Well, Aren’t You Pretty?

The Enemy has tricked so many people into thinking they are not beautiful.

Why have we bought into his lie?  

I have a friend who struggles to leave her house on a bad hair day. Others who strive diligently to give the persona of perfection. Still others who nit n pick at their self-image till their Botox has filled every ounce of their smile.

American culture has convinced many that they are only good enough if they look a certain way.

Age is no longer beautiful. Neither are the blemishes on a teenage girl’s face. No wonder discontentment sets my house adrift! We’ve bought into the notion that we must walk this way and talk this way to be viewed as acceptable. We must stop and ask ourselves, “Whose eyes am I trying to please?” The Mattel makers of Barbie? Or the eyes of God?

Webster defines acceptance as “favorable reception; approval, favor.” Oh boy, how I am tempted by this! I am tempted to crave the praise and approval of people more so than that of God. Yes, we can easily succumb to seeking compliments from those around us and quickly forget to “Seek God with all our heart, soul and mind.” (Deuteronomy 4:29) We can spend hours prettying ourselves on the outside, meanwhile neglecting what is going on in the inside.

Little do we realize that if we neglect the inside, the outside will never be good enough.

The approval of man can never satisfy. It’s never enough. We can never get our fill. Yet, we strive in vain. When we have a misaligned identity seeking the approval and acceptance of others, we will come up empty handed in the long run. I love that God knew we would battle with this thing called beauty. Scripture is chock full of wisdom to set our mind back on the right track.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27 (ESV)

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

When we focus too much on ourselves, we lose our focus on God. After God created the heavens and earth, He stood back and proclaimed, “it is good.” (see Genesis 1:31) Let’s start believing it! God uniquely and individually handcrafted each and every one of us. Beauty is in the eye of The Creator!

I watched my sweet Haitian friend, Ruth, dress up in her first princess gown, twirling and swirling before the mirror. I could tell by the gleam in her eye that she felt beautiful. If only the rest of us could capture this beauty!

Beauty. It is so misunderstood.

Let’s remind ourselves that the King of Kings is enthralled [captivated, delighted] with our beauty.  The Creator God, the Alpha and Omega, Adonai, The God Most High…who possibly matters more than Him?

“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” Psalm 45:1 (NIV)

 Interestingly, Kathy Lee Gifford & Hoda talked about this today too: Today Show

Story of Ruth Jacques

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What are You Waiting For?

Seriously? 23 million minutes!

Seriously? 23 million minutes!

My daughter picked up her phone and noticed this ridiculous message, “iphone is disabled. Try again in 23,117,684 minutes.” That translates into 385,295 hours or 16,053 days. Better said, it translates to nearly 44 years. That’s a long time to wait for her iphone to work again!

During this thing we do called LIFE, there are times when we have to wait.

One problem–we don’t want to. We want our HOV lanes wider, our customer service immediate, our results quick and our fast food fast. So, when we happen upon periods where we have to wait, we can watch our hem come undone.

No one can escape seasons of waiting.

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve encountered many. Waiting to graduate from high school, waiting to hear if I got the job, waiting to get married, waiting for news from the doctor, and many more. What are you waiting for? Today, I sit and ponder, how much longer till my son comes home? While he plays in the sandbox in his orphanage, my heart aches to bring him near. I long to kiss him good morning and tuck him into bed. I pray for his paperwork to proceed rapidly through the Haitian courts. However, the length of this wait is completely out of my control.

“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.” 
― Elisabeth Elliot

It’s easy to give up on God during the wait. When we don’t see immediate results, we tend to think He’s hung up the phone. Maybe He’s preoccupied with other people’s problems. Or worse, He’s completely forgotten about lil’ ol me. Our faith is challenged during seasons of wait. Will we trust our emotions or God’s Word as truth? My emotions tell me to become anxious, worried and to take matters into my own hands. God’s Word tells me to put my hope in the Lord, be patient and to persevere. David, a man after God’s own heart, also felt abandoned by God.

“Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1

God is always at work, even when I cannot see. He does not sleep nor slumber. He does not forget. He is doing something bigger than I can imagine. He is shaping me into His image. He is producing fine gold while I wait.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:8-10

It is a challenge to trust God over my emotions.

At times, my emotions seem more tangible and real. Remember, circumstances do not change the character of God. To combat my emotions, I recount God’s Word as truth. I recall how He has been faithful in the past. I remind myself that I am not God and don’t always understand what is best for me. And, I rejoice that He is coming back for me…and one day, I will no longer have to wait.

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Tune In on Friday on FOX7 Austin at 5, 6, 7, and 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. newscast

Tune in on Friday morning and evening to Fox 7 News Austin to hear an incredible story of God’s provision for a little girl named Ruth. Ruth came with her father, Moliere, to a medical clinic run by Dr. Ric Bonnell in Pierre Payen called Kay Mackenson. Since birth, Ruth has had extreme leg swelling in her left leg and pelvis due to significant blockages of the lymphatic and venous systems. This swelling is not due to an infection (e.g. elephantiasis) or a malignancy. Rather, it is a birth defect called a cardiovascular malformation. Unfortunately, due to the weight and size of her leg, she has limited mobility.

She arrived 3 weeks ago to undergo evaluation and treatment at Dell Children’s Hospital. My husband, Coby, and Ric both run medical clinics in Haiti. It takes great teamwork to accomplish a huge task of bringing an international patient to the U.S. She is under the care of an amazing team of doctors: Dr. Ric Bonnell, Dr. Philip Neff, Dr. Moises Levy, Dr. Coburn Allen, Dr. Patrick Kelley and many more.  They have worked together to come up with her treatment plan, which includes chemotherapy, in hopes to shrink the size of her leg. During her stay in Austin, Texas, she has been staying with my family. We are having a blast hanging out with her!

Obviously, it is expensive to take care and treat this sweet girl. Her current treatment plan is estimating her care to take up to 2 years. She will need to have future visits to the U.S. to evaluate her progress. If you are interested in donating to her care, please click here: Ruth Jacques.

Ruth Avery are so cool!

Ruth & Avery are so cool!

 

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The Power of Words

Some sibling rivalry?

Some sibling rivalry?

We say that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Seriously! That is a bunch of bologna! I can recall damaging words that have been said over the course of my lifetime that still cause a bit of a sting. Words are powerful. Words can pierce us to the core. Words from the past can be conjured back up and if dwelt upon, can send us spiraling.

One’s words can steer the path of another.

Words of affirmation and encouragement can cause one to reach their highest potential. They can cause one to stand on solid ground, rather than sinking sand. They can bring out the best in a friend or child.

However, try as I might, my children have difficulty in believing this is true. Words said in haste bring waste. Tearful eyes. Wounded hearts.

I think we often neglect to understand the power of our words.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

Reflecting on the words of Jesus, I realize I, too, have failed to recognize the power of words. His Words. Words that I have neglected or taken for granted. Words that I have failed to believe as truth. I’m afraid I’ve taken His words too lightly. Here are just a few:

I don’t ever have to feel alone...And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

My sins have been forgiven...When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30

I am a new creation. I’m no longer tied down by my past...Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

God is faithful. He’s gonna do what He says…Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”  Deuteronomy 7:9

In Him, we find lifeThe Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 ESV

God’s Words speak life into a weary soul.

Whatever situation you are facing today, start digging for some solid ground. God’s Word is truth. It is powerful. But don’t stop there, start believing it is true! It applies to you!

My Interview is Aired Today Until Midnight!

The Christian Author’s Show, today, April 21st

 

Now you can access this interview recording on the “Buy my Book” page.

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Facing the Door of Uncertainty

Are you willing to go through the door?

Are you willing to go through the door?

Doors. Throughout life, we are confronted with doors. Doors of Uncertainty. Doors of Opportunity. Doors of Insecurity. Doors of Doubt and Fear. There are times when we are faced with a door that we eagerly await to open. We can’t wait to waltz through that door. It may be a door we have anticipated for a very long time, like our wedding day or graduation. Other doors, however, may not leave us with the same emotion. The door of insecurity can be quite gripping as you turn the knob to enter a room full of strangers. What will they think of you? Will they think your outfit is cute? Will they like you? 

The door of opportunity may be one that fills your stomach with a herd of buffaloes running wildly in the open range.

A job interview. A first date. However, once your nervousness subsides and your sweaty palms become more tolerable, you realize that this moment is exciting. This could be the moment you have been waiting for! Something new. Something challenging and exhilarating all at the same time.

Then there is the dreaded door of uncertainty. You are not sure what is behind this one.

In fact, you didn’t even see it coming. And even if you did, there’s no way you could’ve prepared yourself. This door is where I sit today and ponder. Putting myself in the disciple’s shoes as they watched their friend Jesus be crucified. In their heart of hearts, they believed that He was their Savior. They thought He would come and reign as king. They imagined being a part of a vast and wealthy kingdom. Their thoughts could not fathom that Jesus would actually die.

As the stone was rolled in front of the tomb, the reality settled in. It was over. Their hopes of ruling seemed so dismal. All they were left to do was mourn the death of their friend. They could not see beyond their circumstances.

How could this possibly turn out for any good?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

There are some problems that can’t be solved, but rather they can only be endured.

There are some things on this side of eternity that we will never understand the “why”. I have two very close relatives that are in the fight of their life against cancer. I love them both dearly. The chemo treatment is excruciatingly difficult, long and painful. It wears on not only the patient, but also the caregiver. With everything in our being we may be tempted to shake fists at God and ask Him why…why? When we become angry towards God, we attempt to take control of the wheel. We would choose to do things differently. We want God to change His mind.

We doubt that He has our best interests in mind.

Facing this door is difficult. It must’ve been difficult for the disciples, too. Faith is called into action, reminding us that God is in control. Fear takes over when we realize that we are no longer in control. However, faith triumphs when we are faced with the truth that God has never lost it. He’s got this thing.

It may be too big for our britches…but God’s got this thing!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

What door are you facing? Will you choose faith or fear? Will you allow Him, Jesus, to meet you there…in the midst of uncertainty, doubt and fear? Remember, the disciples had no idea that the stone would be rolled away. They doubted that Jesus would rise again. Although Jesus had reminded them and told them repeatedly, they didn’t get it. They could not understand. Dear friend, don’t lose hope today. Don’t give up on God. Your situation may or may not turn out as you expected, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the stone has been rolled away! Remember, Jesus is alive! He is our hope and salvation!

“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:2-8

Thank you!

Book Launch Party

You are invited to attend my Book Launch Party tonight! I would love to meet you! Hope to see you there!

WHEN: 7:00 pm, April 17

WHERE: 1509 Murray Lane, Austin, TX

 

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Casting or Grasping?

Got some extra luggage?

In 1 Peter 5:7, we read “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” Sounds simple until you try to put it into practice. When you are carrying a heart burden, a burden so close and tender to you, this command becomes a bit daunting. How in the world do you do this?

It’s like carrying a suitcase around with you…except this suitcase is different. It has a name. “BURDEN.”

Burden likes your company and wants to travel everywhere with you. It is compact and can easily fit in your car, overhead storage compartment, and under your bed. Despite the fact that Burden is sometimes cumbersome and occasionally awkward, you know that Burden likes being with you. He makes sure you never leave home without him.

Consuming your thoughts and occupying your time.

You try to leave him at home unattended, but before you know it, you’ve rushed to make a u-turn and bring Burden along. Burden likes you. A lot! Burden feels comfortable with only you. And after awhile, you’ve grown accustomed to Burden’s company, too. You’ve attempted to make Burden smaller and less conspicuous to others. You’ve tried to keep it a secret that Burden is right there by your side. When someone seems to take notice, you make excuses and justify why Burden must stay. How could you possibly live without him?

Then, you read God’s Word and you discover that you are supposed to “Cast all your burdens and anxieties on Him…Jesus.” You wake up determined to give it a try. Begrudgingly, you hand over your suitcase to Jesus, spilling out everything from within. However, reality sets in and you realize what you have done and it frightens you! Can Jesus really handle this burden? Or is it too BIG for Him? Doesn’t He need my help? Within minutes, you find yourself scrambling to pick every piece of Burden back up, off of the floor, and neatly scrunched back into your suitcase.

We cannot keep our suitcase of Burden and cast our anxieties on Him simultaneously. They cannot co-exist.

I received a message from a dear, dear friend today and she shared with me her suitcase of Burden. Strangely, we both had packed our suitcases similarly. Casting is a fishing term used in scripture to describe the action of throwing a net forcefully into the ocean. It illustrates hurling our burdens as far away from ourselves as possible. However, casting of old was not done alone. It took a group of fisherman to cast their net to sea. I cannot tell you how relieved I was today to know that my friend is now praying for me…and I for her. There is power in numbers when it comes to prayer.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

Are you lugging around a suitcase of Burden today? Don’t be afraid to ask a friend for prayer. Go ahead, baby, cast that anxiety on to Him, Jesus.

He is big enough to handle all of your cares!
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