Dear Jennifer Lawrence | Pornography isn’t “Normal”

Pornography makes me want to rage against the machine - The machine of culture that tells us Porn is normal and should be accepted.

 

…. That it isn’t the cause of heartache, pain or the warped identity of so many women.

…..That it doesn’t form addictive and destructive paths of desensitization in the brain 

…. That it’s irrelevant to rape culture, the abortion rate, sexual abuse, human trafficking or child molestation 

…. Or responsible for the lack of intimacy, bonding in marriage, not to mention the high divorce rate. 

Because it is in so many ways. 
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Porn threatens to ruin the divine purposes and integrity of the gift of sex and all God intended for it to be; because at it’s root, porn leads the individual to bond to the act of pleasure fulfilment over the individual.

It becomes an idol and the man (or woman) is subconsciously seeking fulfilment of a physical need or want, over a desire for their spouse or to be intimate; a wanting of sex more than the person. And it takes a miracle of healing by the Lord to rewire this way of thinking.

The rampant (and fairly unacknowledged) addiction of our society to pornography  is something that has affected me deeply, both in my teen years and in my adult life. It has brought me to the feet of Jesus over an over, for both healing and forgiveness.

It’s led me to a place of fighting for the sexual integrity of our youth, through volunteering with local organizations that go into high schools and talk to teens about sex, their worth and the state of our cultures dangerous addiction to sex.

Dear Jennifer Lawrence | Porn

Reading this article, I felt the familiar flame of holy justice rise inside me.

It’s closing statements deserve to be written on every heart, billboard, social media wall and shared in every home.

 

“Never accept porn as a normal part of any relationship. It is harmful material that addicts the brain, damages relationships, and pushes warped perceptions about sex and intimacy into society.

You should never be expected to do anything for fear of a partner turning to porn or think its normal for them to do so.

Real love is sexy. Anything else is a counterfeit.

 

I pray today that whatever your experience with pornography- whether single, dating or married- that God would reveal his heart to you on this topic and that you would have the courage to respond.

 

Obeying Even When You Don’t Want to

I remember the day like it was yesterday…

I had spent hours fussing over my home ensuring it was just the right mix of clean, pampering, homey and presentable. I’d surprisingly won at baking the most labour intensive goodies I’d ever attempted. I had laid out everything for high tea worthy of my inner critic and most importantly, sat humbly for hours, begging him to simply show up and show off.

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My stomach turned with the biggest case of nervousness meets excitement.

Because to be honest, I didn’t want to do this! 

I’d never led a bible study and felt it perfectly humorous that he would even call me to do such a thing. Why? Because so many times in our lives, we try and call the qualified. But God alone qualifies the called and its undoubtably where the impossibilities of man leave room for possibilities only with God that he moves on it… and powerfully.

That evening,  in an effort obey what I felt God was calling me to, I opened my home to perfect strangers.

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Over the course of one year, my heart has been changed in ways my words will fail me.

As Abby shared last night,

“This past year, being a part of this group has wrecked me, challenged me, molded me, and reshaped me. I’ve never been more reliant on my faith, stronger in my convictions, more confident in my identity, or passionate in my devotion.”

He’s taught us what it looks like to live and love in community; something I am selfishly terrible at when it’s not convenient or it’s difficult.

…To accept both the person of today while simultaneously speaking over them in faith, the person God see for tomorrow.

…To humbly admonish and correct in love when necessary.

…To cheer on, pick up and have hope when another’s seems lost or broken.

…To speak truth, no matter how difficult and encourage each other to place God first and foremost in everything.

…To live outside our comfort zones and follow Jesus even when it’s hard.

…To give our lives away in time, money, talent and possessions.

…That our faith was meant for so much more than us, but for the lost and broken, the hurting and the scared.

We’ve wrestled together through the things that hold us back in bondage, walked hand and hand as we faced the things we idolize and chase in vain pursuit, bravely chose gratitude even when we didn’t want to and humbly submitted to marriages meant to make us Holy, not happy.

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He’s taught me what it means to lead by humility. To be genuine with struggles and honest with my weaknesses; being quick to confess and desperate for his presence.

Because, if I’m honest with myself, it wasn’t until this year that I learnt my greatest strengths are also my greatest weaknesses when it comes to living out my faith.

… a will that wants to lead, is a heart that longs for power.

While God’s given me gifts of leadership, he’s called me simply to be a vessel for him to live in, speak through and direct my steps. There is simply no room for me, my plans, my ways or my desires.

All I need is less of me and more of him. 

Over the past year, I’ve come to depend on not only our weekly gatherings, but on these women to not just show up but love me in return, even when it’s difficult and I’m completely undeserving. And to be able to say that, knowing in certainty they will do so, is the most beautiful and incredible gift from God.

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Today, I give thanks for the ways in which God has made himself incredibly real to our wee woman’s group and taught us how to flourish in community.

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The most grateful and joyful of Happy 1st Birthdays to our Seeking Grace Women’s Group.

 

Ps: If you live in the Vancouver Lower mainland or surrounding areas and have felt the nudge to join a women’s group, we’d be thrilled to welcome you with open arms! More info and to Sign Up...

A season of symptoms

Things have been quieter than normal around here and all for good reason!

Fair Warning: This is an honest look into my past 4 months for those with intrigue and a love for “Too Much Info”….

 

May 2014

In a panick, I sprung from the dream declaring out loud that I was pregnant. I woke Dave.

“God told me I was pregnant in my dream.”

He looked at me half awake before rolling over back to sleep.

The next morning I asked him if he remembered. Gently he nodded yes but said nothing.

“I know. It’s sounds crazy doesn’t it.”

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I’d been frantically trying everything for months to get my cycle back on track. Not only for the purpose of starting a family one day, but for my body’s own health. Fourteen years of being on birth control had left it’s marks on this a-type rule keeper.

I’d just started to get the hang of hiding the daily breakouts, when the acne threw a curve ball. To my back. Life a 13 year old boy who’d just hit pubertity.

I figured this was the last hurrah before the toxins were gone for good.

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June 2014

As wedding season unfolded, I couldn’t keep my wits about me. Depression seemed to loom and steal joy from every moment.

Ho hum. How I described myself most days.

I’ve never been the one to need something to cheer me up, simply revelling in life and counting daily ways he loves me.

But nothing felt good and everything seemed dark. My devotional time. Work I was usually passionate about. New projects on the horizon. Time with friends and family.

I was Ok once I got going, but in the stillness all was silent. Even Him.

I determined it was a season, one of testing and of waiting. Of obeying when I didn’t “feel it” and learning to wear faith through the trials.

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Then rage beseeched me like a wild fire, running viciously through my bones. In the day and in my sleeping, I’d wrestle with my tounge. Heaven knows it wasn’t me. The world had just gone stupid!

For two weeks.

I couldn’t control the moods of furry.

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With family we talked of kids; the good, the bad and lovely. Of times these folks loved and cherished most when raising me and my sister.

From on the porch, she said it quick, I had to ask her to repeat.

“I knew it, Darlin’. I told your dad, when getting out the shower.”

“What?” I said

“That you’re pregnant! I Just knew it! I had a feeling…”

I hated to burst her bubble, almost wishing it were the case. But soft I told her she was mistaken and must have heard me wrong.

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The text came in ’bout half past six from a girlfriend, sweet and loving.

“I hate to ask like this. I know it’s tacky, but I can’t help myself any longer. Are you pregnant?”

“Um. No. Not that I know of anyway. What made you think that?”

“I just had a feeling…”

That’s weird, I thought. Two in two days. Do they know something I don’t?

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If I could pack myself a basket of indulges they’d be sweet. Both creamy and chewing, salting and firmly crunchy.

Chips. Ice Cream. Candy. These are my guilty pleasure.

And for weeks I thoughts I’d found my swing, moderation and self control.

I hardly ever wanted them, instead I wanted food. “Real Food,” I’d say, like sandwiches and dinners.

For those who know me dearly, it’s rare of me to do. To skip the sweets for more main course and sing thanks to my dear taste buds.

But more of food was catching up. Bloated-ness to warn me. Slow down I thought and just be good. Eat clean from here on forward.

No trip to the gym or salad would due, the bump was just not leaving.

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I’ve always been petite in all my female facets and rather fond of boyish frames.

I’ve never known the need for support or aching as I run.

But as I lifted weights and climbed the stairs to home, I found the need to take it slow and hold my top frame close.

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Guinness is our baby. Fur baby some may call.

He’s sweet and gentle, playful at times, but never rude or manly.

But come mid June, he’d start to dance and get wild when around me. And if I wasn’t careful he’s grab my legs to dance along with him.

This behaviour was strange.

What would cause a dog to dance? And only when he’s near me?

_________________________

June 18th, 2014

Now let me make this clear. I wasn’t regular or we trying. But something in me said I should be 4 weeks in my cycle.

The days ran by with still no blood and my mind began to spin.

Could I be? Is it possible?

I went and looked back at my tracking. May 14th, 16th, 18th.
If all was good and half Ideal, I was fertile and we making sheet music.

And so I waited, with baited breath afraid to admit it to myself.

________________

June 21st, 2014

I shared it with one girlfriend. I was beginning to really wonder. Could this be true, I’m not so sure. But maybe it’s time to consider?

Then in our bed, Dave shared it frank. He thinks I could just be. His patient is a doctor who affirmed my “season” was surely symptoms.

So I grabbed my girlfriend and drove to Target, to get the truth in box. We laughed and joked and paused in prep for disappointment also.

I didn’t want to own it, that I truly wanted YES. So off to work I prayed to God and fessed up with my feelings.

I’d heard the stories, so many times, of lost ones way to soon. Of mommy’s joy, ripped from the womb before the world knows. But with grace and sweet compassion he reminded me he’s good and can be trusted with this too; just know it’s all His will.

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Returning home, He grabbed the box and beckoned me to the bathroom. No time for pretty or talking first, he had to know right now.

My mind whirled and my heart beat fast.

This could just be the moment when our life would change for forever strong and baby would be coming.

I placed it on the window sill for him to check and see. And when he looked his eyes went big and he choked out simple words…

“well momma….”

The moments after muffle. I remember tears of joy and bouts of laughter sweet and strong for hours long and after.

 

Because sometimes, right in the middle of an ordinary life, God gives us a miracle…

Welcoming Baby Veenstra Spring 2015

 

 

He Touched and She was Healed

He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she she got up and began to wait on him. – Matthew 8:15

Jesus has authority over all evil that is a result of this fallen world. He speaks a word, he gives a touch and people are healed; made new and restored to wholeness. He does this to glorify God.

At the time of this story, the Bible tells us that Jesus healed this woman “to fulfill what what spoken through the prophets: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” vs. 17

In todays world, Jesus blesses to gift us with a taste of what the whole world will one day experience in God’s kingdom. It’s a glimpse.

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When God chooses to heal us or bless us it is an unnecessary and willful act of love; a gift. Yes he loves us and yes he wants to see us happy, but first and foremost it is to glorify God and give testimony to his goodness and power.

It’s always been about God first and never about us. We are here to make manifest him!

His acts of love are not mandatory. They are a free gift lavished upon us in mercy and kindness. Our response then should be one of gratitude and debt.

How else would you respond to someone who gave you a gift of incredible value and selfless love?

Say your life for example. You were standing before a judge who had pronounced the death sentence for you and some man stood up and said he’d take your place. An exchange. His life for yours. The judge agrees and you go free….

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Too often, our response to God’s blessings is one of entitlement or expectation, like he owes us something for our “allegiance.”

Yes, we should expect God to answer our prayers, but it won’t always be in our time or our ways. While God loves us and desires for us to know and experience joy in this life, he ultimately wants to be the source of that joy- just him and his relationship – that isn’t dependent on circumstance.

His delight in us sure isn’t based on our performance (ha!) so why then, so often, is our devotion weighed on a scale of his ability to “bless us” and answer our prayers the way we’d have it?

Jesus is far more concerned with our hearts condition than with our comfort or circumstance. He wants to see us grow up and mature spiritually, moving beyond asking what God can do for us, to a place of asking what we can do for him.

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Peter’s Mother-in-law, the women healed in Matthew 8, is a perfect example of how we should respond to Jesus, especially in times when we receive his touch; his blessings, his gifts.

To love and devote our lives in service.

Immediately, not after she did the things she needed to or after she got bored, immediately she got up and waited on him. She served Jesus.

She responded to his act with acts of her own that blessed him. She received his love and lavished it upon others in return.

These are the things he calls us to. This is the heart of God; Love and Service, all as an outpouring of gratitude in response for all thats been done for us… already.

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So let me ask you. How have you responded to God in the past? How will you respond to him today? Right now? And with the vary gift of your life?

 

Pray with me:

Lord, Thank you for your love that you so graciously lavish upon me. Thank you for your desire to know me and be known by me.

Help me to respond to your love in a way that is worthy and honouring to you- to receive your blessings and love and respond with my life as an outpouring in thanks for all your are to me and all you’ve done for me. But not just for the now or the blessings of my current circumstance, but for what has already been done, accomplished and made available to me, through Jesus’ ultimately loving and selfless sacrifice on the cross.

Ignite in me a passionate desire to seek you, love you and serve you, devoting my life to the things of your heart. Fan in me your flame and may many come to know and experience your love for themselves, through me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

When you’re Struggling to Care about What’s Happening in Iraq

The honest truth is, I felt numb to what their now calling a “Christian Genocide.”

I cannot even comprehend such suffering in my wrapped up pretty, over privileged North American Life. But while my mind can’t fathom the horror, my heart has less than stirred for my Christian Brothers and Sisters in Crisis. Why? I won’t go on a “cushioned life” tangent, but simply put, because I feel so far removed.

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I’ve felt shame these past weeks; disgust with myself and the fact that my heart wasn’t breaking nor did I seem to really care. And so I kept quiet. Bound by the lies that I’m a joke of a Christian. That I don’t deserve to even call myself one. I’m a fraud. A sham.

…The perfect stomping grounds for the one who comes to lie, cheat, steal and destroy.

“Don’t even pretend you care by chiming in or share anything on social media! Don’t talk about it with others. That’s being a hypocrite!”

And so I didn’t. I’ve stayed quiet, for weeks; mute both inwardly and otwardly, afraid to even admit the truth to my Father.

I’ve watched from the sidelines as friends and mentors have shared updates, prayers and pleas for those suffering the unthinkable.

And then last night, God did what he always seems to resort to when this stubborn legalist can’t seem to remember what grace is.

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I stumbled upon a video. The man shook and cried,

“There are people dying and no one seems to care! There is no help. There is no aid. How can we simply stand back and watch a genocide occur?! Please do something. Anything that you can. Pray!”

He pleaded with the camera and within seconds I felt the two-by-four of power overcome me. The Holy Spirit moved me to pray, words I hadn’t dared to utter until now.

“Lord, I don’t care. I want to but I don’t! I feel so awful even admitting that to you, but worse, pretending that you don’t already know! If anything is going to change, it needs to be you. Oh please Lord, change my heart. Give me the capacity to love like you do and move in me, so that the things that break yours pierce mine.”

I sat back, felt nothing and waited.

Because that’s the thing with our Father. When we come to him in sincerety, when we’re honest and confess, he is faithful to forgive us and slap the guilt right gone from us. And when we pray, in the vine for his will, does he surely not listen and answer?! Of course.

… in his time and his ways.  So I simply waited, trusting that he would do in me, what only he could do.

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This morning I woke to this article and knew it was my answered prayer:  5 Things we can do right now, that will ACTUALLY help our brothers and sisters.

As I read, my heart beat fast and I could hardly finish before starting to pray… before wanting to share the article… before jumping to speak up using the gift of words he’s given me.

My heart change!

Yes he is capable of far more than we can ever ask or imagine. What is impossible with man is possible with God… even when it comes to renovations of the heart!

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So while I cringe writing this, afraid of what you might think of me – That you might look down on me and think I’m less of a person; Less of a Christian- deep down, I wonder …. if sharing my truth is freeing to even one person, bound by the same guilt that I’ve felt.

That somewhere, you’re looking for a nudge – the permission to confess your numbness and move beyond silence to taking a stand.

This is it. You’re not a bad Christian. You are not unworthy to speak or to pray. Go to your Father who loves you. Seek and you will find!

 

Praying with you, my friend, for hearts that desire to cry out for our Christian Brothers and Sisters.

Down the Narrow Path

Jesus tells us that the path to him is narrow and the gate, small… only a few will find it. [Matt. 7:14]

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And yet on so many days, I fight the hard stuff and want desperately for my life to be comfortable and easy.

…For things to go back to the way they “used to be.”
…For life to magically jump back to a time with less responsibilities and more “freedom.” [Ha! Now that’s a joke, because in the years I’m dreaming of, I was bound by lies of shame, guilt, self hatred and an incessant pursuit of perfectionism that left me feeling unworthy and never good enough]

When I’m fighting the urge to run from my current circumstances, I find myself grasping for things of comfort:

….old TV shows I watched as a child or in an “easier” season of life.  Comfort
….The need to constantly be out and about being entertained or with people.  Distraction
….Feel good books or blogs that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like everything is going to be ok.  Peace

All counterfeit. All Worldly. 

And then I slowly start to notice the effects; my prayers become brief and my devotional time routine, like I’m frantic to “get them done” so I can hurry on to something else that’ll make me feel good. “Happy and light” for a moment.

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I run, to all the wrong places and things, seeking the vary things only HE can give me:

  • The strength and courage to keep going, even when I can’t see the light at the end of the season
  • Comfort that allows me to rest in him, right where I am
  • Peace that surpasses all understanding, reason and circumstance
  • Joy, to dance in the midst of the rain, instead of waiting for it to pass
  • Trust, that He knows me, loves me and has a plan for me
  • Surrender, to his will, his plans and his ways

My husband and I knew from the start of 2014 that this year was going to be one of change. Don’t ask us why, but somehow we knew. It seems that for every few years of “coasting,” he throws us a curve ball year of “change.” Or as I like to put it when I’m through the chaos and lessons… Seasons of Growth.

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It’s in these years or seasons that I’ve done the most growing spirtually, personally and professionally. Because what the heart knows, the heart lives and out of the heart the mouth speaks.

And when love, true love, enters your heart, it can’t help but overflow into every area of your life.

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In these hard seasons, I know that’s what He’s teaching me. He’s increasing my capacity to love deeper and to know him more.

But renovations of any kind are never easy, especially renovations of the heart! They might seem fun and exciting in the dreaming stage, but once your knees deep in the mess and chaos, it’s hard to see the end goal or even remember why you wanted to start this crazy project in the first place.

It’s in those moments, where I sit right now, that I’m reaching out and asking him to grab ahold of me. To pull me up on to the ledge of one covered piece of furniture, so I can see from his perspective how things will surely come together.

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Time, patience, hard work, persistence and faith in the process.

I hear him whisper…

The road is narrow and the gate small. But the rewards are perfect and worth it, dear child. Just wait.

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When all you see, Is who you don’t wanna be

If I’m honest, I balled my eyes out watching this. Buckets.

 

I did’t expect to be knees deep in tears on a sunday morning…

Sure I’m hormonal but that’s hardly the point.

The reality is, I can fake it ’till I make it and I’ve been doing it since I was a child.

 

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In everything from my work, my dreams, my hobbies, my fears, to my battles and demons and the ugly in-between.

I can lie to the person in the mirror, when I hate everything it reflects. I speak truth over it – try and counter it with the mind- but does my heart know it to be true? No.

It doubts it.

 

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
And all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You’re beautiful
In His eyes

-Beautiful | Mercy Me

 

More than how I demand perfection from myself,  I wage war with everyone else’s idea of perfect. Trying to be and please everyone but my Father, first.

Every under eye circle, every pimple, every wrinkle, every bloated tummy, every less than awesome outfit…. they taunt me.

Sure when I’m wrapped up pretty and “ready” for the day, I feel great and faking it comes easy. It’s the paint;  it masks my insecurity – how I’m truly feeling deep down inside.

Like it’s all a sham. It’s all a lie.

Because underneath, I hate what I see. When I unmask from the charade I pick myself apart and I will it to be different.

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I skald uniqueness, rather than treasure my sculptor’s signature on me.

I hide my flaws of character, rather than wear my story with pride.

I compete with every impossibility, rather than love where I’ve been blessed.

 

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And yet I know that I am made in his image. Every curve, every freckle, intentional and with purpose.

 

When I cry in despair, He weeps from my rejection.

When I damn my imperfections, he makes beauty from my ashes.

When I hide in self hate torment, he dances over me in heaven.

 

Lord, let me see me from your eyes. Remind me who I am.

 

In the mirror when all I see Is who I don’t wanna be

In the loneliest places when I cant remember what grace is

When I cant receive Your love afraid I’ll never be enough

If I’m Your beloved can You help me believe it

I’m the one You love and That will be enough.

-Remind me who I am | Jason Gray

 

 

 

She wore no Shame

As she frolicked through the woods with her two older siblings, fighting to keep up, she wore no shame.

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As she hiked up the trail in her big bowed headband and her pink tutu, she wore no shame.

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As she tried new adventures, fell and got back up again, she wore no shame.

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As she wore her crown of femininity, she knew she was special, loved and perfectly lovely to her daddy.

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As the played in the water, facing fears and getting tossed back by the waves, she wore no shame.

As she wiggled her little hiney, prancing in her swimsuit, she wore no shame.

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As she cried for her daddy to come and comfort her in her sorrow, she wore no shame.

“Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, will never enter into it.” Mark 10:16

As I sat and watched her, I was mesmerized by intriqgue. When is it that we loose all sense of wonder…. in ourselves. In life. In everyone around us.

When is it that we start apologizing for who we are and hiding ourselves from the world?…. our bodies, our mistakes, our weaknesses, our dreams, our fears, our insecurities, our failures.

When is that we allow the lie of shame to cloak us from our innocence and steal the whimsy from our inner child. Are we not, even as adults, made in his image, forever a child in the eyes of our father and eternally in need of a saviour?

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With every new gift of whimsy my eyes bore witness to, I called out to my Father.

“Lord, Help me to be like this here wee one. Confident and free to simply be. Whole, innocent and joyful, full of whimsy and excitement. Let me run to you with reckless abondon, even in my pride and childish weakness. Let me trust you with my life, with my purpose and my heart. Amen”

Perfection is Possible

For years, I chased perfection. And to be honest, I still struggle.

While in my mind, I know better than to think perfection is king, [rather than the thief of everything] in my actions, I still strive….

  • to earn my salvation
  • to make it in this world
  • to achieve my dreams, success and influence
  • to be accepted and liked by others
  • to be loved, even by God

If I look closely at what I’m chasing, I see clearly that what my head knows, my heart still doubts most days.

But, as I’ve come to know his grace and mercy, my pursuit of perfection has slowed. Instead I chase after him, his heart, his love and his relationship. To know him, grow in him and be like him.

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As I see his face more clearly, I see my sin in right alignment.  The word “perfection” became tainted. I despised it. It was my frienemy now, arch nemesis.

Then I read it…

Be perfect therefor, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. Matt 5:48

For months I struggled with it. How can I possibly be perfect as God, without achieving perfection?

In divine fashion and “perfect” timing, he opened my eyes and heart to see.

Perfection, my child is IN ME. Through ME, it is possible. In fact, it’s advisable and a worthy pursuit, it just looks different than you think!

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The Three Stages of Perfection

1. Perfect Relationship

We are perfect because of our eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. When we become God’s children, we are washed clean and declared “not guilty.”  He now considers us Holy, blameless and righteous because of his Son’s sacrifice on our behalf.

This perfect relationship, despite how badly we screw up (and we will, daily) is unchangeable and gurantees that we will one day be made completely perfect.

In Christ you have been brought to fullness. ~ Colossians 2:10

It’s not a contract, but a covenant that God has made with us!

 

2. Perfect Progress

As we grow closer in our relationship with Christ, we mature spiritually,  not just in learning from Christ but in learning to obey him.

As we press on, living and serving in love, we progress closer to complete perfection.

It is not however our service that perfects us, rather, as God perfects us, we do good deeds in response to what he’s done for us….  It is an overflow of love in gratitude for Christ.

Unlike the previous, this stage of perfection fluctuates, dependfing on the stage of life we’re in and our daily walk with God.

 

3. Completely Perfect

There will come a day when Christ returns for his bride and will bring us with him to his eternal kingdom. There, we will be glorified and made completely new and perfect.

But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him. Philippians 3:20-21

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So while perfection is possible, it is grounded solely in the faith that saves us! There is nothing, not a morsel of good that will earn or achieve us this status. It is only by the blood of Jesus that cloaks us in regal garnments and wipes our shame and guilt right clean.

While on most days it feels like he’s failing me, he promises to carry me through to completion.

 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

So I press on,  standing firm on his promises.

Finding “Your People” and building community

For years I felt alone. Like I didn’t have “my people” or any true friends. Not to mention my roster of female friendships was lacking.

I could never quite put my finger on it, but was quick to say girls were simply judgemental and critical of each other.

It wasn’t until my twenties that God would bring me two fold into the most beautiful of communities and teach me what it takes to allow genuine friendship to blossom.

The key, I soon discovered, was vulnerability.

Like a marriage of it’s own, the bond of friendship is birthed through trial and brokenness.

In laying your ugly on the table, knowing she’ll still love you (and accept you) when the masks are removed.

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Truthfully, this was hard for me. I had spent my whole life trying to portray an image of having everything in my life, including me, wrapped up pretty and perfect. The last thing I cared for people to see, especially another women, was my weakness. The dark within myself that even I had tried to hide from.

It first took being able to look at myself in the mirror and own the junk I’d brushed beneath the rug and the pain I’d stuffed down deep… out loud and not pretend it wasn’t ugly. Then laying it at the feet of the only true healer, asking for forgiveness and begging that He would make me clean.

‘Cause when we experience grace for ourselves and come to know His mercy in brokeness, we’re able to extend that love and acceptance to others, just as he has done for us.

Slowly, I was able to start embracing my imperfections and living in the truth of my brokeness, without it defining me. And when I saw myself as He saw me, I could go to friends in honestly. I didn’t have to paint a pretty picture in fear of being rejected. I could rise above my circumstance and seek community in my suffering.

And the most beautiful thing happened….

As Marianne Williamson said,
As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Standing on his promises and living in the freedom and forgiveness he gives me- despite how far I have to go or rotten I am on the worst day-  I give others permission to do the same.

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Permission to believe God even when we doubt him.

…..When we feel pathetically unlovable and beyond hope.

…..When we think we’ve butchered the gospel or strangled the light that was within us.

…..When we think we can’t be Christians because our actions and tongue pierce hearts with hatred.

…..To know that when we seek him we will find him and when we confess, we are forgiven.

…..That we are washed completely clean and that are sins are removed as far as the east is from the west.

…..That because of Christ, not by anything we can or cannot do, we are Holy, blameless and beautiful in the eyes of God. Treasured, celebrared and passionately danced over. .. because of the gift Jesus gave us on the cross.
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How can this not move us to worship and dancing?!

How glorious and loving is our Father, slow to anger and quick to forgive. The ultimate and perfect example of love.

So, if you’re sitting there like I once was, longing for community, I dare you to do the impossible which is possible only with God.

Go before him and confess your darkness; The battles and scarlet wounds you’d rather hide.  Receive forgiveness from your Saviour, allowing his love and mercy in. And then live in that freedom.Walk in confidence of his love and share the power of his testimony.

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Praying for you, my friend, that God would bring the right women who can speak into your life, and also women who need you and could use a your friendship.