When Selfishness Preys 

As I wiped down counters, the table, and swept the floor for approximately the 10,000th time this week, I felt worn. Honest moment, anyone? I felt angry and frustrated. How in the world did the floor get THAT dirty after just a few hours since I last swept? I made a frustrated face at my husband (I can be really mature) as he headed out the door again for another obligation, while I was here cleaning and feeding children once more. Oh, did I mention that all 3 children had fevers and sore throats? I felt resentment creeping in, ready to make my life seem miserable for awhile.

I know that this post isn’t pretty, but friends, this is the honest truth. Ladies, I KNOW that I am not the only one. I chose this life. Heck, I even love it most days. But there are certainly days when my selfishness rears its very ugly head and I become bitter because life just isn’t a walk on the beach every day (or maybe it is since it’s beautiful and annoying at the same time…hello, sand!). Ugh. I have a great life! I need someone to be on standby to slap this ugliness right out of me in these self-centered moments. Since I don’t have anyone with nothing better to do than stand around waiting to slap me, I have decided to fasten bits of truth around my house, where I know I will need to see it the most. There are certain areas that I NEED reminders from God’s word of where my heart should land when my emotions are acting like jumping beans. I definitely need a reminder in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of time preparing meals and cleaning up. I also would benefit from reminders near the laundry room, and in the bathroom. Those are the main areas where I find myself huffing and puffing with a sour attitude. I am also putting scripture on my bathroom mirror, so that each morning and evening I will be begin and end with rock solid truth.

I wonder if I could get some ladies to join me in this? I know that we all struggle, even if our struggles look different than the woman’s next to us. We all have areas of weakness! Let’s shore up those weak areas and make them stronger through the power of God’s truth in our lives.

Here are some examples of what I will be placing around my home:

“Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.” -Philippians 2:14-15

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” -Colossians 3:15

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” -Colossians 3:23-24

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” -Galatians 5:22-23

“…understand this; Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” -James 1:19

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” -James 3:17-18

“Serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men…” -Ephesians 6:7

“Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue.” -Proverbs 31:25-26

We would do well to remember that we will never be perfect and we don’t have to plaster a big cheesy smile on our face every single moment of the day. However, when we sow wisdom, peace, and joy in our hearts and minds, we will reap that harvest in our homes.
Perhaps your choices of scripture are different. Would you share below? I would love to pray for each of you that are joining this little challenge to bring more joy and peace to your homes. Please comment here to let me know, and share your scriptures that you will be leaning on as your serve in your homes! 🙂

When Loneliness Lingers

Have you ever been in a crowd of people, yet still felt lonely? I was talking with a friend last week who could relate to that exact feeling. I have been able to relate many times in my life too. No matter who you are, what personality type you have, or how popular you are, there is a chance that you have felt the sting of loneliness at one time or another. Sometimes we feel excluded from social circles, alone in our parenting decisions, or we feel isolated because of a season of life. Regardless, most of us know that nagging feeling of loneliness, and it sure isn’t pretty.

So, what do we do when loneliness lingers? What then, when it tempts our hearts to move away from joy, toward a dark place that we have no desire to be? Loneliness, if not dealt with properly, can breed anger, bitterness, resentment, and a host of other really ugly things. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this played out in my own life. Believe me when I say, you don’t want those ugly things. No, thank you.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us to cast our anxiety (or cares) on God, because He cares for us. We must remember that He cares for us, and desires for us to have joy! Our God is FOR us, and not against us (Rom. 8:31). He is FOR our joy. He is not a God that sits idle in the heavens, with no regard for our lives. He cares for us. When we really absorb that, allow it to soak into the dark crevices of our lives, it changes us. It changes how we handle loneliness.

We are never promised perfect relationships or unending mountaintop emotions, but we are promised joy, eternal joy and peace that transcends emotion, when we rest in Him. All throughout the Bible, we find joy in the hearts of those that trusted God with their burdens and allowed Him to use them, even when they felt lonely, dejected and just plain unusable. Turn to Him, who turns our mourning into joyful dancing (Psalm 30:11).

Now, while I believe that God has created us to have relationships, I also believe that he allows seasons when we are pressed to find our contentment in Him. Jesus promised that He would be with us to the end (Matt. 28:20) and we should not take that promise lightly. No matter how lonely we feel on this earth at times, we would do well to remember that this is not our forever home and that Jesus, is in fact with us here and now. Look at the apostle, Paul, who ministered from prison much of the time. Now, THIS was a man who was lonely and afflicted. In 2 Timothy 4, he writes of being alone and deserted when he faced his adversaries. BUT, in verse 17, he writes, But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the proclamation might be fully made through me and all the Gentiles might hear. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil work and will bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.” The Lord stood with him and strengthened him. Paul was serving God, even in his loneliness. How easy it would have been for him to give up, hide away and feel sorry for himself! But no, Paul, a self proclaimed servant of Jesus, chose to be used, even in his moment of aloneness. And we see here that the Lord was with him, providing strength, and even protection when he felt that he would surely go under. 

Seasons come and go, so rest assured that your lonely moments are just that. Moments. It’s how we respond to those moments that matters. 


Friends, how are we handling our times of loneliness? Are we allowing loneliness to define us, or are we allowing the Lord to refine us? We can run to our closets, or we can run to the One who cares for us. We can turn inward, or we can turn outward and be used for God’s glory. We will be blessed when we remove our focus from ourselves and seek to serve. Even in our times of loneliness, The Lord will stand with us. 😊

 

Truth Wins

What a filthy place our emotions can lead us if we aren’t careful. We can rapidly find ourselves submerged in a state of disillusionment and just plain crazy. When we allow our emotions to rule, we so quickly become entangled in a pattern of thinking that is detrimental to our joy. We can feel defeated and dissatisfied.

We live near the ocean, and while I don’t particularly care for swimming in the salty water or bringing sand into my house, I enjoy just watching the water. It is so powerful and majestic. I find it peaceful to watch the water as it rhythmically comes ashore, then back to sea again. Here’s the thing though: Just as the sand shifts and rearranges with each crashing wave, so do our emotions with each moment of our day. Here at the coast, we also have rock structures, called jetties. A jetty protects the shoreline of a body of water by acting as a barrier against erosion from currents, tides, and waves. A jetty is solid and does not move with each wave, tide or current. As is truth. The truths that we find in God’s word are like the jetties. They protect, stand strong, and redirect. Truth never wavers, but is constant and unchanging. Let me tell you, those jetties aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and more importantly, neither is God’s Word.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb. 4:12)

So, friends, when we feel disillusioned, anxious, moody, or just plain crazy, we need to be finding those markers of truth, those jetties that God has placed for our benefit. We need to seek out that which stands firm amidst the waves, when we feel as if we are shifting. Emotions are good indicators of what is happening around us, but they don’t have to steal our joy.

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Do you feel like the shifting sand today? Run to your Redeemer, your Rock. He is your peace-giver. He is your joy. Run to His words and soak them up like warm rays of sunshine. They are life-giving.

A Momma’s Worship

I see you there, sweet, tired momma. I know that you had a little one that kept you up all night, and a toddler that was jumping with excitement at the first light of morning. I know you are beyond just being tired. You’ve crossed the threshold from “tired” to bone aching exhaustion, yet in the midst of this beautiful service you have been entrusted with, you feel dry. You feel parched and achy for refreshment. You’ve missed church for the second (or more) week because of sickness. I know that when you do go, you close your eyes in worship, to be interrupted and needed once more. I know that you wonder how you are going to fit in that Bible study, find privacy to pray in your closet or do much more than utter desperate prayers throughout your day. I know. I know that the feeling of not doing enough can be overwhelming.

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Hear me, sweet momma.

Your life is your worship. Your service to your family is your offering. Your ministry can be comforting your children, encouraging them to grow in the Lord, and speaking words of affirmation to your husband. Even in the mundane tasks such as work, school, laundry, dishes, and packing lunches, you are ministering to your family. Your sweet babies are watching. They see you. You are helping them hold their pen, as they write their story of life. You don’t know it, but you are. It is because of you that they will understand what it means to serve. It is because of you that they will understand grace and love. It is because of your life worship.

 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:

If prophecy,
use it according to the standard of one’s faith;
if service, in service;
if teaching, in teaching;
if exhorting, in exhortation;
giving, with generosity;
leading, with diligence;
showing mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:1-8

It will not be like this forever. Before you know it, your children will be sleeping all night, your bone weary exhaustion will become a once in awhile feeling, and the way that you serve will change. Just keep in mind that right here, right now, this is your service. This is your worship. So lead on, momma, with diligence. Give generously and show mercy with cheerfulness. This part of your life matters, because you are serving and growing lives that matter. You have been entrusted with greatness, even when it feels not so great. It’s good, even when you don’t feel it. So, fellow mommas (me too), let’s renew our minds and seek to serve with gladness, letting our lives be our worship.

Waiting for my heart to catch up…

I know what is true.

I know the right things to say.

I know it in my mind.

I’ve tucked truth away in my heart… YET, my heart still lags behind at times.

Recently, I struggled. I was blindsided by something that pretty much knocked my feet out from under me. I knew what I should tell myself. I knew what I would have said to someone else. BUT, my heart took awhile to catch up.

Sometimes we wait. We wait in expectation, knowing the truth, but waiting for our hearts to catch up.

In our hearts sit swirling, ever-changing emotions and fragile feelings. Our minds, on the other hand, tend to lean more toward logic, reminding us of what we know to be true… and the battle rages. We know, yet we feel. Sometimes there is an all out war, and at times it is more of a subtle disagreement. Either way, our mind has to meet with our heart and if we are not careful, both will be compromised. We have to give both to Jesus.

Yes, Jesus. The very One who created me. He knows me, yet He loves me.

Even when it is hard and I’m waiting for my heart to catch up. Even then. I must choose Jesus.

For He is the only one who can blanket the battle in peace.

Yes, Jesus. The Prince of Peace.

In our time of waiting, in our time of feeling, we choose Truth. While waiting for our hearts to catch up, we let ourselves feel, even when it hurts, but we still choose Truth. In the middle of the storm, we feel the boat rocking and the rain beating down, but we keep our eyes on the lighthouse. For there, is our safety and our refuge. Our light. Our Jesus.

Lighthouse, Dorset, England

He beckons us, even when we are far off. He calls us to Him, that we may rest in Him. He extends His hands to remove our burdens, so we may lay at His feet, uninhibited.

What beautiful love.

While waiting for our hearts to catch up, we can rest in His love. His Truth. His Peace.

In the midst of the battle, we can rest.

I think it is okay for us be at odds with what we feel vs. what we know. We all face storms at times, and we eventually make it to shore, no matter how difficult the journey. We are safe. We know. We will sail back out on the water, facing waves of unimaginable heights once more. We will remember the storms we faced and survived before, but we will still fear the storm we face in the moment. We know, yet we feel. It’s okay. Soon, we will feel the warmth of the sun, see the blue of the sky, and set our feet back on solid ground. We know, yet we feel, and it’s okay. Only because of Jesus, can we rest while we wait for our tattered boat to reach the shore.

I don’t know where you are right now. Perhaps, you are soaking up some rays on the beautiful beach of life, not a cloud in the sky. Perhaps, you feel like you are drowning in a tumultuous storm, waves crashing all around. Wherever you are…choose Jesus. You can feel, but still know. Know and trust Jesus. In the midst of the storm, we can keep our eyes on the never changing light, that is seen from any distance. The light of our Jesus, the only One who can calm the storm, and at times chooses to only calm our hearts, while the storm rages on. Even when the shore, seems a long way off, the truth is, it is never far at all. The light is much closer than you think.

Oh, and crank up this song! 🙂

Let’s Entertain Ourselves…

I did a quick Google search for the definition of “entertainment”. I found several suggested definitions, but the first one that came up was a good culmination of several that used the same types of words: “the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment.”

When I am entertained, I am being provided with amusement or enjoyment. What entertains you? What amuses you? What do you enjoy?

A quick glance around would show that we are entertained by music, movies, TV shows, social networks, books, relationships, food, …and the list goes on. We are entertained by much! We are not lacking in the entertainment department (yet, we are probably bored much of the time, but that’s a whole other post!).

I’m specifically concerned with our media entertainment. By “our”, I mean Christians. You. Me. Us, who claim to follow Jesus.

I’m bothered. I’m bothered that Christians seem okay with cranking up the latest profanity laced, sexually promiscuous, sin glorifying music and being entertained by it. I’m bothered that Christians are quick to endorse TV shows or movies that contain graphic language, sex, violence, without so much as batting an eye. I’m bothered that Christians are reading and passing around scandalous novels that are brimming with explicit sex and calling it okay, for the sake of entertainment. This bothers me. This should bother you, Jesus follower.

(Now, before you get all in a huff and start spouting “Judger!”, please stop for a moment. Please go read this, and consider what God’s Word has to say about accountability and speaking truth to one another, as believers.)

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” -Philippians 4:8

I think that Paul’s exhortation here in Philippians sums it up nicely.

Whatever is honorable. Whatever is just. Whatever is pure. Whatever is lovely. Whatever is commendable. Moral excellence. If there is any praise. DWELL on these things.

Ouch. The radio station that comes on in your car when you start it up. Is it honorable? The movie that you rented last night. Is it pure? The book on your nightstand. Is it of moral excellence?

I can hear some of you now…

“I don’t listen to the words. She sings well, the song sounds awesome, and she is a fabulous dancer.” Okay (let’s call it like it is). Let’s sacrifice our calling as believers for the sake of entertainment by a good dancer, who dishonors God and condones impurity.

“I don’t agree with the content on that TV show (or movie), so it’s no big deal that I watch it. I’m surrounded by it every day at work anyhow.” Do we not desire to be removed from sin, whenever it is possible by our own doing? Did I mention that you are indirectly supporting the content, just by supporting the show? Networks will not keep shows that no one watches.

“It’s just a book…words on a page. It is a good story! Oh, and it keeps me interested in sex for my husband.” Yes, they are just words on a page. Words that you are reading. Words that you are tucking away in your mind and heart. Ladies, this is no different than pornography. You are bringing impurity into your marriage. You are condoning impurity in your marriage.

Friends…can we really say that we are following and desire to follow Jesus, when we are so wrapped up in the sin of this world? Can we be entertained by sexual immorality, crude language, horror, lust, etc. and still call ourselves followers of Jesus? Scripture says that we are made new, that we are a new creation, when we trust Jesus and have His Spirit living in us.

Are you being made new?

Are you resting in the freedom found in Jesus?

Freedom found through grace?

When we encounter God’s grace and love, we will naturally not wish to continue living in darkness. The very things that Jesus went to the cross to pay for, we are condoning through our entertainment choices! The very things that are destroying marriages, families, and lives, we are supporting through our entertainment choices! Our hearts and minds are holding on to things that our God despises, because we are choosing to inundate ourselves with it.

How might our hearts change and be stirred with greater affection for our Creator, if we overhaul our entertainment choices? 

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Oh, it might mean that you give up the TV show that you so desperately adore. It might mean that you abandon your favorite hip hop artist or rock band. Perhaps your radio dial is permanently dialed in to a God-honoring radio station. Maybe, it could mean that your movie choices are changed so drastically that you feel like you have nothing to watch any more. It could mean that you throw out your novels, and in doing so, lose a couple of friends who don’t understand your choices. Perhaps, after a time of elimination, your entertainment tastes, preferences and desires will no longer be what our culture deems as “good”. Perhaps, you are so desensitized to sin, you need a media fast to bring back a God-honoring focus in your life.

What does this look like for you? For your family? How might we choose truth,  honor, justness, purity, loveliness, commendableness, moral excellence, and things that are praise worthy? Is it worth it?

Praying for each of you and your families, as you strive to honor God with your lives. Remember, your entertainment choices matter.

I will close with Hebrews 10:19-39 (HCSB):

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

26 For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries. 28 If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people. 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

32 Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings.33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. 34 For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession. 35 So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.

37 For yet in a very little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 But My righteous one will live by faith;
and if he draws back,
I have no pleasure in him.

39 But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.

 

 

I want my kids to want…

I don’t want them to starve from lack of food or things necessary for living. 

I want them to know what it’s like to want something and not get it. It is not healthy to get everything that we want.

I don’t want them to feel entitled. Entitlement breeds laziness and discontent.

I don’t want them to think that they are the best thing since sliced bread. Even though, to this momma, they are.

I want them to hear the word, “no”. Even when people are watching and it is difficult to follow through.

I don’t want them to find security in the sheer number or kind of toys that they have. What if it all went away?

I want them to have humble hearts. Humble hearts are not created by abundance.

I want them to understand how blessed a simple life can be. Less clutter, less distraction from the things that matter.

I want them to find contentment, not in things, but in Jesus. In trusting Him, resting in Him and serving Him.

I want them to experience times that cause them to fall on grace. Because we all need to understand our need for grace.

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Band-Aid on a Broken Leg

Sin.

Such a yucky word. Most of us don’t like to talk about it, but we have not even begun to grasp the reality of it. We have yet to grasp beyond the uncomfortable nature of the word and move into a realm where we see sin for what it is. For what it does to us. What it builds between us and our Maker. We don’t see the wall being built one small brick at a time. We ignore the sounds of the mortar being pressed and scraped, each sound signifying a more fortified wall. Much of the time, we are too busy looking into the mirror, applauding our own efforts.

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Today, I was reminded of a time when I didn’t feel the need to rely on grace much. I was by no means perfect. As a matter of fact, I was far from it, but I failed to see that. I was reminded of a time when I did all of the “right” things, said all of the “right” things and even knew all of the “right” answers. I was so “right”, yet so wrong. You see, I had missed the point completely. I had focused so much on what sin looked like on the outside, that I failed to see what sin looked like on the inside.

Grace.

I heard others talk about it. I could even define it, much like old Mr. Webster would. I could talk about it, yet I didn’t feel it. I don’t think I really thought I needed it. Oh, I didn’t think that exactly, and I most certainly never verbalized anything like that…but wasn’t grace for those people that had been rescued from a life of drugs, alcohol and running with the street gang? Oh, grace, it was for the super burdened. Me? I knew church. I knew Jesus. I knew what was right. My few indiscretions didn’t seem like much compared to some.

Oh, but my heart. My heart was burdened. It was burdened with doing all of the “right” things. I was burdened with selfishness and pride, but I didn’t even see it. Those bricks had been being built up, one brick at a time, until I was staring at a brick wall, going nowhere, and thought it was good enough.

 

You know, it kind of reminds me of a group of people over 2,000 years ago. We know them as the Pharisees. Oh, they did the “right” things, said the “right” things and knew all of the “right” answers. Yet, they knew nothing of grace. They were stagnant, staring at a brick wall, and thought it was the best it was going to be. They crucified our Lord. The very one that came to free them…yes, Him. They crucified Jesus. They thought they were right.

I don’t know if perhaps, marriage or motherhood was the catalyst, but oh, how the Holy Spirit chipped away at that wall in front of me. I felt like there was a broken part of me that I could not fix. Suddenly, I saw my failures. I saw my sin. I wasn’t right. I wasn’t humble, moldable, or soft. I was prideful, selfish and hard.  I was calloused, by my own “goodness”.

Goodness.

We can never be good enough. Our goodness can never change our heart condition. It’s like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. We can never fix an inside problem from the outside. Quite the opposite, actually! When grace comes barreling into our hearts like a sledgehammer, the wall crumbles…no matter how fortified or how tall. When the wall crumbles, we have freedom. Grace = Freedom. The beautiful thing is that grace starts a chain reaction. Grace catapults us to a whole new level of goodness. We are no longer trying to band-aid a broken leg, but we are showing the world what it looks like to run! We begin to overflow with the grace of Jesus and are so compelled to serve Him that our behavior becomes, simply, a reflection of our Savior. Oh, of course, we will not be perfect, but with soft hearts, we will strive to be like Jesus. We will strive to love. We will strive for humility and gentleness. We will seek to share our story of grace with someone else that is staring at a brick wall. Their bricks may look different, but they need the sledgehammer all the same. We will show them where to find it.

You see, grace is our rescue. Our sin has left us stranded. Our sin is a heart issue, not merely an act or behavior. Our sin is rooted in our selves, which is why the apostle Paul tells us we are to die to ourselves (Galatians 2:20). On our own we can never be good (Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:10-12), but through Jesus, we are better than good. We are made whole. We are made free. We are restored to friendship with God. We are healed. Now, that is good.

“The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.” ~Psalm 51:17

 

 

An Open Letter to Girls…

Dear Girls,

Hey, let’s start with the “good girls”. I see you walking through life with the “goody two-shoes” tag on your back. I understand that at times you feel like an outcast. I put “good girls” in quotes because, really? There is no such thing as a perfect or “good” person. We’re all flawed, but I know you still carry around a “good” label that seems like a bad thing to you at times. I want you to know that being “bad” is not always good, and being “good” is not always bad.

I watched a Disney channel sitcom last week that depicted the main character trying to get rid of her “good girl” image. She didn’t like being known to the entire high school as the “good girl”. I think she thought that she was missing a great adventure in life by not rebelling in some way. Oh, yeah, then this week everyone was talking about Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs. I didn’t watch the VMAs, but I looked up her performance on Youtube to see what the fuss was all about. I’m praying for Miley. I’m praying that she will find Jesus and that He would be more satisfying for her than any “bad girl” image or extreme media attention. My heart breaks for her. Please know, this letter isn’t about bashing Miley or the Disney channel. These two things, however, have prompted me to write this. I see you, girls…the “good” ones that have a squeaky clean Disney image, and the ones with stains that you don’t think will ever be gone. I see you. I feel for you.

Girls, I see you feeling like a complete weirdo when others around you are laughing at something that makes your stomach twist in uncomfortable knots. I see you walking the halls of your school as the “good girl”. I know that sometimes it seems that the hottest guys really prefer a girl that knows her way around. I know that, if you’ve never been drunk, gotten high, had sex, etc., that you often have people around you pushing you to do those things. After all, they don’t want to be alone in their choices and it seems pretty fun to taint the “good girl”. To taint your reputation seems like their goal in life – a fun challenge. I know that it is hard. I know you wonder if you are missing out on all of the fun. Let me be the one to tell you that you are definitely missing out. You are missing out on regret. I know that you wonder if it’s even worth it to stand up for what is right. It is. I promise.

Perhaps you are the one that once rebelled, that once wore the “bad” label. I know you struggle. I see you trying to explain to your friends why you don’t want to do that old stuff any more. I see you feeling like the outcast after you’ve had a taste of popularity. It’s hard. I know that some days you feel strong and ready to face the world, but that some days you feel weak and insecure. I understand. Is it worth it to press on? Absolutely.

Hey. Maybe you’re the one that’s caught up in the whirlwind of the world. Are you the one that falls right in line with the crowd? Come close and listen for just a second…you are loved. Not by a world that pulls you in to gorge on all it has to offer. Nope. You are loved by Jesus. You are loved by The One who can pull you close and redeem your broken soul. I see you walking through life, doing all that is expected of you, but still feeling a deep sense of dissatisfaction. Do you long to feel whole? Are you seeking satisfaction? Jesus heals and satisfies. You are loved.

You see, girls, “bad” equals broken. We are all broken, but Jesus came to heal our brokenness and to make us whole. The way we walk shows our condition. Are you walking in brokenness, or wholeness? Girls, I’m praying for you.

I’m praying for you, “good” church girl, that stands up for what is right. I pray that you will walk in the grace of Jesus. I pray that you would not be self-righteous, but that you would proclaim the redeeming power of Jesus with your love, life and words.

I’m praying for you, newly-changed-by-Jesus girl, that is struggling to keep your old self at bay. I pray that you will walk in the grace of Jesus. I pray that you would be strong by depending on the Holy Spirit, and not your human self. I pray that the redeeming power of Jesus would be evident in your life and that your testimony would draw others to Him.

I’m praying for you, unsatisfied girl, that is searching for wholeness. I pray that you would find the grace of Jesus. I pray that God would place people in your life that are not afraid to speak of the love of Jesus. I pray that you would become whole, satisfied, and redeemed.

Girls, listen up. “Good” does not equal boring, dumb or flawed. On the contrary, if your “goodness” is a reflection of what Jesus has done in your life, then it represents life, wisdom and redemption. Your “goodness” cannot stand on it’s own, so please remember that it means nothing if not matched with the saving grace of Jesus.

Girls, please hear me out. Junior High, High School, and even college will all be only memories one day. The world may taunt and confuse you now, but please know that Jesus is eternal and His ways are always higher. I’m praying for all of you. It is not easy. It never was and it never will be a piece of cake to choose Jesus in this world. I’m praying for you. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. Stand beside each other. It really is okay, and even admirable, to stand for what is right…even if it means you walk around with an unpopular, “good girl”, label.

Love,

Me, and a million other women who have walked in your shoes…