Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God is faithful even when we are not

I have been discovering quite a bit about myself lately.  I've found :  I'm selfish.  I have little patience.  I am not as grounded in my faith as I thought I was.  I am reliant on other people.  I complain too much.  I ask for God's help too little.  I am inconsistent in many areas of my life.  I am nit picky.  I judge others.  And of course, I am too hard on myself from time to time.  I hate to be wrong.  And the list is still growing.  My faults.  They are many.  And quite a few of them I thought I had conquered or overcome.  Or maybe I had through His great mercy and grace but then decided to take back the wheel and crashed and burned again, and am now back to my starting point.  God is good.  He's teaching me again.  He's showing the way.  So many times we hear the words and the sermons and believe we are living them out but in all actuality we are just going through the motions and "doing" the right things but not asking Him to do them through us.  If it is just an act of obeying the law and not surrendering to Him, the One who makes all things possible we will just strive to do our best and fail eventually.  I believe that is why Christians get so frustrated.  We want so desperately to do what God has laid on our heart to do but rely on our own strength and ability to do it.  It's as if we pray for God's help in our lives and then forget we even prayed for it when the test is at hand.  It comes back to the joy of the Lord.  Joy to renew our strength.  We will not forget that the Lord is our only source of true strength if we do not forget the price that He paid for our victory.  And we can rejoice in Him daily for what He has done and is doing in us!   

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making The Grade

I remember being 13.  It was time to shop for school clothes.  I had gone from a size 7 to a size 9 over my 7th grade summer.  In my mind I was just getting older and growing.  I didn't look at my friends and wonder what size they were.  I didn't care that my jeans were a size up.  Something changed for me that year.  I got a taste of the world and what it expected from me.  I became more and more aware of the chatter around me.  The, "I'm fat" comments.  I soon felt the pressure too.  What a girl will put herself through to feel good enough is horrifying.  Why do we as women feel these pressures.  It travels into adulthood.  We need to be the good mother, good wife, good friend, good Christian.  And it seems we are seeking approval from this outside world while torturing ourselves.  I am not saying that we should not strive to be good in all of these areas.  I WANT to be a good mother,wife, and Christian.  But I don't want to rely on others to tell me or give me their approval when I've met or not met the so called standard. Our focus needs to be on the expectations of God and not man.  When we are led by the Spirit we will know God's will but when we let our own desires, the desires of others, and dysfunctions lead us we are lead to believe what the world would like us to.  God made us in His image.  Why then is it so hard to convince girls these days that they are beautiful?  That they are made specifically by a loving Father who wanted them to be exactly as they are?  I believe it is a distorted thought process that can only be reversed by the Creator who first formed us in His hands.  He is the only One who can pull these girls out of the superficial world that places all of their hopes and dreams on what their outward beauty can offer.  A world that is only surface deep and never seeks the innermost parts of the soul.  God has spoken.  He has said that, ..."The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."-1 Sam 16:7  "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."-Proverbs 31:30  The Lord wants us to know His value on outward beauty.  He puts very little stock in that which fades and soon will be gone.  So while the world is telling us the next best way to stay young and preserve our outward beauty, the Lord is telling us how to preserve our inward beauty and soul so that we may live forever with Him in the kingdom of Heaven.   It is a battle that I believe we will continue to struggle with as women.   Looking for the balance of raising girls to be ladies without putting too much pressure on them to be what the world thinks they should be.  And it really doesn't matter how many magazines we shelter them from or if we homeschool them and keep them in church.  They will still learn the majority of their principles from their number one example.  Us.  Their mothers.  The same women who have struggled with these issues growing up.  The same women who still may wrestle with these issues in our adult lives.  I urge you to take them to the cross.  To let Jesus heal you once and for all and to be able to see yourself as He does.  A child of God who is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Beautiful in His sight.