a chance to surface.

I believe if these lies aren't brought into the light our entire life is driven by the lies we have believed.  When I don't allow God to address those lies all of the sudden I am willing to spend way too much money on beauty products, do crazy dieting methods and sit around in my "shell" all day feeling sorry for myself that my body looks different than it did before having kids.

John 8:32 says:
Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
As I continue to expose these lies in my head and bring them to the Lord He sheds light and truth on them.  I am the only one who has the power to bring them into the light.  Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I really dislike confrontation.  Thanks to my husband I have become more and more comfortable with it.  The thing I have seen as I face confrontation is that anything that was hidden and secret now has light on it.  Yes, it can be scary to bring it into the light.  But the alternative of living with that darkness is so much scarier than the brief moment it takes to bring it into the light.

Tell me....when was the last time you said "I am beautiful"?  Give it a try today and see what God reveals.

Here is what God's word says about our beauty:

  • Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
  • He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11
  •  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
  • Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
God clearly has a different definition of beauty than we do.  Will you bring your ideas of beauty into the light today?  You are beautiful!