despite what billboards tell you

You see, we live with this false illusion that if only our makeup was perfect we were thin or pretty enough, then we'd somehow gain acceptance in the world and life would suddenly start to make sense, come together, maintain control. (Yeh right.  Nice fairytale, huh?!)

And yet when all is said and done and "perfect enough" there still seems to be a screaming loud hole in the depth of one's soul  that somehow doesn't fill the void; and you find yourself longing... 

Longing to believe the truth when people say "they will still love you for you, no matter what size you are," meanwhile the billboards, magazine covers, movies and ads by the thousands dont lie.  At least in your mind they dont.  They all scream the "ideal" female. But what digital artists, marketing geniuses and hollywood failed to clue you in on was that every ad, billboard or magazine cover has been airbrushed and countoured to just that 'perfect look.'  It's impossible to look like Barbie for one thing, her body ratio and proportions are not realistic and if you havent figured this out, there is only one YOU.  You cannot become someone else.  The struggle often lies in our desire to look like, be like, feel like someone else. 

And so this is me.  Raw. Exposed:
Tired of eating what ads and billboards and magazines tell me I should look like when I want to be fed. I am left with a glass full of trendy recipes and longing for real conversations with the people pushing the latest trend on society to leave most females today feeling inadequate and like they'll never arive.  You see, I came to a point where I realized no matter how thin I was, how perfectly pretty I looked, how well behaved, spoken, or put together I was; I would always fall short... in someones eyes...

Conditioned to believe the lies of the world and in even a split moment of weakness the enemy will devour your mind, and convince you you're not through your struggle.  Reverse! "You're not over that desire to be a perfect size 2 because obviously you still dont have the life you wanted"  The snake he is tricks us momentarily as we contemplate reversing back to the eating disorder from college.  Or he is sly enough to heap feelings of shame and guilt as we seek to continue being "healthy"  because we actually pay attention to our appearance -Sly as he is, he convinces us something is for us, then twists it to be completely wrong or self-condemning.

Its in the depths of ones soul where she wrestles with this insecurity; its these very depths where she can be met.  She can be found. And HE longs to meet with you!  Perfectly as you are.  

A prince waiting for his princess, His desire is to woo your heart!  To delight in you the way you've never experienced before.  Suddenly you dont know how to accept such adorned treatment. He wants to delight in you, despite your ability to play the perfect part, put on a happy face, or fit into a certain waistsize.  You dont have to be perfect to be loveable!  You dont have to be wearing a sweet sundress or impress the rest to receive this kind of love!

He is PASSIONATE about you!
His relentless pursuit of your heart doesnt stop until he has your all! Your everything.

As I've come down from a season where my heart was baracaded, as a result of the fear it would be shattered into a thousand pieces once again,  Jesus somehow seaped through.  Still pursuing.  Still calling with sweet whispers.  "You are enough!  You will be safe with His company."  Looking deep into the heart of what once was, it was still there; furiously beating, waiting to be swept away and cared for!

The little girl that played dress-up with her dolls and loved playing pretend was still there, just waiting to be captivated.  I need to be reminded of whose I was - WHO I was!
It took time to awaken my heart and bring it back to life, but WOW was it worth it!

My heart was ransomed by the One who deserved it, and a community of people who loved me well-

It was in learning again about the love my Father displays for all to experience and having it resonate just a little deeper,  I knew I wanted nothing less than to fully know him.

Sure, questions and doubts still surface from time to time, again and again:  What am I worth?  Why do I question? Do I have value?  Am I loveable?  Am I Lovely?

Even as someone who claims to know God, its easy to let the excitement fade away and wake up to find oneself in routine of monotony and no joy, or perhaps failed belief.  Running back into the place where I know to meet him, I am swept away.  It's in His WORD, worship, or in the scribbling of a thousand thoughts that cannot keep up with the ink on the page where I stumble on sweet reminders of His love and His provision!  I'm taken back to be reminded of his provisions before and what its like to feel butterflies, and I fall in love all over again.  Its THESE moments, we get to recall and then he uses these moments to teach us. THESE are the moments that inspire a new day, a brightened smile, a step forward... The changes that procede the butterflies or perhaps that come in the midst of chaos are what make the adventure of life completely worth it!

Are you in the middle of chaos?
Are you in the midst of changes that might be too much for you to handle? Or are you simply doubting His plan and questioning where He is at work behind the scenes?  

Yeh me too.  HOWEVER...
I always say I would rather know Jesus in the highest of highs and lowest of lows than not know him at all and to just exist in and through life!

I can't stand here to claim I've survived horrific tragedy in life, however, the things I have endured have lead me to seek freedom.  In the world's eyes I've lived a fairly trouble free, luxurious and uncomplicated life (in terms of facebook and instagram) - and yet I've been completely broken and stripped of every hope for relationships, security in finances, assurance of health, even struggles with identity and worth. (Only someone who struggles with any of these can know the depths it reaches, which I think some of you might understand.)  I've seen brokenness in others I can't fathom having to endure.  I've walked narrow roads of best friends as they fight for custody of their children.  I've been there to sit and ask God WHY when lives were threatened by house fires that took everything.  I've cried with single friends who long to have a family of their own someday.  I've been there to "just be" after breakups, broken engagements, news of cancer and life threatening illnesses or accidents. Phone calls to learn of someone's suicide, depression and more. Sadly, the enemy has won many battles and thoughts in the past few years, HOWEVER, it doesnt have to be this way.   For me and many I know, they have chosen to rely and look to the faithfulness and goodness of God in their life to help them with getting through hour by hour, day by day. While I struggle with questions I still know my God is Victorious! Despite how royally screwed up things can be, how messy life is, or how sinful my heart or actions can be, I KNOW and believe and can confidently say there is NO Condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, our Lord.  I have experience freedom in ways I cannot explain other than through his power -
And I can say because of His work in my life
I've experienced abundance from poverty,
                                      BEAUTY from pain,
                                             LAUGHTER from tears and
                                                             JOY from mourning!

He has truly turned my heart into dancing, because of His goodness and so when moments come I start to doubt, I remember so many places he's stepped in and rearranged the scenery a bit!  Today I know its not the outfit I wear, the way I look or style my hair that earns love or value within my being.  Its simply because how He loves.  I am created in the image of God and just as his heart longs to be pursued, our hearts like his, he pursues us.

Despite my flaws and junk that continues to resurface, my heart is being molded into a heart like his.  I've prayed dangerous prayers that God would daily "heal the parts of me that need to be healed."   That He would "give me courage to accept the things I cannot change and the Boldness to change the things I can!"  That he would "give me eyes to see and ears to hear what breaks his hear so that my heart too might be broken, and then I'd have the courage to respond."  

I believe God is ALWAYS at work on our behalf!  He is not the author of pain nor confusion, and while I cannot tell you WHY He unfortunately allows some of the things He does, I am confidant He doesn't waste our pain either, because He is for us.  Romans tells us; He is always at work on our behalf for our good and our benefit!  And the lovely reminder that I continue to need almost daily is this:  "When you cant see his hand, TRUST his heart" He knows your heart too.  Praise Him for that.

So, as I close, I say to you whatever season you're in; whether you need encouragement or just to be reminded - He is FOR YOU.  He LOVES you.  He SEES you.  He Hasnt let go!  HE hasnt given up!  He IS WORKING Behind the scenes and we can thank him for all he is putting to motion. And those doubts that come in between the good times that want to take your hope, your confidence, your security away; my   prayer is that you would let Him pursue and captivate your heart!  Tell that devil to get away from you, and then keep looking up!


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