The Times You Feel Unlovable

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I don’t know if you know the story of Rachel and Leah found in the Old Testament of the bible. Basically, it’s the story of two sisters Rachel, the beautiful sister, (she was definitely a shiny girl) and Leah, the not so beautiful older sister. I don’t know much about the rivalry between sisters, only having the one brother (thankfully!) but reading this story I’m sure anyone can begin to imagine it.

You see, both the girls find themselves married to the same man: Jacob. Continue reading

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Shiny Girls

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I have a name for those girls who always look perfect. You know the kind, perfect hair, perfect make-up, perfect nails, perfect clothes. Perfect houses and perfect families; perfect jobs and perfect friends. The kind of woman who gets approximately seven million likes every time they put a new picture on facebook!

I call them shiny girls, because everything about them somehow seems to glisten. And a little bit of me hates them, because I know I’m not one of them.

I’ll never be able to control my hair and whenever I try and put on eyeliner it ends up looking wonky! My home will never be a show home, I swear that mess just makes itself!

Somehow I feel as if I’ve failed because I can’t seem to reach their levels of perfection. The perfection that other women seem to attain so easily.

Deep down I know that all of this doesn’t  matter. I know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But sometimes I let it matter. I find that I’m comparing myself with other women, without really realising it. And it makes me miserable.

I forget that I am loved. No matter what. No matter how shiny my hair is. I am loved by my maker. Someone who can make me shine brighter than any amount of  expensive clothes or make-up ever could.

I forget that these shiny girls aren’t perfect either. No matter how shiny they are, they still need a saviour. No matter how jealous I am, I still need to love them. Their outward perfection may be hiding a need to be loved for just who they are. They may be comparing themselves and still falling short.

They need this love just as much as me.

They need his love just as much as me.

He makes us beautiful. And the beauty that he gives shines out from the inside, and it lasts and it lasts.

 

 

What Taylor Swift didn’t Teach me about Love

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“Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone

I’ll be waiting, all that’s left to do is run

You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess

It’s a love story, baby just say yes”

I’m a big fan of Taylor Swift, I’ve listened to her most recent album so many times that I think even Joe knows the lyrics. But what’s really stood out to me is how what she sings about has changed so drastically. I mean, how did Taylor Swift go from this sweet and romantic view of love to singing about her “long list of ex-lovers”? It saddens me that somewhere along the line she left behind all her romantic dreams and became tougher.

Maybe she had be hurt, or maybe the romance wasn’t all it seems. Whatever happened, it seems like somewhere along the line she lost her innocence, she got dillusional, and she forgot what true love meant.

Or maybe she never really understood love in the first place.

Like so many of us. And if we don’t really understand love how can we ever really experience it.

Maybe like Taylor you have become so disillusioned in your experiences of love that there is a long list of ex-lovers. Or maybe you have been so hurt that you have given up on the idea of love altogether. Or maybe theres just this niggling feeling that there should be something more.

There should be something more.

Love isn’t all flowers and chocolate and running away to be alone together.  Real love is sacrificial, it takes work. Love isn’t something which we are naturally good at. And no man can ever love us in the way that we need to be loved.

No man can ever love us the way that we need to be loved. But God can. I know this because he created us, and I have felt his love, and I have never known anything like it

He invites us into a love story with him. A love story of a king and a bride. A love story where the king goes to the most extreme lengths to save his bride. A story where the king loves his bride exactly as she is meant to be loved.

God loves you like that. You are that bride. He loves you so much that he sent his son to die for you. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Nothing that you could do can ever make him stop loving you, because he is love. And he will fight for you forever.

That’s the truest and purest and best love story ever. And you can have it. All you have to do is say “yes.”

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

What an Octopus Taught me About Love

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Recently Joe and I have been really into watching nature documentaries. You know, the kind that are usually narrated by David Attenborough. I guess because it’s one of the things we can both agree on; for some reason he’s not the biggest fan of period dramas!

I find them fascinating. There’s something almost human about the power struggles and fight for survival these creature endure. I think that is one of the reasons so many people keep on watching.

In one of these shows there was the story of a mother octopus. A story which very nearly had me in tears.

A mother octopus gives birth to hundreds of tiny eggs in a secret space hidden deep below sea, and out of reach of the other sea creatures.

After she has birthed these eggs she must remain with them, tending to them and stroking them, so enough oxygen can reach them. She must never leave them, until they grow enough to fend for themselves.

In doing this she becomes so weak that she eventually dies.

She loves them so much that she sacrifices herself.

What kind of love must this be?

A love so pure that you are willing to make the biggest sacrifice.

Just like Jesus’ sacrifice.

If he didn’t die for us we couldn’t live for ourselves. Like the baby octopi, we are not strong enough to save ourselves. We can only truly live because of his death.

P.S. I made the octopus using a pattern from the book Super Cute Crochet by Nikki Trench

When it’s Hard to Help

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Sometimes when I see people in pain, or suffering I can be scared to help. I think that I will end up putting my foot in it and making everything so much worse than it was before.

I wonder who I am to help this person, I don’t have the right words to deal with this situation.

This might be selfishness on my part; maybe I’m too worried about making an idiot of myself. It also might be a real fear of messing up. But often I’m probably listening to the lies of satan.

He obviously doesn’t want me sharing Gods love with others. So will prey on our weaknesses, insecurities, and lack of faith in an attempt to make us stop. We need to ignore these lies because they are just that. Lies.

If God has shown us someone’s suffering and opened our hearts to it, we don’t need to be scared about reaching out. God’s got our back! Even in the most scary situations, like when he told me to go and talk a couple of strangers out of entering a spiritualist church.

In the bible Moses was terrified to go and speak to pharaoh to ask him to “let my people go!” He stutters and even asks God to find someone else. But Moses is the one that God has chosen. And he choose the right person. He had the faith to cross the red sea, and the strength of character to later handle thousands of moaning Israelites. God chose the right person.

Maybe God wants you to do something, maybe you have seen some suffering and God is prompting you to go and be the light in that situation. But you are scared. You need to know that you are the right person. God can and will use you. It might be scary and it probably will take a heap of faith but God wants to use you. Will you let him?

The Twice Upon a Time

Have you ever dreamt of the once upon a time and wished it could have been twice upon a time?

Do you remember the days when you felt so close to God? Like you could almost reach out and touch him.

Back in the days when things were so simple, and you just knew that your life was going to be a perfect adventure. Back in those days where you thought that everything was going to be amazing. You knew exactly what God wanted you to do.

But now you’re not so sure. he doesn’t feel as close as he used to. Sometimes you might just glimpse his shadow, but you don’t see him and feel him like you used to.

You know that he is here, you choose to have faith. But you wish you could feel him like you used to.

He hasn’t left you, and he hasn’t forsaken you. We know that because his word makes that promise. But do we really and truly and deeply believe it?

He is here, even when it feels like he’s not. Sometimes it takes more faith to believe what you have known for a long time.

The old life starts to fade, we forget what we used to be like; how we used to feel. We almost forget what he has saved us from.

But we can know again. We can experience that twice upon a time. Out faith may be older and more mature, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still dream. Our lives don’t have to be boring. The best isn’t behind us, he has so much more to offer. The most exciting days are yet to come.

Remember the once upon a time, remember that God can refill you and re-ignite your passion. He might not always feel as close as he once did, but remember, you are older now. Like a child you don’t growing up; now you don’t need to be in your fathers arms to know that he loves you.

Remember the twice upon a time, one day you will return to your real home, and you will be embraced in the open arms of your father, and every thing will be as it should be.

A Frozen Heart

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I love the movie Frozen, I can’t count how many times I have seen it. We even walked out of the church at our wedding to Love is an Open Door! One of the reasons it’s a great film is that it doesn’t have just one, but two princesses! The other is that I think that deep down, we can all relate to it.

We all have the desire to be loved like Anna, the naive younger sister, but sometimes we fail, like her older sister Elsa.
Elsa has an unusual power. she is able to manipulate and control snow and ice. This power is as dangerous as it is beautiful, and one day she harms her younger sister. So her parents agree that the best thing to do is to isolate her until she is able to control this power. (Bad idea!)

Many years of isolation do not help. (Duh!) This power does not go away, but it grows, and she is still unable to control it, eventually she becomes ashamed of her power. But it won’t stay hidden. In a fit of anger she shows her power to the world! She is so horrified she runs away and builds her own ice palace, where she can hide from the world, protected.

I can so relate to that.

When I’m hurt or frustrated I normally want to spend time on my own; hide away in my own ice castle. But the truth is in the long run this is the worst thing I can do. It gives me space to dwell on my frustrations and annoyances, making them become much bigger in my own mind. If I don’t do something about it, these frustrations can take control. This leads to bitterness and a cold spirit. Out of our pain we find ourselves acting in ways we never imagined possible, ways we are ashamed to admit to anyone. Our hearts have frozen.

Sometimes we don’t even know what caused it and often we don’t know how to change it.

The truth is, all of our hearts are naturally bad or frozen, but there is something that we can do about it.

We can take it to God.

He promises he will take away our frozen heart and give us a brand new one.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

God can take away all the anger and bitterness and frustration we are holding in our hearts. He can melt our frozen hearts and give us brand new ones.

Hearts that are able to love despite being hurt.

And like Elsa, we can be joyful once again.