The one on perseverance

   Last week I was with my church at our lake baptism. Although I wasn’t there to be baptized, I was just there to enjoy a time of fellowship and support those who were being baptized. And even though I chose not to swim in the lake, I did find myself enjoying messing with the sand. (I would say playing with the sand, which in all honesty is what I was doing, but I was looking for a more “mature” word.) Anyway, as the water would occasionally wash up upon the shore, I enjoyed sinking my feet into the soft, damp sand before watching my small footprints wash away. There was nothing quite like the joy from the feeling that there was nothing else going on, just me, the beautiful weather, and the peacefulness of my feet in the sand, with the tide that would nicely brush my ankles. I honestly wanted nothing else in that moment except what I had - which, c’mon, doesn’t happen much in the selfish, demanding world we sometimes surround ourselves in. But, even if only for a few moments, it was wonderful.

Eventually I found myself kneeling in the sand, pushing the sand into clumps that would form a cross. The tide managed to stay a few inches back, so it didn’t wash away. It wasn’t anything extravagant now, just a small cross. I smoothed the edges, I leveled the top, and there it was - my little cross in the sand. I was quite proud of it, even if it was short lived. Shortly, as if on cue, the water from the lake started pushing its way further. It brushed the edge of my cross, causing it to soften and crumble. I pushed some more sand back onto the cross, and all was well again. I’m sure you can manage to assume what happened next. The waters came further, harder, faster, and stronger. My little cross in the sand was nothing but a soupy glob that kept washing away, and getting smaller, and smaller. I tried desperately to fix it, but to no avail. Yeah, okay, so most people would look at it under the impression that it’s merely a little cross built in the sand. It was destined to wash away, anyway, and surely I must have known that.

Then it reminded me of something.

And all of a sudden I saw that little cross in the sand as a newly-placed faith in Jesus Christ. As if, when I sculpted that cross...that was like a new believer taking the first steps to committing their lives, and all the faith they have, to God. And when they step back and look at what has been done, what has been sculpted in their’s...well, like that small moment of joy I experienced on the beach - Even if only for a moment...wonderful.

Then the waves come.

Then, the world comes.

As if the water sensed a symbol of surrender, a symbol of hope, in that little cross in the sand...and, of course, came rushing upon it. No matter what you do to try fix it, salvage it, or re-build it...the waters just keep coming. Determined to wash it away – like how the world seems to be determined to bring anyone who calls themselves a Christian to destruction.

So what’s best to do? Keep sitting there, pushing the sand back onto the cross in soupy globs, hoping it will keep its form? Or shield it completely from the waters that are coming. Perhaps let the waters destroy it and go build another one elsewhere?   Or...wait...maybe this is all a trick question. Like, “Hey, what’s my cross doing in the sand anyway? Wasn’t I supposed to go build it on a rock or somethin’?” And that’s the key. Don’t focus on the world. Focus on the cross. Build your relationship firm in Christ from the beginning, and let the waves come. No matter how hard they come at you...your faith is built on a rock, which cannot wash away. Let the world see that no matter what it can throw against us, we will persevere.

Perfectly Flawed

 I’d like to start by quickly apologizing for the fact that I haven’t posted much. As you can see - In All Faithfulness has new look! Also, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see on the sidebar a new little box where you can send me feedback, ideas, prayer requests, questions, and suggestions for what to write about. Thanks!

     It’s pretty hard to disagree with the fact that almost every single woman, of any age, struggles with the way they look. We look in the mirror every day and see nothing but imperfection and flaws. We see the opposite of what society says we should look like. We start to allow what people say about us slowly sink in and break us apart. And every day, the lies we tell ourselves start to become a part of us. And we allow it.

     People don’t realize how young girls are when we start to feed them these lies. And as they grow up they learn that the world sets standards for the way women should look. They teach us that we have to fit these standards in order to be accepted or even presentable to society. And the more they start to grow up the more they start to realize they can never achieve those standards. And I can’t even begin to explain how haywire it gets from there. And what’s it all for, anyway? For men? Some might say that. Because women need to have confidence? I hear that one a lot. But people don’t seem to realize that our confidence, and our beauty, comes from a very different source. And today I’m going to share what that is. Even though most of you already are very aware of it, I want to go in depth with it. I want you to leave this blog with a new frame of mind. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, or maybe it’s simply impossible, but we’ll see.

     I’m sure you’ve heard about or read this verse before – 1 Peter 3:3-4. {pictured}. But we’re going to go in depth of what this verse really means. Let’s start at, “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - ...” Now this was written way back in AD 62-63...yet we can see that women adorned themselves in all the same ways. They would attempt to beautify themselves in order to be accepted, liked, and admired. Maybe even sometimes you, yes, I’m talking to you, don’t even feel comfortable leaving the house without makeup covering your face? You can’t let society see your blemishes, right? And I can’t be the only one who spends sometimes hours picking out what to wear because nothing is “just right”. I want people to think highly of me, and I’m sure you do too. But stop and think with me here – in what ways have our methods of beautification gotten in the way of who God created us to be? Let’s look further into the verse, “But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,” What Peter is saying in the first part of this verse, is let your beauty come from “the hidden person of the heart.” Or, you. Too often girls get caught up in trying to be somebody else. God created you with a purpose in mind – don’t let your desire to be as perfect as those photo shopped women on magazine covers get in the way of living out God’s grand design for your life. The Godly woman hidden inside you...that is more beautiful than any makeup or clothing can give you. Which leads us to “...with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,...” This is something we see in the characteristics and attributes of a Godly woman at heart. Close your eyes and think about a “gentle and quiet spirit.”... Seriously, close your eyes and picture it. Why do I get the feeling you still haven’t done it? Just take a couple seconds and think about it. Then picture those attributes in yourself. Does it match up with the way your spirit is now? Probably not. I know mine doesn’t. To be gentle and quiet is someone who focuses on God before anything else in the world can come between them. Their relationship with the Lord is intimate and highly cherished. They do not take delight in evil, instead the live out their lives peacefully in the Lord. This is the hidden person of the heart, don’t you see? With that, take a look at the very last part of the verse... “...Which is God’s sight is very precious.” Isn’t that beautiful? That God would look unto us, His children, and see us as precious. God. Like, creator of the universe, ya know? And He sees me as precious? That’s pretty incredible.

So, if there’s one thing I hope you leave here with. It’s this...
When you start hating on yourself, maybe it’s your body size, your complexion, or anything that you just dislike, or even hate, about yourself...remind yourself of 1 Peter 3:3-4. If you can, write it on your bedroom/bathroom mirror, or write it on a note card and stick it someplace where you will see it every day. Eventually you will memorize it and you will carry that peace of knowing that your beauty comes from a more magnificent source. Don’t let the influences of this world impact your idea of beauty. The maker of the universe created you to be just the way you are – everything about you reflects your Father, for He doesn’t make mistakes, and His creations are flawless and perfect. Rejoice in that, and share it with others.