A Letter to My Tween Daughter (A Guest Post by Katie M. Reid)

Hi, Friend! I apologize in advance for the upcoming “link overload” but I have so much I need to tell you!

I want to introduce you to Katie M. Reid! She is a writer, photographer , and singer who invests the beautiful work of her heart into the kingdom of God. Today, she is sharing a letter about beauty to her Tween daughter.

A couple weeks ago, Katie interviewed me about my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, as well as the Beautiful Blog Series. After you read the beauty of her words, I want to encourage you to click over to her blog where you can see the interview.

Also, tomorrow is #findingherthursday! If you join us via Instagram, twitter, or facebook by using the hashtag as well as subscribe to my blog, I will send you the Kindle Edition of Nothing to Hold but Hope as a special gift! You will also receive my eBook Mercy Waits for FREE!

Already a blog subscriber but still want the book? Just participate in Finding Her Thursday and send me an email telling me you did. Easy Peasy!

This special gift is valid only for tomorrow’s #Findingherthursday, so join us!


BeautyUndecoratedKMReid

Dear Tween Daughter:

Once upon a time there was a young lady who fretted and fussed over her flawed appearance. She loathed the abundance of dark hair on her arms, she longed to be taller and detested the blemishes that surfaced at the most inopportune times.

 As she gazed into the looking glass, for far too long each morning, she criticized what she saw and struggled to make her reflection more beautiful.

 She longed for the approval of others, to be like them, with big hair, skinny thighs and tan skin. She wanted to blend in yet be noticed at the same time. So, she sneakily applied pink frosted lip gloss and caked on deep blue eye shadow—against her mother’s orders—to try and fit in and feel more grown up.

That girl was me, darling daughter. And I see traces of those same longings in you.

You don’t struggle with unwanted arm hair but you’re embarrassed by your chapped lips and persistently ask if you can wear make-up yet.

“Not yet, sweet girl, but soon.”

You respond with eye rolls and a quick exit out of the room at this answer.

I didn’t like it when my mom told me “not yet” either, but now I understand her reasons for it, because it’s how I feel about you.

I want you to feel confident with your bare-face daughter, to see beauty in the undecorated.

There is nothing wrong with using make-up—when it’s time—but you don’t need it to be accepted. I don’t want it to become an idol that trips you either.

Stand tall because you are made by the Star-Breathing, Paradise-Creating, Body-Forming, Loving-Artist; God.

I want you to be known for your sharp mind, witty humor and compassion for others; that’s what makes you beautiful.

You’re probably confused because you see me plucking and fussing over unwanted flaws, frowning at my thin salt-and-pepper hair and carefully applying a layer of make-up before heading out the door most days.

You see your mother making external beauty a top priority, but, I want more for you.

More than a pretty face, I want you to have an attractive heart. One that extends the beauty of grace to others, one that makes up quickly when it wrongs, one that is clothed in love—knowing that she’s accepted in Christ and therefore approved by God.

Yes, tween daughter, I want you to look your best with His help for His glory, pointing others to His attractiveness.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying beauty but don’t let it turn into something ugly and distorted—becoming too important and all-consuming. Remember that vain step-mother from Snow White? Yeah, don’t be like her.

You are beautiful tween daughter. inside and out. Your eyes sparkle with a zest for life, your smile lights up the room, and your generosity is impacting those around you and those abroad.

YourHeartBeautyKMReid May your heart be the thing you spend the most time on in your beauty regiment.

The world will tell you that you should look and act a certain way, according to their ever-shifting ideal. As I look back I regret the countless hours I’ve spent scrutinizing what God gave me. I want you to focus more on reflecting Him than what you see reflected in the mirror.

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” -1 Corinthians 13:12

This quest for beauty has been placed in your heart by your Creator. Follow His lead and don’t get sidetracked by the artificial found along the way.

Keep searching for the inner beauty that is found down deep, rooted in His Truth and grounded in His Love. This kind of loveliness will not spoil or fade but will grow more valuable and more treasured with each passing day.

That’s the best beauty secret I can give you my daughter. Look into His face and see what He sees: a one-of-a-kind, lovely young woman who is blossoming at just the right time, His time.

Love,

Mom

katie_reidheadshot1As a Tightly Wound Woman (of the recovering perfectionist variety), Katie M. Reid fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She uses her writing—as well as singing, speaking and photography—to unwind in His Presence and point others to Jesus. Join Katie and learn to let go and hold on the Only One who is always in control and truly perfect.

Katie would love to connect with you at katiemreid.com and on twitter and facebook.

 

 

 

 

These Are the Beautiful

These are the beautiful things JPGTo love, to give, to laugh, to serve. These are the beautiful.

To hold, and kiss, and want, and need. These are the beautiful.

To call, to cry, to sing, to eat. These are the beautiful.

To believe in mercy, and grace, and refuse to give in. These are the beautiful things.

With every breath you participate in beauty.

Your life matters.

Why are you downcast O, my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? Why do my eyes see something different than my creator? And why does the heaviness shadow my beautiful?

These are questions we need to ask. These are the raw and real. It’s not shallow to wonder who we would be if we could shake the need to look like the women in the magazines. We aren’t’ seen as weak or egomaniacal when we ask Jesus to fix our sight that we may see ourselves the way He sees us.

It takes strength and determination to dig to the depths to find our beauty and work to uncover who we are in Christ.

It takes a warrior to believe in, and fall deep in love with, a God we cannot see.

It takes a heart filled with true beauty to whisper yes to the cause of Christ.

With shaking lips and a trembling voice, whisper yes to your beautiful.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Tomorrow we will read some dear words from my writer friend Katie M. Reid. She’s written a letter to her tween daughter about beauty, and you won’t want to miss it.

You will also see the interview she conducted with me about Nothing to Hold but Hope, and The Beautiful Blog Series! See you then, friends!

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Why YOU Are Called to Ministry!

Pauly and Grace watching the SunsetWhen I decided to talk about beauty, I never imagined how much of it would be uncovered in so many different ways. I didn’t realize that I would all of a sudden see people differently, that nature would appear so glorious, or that the beauty of Christ would be uncloaked in a whole new light. Isn’t that just like God?

On the Vlog last Friday, I mentioned how I love the word but as a conjunction because It delivers hope. The eyes of my soul are being renewed. It’s okay to be who I am as long as I’m allowing Christ to work within me. The revelation of Jesus in one’s life is enough to heal any wound from the inside out.

This morning, I awoke craving the word of God. I must admit, some days I have to push myself to study. It takes discipline. However, today, the beauty of the clear blue sky lured me outside to my deck, and I couldn’t wait to dig inside His truth.

I settled in Hosea, and though I’ve spent time there before, it’s been awhile. As I familiarized myself with his story and the prophecies and pleas he sent forth, I began to think of how blessed we are to walk through trial when it means we can understand and comfort one another’s pain.

When I lost my daughter to stillbirth, I received a letter in the mail from someone who had also endured the same type of loss. I remember feeling a kindred-type freedom in her words, because they reminded me I wasn’t alone. I appreciated her taking time to relive her own suffering to minister to me. Oftentimes, when we minister out of our own ashes, it causes us to deal with old hurts. It’s in those tender places of ministry that God continues to bind our wounds.

We all face hardship. The question is, what will we allow God to do, in another life, through our pain?

Hosea was not only comparing Israel to living a life of harlotry, but he was commanded to take up residence with it Himself. His wife played with the fire of this particular sin and Hosea was heartsick. He was called to minister out of his own grief – out of his own experience.

I will be very honest and say that I have a difficult time giving advice on topics I know nothing about. I try to apply biblical application, but it’s all I can do. Let’s put it this way, I’m a parent, so I have a hard time taking parenting advice from those who do not have children. I could never take marriage advice from someone who wasn’t married.

Statistics are studied. I need to be comforted and ministered to by those who have walked a similar path. And though I’m called to minister to women who need encouragement, I won’t always be able to identify with every struggle. What I am sure of is that I can always pray.

I once received a phone call from a woman who had lost a baby during childbirth. The first words out of her mouth were, “How did you do it? How did you get through it?” She contacted me because she knew I had resided in the same desert of grief where she was now living. She needed to know how I found water during the drought.

That is why beauty from ashes is so amazing. It leads us to a place of comforting others through matters of the heart and soul. It’s the kind of ministry that carries eternal value. It’s an unsung melody performed in perfect pitch because the soul connects to the heart’s sorrow.

I know how to minister to women who have faced infertility and pregnancy loss. I can identify with a heart trapped in grief. I’ve raised a son, so I’m able to talk about child rearing from birth through age twenty-two. I’m in the thick of raising littles, so I understand weary mama moments. I’ve been married close to twenty-four years, and I’m aware of the commitment marriage commands. I’m not an expert, nor have I achieved perfection in any area, but God has taken my ashes and raised them to form a picture of beauty.

And, friend, I know you also live a wondrous beauty from ashes story.

You might be single, maybe you are married without children, it’s possible you’ve been divorced or lost a child to an illness much later in life. Whatever your story is, it holds beauty that is more precious than you can imagine, and someone is waiting to hear your story. You might be thinking, “I’m not in ministry.” Well, I have news for you: Every Christian is called to ministry.

Ministry isn’t compartmentalized into church leadership or strictly for those part of church led ministry teams. If you are a wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend, then you’ve been called. Your life is beautiful, precious, and worth more than you know.

  • When you give encouragement through word or deed, it’s ministry.
  • When you are kind to an unkind co-worker, it’s ministry.
  • When you cook your husband dinner, it’s ministry.
  • When you change your baby’s diaper, it’s ministry.
  • When you call a friend just to ask how their day was, it’s ministry.

We often become lost in thinking that what we do day-to-day is monotonous and doesn’t count for much. You need to know that whatever you are living through, it’s a call to action. You will be called to use today’s challenges as someone else’s comfort and awakening.

Christ will use you!

There is a discrepancy as to where the following quote came from, some say William Shakespeare while others say Pablo Picasso. However, someone said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Regardless of who said it, I would like to declare it as the definition of ministry! I would only add that the meaning of life is to find Christ and acknowledge that in and through Him our gifts are given. After that, we must give it ALL away. The wonderful news is that we will never run dry. One of the most beautiful mysteries of the Giver is that He constantly refills so that those who seek Him are continually filled with the pure milk of His eternal Word, which never ends.

Friend, you have a gift – a purpose – a ministry.

Imagine standing in a wide open space while holding the ashes of your pain inside the palm of your hand. Now picture placing your hand next to your lips and blowing those ashes into the air. When you exhale that breath and surrender those ashes, the Father will catch every one and transform them to be used for His glory through your beautiful life. The next breath you take will be one of freedom and hope. Those ashes shape your eternity. And, friend, it’s nothing short of beautiful.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: For this week’s #Findingherthursday, I want you to snap a picture of something that is beauty from ashes in your life. If your beauty from ashes cannot be photographed because it isn’t tangible, post a picture of beauty wherever you are. Don’t forget to use the hashtag and tell us why you chose your picture!

To tweet this post, click here!

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is Free to new subscribers!

 

Word for Your Weekend #3: Our Desires

Word for your weekend option 2Hey, Friends! Sorry I’m behind with posting the vlog this week. Life’s been a surprise this week, but I tell you all about it in this video! Thanks for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. My heart, literally, felt it!

I hope the vlog ministers to you, and if you like it, maybe you can share it and encourage someone else!

Subscribers, if you don’t see the video in your email, you can click this link.

Love,

Jennifer

“https://youtu.be/tIyV9eMr6MA”

How to Find Beauty In the Out of Rhythm Moments of Life

partyWe’ve been speaking of finding our beautiful. We are looking to discover it underneath the muck and miry places. In the midst of feeling unknown, and less than desirable, we are declaring crooked ways straight and cracking ourselves wide open to find the holy inside, that it might trickle out and appear beautiful to the eyes we see in the mirror.

My weekend was filled with warm celebration. I hosted a heart-filled, sisterly-souls-stuck-together, kind of 40th birthday party for a beautiful friend. (Oh, and our husbands were there too. *smile*)

Table setting for tracy's party_ntable_nplace settingstracys crown_nCupcakestracy_n surprise_nBirthday girl_nstar and scott tracys partyWelcome drinks at tracy's partyMe and Tracy at her partyIt’s in the tender moments of breaking bread where hearts are mended and beauty abounds. (If you believe that, you can tweet it!)

When the weekend wrapped up, I went from hosting an intimate dinner part on Saturday to speaking to fifty teenage girls on Monday. God’s impressed the importance of this subject on my heart, and so we talked all things, beauty, comparison, and the need to be whole. The battle starts young.

When it was all said and done, I retreated to my comfy family room with a cozy blanket, and a leftover cupcake I had from the weekend festivities. At about 7pm I felt an abnormal rhythm in my chest. Oh how I wish I was speaking metaphorically, but I’m not. My heart felt like it was doing flip-flops and I was breathing through it while praying it would pass. I’m just finding time to sit down and write to you at 5pm on Tuesday, nothing has changed.

I went to the doctor and had an EKG. I’m experiencing frequent heart palpitations, which I already felt but now the doctor has seen. They drew blood in hopes of finding easy answers.

He told me one of two things will happen: 1) The palpitations will disappear and we will never have an answer. 2) They will become worse and we will move on to the next phase of testing. Hmmmm. Thank you very much, doctor, I opt for number 1.

I’ll tell you what, nothing draws you closer to Jesus than thinking the old heart is freaking out.

As of today, doctor’s orders are for me to rest as much as possible until the blood work comes back from the lab and we see if these go away on their own.

As a busy wife and mother, I can’t tell you how often I’ve dreamt to have a prescription like that. In theory, what mom doesn’t fantasize about being sent to her room and ordered to rest? Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!

Until it actually happens…

Right now, I want to be on a run – a fast paced wind in my hair, adrenaline propelled, hard run. And, friend, I don’t run! Because when I do my bladder decides to fall down and everything jiggles in a way that makes chafing a real live disease! Jello has nothing on me!

But there’s something about being told no that makes everything in one’s being scream, “YES!”

And, so, here I am trying to find beauty in a body with a an out-of-rhythm-heartbeat, while stuck in bed when the sun is shining bright on all those great running trails outside. Actually, it’s also shining bright on my deck where there is comfy furniture. I mean, just incase I would change my mind about the whole running thing…

This too shall pass.

And there’s the Beauty!

We serve a God who never leaves us where we are. He gently picks up our pieces and teaches inside the heart pounding, flip-flopping moments of this crazy life. He beckons us to freedom within the insanity we suffer, and shines the light of hope in the middle of what feels ugly and forsaken.

Do you know what? God’s got this. So I’m going to rest, read, watch chick flicks, and be still in the beauty of this place.

Friend, wherever you are, there is some sort of beauty. You can always find it when you look hard enough.

I know you long for a specific beauty to shine through. I understand the need to be “known” and feel “enough.”

I want to be very real with you right now:

Sometimes, learning to be satisfied in the enough of today allows you to see the beautiful in who you are right now. Contentment often serves as the light we need so that we can see beauty clearly.

God has created you in His image, given you the right to become His child, and has called you to Himself, all because you are enough.

You are loved. Even in the heart thudding, out-of-rhythm-moments-of-life there is beauty to be found.

Love,

Jennifer

PS: This week’s #Findingherthursday prompt is to choose something that brings you beauty right where you are. Just snap a picture, post it with the hashtag, and we will be able to find each other and cheer one another on!

Next week, there will be prizes for those who use the hashtag and participate! Woo-hoo! I love giving prizes!

 

Word For Your Weekend #2: Child of God

Word for your weekend option 2As I was working on the Vlog yesterday morning, I had a revelation. I ended up scrapping much of what I had originally planned to say and decided to share what was on my heart at that moment.

The funny thing is that even after I said everything I did, as I watched the playback to upload it, I found myself doing the very same thing I had just condemned.

Oh, friend, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I hope the words in the Vlog speak to your heart. (Subscribers, if the video doesn’t appear in your email, please click this link to view it.)

May your weekend be filled to overflowing with life, love, and grace.

Love,

Jennifer

 

Click here to watch if it doesn’t show up.

Another Step in Finding our Beauty…

Another Step in Finding Our Beauty

Hi, Friend. All this talk about beauty is making me look intensely at the messy spaces of my heart. I really believe that to see beauty on the outside, we have to immerse ourselves not only in who God is, but also in who He says we are. When we learn to stand on the […]

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Four Reminders to Help You Feel Enough

Four Reminders You are Enough

Dear Friend, I wish there was an easy remedy for our lack of feeling as if we aren’t enough. To be honest, as a woman who teaches Bible studies, I could sit down with you, right now, face-to-face and tell you all the reasons why God says you’re beautiful. Every verse and story told would […]

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Word for Your Weekend #1: Do You Know That God Wants to Reveal Himself in You?

Word for your weekend option 2

Happy Friday! Today we are wrapping up our first week of The Beautiful Blog Series! Here is a short five minute video blog to give you a word for your weekend! Be encouraged, friends! Thank you to those who participated in #findingherthursday! I can’t wait for next week!!! Oh, and if you notice a little, […]

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Why I Was Mean and How I’m Going to Fix it

Gracie's Crazy Hair_n

Ivana Trump said, “Gorgeous hair is the best revenge.” Well, okay then. Last Saturday morning, I woke up and thought that if I didn’t do something to make myself feel better about my appearance, I just might die. I’m not dramatic or anything! I already had a salon appointment booked, but instead of having my […]

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