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Category Archives: Loving Oneself

“Real” Love….getcha some.

I’m going to show my age here. Urban Cowboy. It’s a movie. John Travolta. Not so Grease and Saturday Night Fever cool.

Common boy meets girl, fall in love, fall out of love, do whatever you can do to make each other jealous until you realize…well darn, he really was the one type of movie.

Classic.

I remember the movie. Yes. But, I remember one of the songs even more. Probably because when I think of this song it brings to mind a late friend. Singing it over and over in the middle of my living room, doing the same exact thing: “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places/Lookin’ for love in too many faces.”

Sound familiar?

Looking for acceptance from the number of likes on your Insta post.

Looking for approval from the “in” crowd. The “cool” kids.

Changing who you are, or ditching your own goals because someone else has told you they were lame. All because he or she “loves” you.

Looking for love from the first person who looks extra long at you, or gives you a sideways glance, even if they may be oh-so-wrong for you. Even if you know this already. You need love.

Looking for attention from those who will laugh at any little thing you do, even if it’s not some nice stuff. Maybe some downright cruel stuff.

You will change your style to find love.

You will do whatever you can to lose weight for love.

You will give up on a dream for love.

You will forget who you are.

All for what you believe to be love.

Love like that. The kind that demands you be someone you are not. The kind that is all based on that “Ooooohhhh. Aaaaahhhhh. I need that” feeling. It’s fleeting. It goes away once that “need” goes away. And then you move on to something else.

There is, however, a love that never leaves.

God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!” Jeremiah 31:3, MSG

It’s the love that comes from our Creator.

How would I know?

Because I knew the fleeting kind of love. I knew the kind that caused me to sell myself short because someone “loved” me. Because it was “cool.” Because I “needed” something.

But when I realized that all I ever needed to be was wholly and gloriously me in the eyes of God. That I could be accepted in all my broken pieces, and he would love me anyway, and create in me something new and amazing-I didn’t need the approval of the world anymore.

Love found me. It loves me when I am unloveable. It pushes me towards a dream that is all my own. It knows my personality. My style. What I bring to the table. To the room. The space I am in, and uses that, because He put that in me. He loves those gritty, fiesty, inner fighter parts of me.

The world will look at those parts and see something different, and there was a time that used to break me down. But I’m not looking for love from those faces.

I’m looking for it from One place. The One.

Because I’ve never known anything else quite like it.

Want that kinda love? The “real” kind. Unconditional. Everlasting. You can getcha some, too. It’s pretty amazing.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Craving More of God, Loving Oneself

 

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Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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Not Today

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I’ll sing the night into the morning
I’ll sing the fear into Your praise
I’ll sing my soul into Your presence
Whenever I say Your Name
Let the devil know not today. -Hillsong

These are the words of a song I heard while driving home on a summer afternoon a little over a year ago. I heard it a day on which Satan had been beating me up badly. “You are not good enough. See, look at what has happened. What will people think of you now?”

I had just found out I was about to become a grandma…and my biggest worry was everyone else’s expectations of me.

But, really I have been here for a long time. Living up to everyone else’s expectations. What I needed to look like. How my kids should act. Who I should be at church. At work. As a parent. How I carried myself. Whether I said “ask,” or pronounced it “ax.” I never thought I measured up to what the world expected, and Satan uses this any time he can.

Not today!

I started posting that message all around me when his voice started to get louder, as the expectations of who I needed to be became too much to handle.

It’s on my bathroom mirror, so when I look into it each morning, see something different than what God sees, and start to pick apart my flaws, my first response instead is “Not today, Satan!”

It is on my coffee pot so I can repeat it to myself before I get my “cup of courage” and the day becomes too crazy. It even adorns the mug I use each morning as I hurry about the house, or spend time in His word.

It is on my steering wheel as I head into work, on my planner while I work; all to keep those all too familiar “not good enough” thoughts that creep up in this particular place at bay as I walk into classes feeling incapable-“Not today, Satan!”

It serves as a reminder that all the expectations that the devil places in my head. The ones that make me feel inadequate, are the world’s…not God’s. He created me. My edges. My weaknesses. My struggles. My mistakes and flaws are made perfect through Him. And, everything the world thinks is a fatal flaw, God will use for His glorious purpose.

They remind me that the devil has never filled my head with anything but lies. Tore apart my soul, and tries daily to strip me of my worth.

He didn’t succeed yesterday. And, he won’t today. No. No. Not today.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2018 in Loving Oneself

 

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Until His voice is louder

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“Whose voice is loudest in your life?” -Sadie Robertson

“You failed again.”

“Not good enough.”

“Yep. Told you they were right. Nothing redeeming in that one.”

“No one cares. No one is listening. Where is your God now?”

“Mmmmhmmmm. You messed up good this time. He isn’t coming to save you.”

Imperfect. Failure. Incompetent. Naive. Ineffective.

The voices that drown out the loving words of my Father, are the ones of criticism and contempt. These take residence in my head. Mess with my deepest insecurities and doubts. And, after they do, then Satan has done his job. Had me believing all the lies he and others have told me.

But, this is the thing about the devil:

“He was a killer from the very start. He couldn’t stand the truth because there wasn’t a shred of truth in him. When the Liar speaks, he makes it up out of his lying nature and fills the world with lies.” John 8:44, MSG

And, the Liar fills our heads with them, too. Our homes. Our hearts. Our relationships.

I don’t want the loudest voice occupying space in my head to be the one that tells me how horrible I am. How unloved and unworthy I am. I don’t want the one occupying space in my home, my relationships to be the author of destruction.

I want the voice that speaks the loudest to me. The one that drowns out all the nonsense and lies of the world to be words of encouragement.

I don’t want the words that are the loudest to be reminding me every time I fall (because I do…flat on my face!)…but, to remind me of all the times I have gotten back up, and to gently pick me up when I don’t feel like I can go on, because that voice gives strength.

But, how do I push away those other voices-those dirty, lying, abusive, no good to me voices?

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Stay in His word. Armed with His truth!

Just as Jesus was as he walked with Satan in the wilderness. Even the King of Kings wasn’t immune to the incessant, lying schemes of the enemy (Luke 4:1-13)

When Jesus needed sustenance, the devil used his voice to attempt to diminish God’s ability to provide: “Come on, Jesus. Can’t you provide your own bread if you are so great?” (v. 3)

When Jesus was suffering, hurt, broken, ready to give up…he offered him a way out; not once, but twice. “Come on, Jesus. Don’t you want all of this? This kingdom before you instead of that cross?” Jesus listened to God’s voice (v. 6-7).

“Come on, Jesus. Just jump and give up already! Your God will save you, won’t he?” (v. 9-11). But, Jesus once again listened to God. Each time rebuking the devil with God’s voice. He will be my provider. He will meet my needs. He is my one and only God. I will not test him.

Our critics. Our naysayers. The insecurities the devil knows so well…because he does. He knows them. Those negative thoughts cannot become the loudest voices in our heads.

The voice that needs to shout above all the lies that Satan attempts to throw at us while we walk in the wilderness needs to be our Father’s. The one that reminds us we are not failures, we are worthy. We are not imperfect, we are wonderfully made. We are not incompetent, we are qualified through Him; made powerful through His strength.

When the devil tries to tell us anything different, we shout the truth. When the devil tries to convince us to give up, we remember God’s word that encourages us to persevere. We make His voice the only one allowed to have permanent residency in our head.

Until His voice is the loudest!

 

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2018 in Like Jesus Does, Loving Oneself

 

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Mom: One beautiful, slimy, mess

Mom: One beautiful, slimy, mess

I have a confession when it comes to the idea of the “perfect” mom. It has to do with my kitchen. Well, let me be honest, the downstairs portion of my house. The parts of the house that people can see.

See, I have this deep hatred of slime-making. For about 4 months this summer and fall my kitchen became a slime-making factory. Which means that glue, Tide, and glitter stuck to my counter and floor for 4 solid months. It also meant that my kitchen, the first part of my house that people saw when they walked in, was a mess. My counters looked like the dough boy had taken a poo, and Tinkerbell had blessed it. The stuff just would not come up. I eventually banned the slime, so my kitchen could be “perfect” again. So people could think I had my stuff together. So they could think I knew how to take care of my household. That I was the “perfect” mom. Had a Neat. Tidy. Well organized. Spotless. Glueless. Glitterless kitchen. “Perfect.”

My outward appearance could once again measure up to the standards that others deemed appropriate. That others decided made great mom material.

Here is the thing about outward appearances: “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Since I banned slime those months ago, I have been put through some fires. Those fires have made me become more present, and more cognizant of what makes me who I am, and less worried about who others think I should be. More focused instead on who God has made me to be. It has also made me more observant of the high expectations the world places on others. The expectations that have nothing to do with what God measures.

I noticed something this weekend as I spent time with my family at the local carnival. Without spending time through the lens of my phone for once, I spent time observing those around me. In line for one of the rides was one mom whose look was unconventional. She had piercings in her ears, in her nose, in her eyebrows. Her hair was shaved on the sides, with long braids adorning the hair she decided to leave. Her child had a shaved, poofy mohawk, and she held another child in her arms. Her appearance didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me were the looks she got. She wasn’t an inattentive mom. She was lovingly sharing a snow cone with the kid she was kissing and holding in her arms. She had her other child securely beside her in a wagon. She never took her eyes off her children. She was like any mom enjoying a Friday night out with her man and their kids. What bothered me were the stares. Like she could not be a mom and look this way.

So, then I wondered, what about me? Pink hair. Nose ring. Tattoos. Mom. Grandma, too. Guess, this isn’t what we should look like.

Or what about the kids that didn’t happen to have parents there. Oh my gosh the shame. You mean they were not being helicoptered all night? You mean they were being treated like we lived in the 80s? Where in the world were those parents? No wonder they were scurrying around, hitting each other on the heads with inflatable hammers, and running around pretending to swim with donut swim tubes. It must be their lack of home training. And I must lack it too since I chuckled, and remembered being a kid. Before life got too heavy. Remembered being a kid. One who had clear boundaries at home. Who wasn’t allowed to jump on furniture. Who definitely got in trouble if I dared to hit my brother with anything, even something inflatable. But would do it every chance I got if my mom wasn’t looking.

 

But, as I chuckled. I saw at least five more snicker.

So. What about me? The same goofy kid about 30 years ago? What about my kids who swing unsupervised in the park, while yes…mom may spend some time on her phone? Because, well…she wants a bit of a break. And, just doesn’t want to swing today. What about my kids who wrestle on the floor, sometimes have to be reminded not to run out in traffic, and still forget that sand should never be thrown on another families beach towel? Guess we deserve a snicker, too.

My kids thankfully don’t care about my tattoos. They don’t even think twice when I come home with pink hair or a nose ring. And because of this they don’t think twice when they see these things or any difference in someone else either. And, that is great. What they need is a mom who understands that life is messy. And the new mom in our lives, the one raising our grandson, needs this message, too. That we don’t need to be neatly pressed, and perfect all the time to be beautiful and relevant. That sometimes we just need to get in the kitchen and let them make slime.

And, I did just that a week ago with 5 preteen girls. Yes, I lifted the slime ban. And for once I didn’t fuss about the mess. I didn’t constantly go behind them and wipe up the counters, and a week later I am still wiping up cornstarch off my floor, and I don’t even care.

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 I don’t want my kids to see me stressing over the state of my kitchen. I want them to embrace mine and their differences. The ways in which God made them perfect. I want them to see me laughing in the kitchen as their friends tear it up making slime. I don’t want them to worry that someone is going to comment in the Starbucks line that they are too young for coffee. I want them to be happy that their mom treated them to something special that day. And, I never want my daughter to lose the passion she utters when she tells me and the rest of us: “Who cares! Who cares what anyone else thinks!”

It’s OK if our life is a little slimy. If our kitchen is a little messy. If you can’t eat off your floors. If the laundry has been sitting on your bed, unfolded for days. If your youngest is the loudest one in children’s church, and you are the pastor. If you have pink hair, short hair, long hair, nose rings, or like no jewels.

Whatever the differences. Whatever the preferences. However God made you. However God made me. I want my kids to remember I was present. I was laughing. I was completely imperfect and OK with it. Because, God knows I am perfect, and that I am the perfect mom for them.

And he made you the perfect mom, grandmother, wife, aunt, daughter, niece, and mentor, too.

Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 139:14, MSG

Go! Embrace and be present in your slimy, yet perfectly imperfect marvelously made mess today!

 
 

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Who cares about hair…and other truths about me

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If only I could see you as you see me, and understand the way that I am loved. Would it give a whole new meaning to my purpose, change the way I see the world? -Mandisa, The Truth About Me

Growing up I stood out. Not for any typical reason. I wasn’t taller than my peers. I wasn’t exceptionally pretty. I didn’t stand out for any supernatural reason either. I had no awesome talent or some super athletic ability.

Nope. Nothing like that.

It was my hair. I had extremely, unruly, wiry, curly hair. Like…can’t-get-a-comb-through-it-without-getting-it-stuck-in-the-ends-curly. Puffy. Poofy. Frizzy on rainy days curly. Can’t do anything with curly. Same haircut since kindergarten curly.

And it made me stand out. Made me different. A target.

For envy…because I wanted the long, silky, straight strands of my classmates. The ones that could sit in class and brush each strand without looking like the love child of Diana Ross.

And for bullies…who feared different. Who called me names. All because my hair didn’t look like theirs. Or their dolls. Their sisters. Their girlfriends. Because I didn’t fit the standard of what the world considered pretty. Beautiful. Acceptable. Perfect.

I didn’t fit into a neat tidy box.

Now, many years later…there is another little girl who often stands out. In a world that wants to think that it has changed, but has not all that much.

This girl is my daughter. With the same unruly, can’t get a comb through it hair.

But, she’s a little different.

Unlike me…if she has one hair out of place. If she has one knot. If someone makes a comment about how she is different…she simply does not care.

We could learn a lot from this spunky, sassy, strong-willed, curly-headed, beautiful little girl. We could learn that it is OK to not fit into a neat tidy box. And to simply not care when we don’t.

See, we all want to think that as we got older and grew out of our “awkwardness,” that we also stopped worrying about our bullies. The simple truth is, some of us didn’t. Some of us still carry around the hurts of the bullies that made us feel less than. And, yes…let’s be real. Some of us still have a few bullies. Some of them even live among us in grown-up (even “Christian”) bodies.

But, we don’t have to continue to be their victims. Because, yes. We are different. We are set apart. Molded. Made unique. Made different on purpose. By a creator who loves us. Just.As.We.Are.

So, when the bullies start to attack again and tell you that you are worthless, remember that He says you are worth so much more. A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31: 10

When Satan whispers that you are not beautiful, or don’t fit in, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

When those who call themselves martyrs try to call you by your sin, remind yourself (and them) that you are redeemed! Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly, free! Ephesians 1:7, MSG

You are loved. You are worthy. You are set apart. You are His. It is OK to be different. To fit in a different box. To stand out in all your sassiness. Spunkiness. Strong-will. And to not care what the bullies or world thinks about it. Even if they decide your brand doesn’t fit into their tidy box.

Embrace the truth about you.

Love it. Own it. It’s how and who He made you to be.

Because He doesn’t care about our hair…and frankly, neither should we.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Loving Oneself

 

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I am His

For we are God’s masterpiece…Ephesians 2:10

I am his

Once again…I have failed.

The dishes are unwashed in the sink. Nothing has been accomplished due to pain and sickness. The house is still a mess. There are still bits of the failed attempt at dinner on the floor.

After months of just trying to get through homework. Of leaving-yet again-an item needed at one of the kids schools at home. Of forgetting to sign permission slips. Study for tests. Losing study guides. Forgetting important events.

I’ve yelled too many times at the kids. Left one in tears. The other hiding under a blanket.

Apologized one too many times. Only to turn around and do it again.

And once again, a permission slip has been lost. Something else has been forgotten. Been let down.

I’ve failed. Again. The doubts and self-contempt start to seep through, and it happens. Those thoughts start to fill my head again.

Am I strong 
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don’t measure up
Am I loved

Unworthy. Imperfect. Unloved. A failure. As a mom. As a wife. In life. In everything. With my hands and my mouth I have managed to wreck everything in my path.

It is He who made us, and we are His. Psalm 100:3

But, that isn’t what he says I am.

I am His. Even in my failure. I am loved by the King. I am called His daughter. I am called beautiful. Good enough. Magnificent. All because I belong to Him.

He doesn’t see my failures. He doesn’t count each time I was angry. Each time I misplaced something. Each time I let my kids down. He doesn’t care about the dirty dishes. He doesn’t care about the piles of laundry. He doesn’t count the times I skipped making dinner.

He does know every hair on my head. He knows my heart. He created my innermost personality and thoughts. He crafted me into the woman I am. With His hands, He made me His masterpiece. He knows I am only strong with Him. He loves me, even when I don’t love myself. Even when I think I have failed.

He reminds me…

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You’ve done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

I am His.

Not a failure. Not a screw-up. Not a bad mom.

Of this I am sure….I am His.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Loving Oneself

 

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