Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear 2011: Reflections and Lessons Learned

I was ready.

When the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2010… I was ready.

I was ready for change. I was ready for hope. I was ready for something to propel me forward.

I had been in this vortex of comfortable.

My faith had hit a plateau. There was nothing remarkably different about me.

Yes I had changed in the past year. I had made new friends, I had moved, I had become a woman I had never seen or never thought of becoming.

But something inside of me wanted more, needed more, begged for more.

So I was ready.

For good reason, too.

I look back today and think: Has it been a whole year? One entire year?

How has it not been longer? Hasn’t it been longer?

These are the questions I ask myself as I sit here and think about the magnitude of change my life has encountered over the past year and things that my heart, my hope, my faith have learned.

I've learned you can wish for change, you can beg for change, you can run for it full force with all you have… but it’s not going to come until God allows it come. And when it does, you may not be as ready as you think. But the only constant in change, is that it ALWAYS comes. And the biggest thing that changes you, is how you deal with that change. Lean into God. Pray. Fight hard with your faith. Grow. That is what change is all about.

I've learned to dream. That’s a crazy concept to think about since we have been dreaming from the day we were born. Our parents had dreams for us. We had dreams for ourselves; jobs we wanted to have, places we wanted to see, people we wanted to be. But somewhere along the way, if you are like me, you stopped dreaming. Let me tell you this: There is nothing more beautiful than a heart that has been awakened and can learn to dream. AND DREAM BIG. God wants us to dream. HE IS GOD. He is so much bigger than our dreams. And maybe those dreams lead you closer to Him. Or maybe those dreams bring others closer to Him. Or maybe you just figure out more about who He is. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Don’t be afraid to fail. That might be the purpose. But trust me, the end gain with God is so much bigger. So Dream. Dream Big. Why not?!

I've learned that your faith grows immensely when you surrender to God. The only situations I have been in this year, are ones where at the end of the day, the only thing I have is my faith in God. It will bring tears to your eyes when you can understand more and more of who He is. I cannot describe in words just how faithful, how loving, how simply INCREDIBLE God is and has been to me this year. But I am not who I was one year ago. I think that alone speaks volumes of His capability.

I've learned life does not get more stable the older you get. It does not get less scary. You do not have more answers than you did when you were 19. In fact I think it gets scarier, I think it gets less stable, I think you have less of a clue about where you are headed. But you know who you are. You have more courage, more faith, and more strength to face all the unknowns if you allow God to grow those things in you. You do not have more answers, but the answers you do have are more secure. You do not have more strength; in fact you may become weaker. Thank God His weak is a billion times stronger than our strong. His grace is sufficient for us.

I've learned I am beautiful. I posses something that is my own, that God created in me. Every day is a struggle to fight the lies Satan poisons women with; more personally, poisons me with. Every day it is difficult to remember that God created me with a unique beauty all my own. Every day, God sends reminders of how beautiful I am to Him, how happy my love for His world, makes Him. Every day He continually teaches me the TRUTH about beauty, about HIS beauty, and about the beauty He created within me.

I've learned pain comes in waves. Change doesn’t come without pain. It rains. It will always rain. Sometimes the pain can hurt so bad, you think you will die before God vanquishes it. But then it goes, just as quickly as it came. We go through hardships, loss, fear, and hurt. It comes when we aren’t ready for it, when we don’t expect it, when we can’t handle it. Waves come. Waves go. Things get better. Maybe for a moment, or a day, or a week, or a lifetime. But the “better” comes. Through a laugh, through a friend, through a prayer. And the best thing about waves is they bring you closer to shore, closer to Home, closer to Him.

I've learned the war has already been won. I’ve spent a lot of time this year fighting battles. Honestly, they seemed like wars at the time. Satan is a vicious, vile, relentless jerk. And that is putting it nicely. But because of these battles, these hurts, these tears and tiring sleepless nights, I have realized the most important thing that wins EVERY battle: The war has been won. This truth allows me to cling so desperately during these battles to the beauty, the glory, and the sacrifice of the Cross. The victorious, redeeming, wondrous cross. Satan may throw a lot of crap at me, and it gets hard… believe me, it gets REALLY hard. But the war has been won. The price has been paid. My heart, my life, my everything lies in the hands of Jesus Christ who will not leave me nor will He forsake me.

I have learned life is not about getting what I want. I did not ask to be single at 25. I did not ask to work for a non-profit, sometimes struggling very hard to make ends meet. I did not ask to live in a different city than my family. I did not ask to be continually in question about what comes next in my life. I had a plan. Don’t we all. I did not get much of what I wished for as a little girl. It has taken me a very long time to accept that. He did not put me where I wanted. I will forever be grateful for the grace and mercy that has allowed this truth. He has put me where I am needed, where I am wanted, where I will grow and continually seek His will. Life is not about what I want. Life is about what I can do for Christ. That doesn’t mean my dreams won’t come true. That means all those old dreams, are gone. It’s time for new ones. It’s time to ensure that I delight myself in Him and follow His dreams for me, and make sure everything I want reflects everything He sees in me.

This past year, 2011, has been hard.

I have been pruned. And that is not an easy thing to undergo.

But I have come through with more joy, more love, more hope, more faith, and more knowledge of peace than I ever would have been able to without the pruning.

It has been exactly one year. One year since I braced myself for change.

And now…
I have no clue what is coming next.

But I’m dreaming, I’m seeking, and I’m abiding.

Dear 2011,

 I cannot sum up in one tiny post the hundreds of lessons I have been taught, journeys I've taken, experiences I've had, massive amounts of laughter I've shared, tears I've cried, or mountains I've slid down and conquered. But I will continue to share them to those who wish to learn, seek and understand the vast amount of things your small one year span has taught me.

What a year it was.

See you in photos and memories,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What I've Learned About Relationships

This past year I’ve come in contact with many different forms of relationships.

Some of my friends entered their second year of marriage.
Some of my friends got married.
Some got engaged.
Some just started dating.
Some broke up.
Some have been married for many years.

And none of them are the same.

I decided a while back that I would try to learn from what everyone around me in relationships had to offer.

How do relationships really work? What's normal? What's is trying to make it work and what is beating a dead horse? What makes a relationship last?

So I’ve watched. I’ve asked. I’ve taken mental notes. And I’ve prayed.

Most of all,  I've learned.

I've learned that no two relationships are the same. They all start differently, they all have different struggles, and they all have different ways of functioning. You cannot compare your relationship to that of someone else. Just because one relationship starts really quickly and one takes months of months of being friends before dating… doesn’t mean one will last and one won’t. There is no cookie –cutter relationship that we should all hold a standard to.

I've learned that it doesn’t have to be hard. I’m not saying that it is always going to be easy, or that you will never fight. But I’ve seen a lot of my friends in couples over the past few months… and it doesn’t have to be that hard! If while you are dating: you fight every single day, you can’t agree on anything, you talk bad about each other when you aren’t around one another, you’d rather be alone more than being with your significant other, you can’t trust them… there is a better way! Maybe you work it out with the person you’re with. Maybe you decided to move on. But I’ve seen it. It does exist. Relationships are work, but they don’t have to constantly be hard work.

I've learned the importance of dealing with your baggage BEFORE you enter a relationship. I never realized that the things that have scarred me in my past—“daddy” issues, the way I have been treated in past relationships, the way I behaved myself and the scars I caused myself—will show up in your relationships! In a major way. No one person can make me whole. No one person can “fix” me. It is up to me to allow Christ to do that and to genuinely seek becoming more like Him and healing those scars. He is the ONLY one that can do that.

I've learned that your spouse will always come second. I used to believe that my future husband would come above anything and everything else in my life. If we had children, they would follow. Then I fell in lovewith Jesus Christ. And He wants to be first in my life. ABOVE ALL ELSE. That all else… that includes a husband and kids. That includes family. That includes EVERYTHING. If you do not have a significant other that feels the same way or sees Christ the way you do, you need to seek Christ together and ask Him to change your hearts, make you fall in love with HIM, that way you can allow room for Christ in your heart and in your relationship.

I’ve learned my position as a woman in a relationship. I used to get soooo offended at the thought of “submitting” to my husband.  I am my own person, why should I let him get the say? This could be a whole post in itself but in the end, it’s not a power thing… it’s respect, it’s Godly, it’s trust. The bible calls me to be with a man worth leading me and making the decisions when it comes to our well being, our walk with Christ, our children. Ladies, if he’s not worth submitting to, don’t. Men, we need you to lead us. We need you to be worth submitting to.

I've learned that no matter how hard it may be or how difficult and confusing it may seem at the time… sometimes you have to walk away. I get so upset with friends who allow themselves to be walked all over. Mostly because I've been there myself. Problems with someone relating to emotional or physical affairs will not get better in a relationship or in a marriage. This does not solve anything. Ladies, if he is having an emotional affair with someone BEFORE you get married… what makes you think that the minute you get into a really difficult situation in a marriage, he won’t run to another woman to help him? Guys, if she’s cheated on you once, what on earth makes you think she’ll never do it again? She did not have the respect or love for you to not do it the first time. And in many cases it’s what I like to call a cockroach situation: If you find out she’s cheated once (notice she didn’t tell you and didn’t want you to ever find out) there are probably about 10 more cases that you do not know about where she has cheated. You may be afraid of being alone, you may not want to give up, but God wants you to. Let go of a bad, abusive, emotionally trying relationship. Don’t settle.

Speaking of settling. I've learned not to settle. Someone to lead me in my everyday life and my spriritual walk. Someone who makes me laugh and laughs with me. Someone who appreciates me. Someone who is not abusive in any way. Someone who loves Jesus way more than he will ever love me. Someone who is ok with the fact that I may know just as much about football and baseball as he does. Someone Godly, respectable, and endearing. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I’d rather be picky, have high standards, not settle... than be in a relationship that is destructive for the rest of my life.  I’ve come too far to give up now. And if life in a relationship doesn’t glorify God the way life not in a relationship does, no thank you.
(Side note: I do not say alone, because I believe that whether I am blessed with a relationship or not, I will never be alone. God has blessed me immensely with plenty of people and loved ones to fill my life. It took me a long time to appreciate and understand this.)

I've learned it’s not about me. My entire life, I have desired a relationship with a man. I’ve wanted a family. And more recently, I have desired to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. But these are selfish desires. I’ve learned we must align our hearts with God’s. If my relationships, if my life, does not honor and glorify Him, then what is the point? I do not want a relationship, simply to have a relationship. Paul speaks of the good single people do and how his preference is to stay single for the simple fact that as a single person, we dwell upon the Lord and aim to please Him. If I can serve God more furiously as a married woman, FANTASTIC.  If I serve Him better single, then He will grant me the peace and understanding to do so for the rest of my life. And I fully believe and put my hope in this truth.

I've learned the best and most fruit bearing relationships bring you closer to God every single day. I’ve observed some pretty incredible relationships this year and have been so lucky to get to be a part of their lives and learn from them.  And the biggest lesson they have all taught me… is you can’t get closer to each other, without getting closer to God. Intimacy was CREATED by God Himself.  How do we expect to know it, to have it, without Him? It’s like a triangle: The closer you get to Him at the top, the closer you get to each other. It also keeps your relationship strong and keeps Satan from attacking you with the everyday struggles of life. Those can either magnify the relationship or destroy it.

What advice do you have? What have you learned through relationships of your own or from others around you? Are you looking to learn? What could you learn?

I encourage anyone who is single or even in a dating relationship to seek out advice and things you can learn from those around you that are married or in relationships. But don’t forget to consult the One who made you. He thought up, designed and implemented the idea of relationship, so that He could have it with you. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I have exciting news.

Actually, it may be the most exciting news a girl can ever have.

I have been romanced.

I am talking: completely, head-over-heels in love, butterflies in my stomach, cold chills... romanced.

And it was done by none other than the Original Romancer Himself, Jesus Christ.

I get this may sound weird.
It honestly, sounds a little odd to me.
But there is no denying it.

Let me share an embarrassing fact with you.
It has been a very long time--many years, actually--since I have felt adored, treasured, beautiful...

Quiet honestly, up until recently, I do not know that I even remembered what it felt like to be loved. love and be loved...

I knew that in a platonic sense.
I knew that in a family sense.
I knew that in a Christian sense.

But to love and be loved in a ROMANTIC sense...

That is a concept that has been lost over the years in the hurt and in the pain of hiding.

God has been many things to me in my life. Especially in the last few years, since I completely surrendered my heart and life to Him and His perfect will.


And He still is all these things!

But He has become something even more to me.


I recently came through a rough patch in my walk with Christ.
My heart was dead. 
Numb really.
I couldn't feel ANYTHING.
Except the bad of course.
I think for the first time in my life, I completely understand what it means to CLING to the cross.

I have cried.. I mean boo-hooed.. every time I worship in the last month.
I could feel... really feel... God was good.
I knew He was.
I knew He was God, He was more than I was, and He was with me.

But I was utterly numb.
There was no zeal, no passion, no nothing to my life.
I was lonely, sad, angry, frustrated, and lonely.

I put that twice, I realize that.
I need you to understand... I was really LONELY.

I can't tell you what happened.
I can't tell you I prayed a magical prayer, and poof.. all better.
I can't tell you, that I tried harder and that worked. 
I didn't. 
In fact, I grew weaker.. and my life, my walk with God probably reflected that.

I was worshiping one Friday night and we sang these lyrics:

"I hear Thy Savior say 'thy strength indeed is small. Child of weakness watch and pray; find in Me, thine all in all.'"

My heart just said.."..that's you. you're that child."
My hands FLEW in the air.
My entire body had goosebumps.
Tears...streamed down my eyes.
At one point, I'm fairly certain I just gasped in awe.
My heart... My heart was 

That night I went back to a passage I felt God had been writing on my heart for the last few weeks:

"So now I am going to draw her back to me. I will lead her into the desert. There I will speak tenderly to her." Hosea 2:14

I got it. 
After WEEKS of meditating, praying, seeking...
I got it.
I quit looking at the desert part.
I was there.
But this time.. I saw the first half of that verse:
                               "...I will lead her back to ME.."
I began to pray:
                 God--when did I leave you? I'm here.. Did I abandon You? Father.. Precious Father...

And then I read on: 
            "I will give her back her vineyards. I will make a door of hope for her. Then she will love Me as she did when she was young. 'And in that day' declares the Lord, 'you will call Me "my Husband" and no longer will you call me "my Master". I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness and you will acknowledge the Lord." 
Hosea 2:15-16,19-20

In that moment, He was not trying to be Father. He was opening my eyes, my heart.

I can't perfectly describe what that passage means to me.
I can't make you understand what that did right then, right there, on that Friday night, to my heart.
Or what it continues to do for that matter.

I think for the first time in my life, I am IN LOVE with my Savior and Redeemer.
I have always revered and feared Him. 
But this... this is different.

It's a relationship. A real one.
It's living.

Songs send me to tears thinking about our love. 
Each day and each night, I cannot wait to spend time with Him.
I can feel Him wrap His arms around me, especially when I begin to feel weak.
He speaks to me.
The stars sitting out on a friend's dock a few weeks ago, were a special gift for me--His Chosen Bride.

He has become my all in all.

God is many things to us all. 
You may need a father figure because you don't have a good one, or one at all.
You may need a friend when you are lonely.
You may need a savior and redeemer for your past.
At this time in my life, I needed a lover--someone to provide that true love that I so desperately long for.

Real. Romantic. Love.

I came to the well.
And I have been filled up.

My heart has awakened. 

Today, I am satisfied. He is the Love of my life. 

I know that all relationships go through ups and downs. I know life won't stay this way. We live in a terribly broken world... and Satan will do anything to attack this love. My flesh and my soul will always be at war in this world. 
So I will cling to the cross. I will cling to this love. Until the day I get to go home and sit and praise Him for the rest of eternity. 

He came to give life and give it abundantly.

"Oh Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!"

And this heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

25 in 25

Today is my 25th birthday.

I'm utterly amazed at where I am at in my life. And how my plans were NOTHING compared to what God has had in store for me.

I like to think of Birthday's like "New Years". I give them themes.. Pick a verse for that year.. Dream big for what God wants to do with my life.

Last year was "24 and ready for more".

Cheesy. And I loved it.

Although, 24 was a very difficult year. However, I grew so much in my faith and my walk with Christ.

That made every single hardship worth it.

So what's in store for this year?

I have no idea.


I'm trying something new.

This year, I have a list: 25 things I want to do while I'm 25.

My goal is to complete the entire list by the time I turn 26.

Big goals? Yes. Too much? Maybe. Exciting and challenging? You bet.

I'm so excited though.

So here is my list. Pick something and do it with me.

I'll keep you posted as I complete or work towards these things.

Diana's 25 in 25
  1. Skydiving
  2. Run a half marathon
  3. Make/Keep a budget
  4. Go on a missions trip
  5. Sponsor a child
  6. Go on a cruise
  7. Visit a real vineyard
  8. Make a t-shirt blanket
  9. Attend at least one Christian conference
  10. Have my writing published
  11. Make a "Thankful" tree on a wall in my house
  12. Memorize a book of the bible
  13. Go to a Predator's hockey game
  14. Learn to drive a stick shift
  15. Learn to play the guitar
  16. Find my "signature piece" of jewelry
  17. Fall in love with something new
  18. See someone in concert I've never seen before, somewhere I've never seen anyone before
  19. Learn a new language
  20. See a real ballet performance
  21. Send a message in a bottle
  22. Paint a piece of art
  23. Get a new car
  24. Take a scuba diving lesson
  25. Take a picture/make a memory every single day of the year

So there it is:) my 25 in 25. 

Here goes nothing. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Lifetime of Faith

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Faith is a tough subject.

Growing up until about the time that I was 22, I was a very religious person.

Don’t get me wrong, I believed in the Gospel whole-heartedly.

However, I never believed the bible held anything for me except old stories, and something to read out of on Sunday mornings.

God loved me. God saved me. Jesus Christ died on a cross for me.

Because of that, I went to church every Sunday.

I didn’t do the things I wasn’t supposed to (for the most part) and I did the things I was supposed to (for the most part).

I never really understood why I did the things I did, or why I didn’t do the things I didn’t.

God’s grace prevailed even in times I didn’t understand, and saved me from myself.

One day, my eyes were opened. I woke up and I just realized who God was and what it really meant to be a child of God, and I knew what it meant to believe and to have true faith.

Once you realize those things, there is no going back. 

"And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2

Somewhere deep down in my heart, I have always known that my life would be different.

I have never really felt that I fit in.

I have come to realize that God has set me apart. 

That is the name He has called me: “Set Apart.”

But living a set apart life… requires a ridiculous amount of faith.

Faith has been a struggle these past few years.

It has also been the greatest gain of my life.

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1

The last week of my life, I believe I have learned more about faith than I have in the past 24 years.

This past week, a very dear friend of mine lost his mother to cancer.

This woman was probably one of the Godliest women that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

There is a not a time that I can recall in my life that she was not singing praise music, taking us on church outings, or praying.

The last few months, she suffered greatly from her illness.

Yet her family has told numerous stories of her faith during those times.

She could not sit up very well, she could not eat, she had a machine that forced her to breathe.

But every single day, she took time to worship the Lord.

That was the desire of her heart, to worship the Lord and give Him praise, even though she faced a certain death.

What a faith she had.

I am in awe of it.

The example she set for her sons, her daughters-in-law, her husband, her grandson. Really, to her whole world that was watching.

God is good. All the time.

Even when the hurt doesn’t go away, even when the sickness isn’t healed, even when death is certain…

God is good.

That is faith.

She committed herself to the unique path that God laid before her and the will that He had for her life.

I am humbled. Greatly.

There are days that I wish I had a different life.

There are days that I wish I could give up the single life for one spent with my future husband.

There are days that I wish I were skinnier, prettier, happier, had more money, had more time, etc.

I forget to look at God.

I forget to see what He has done, what He is doing, in my life.

He has called me “Set-Apart”.

Set Apart.

Different. On my own, unique path. Following His will, not my own.

The key to being this person that He has called me to be, is faith.

“The Lord goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

I doubt so often what God is doing in my life and wish that I was on a different path or that He would just speed things up.

But after losing someone who was a mom to me, after seeing the impact her faith has had on her family and those around her… my greatest desire is to have the faith of a woman who can stare death in the face and not be shaken. one. single. bit.

I want to be the woman who takes God at His word. With no hesitation.

I want to be the woman who stands up for what she believes in. No matter the cost or consequence.

This life is short. Too short in many cases.

At the end of the day and at the end of this life, I want to be able to stand before my God and have Him say to me:

“I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a young bride, how you followed Me in the wilderness, into a land not yet sown.” Jeremiah 2:2

I am in the wilderness and I will sing God’s praises louder than I ever have. “Sing like never before, O my soul..”

I want to be a woman of great faith. Not just a woman of faith.

I want to be a disciple, a mentor, a leader, an example, a daughter of the King, and a life that leaves a mark of faith.

I want to be the woman who fights the good fight.

I want to be the woman that finishes the race. Strong.

I want to be the woman who keeps the faith.

I will fear no evil for my God is with me. Always.

This is the woman God has called me to be.

“Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”  Matthew 15:28

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Men: We need you.


We need you.

Did you know that?

Even as single women, we need you.

We need you to be honest.
Did you know that we think REALLY differently?

Things get so lost in the translation between men and women.

The mysteriousness of that lies completely in God alone, but down here on this broken, broken earth… it becomes so easy to hurt each other with what lies between what is said and what is not.

So we need you. We need you to be honest.

We need you to tell us when you just want friendship. With us and in general.

We need you to tell us when you care about us, when you want to pursue us, when you want to be with us.

We need you be open, upfront, and not threatening.

We promise to respect your decision when you do this.

We promise to pray for you to have clarity when you are seeking what God wants for you.

We promise to pray that you will have tactfulness, gentleness and patience with us. We know we are confusing, we know we are tough, we know we are emotional.

We are different.

We need you to be understanding.
Friendships between men and women are sticky.

We may not be able to be friends.

Please try to understand this.

Men in our pasts have made us fearful, have hurt us, have caused us to put up walls.

We cannot guarantee that we can be friends with you because of this.

I realize this isn’t fair. But if we are to guard our hearts, to keep ourselves safe and pure for Christ and for our future husbands, we need you to understand.

The truth is you may feel the same way about us.

This is why we need to be honest. Both you AND us.

We must communicate intention up-front and if that changes, we MUST communicate that.

If there is one thing I have learned as a single woman, communication can make you or break you.

We need you to be manly men
I do not have an eye for anything around the house.

I cannot fix a leaky faucet. I cannot drill holes in the wall.

I cannot hang curtains by myself. Don’t even get me started on my TV.

We need you to be manly men.

We need your help in doing the things God did not make us capable of doing.

We need you to offer.

We need to know you will help.

Even as friends, we need you. We cannot do all of this on our own.

And women, stop being afraid to ask. If he will help, let him help.

We need you to be respectable
The bible tells us that women are to respect their husbands and husbands love their wives.

We’ll make you a deal: you be respectable, we’ll be loveable.

We aren’t perfect. There are going to be times when this is not easy, when it’s not doable, when we just can’t.

However you can do these things, at all times:
  • Do not talk down about us behind our backs. Even to your guy friends. Especially to your guy friends.
  • You can practice the Fruits of the Spirit in your every day relationships.
  • You can be love as described in 1 Corinthians 13 to every single person you meet.
  • You can strive to become more Christ-like.
  • You can become a leader.
  • You can have integrity.
  • You can pray.
  • You can be honest and understanding.

This goes for us too. We can’t expect you to do all the work.

After all, God made us to fit together.

We need you to set the boundaries
Sexual sin isn’t a male issue. It is a human issue.

Did you know that?

Go read chapters 2 and 3 of Song of Solomon. Who set the boundaries? Who tried to break them?

We need to know that you will be the one to set, keep, and lead us away from those boundaries.

Doing that now will set the tone for a relationship, a marriage.

Lead us not into temptation.

This will build incalculable amounts of trust and respect for you.

We need you to pursue
I know the gender roles have become so unclear in our world.

Women ask men out.

Women pay.

Women step up and take the lead.

Christian women don’t want that.

Let me repeat:

We want you to tell us that you want to pursue us… and then do it.

We want you to ask us out.

We want you to be the first to take that move.

We will be the first to serve. We will be the first to be gracious. We will be the first to respond…

But you have to give us something to respond to.

Remember, we have been hurt. We have been abused. We have been broken so many times that most of us feel unworthy, unloved, and invisible.

We NEED to know that you want us, that you would fight for us, that you will pursue us.

We need you to love Jesus
I love Jesus more than I could ever possibly love you.

And I plan on loving one man, a lot.

I expect that, I need that, in return.

We need you to love us like Christ loves the church
I know at least 15 single, Godly Christian women.

I know less than 8 single, Godly Christian men.

The ratio is off.

We need you.

We need you to love the way God has commanded... COMMANDED... you to love. (not optional)

We need you to treat us like daughters of the King.

We need you to respect us, even if you don’t want to date us.

We need you to treat us like this, even if you don’t want to date us.

There is a difference in liking us and wanting to be with us. (Like I said, sometimes, we just can’t be friends).

Did you know that if you do this, our faith in men can be restored?

Even if you are not the man God has created us to be with, you are an example, and you are proof that these men exist. You keep our hope, our faith, and our love alive.

We need you to know what you want
Ask God.


Seek Him.

We promise to pray for you to have clarity when you are seeking what God wants for you.

And please, don’t pursue us until you do this.

We don’t want you, unless God wants you for us.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pretty is as Pretty does

Growing up my dad always told me before I left the house “Pretty is as Pretty does.” 

He used to make me repeat it to him before I was even allowed to move out of his sight. 

That thought has been engraved into my brain. 

Pretty is as Pretty does.

What that statement has come to mean to me is this:
Beauty, is not just good looks, but is beheld within the person that you are to your very core.
Beauty is the person you radiate, it’s that inner thing that people look at you and say: “There is just something about them”.

Beauty is how you treat others, how you carry yourself, how you behave when no one is looking.

Beauty is Jesus Christ over flowing from every cell in your body into the world. 

Beauty is you.

I have never thought of myself as a beautiful girl. If compared to this world’s view of beautiful, I do not fit the most commonly thought of boundaries.

I am not a size 2. I have curves. I get break-outs. My hair rarely does what I want it to. There are features about myself that I would love to change. I work out, I like to have nice clothes that flatter me, most days I don’t even like to leave the house without make up on. I tend to pull my hair up about 10 times before I actually like the way it looks and quit messing with it.

I am your average, every day girl. 

Some days I am confident in the body that I was given and the beauty that it holds.

Some days I don’t want to leave my house because I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin.

Yet my dad constantly reminded me… Pretty is as pretty does. 

That’s because beauty… might not have much to do with my outer looks and the body I have.

Confidence has never been something that comes easy to me. I’m an over-thinker. Even if I think I’m good at something, I can usually think about it enough that I convince myself I’m going to screw up and usually don’t even try. I mean, what is the point if I am just going to fail right?

I’ve never really been that confident in my beauty because I felt I was inadequate to the world’s standards.

And I am. 

By the world’s standards. 

By human standards.
Here is the incredible, amazing, wonderful thing though:
I am not held to the world’s standards. I am not held to anyone’s standards. I am not held to your standards.

I am held to God’s standards.

I am a daughter of the King. 

And because of this, my beauty, true beauty, reflects Him.

Did you know that God created woman LAST? 

He created everything else on this earth, including man, and then decided it wasn’t good for man to be alone and created woman.

Woman reflects the true nature of beauty that lies within God.

Man and Woman were both made in the image of God and that is why in relationship, they can bring the greatest honor to God, because they reflect the entire being of God.

My standard of beauty is God. 


That is a lot to think about. That is a lot to take in.

 The stars, the ocean, the radiant colors of fall, the waterfalls, the most gloriously beautiful moment of your entire life… is the beauty of God.

And WE—WOMENWE are the height, the masterpiece, the final crescendo of His work.

So why do we continually try to prove that we are beautiful? 

I’ve done this. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never tried to be funny, witty, sporty, sexy, super-christian-esque.

I have. 

Multiple times.

But when I think about all of those facts and truth about beauty and God’s creation… shouldn’t it just flow from me without trying?

Truth is, the more intimate my relationship with Christ becomes, the less I care about my outer beauty. My focus has shifted from my appearance to my heart, to how I serve, think, feel, interact, and love to the fullest.

Of course I still have issues leaving the house without make-up, I still want to be beautiful and feel pretty. I still like to dress nice. I don’t think that wanting those things is bad, in the right context

However, when we become so consumed with it, that all we care about is how we are perceived to OTHER PEOPLE, we are committing a terrible sin against ourselves and our precious, precious Savior who died to make us gloriously beautiful on the inside. 

When I think about that fact, I don’t care if anyone ever tells me I look beautiful again. 

My standard is Christ. 

He knows my heart. Way deeper than anyone else ever could. Even more than my future husband one day will hopefully.

And as much as my future husband will think I am beautiful (hopefully)… It won’t even compare to how Christ sees me. 

So I want to be beautiful for Him. I want to reflect His glory, His humility, His love, His sacrifice, and His holiness from the inside of my heart to my outer beauty that He has blessed, yes-blessed, me with. 

Every. Single. Day.

Let’s stop striving to be beautiful, and be who we were made to be.

I think we’ll all be a lot more joyful, content, and less self seeking if we do this.

Who’s with me?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hunkering Down

I don’t even know where to begin.

Part of me wants to tell you that I am confused.

That I do not understand what is going on with my life.

That I am tired.

That I do not feel peace and goodness.

That my joy is gone.

That it hurts.

Yet this is the fact that is laid upon my heart heavily: God is good.

I’m going to tell you a secret though…

I don’t feel that God is good today.

I haven’t for about a week.

However, I KNOW with every fiber in my being, God is Good.

That is fact. It will not change regardless of how I feel. My feelings… do not change God.

I am so thankful for that.

When I feel God’s goodness, it brings me to tears. When I can see Him, when I can feel His workings in my life, it is an indescribable joy that feels my heart.

What happens though, when I can’t feel it?

Well… that also brings me to tears. This time though, it’s the painful kind. The kind where I am on the side of my bed, kneeling, and just repeating over and over through those tears: “God you are God. God you are so very good.”

Because it’s truth. Those tears, those fears and the loneliness of those tears, do not change that truth.

He is good when there is nothing good in me.

I went rafting on Saturday with some friends from my small group.
It was an amazing day, even though by the end I was exhausted and ridiculously cold.

On the last rapid, we were told to “hunker down”, so no one would get thrown from the boat. The rapids were stronger than our boat and our paddling.

After we got to shore and were waiting around, I became so cold. I longed for a blanket, jacket, dry clothes, gust of really warm air--just about anything that would make me warm again.

That is how I long to feel God’s goodness.

I want to wrap myself up in Him and His goodness like a warm blanket when you are drenched from head to toe and your lips are turning blue.

The rapids of confusion that I am feeling right now, are really rough.

They are tossing and turning my emotions, my feelings and my security left and right, and sometimes I can’t seem to stabilize them.

I am hunkering down. Way way down.

I may feel angry, I may feel confused, I may be tired and frustrated and at a loss for words.

But I am in the boat, hunkering down so far, repeating to myself over and over that my God is good. Because while I can’t feel it, the more I say it, the more I focus on it and not on the rapids that are tossing me every which way, the sooner I will feel it and make it to shore safely to wrap up in His goodness.

I don’t doubt His love and goodness. That has never, and I pray never will be, the issue.

The issue is I am a woman who is searching and seeking so hard and yet is confused.

A good friend of mine recently told me that confusion is a good thing, its part of trusting God.

I’m a mess right now. But God has a plan.

And my mess is part of the plan for the moment.

He knows that I am trying really, really hard.

I hate this. I mean really hate it.

I’m sick of feeling shame for feeling this way. It is hard to admit that I don't feel God's goodness because I do know that my feeling just isn't true. It is hard to admit to doubting, to insecurity, to feeling completely inadequate.

I’m tired of feeling like I try so hard and just keep running in circles.

I’m tired of crying.

But He is good. Always.

And I must always, always, always believe that.

I am digging down so deep, so hard, sinking as far down as I possibly can into the truth that God is and always will be good.

The rapids will end and I’ll make it to shore. I genuinely believe that.

Even if I didn’t though, I trust my Father, that He will give me perfect peace to sustain me.

“Here is something I am still sure of: I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am still alive. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14