The Story

[I wrote this about a month ago, and just now thought to check in and edit it.  But here it is 🙂 ]

 

(In “Kisses from Katie” by Katie Davis, Katie writes a blog post in this format… and I like it, so I’m jacking it.)

So once upon a time… There was a girl named Stephanie.  She lived a life that was pretty normal:  she went to high school, was involved in band, theatre, and choir, and she graduated.  She lived conventionally, but was always a little on the edge.  Hair dye, ear piercings… She always wanted to be a little different.  She went to college and discovered that she could reimagine herself any way she wanted!  She took on a nickname (Star), started wearing dresses and knee high converse, and finally dedicated to letting herself be whoever she wanted to be.  After her first year of college, the God that she had grown up with (and often selfishly relied on) but never really understood made himself clear in her life, and she said, “Yes, Lord!”

Through the next couple of years of college, she focused on balancing her two main goals: finishing college and serving God.  This gave her life a plan:  do mission trips as often as possible, graduate college, and then do what made the most sense:  go to seminary.  Better yet– she found a grad school that would allow her to double-Master in social work and divinity!  This would allow her to keep balancing her life in serving God and working with people.  A dual degree would allow her to take either direction– working in ministry (moving up in ministry, assumedly) or working in social work (a Masters degree would allow her to never start low in the job– she would start up high on the ladder and work her way up to changing laws!)

Well, she accomplished her life-long dream of graduating college and applied to the seminary program WITH an application for a full ride scholarship.  She graduated in December and felt God calling her (oddly enough) to ministry about 45 minutes away from her college town.  It was a strange calling, but obviously God speaking, so she went!

And it was hard, more hard than moving away from home to college.  In fact, it felt a little bit like having her heart ripped out.  She had established herself in her college town; she knew her way around, knew people, had made people her family there.  Her best friends were there.  Her life was there.  And suddenly she was just tauntingly out of reach from it.  And here’s the biggest thing:  she finally had a car, a car that could take her anywhere she wanted to go– she just couldn’t go back to her town.  Why?  Because she hadn’t moved to her new town just for an internship or a job.  This was ministry she was doing now, and her heart needed to get used to this new place.

There were many nights spent driving and crying.

But the days between those nights grew more and more, and every sermon she heard in those first two weeks were meant just for her.  God gave her comfort. One pastor preached a sermon about how if God changes something, it can only be for the better.  Another taught about how God sees his daughters as princesses, which reinforced the love that she needed to hear.  And then, one night, while driving, crying, or talking on the phone, God whispered to her,

“What if you fit in better here?”

And she had to pause, because she had never thought about that before.  She had searched for forever for a place to fit in.  And she had new hope.

Well, the weeks began to pass more easily, and she spent all day laughing harder than she ever had with her new people.  In fact, when she went back to her old town, she often found herself having to explain the new jokes that came so easily to her now.  But now was time to plan for what was next.  The next plan was to go on to grad school, to her double masters, to be a grand person!  But as she prayed about the future, God convicted her about a couple of things.

One, grad school was a part of her life-long plan to eventually be famous.  A big name.  Since she was younger, there was not one time she did not picture herself as a big name in the future.  Well-known.  Acknowledged.  Influential.  It wasn’t a stated thing and she never advertised it.  She had just planned to be the most successful person she could be.  So why did she want to go to grad school?  Well, of course, to continue with that goal.  Yes, seminary is for serving God, but with a degree she could become a teacher or someone else of high importance in a church.  She knew her desire for seminary was for herself.

She got accepted to seminary, but with an exception– she was wait-listed for the full-ride scholarship she would need to go to grad school.  That changed everything.

Suddenly, she was considering what would happen if she didn’t go to grad school.  She didn’t honestly feel like going back to school.  Years and years of writing papers and $18,000 in loans and all she had was one really expensive piece of paper (framed up over her bed in a dollar store frame) to show for it.  What had always been her biggest goal in life–a college degree– looked more like an expensive waste of time next to the option to serving God here and now.

And when she was at her ministry one day, one of the girls sat down and actually said two sentences to her.  In a place where the girls are notoriously closed off, those two sentences meant a lot to this protagonist:  mainly, that progress here was happening incredibly slowly but it was happening.

Two months into the job and she had two sentences to show for it– but those two sentences fueled a fire.

These were girls who maybe, maybe one day would open up to her.  And that possibility meant that she could NOT give up on this place.  Because progress was happening.  And that meant God was working.

And she looked into her future and saw a gigantic open landscape.  And she realized that she had two options:  enslave herself to four more years of college– a goal that was part of her dream and part of what society expected of her– or wipe the slate clean.

She prayed, “Lord, am I meant to carry on the way I have been or should I ask you to take away my dreams entirely and give me new ones?”

She had the freedom to dedicate her life to following God however he asked–wherever, whenever, for any reason.  But she would have to take these delicate dreams that she had gingerly packed like blown glass figurines in the back of her brain and place them at the feet of God.

Was she meant to take those out of her head, unwrap them and place them lovingly into the hands of God– not as a prayer, to be checked upon occasionally– but as a tumor to be removed and never seen again except in memories?

If she put them in his hands, she knew she would not get them back.  She would, however, get diamonds instead.

A few days after spring break, I checked the mail.  I did not get the full ride scholarship to seminary.  I can wait a year, and reapply…  but only as God guides me.

I have complete peace about handing that dream over to God, and I’m not asking for it back.

My future is the Lord’s, and I am asking him to make his dreams my dreams.

Let me tell you what– my future looks like one heck of an adventure now.

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Hope (and how we hurt our friends)

I’ve got two tests to study for, which of course means I can’t concentrate.  To refocus, I’ll give you a blog post!

So there is this thing that we girls do.  Christian girls do it, non-Christian girls do it, old girls do it, young girls do it… It’s nurtured into our nature. And we think we’re supporting each other, but we are really tearing each other apart.

But I really, REALLY think that this should stop: we are encouraging each other to hope in the COMPLETELY WRONG THINGS.  (Or more specifically, the completely wrong GUYS.)

Now, if you’ve seen the Hunger Games movie (which I recommend, and I have read the books too), there is a scene where two of the “bad guys” are talking.  It goes a little something like this:

“Hope: it is the only thing stronger than fear.  A little hope is effective; a lot of hope is dangerous.”

I know it’s just a movie quote, but it so effectively puts into words the power of hope.  Which is something, that as a girl, I have often clung to wayyyyy longer than I should have.  You know what I’m talking about:  boys.  Recently, when I really need guy advice, (and I’ve only had to do this twice,) I go to a trustworthy, spiritually grounded male and ask him for his thoughts on the situation.  This seems counter-intuitive to the  unspoken “girl talk stays within girls/guys are clueless to girls things” rules, but it is so effective.  Why?  Because he will tell me exactly how the situation is–unlike a girl.  I’ve asked for his thoughts, and that’s what he’ll give me– insight, not encouragement.

For example, take the typical “guy shows interest in me, we talk for a while, guy eventually stops texting me back” situation (which has happened to me a couple times in the past year.)  When I turned to my girlfriends to get advice about it, this is what I hear:

“Of course he still likes you!  He’s probably just afraid.”
“Why don’t you just text him?”
“When you two are together, you’ll look back at this and laugh…”
“Oh my gosh, he totally wants to marry you!  He talked to you once like four months ago, didn’t he?!”  (Just kidding… kind of.)

When I turn to a guy for advice:

“It sounds like, since communication stopped, that he’s moved on.  I really suspect he’s just a flirt.”

There’s more than a bit of a difference there.  My girlfriends (although they certainly have good intentions and I am in no way upset at them) keep stoking that little dwindling fire of hope inside of me, but all it’s doing is filling my heart with smoke and clouding my vision.  The guy advice is honest and very neatly pours water on those embers and (in case you’re wondering) yes, there is a little “sizzle” of pain when the truth hits me; but my heart quickly surveys that once-romantic situation for what it is now–burnt, barren ground–and moves on.

I’m not doing this to glorify going to guys for advice; I’m doing this to point out the difference in strategy.  It is bred into us that a good (female) friend is uplifting, encouraging, and will always tell you that “You look great!” and “Of course you’re not fat!”  Here’s how I see it:  a good friend, yes, will tell me that I look good when we’re out eating dinner; but a great friend will also tell me if I have something in my teeth.  It’s something that we women are so terrified to do–point out one little short-term flaw–that we won’t say anything and allow our friends to undergo long-term embarrassment.

My point is:  by encouraging our girlfriends to keep (mentally, spiritually) pursuing a guy that is just not pursuing her, we are just feeding that fire of hope inside of her to the point where it becomes dangerous to her heart and burns her up inside.  The rule of thumb is:  If he wants to talk to you, he will And if he’s not talking to you, he’s not interested.

[And of course, I know there are situations where the guy really does like her, maybe it worked out for you, blah blah blah–but just think twice before sharing that story with your struggling friend, because if it happened to you it is probably NOT going to happen to her.  You’re just stoking the wrong fire.]

 

P.S.  For more thoughts boy/girl texting, check out this fantastic post on Her.Meneutics:  “Real Women Don’t Text Back.”

Beauty

One of the questions I get the most when I tell people (especially strangers) that I visited Venezuela is “Was it beautiful there?” and EVERY time I pause for a split second.  Beautiful?

I suppose when most people think of beautiful, they’re thinking glorious purple mountains or sparkling blue waters or vibrant greenery lining the roads.  They think of scenery, which is a candy for our eyes essentially—it “tastes” good (our eyes enjoy it,) but it doesn’t exactly fortify us.  I should probably tell you now that I have a different view of beauty to begin with—I can stare at the ocean all day long and be bored, but driving through the flat endless plains of Texas, I am ever inspired by the sun-bleached fields speckled with cows—but that doesn’t change that when I think of Venezuela, I don’t think of “beauty.”

Were there parts of the scenery that were beautiful?  Well, yes.  There are hills covered in rich green trees, and sometimes the tops of the hills would reach up into the clouds and fogs would just hang into the valleys.  The houses in Venezuela are very brightly colored, and there are dozens of them stacked up into the hillsides.  Graffiti isn’t illegal there, so in most public places there is a lot of very artistic graffiti.  (I saw plenty of Christian-themed graffiti, too!)  In places where there are dirt roads, the dusty ground is a rich auburn color—the bottoms of my sneakers are permanently stained by it.

But here’s the thing.

Those colorful little houses built into the hills?  They’re barrios—ghettos—which are so deeply crime-ridden and poor that my team and I would not have been able to go up into them if we had wanted to.  The graffiti that covered every town we visited is mostly political; since Venezuela’s elections are coming up in October, everything is painted for Chavez, their current leader.  Chavez is the man who brought socialism to Venezuela, and while there is much public support for Chavez, there is a heavy undertone of oppression in the country.  (There were billboards everywhere that had statements on them about how the government works best when not questioned and similar sentiments—no kidding.)  Those dusty red roads were in poor neighborhoods where people were living in half-built houses; while I was walking on those roads, I was holding my phone out because I wanted to take a video and a kid on a bike came just a little too close to me for comfort.  As for mountains and fog, we have that in the U.S., so scenery-wise, did I consider Venezuela beautiful?  Not really.

Now, let’s phrase the question a little differently:  Did I see beauty in Venezuela?

Absolutely!  I saw beauty in 15-year-old Dirce showing my teammate and I her dance (in Spanish, using the verb dansar instead of bailardansar meaning to dance for the Lord) that her church-based dance group had learned.  I saw beauty in how people would open their front yards not just to us and people from their church, but to their literal neighbors so we could hold worship and Bible lesson in a place where the whole neighborhood could hear.  I never ceased to admire the beauty of how the boys and men of all ages play with and love on the little children (while here in the U.S., most young men scatter when children are brought around or automatically leave them for the women to take care of.)  There is beauty in the fact that in order to make cachapas for us, they ground corn themselves using (what we would consider) an old-fashioned grinder to make the cornmeal.

Seeing 12-year-old Kimberli evangelize for the first time—that’s beautiful.

Seeing an entire church full of children under age 10 bow their heads, put their hands together, and repeat the prayer to accept Jesus into their heart with brows furrowed in concentration so they don’t miss a word—that is beautiful.

Seeing the youth of Trujillo, aged 14 to mid-30s, come together to evangelize in Aragua, bringing their babies and siblings and families and letting nothing stop them—that is beautiful.

Realizing that the people of Venezuela are so open and wanting Jesus in their lives; being able to picture Venezuela being a Christian nation; knowing that God is going to fulfill His word there—that is beautiful.

So yes, Venezuela is beautiful; but it’s the people and their loving hearts and willingness to serve God that makes it so.  As the song lyrics to “Beautiful Things” by Gungor so effectively state, “You [God] make beautiful things—you’re making beautiful things out of us!”

“Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away?” (Jeremiah 23:23)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Corinthians 1:4)

Barrios in the hillside between Maracay and Caracas… Notice the political banner.

God-Given Radiance: Part 4

[Part Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here!]

Throughout my mission trip, I was lifted up by my teammates.  They had no idea I was testing my insecurities by going without makeup, yet they comforted me the whole way.  My eyes, which used to be my most cosmetically-enhanced feature, got more comments than ever.  With makeup, the focus was on my long eyelashes, but without makeup, the comments were all about the brightness and intensity of my eyes—which I actually prefer.  After all, it’s said that eyes are the window to the soul!

Boys truthfully don’t even seem to notice.  I side-referenced that I wasn’t wearing makeup in front of one of my male teammates one day, and he looked at me, surprised.  “You aren’t wearing makeup?”  He asked.  When I replied no, he smiled and said softly, “Natural beauty.”

(HIGH FIVE TO ALONSO FOR PERMANENTLY RAISING MY SELF ESTEEM WITH THAT COMMENT!!)

I still got a normal amount of attention from guys during my trip, especially in Venezuela (where I would be considered exotic even if I was ugly by American standards.)  I feel more confident being my natural self anyway; when I’m not wearing makeup, I don’t have to worry if a guy is going to like me less if he ever sees me without makeup or on a bad makeup day.  It’s pretty much a take-it-or-leave-it deal, but I am myself.

I have found a great deal of freedom from girlish competition by not wearing makeup as well.  When I’m wearing makeup, I’m trying to achieve the standard set by the girls around me—we’re trying to look a little more like the magazines, a little more like the societal standard of beauty:  perfect skin, dark eyelashes, bright eyes. We women are competing with each other to try to get guys’ attention and to try to look the best. Without makeup, there is no one to compare me to—I can’t compare myself with anyone else, because there is no one else I look like—I only look like me.

My eyelashes are still noticed for being long. My eyes are still noticed for being bright.  My skin has cleared up immensely, but acne still exists.  I can sleep later in the mornings.  I don’t get more comments on my appearance than normal, and I don’t feel the need to seek any.  After ten years of painting my face, I have finally found an appearance that I like:  the one that God gave me.

I find it really funny that the eye infection that I claimed was spiritual warfare was actually God’s way of answering the secret desires of my heart.  I admired my friend Tiffany for going makeup free but knew no way to do it myself, so at the perfect time, God made it happen.  How great and wonderful He is!

When I find myself looking for ways to improve my appearance or seem prettier, I focus on my heart now.  Can I serve people more?  (“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works…” Ephesians 2:10a, NIV.)  Am I smiling at everyone? (“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart…” Proverbs 15:30a, NIV.)  Is my heart resting on the peace of the Lord?  (“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”  Psalms 34:5 ESV.)   If I want to be prettier or feel prettier, I can only do so by focusing more on the Lord and pushing myself to love others more, which everyone benefits from.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful…” (1 Peter 3:3-5a, NIV.)

God-Given Radiance: Part 3

[Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here!]

[[I would just like to disclaimer real quick:  the people that I reference in this blog are all people that I love and appreciate.  By sharing these tidbits about them in relation to me, I want to share my thoughts and what was going on in my head–I am not in ANY way trying to embarrass them or bring negative attention to them.  The point is to share what was going on in my head–if you’ll notice, none of them actually did anything wrong or anything to hurt me; I was only hurt because of my own insecurities.]]

The transition was so easy.  My makeup bag was left in my purse instead of being transferred to my backpack with all my other necessary items.  Every day, I just rolled out of bed, got changed, applied my medications and was ready to go.

When I was 12 or so, I began wearing makeup.  I was obsessed with wearing thick blue mascara and super-frosty light pink lipstick.  Once I began wearing makeup, I didn’t stop; and as college came with a fairly constant income, I started buying more and nicer cosmetics and wearing more and more makeup.  As acne continued despite my increasing age, I was obsessed with covering it all up.  My undereyes were too dark, my eyelashes were long but blonde, my acne was obvious—I just had to cover and cover and cover.  After all, everyone around me was prettier, had nicer skin, nicer teeth, darker eyelashes, and more attention from guys, right?

This is what I discovered when I quit makeup:  NO ONE CARES IF I WEAR MAKEUP OR NOT.

My missions team loved me, and I loved them right back.  They did not expect me to look like I belonged in a magazine every day, nor did they expect that I make my eyelashes more visible.  I realized very quickly that my “dark” undereyes weren’t really noticeable in pictures after all; in fact, my undereyes looked darker in pictures with makeup than pictures without makeup. My acne still existed, but healed much quicker without me constantly suffocating it in cosmetics.  I got very few comments about imperfections in my appearance, and my weak self-view slowly improved.

Challenge number one occurred when one of the guys on my team was teasing me and he made a little side comment about the “red spot” on my face (i.e., a developing zit.)  He laughed, I got offended.  While vulnerability was trying to make me feel terrible for that ONE zit on my face (after all, someone NOTICED it and COMMENTED about it!!  Everyone must be staring at it and thinking how ugly it is!  How ugly I am!!) God’s reasonable voice of comfort taught me something new instead.  This teammate certainly didn’t hate me, wasn’t trying to demean me, and was a boy.  He, like most boys, had no understanding of the deep-rooted and quick-flaring insecurities of girls; no, he was just teasing me in a good-natured way.  Also, he said this comment to my face.  If he was trying to hurt me or make some negative comment about my appearance, he wouldn’t have said it to my face!!  Especially in Christian society, if we have something negative to say about someone, we don’t say it to their face—we usually say it to someone else (followed by some positive comment about them to justify ourselves—don’t lie, you know you do it too.)

If a comment is said to my face, it is NOT meant to insult me.  Simple enough, right?  Within half an hour, I was over it and my self-esteem was no longer challenged; it had grown stronger.

The second strike on my self esteem happened on week three of my trip.  I was talking on the phone with my mother and she mentioned a photo of me on Facebook where I had looked “so tired!”

I knew which photo she was referring too, and I wasn’t actually tired in that picture.  My undereyes are naturally dark, and when caught in certain light or shadows, they make me look exhausted even though I’m not.  “No, Mom, I just wasn’t wearing makeup—” I tried to explain, but she was still caught up with that picture.  “You were just exhausted!” She continued, chuckling.  I let it go, but I’ll admit, my vulnerabilities came rushing up again.  (You look tired because you’re not wearing makeup, everyone must think so; tired is ugly!  You look ugly in all those pictures!!) After the phone call, God stepped in to help me rationalize again.  First of all, especially since I live far away from my mom, she rarely sees me without makeup—so she’s not going to know the difference between whether I’m tired or whether that’s just how my undereyes look in certain light.  Secondly, not every picture of me is going to look fantastic.  Not every picture of me WITH makeup looks fantastic, so pictures of me without makeup won’t either.  Thirdly, no, people are NOT going to decide that I am permanently ugly because I looked tired in one picture.

On top of all this, I reminded myself that she said this comment directly to me and definitely did not mean to make me feel bad—of course not!  She loves me and loves it when I go makeup free, so she would never mean to discourage me from being bare-faced.  Finally, she hadn’t actually said anything that would hurt me—I was reacting purely out of my insecurities.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”  (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV.)

[Read Part 4 here!]

God-Given Radiance: Part 2

[Read Part 1 here!]

A week before leaving for my six-week summer mission trip, health problems started up. A chronic rash in one armpit that I normally ignored became uncomfortable to the point of disrupting my everyday life, so I went to the doctor and found out I had a fungal infection, which sounds really gnarly—but for someone who doesn’t own a car and lives a mile away from the bus stop, it’s not too surprising that I would get a rash from all the time I spent sweating.  I went to the doctor and got some pills and a cream, and while I took the pills daily, I used the cream only for the occasional treatment.  Well, within a week the rash had reduced, but not completely.  The Wednesday before leaving (I left on a Sunday,) the eyelashes on my left eye felt sore, like they were growing in at a weird angle.  The next day my eyelid was swollen and by Friday, there was a red lump along my eyelash line and the whole lid was puffy.  I figured I had a stye, which was inconvenient, but certainly not the end of the world.  However, my rash still hadn’t cleared up either, so I returned to the clinic to get them checked out.

The nurse practitioner took one look at my eyelid and declared it blepharitis, which is a bacterial infection in the eyelashes.  She gave me a cream to apply four times a day for the next ten days and explained to me that the cream she prescribed a week earlier for my armpit rash had to be applied regularly, rather than occasionally.  I went home with several tubes of cream and an indignant spirit.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE!  I declared it.  Why else would I get all these random health problems right before my mission trip?!  Now I was going to have to keep up with applying medication to my eye FOUR TIMES A DAY in addition to everything else I was doing on my mission trip.  I sent out prayer requests for fast healing and Sunday afternoon I embarked with a few friends to the first part of my mission trip.

When I arrived at Destination 1, I was wearing makeup (since I had attended church that morning,) but as I met my teammates and reunited with the small part of my team that I knew already, I realized a few things.  One:  my teammates didn’t really know me.  They didn’t know my makeup habits or normal getting-ready habits at all.  2.  If I changed my makeup habits, they would have no clue that it was different than normal and would just accept it as a part of me.  3.  These twelve Christian young adults were stuck with me for the next three weeks (some stuck with me for the next six weeks,) so even if they determined that I was ugly, my team would still have to work with me.

Within minutes of arriving, I decided to stop wearing makeup.  I couldn’t wear mascara anyway for the duration of my ointment regimen, so at least during the first week of my trip I could just skip makeup entirely.

It’s amazing how God waits until the perfect moment, then gives a change of heart in just a split second!

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done…”  (Proverbs 31:30 & 31a, NIV.)

[Read Part 3 here!]

God-Given Radiance: Part 1

Hey guys!  I have written a four-part blog about how I became makeup free.  I feel like this is a cool story to share because it not only shows how God completely changed my heart about my appearance, but also how He comforted me through my insecurities related to makeup.  This is my personal journey and happened in conjunction with a mission trip, which I think largely made it possible for me to get to this point.  I want to make it clear that I do not condemn or look down on makeup use at all!  I plan on occasionally putting it on for formal events and such.  I just am not using it to help my self esteem anymore.  I do not think that anyone should be ashamed of wearing makeup.  I do, however, want to share this story because God showed me many wonderful things through changing my heart to be cosmetic-free and others may be inspired to do the same.  Whether you come out of this blog series wanting to wear makeup or not, I merely hope that you enjoy hearing how God taught me and worked in my life.  Thanks for reading! 🙂

God-Given Radiance:  Part 1

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve opened up a Word document and just set out to write.  In high school, I could (and would) spend hours a day just typing away at computers, writing stories and never finishing them and blogging about whatever drama I was incurring at that time.  Since I graduated high school, I have all but lost my ability to write—something I can only attribute to the now lack of teenage angst in my life; but c’est la vie.

My friend Tiffany decided to quit makeup at the beginning of the summer.  It was something I definitely admired in her, and when I praised her willingness to be cosmetic-free, she asked me to text her every once in a while to make sure she was holding strong.  I did this for the short time I had before I left for my summer mission trip, but I felt somewhat conflicted about what to say.

What I wanted to text her:  “You are so amazing for being fresh-faced this summer!  I am so proud of you.  You are really worshipping God by letting His creation be exactly as He created it.”

What I actually texted her:  “I love you and your God-made beautiful self!!”

Why the difference?  Well, as much as I desired to send her the first text, the implications that it was praising God to not wear makeup made me feel guilty that I was wearing makeup.  I didn’t want to feel like I was worshipping God less just because I was wearing makeup!  At the same time, I really did admire her ability to go cosmetic free; being a chronic makeup wearer, I have forever struggled with seeing nothing but imperfections in my natural face.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  (Psalm 37:4, NIV.)

[Read Part 2 here!]