Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Don't Know You're Beautiful, Part 2

Last week, sweet Kendal wrote about how God's Words ended up talking louder than ED (eating disorder).  Did you see that she has written a book about it?  It's called Full and she is giving away a signed copy to one reader (also, she currently has her book on sale from the publisher for 20% off).  Please enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below.
(I'm guest posting today for the Whatever Girls and since it fits with our whole beauty theme, I thought I'd run it here for this series.  Guest bloggers will be back next week!)


You don’t know you’re beautiful…
That’s what makes you beautiful!
- One Direction

Sweet Girl,

I had to think awhile about these lines.  I had to meditate on the boy band’s message in order to decide if I agree with what their saying.  Like I said last time, I don’t want you to listen to these songs and get all these sayings in your head if they aren’t the truth, ya know?  Even if they do get in your head and the meaning behind them isn’t fabulous, I want you to have some Truth that’s rooted deep in your heart.

Here’s the thing:  You are beautiful and I want you to know that you are.  And you are beautiful simply because you are created by God and He revels in the magnificence of His creation. Do you know that He calls you (yes, you!) His prized possession?  Let’s learn early to define beauty by God’s standards and not the world’s standards because let me tell you, they are two entirely different things.

Every good thing God created came from the overflow of his own beauty. Imagine the first six days on planet Earth! (Strassner)

I don’t profess to know the inner working of the boy band song-making machine, but I’m not sure that they really understand what they are singing in this song.  Thinking that you are ugly or not as pretty as so-and-so, thinking that God messed up when He gave you that hair or those teeth or these thighs – this kind of not knowing you’re beautiful doesn’t normally capture the kind of attention these boys are giving.  At least in my opinion.

What is attractive is real self-confidence....  

Please come over to the Whatever Girls site to read the rest of the story... but make sure before you leave you enter in to win a copy of Kendal's book below!
Act like it photo Actlikeit_zpse38af8f1.jpg
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Don't Know You're Beautiful


(Looking for Soli Deo Gloria party?  Scroll down one more post.)
Beautiful
To My Sweet Girl,

I confess.  I’ve been raiding songs from your iTunes account and put them on my running mix.  Somehow, I never grew out of the boy band phase.  Sure, I don’t listen to New Kids on the Block anymore, but I am a sucker for One Direction and Justin Bieber.  Is this so wrong that I’m your mom and I can bop with the best of them?

Maybe it’s embarrassing to you, but can I tell you a secret?  It’s good that I know what you listen to because there can be so many false messages in a song.  Sure, I don’t let you download songs that have the “bad words” in them, but maybe a few have slipped by me that have tainted messages?  Maybe I figured that you were too young to understand what the lyrics “really mean” and so I let you sing them.  But maybe what I’m doing is just creating these mantras in your head that, when you are older, you will understand what they mean and those lyrics…do I really want those words to be what you sing to yourself when you’re crying your eyes out over a boy?

These are the questions we moms lose sleep over sometimes, you know?

I don’t have all the answers yet, to this question or many others, (you’ve probably noticed this by now, haven’t you?) but I thought I’d share an idea with you.  Some of these secular love songs can become really good mantras if we imagine that it is God singing them to us.

Listening to One Direction’s “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” makes me smile every time I hear it.  Yes, the boys are cute, the beat is good, and it makes me run faster, but there is another reason.

Please come on over to the Whatever Girls site to continue reading the rest of the story.  (But wait!!  Before you go -- there is a part 2 and a GIVEAWAY going on now!  Click here to enter.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars, James Bond, the Pull of the World and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood weekly party!  To find out ways that you can be involved in the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, please click here.
If you are planning to link up, would you kindly visit the person that arrived before you?  You never know what surprises you await in this community!  Prepare to be encouraged and loved.
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Yesterday, my husband turned on the pre-Oscar show where they interview all the people in their fine clothes.  I came down the stairs to read (we always have closed-captions on due to my hearing loss) "I can't sit down and feel like all my organs are being pushed out of my body."

Really.  What about choosing to wear a dress that allows you to sit down and doesn't lead to organ failure?  How hard of a choice is that?

Maybe it's harder than I think.  Because the truth is, I don't stand before millions to be evaluated on my looks alone.

Maybe Amanda Seyfried doesn't know yet that her worth comes from Jesus and not millions of adoring-yet-fickle-fans?

The whole Hollywood thing really causes me to stop and think.  Honestly, one the one hand, I watch shows like this with my breath sucked in because I really don't want to hear Seth McFarland singing about boobies. I don't want my husband seeing said boobies only partially concealed by the low cut dresses of the women sitting in the audience.

On the other hand, I love James Bond.

For those of you have seen any James Bond films, you see the contradiction.

I posted on the SDG Facebook site that I needed ideas for tonight's post.  Sherri suggested "Actions speak louder than words."  And I wonder (with a knot in the very pit of my stomach) if maybe I shouldn't love James Bond.  It's not that I watch it incessantly, but by fawning over Skyfall (although Adele's voice is so luring, isn't it?), do I contradict what I say about sex, appearances, and keeping our lust in check?  I don't find myself lusting over the Bonds, but I am sure of this:

1.  Some women do.
2.  Some men get incredibly turned on by all the suggestiveness of the Bond girls.

And I wonder, even if I were to watch it by myself, even if it's a good movie, is. it. worth. it? I take a moment to pause because I've spent the last two weeks writing chapter six of our porn addiction book.  Chapter six is all about what God intended sex and marriage to be.

James Bond isn't it.

Sometimes not conforming to the world is hard.  Sometimes it is a lot more fun to just go with it.  Explain away the problems.  Makes some sort of excuse just because, well, I want to.

I still, even though I see the problems, want to watch James Bond.  I love the action, the thrill, the whole intrigue of spy-dom.

I am torn.  So, I'd love to hear your opinion (and let's all be respectful here, because that's what sisters do) -- how do you handle Hollywood and all that comes with it?  Do you banish it?  Is there a moderation?  Is it a stumbling block for you?  Do you appreciate the art behind it?

Important Information (including giveaway winner!):
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The winner of Julie's book is graceforonce (at) yahoo (dot) com!  Please contact me at jenfergie2000 (at) me (dot) com with your mailing address.
That's not you?  Don't despair!  You can receive a free chapter of Julie's book by signing up for her newsletter.  Go to Julie's site for details and to sign up!
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Next week will be the 2nd Edition of "Around the Kitchen Table."  Click here for  more details on how YOU can participate!
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Are you new here?  Welcome!  We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture?  Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Read our new, revamped page by clicking here.
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Want to show a sister some love?  Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters.  Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!  
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Friday, February 22, 2013

teabag wisdom


I think we might miss His smiles,
those moments that He revels in His creation,
where He whispers in our hearts
"I am so pleased with you."
It is unfathomable to me
that a perfect God does not require
perfection
and that He can love me with such a tender love
even when I have not loved back
as I should.
And, though I do not understand,
I will not let this keep me from receiving this love,
for it is my life's breath,
the beat in my heart,
the beauty behind my smile.

Sweet sisters, my prayer this morning is that we will place our hands upon His heart today and feel how it beats with love for us, spreading beauty through us from the tops of our heads through our toes.
May we radiate with Him today.

Linking with Sandra on Saturday and Deidra on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

beheld in a different Light: Why I Don't Call Myself Ugly


There is beauty everywhere, but so often we look through the eyes of the world, and we simply miss it...or maybe dismiss this beauty because it does not seem to hold up to the standards that our society has created.  But what if we take the words of Romans 12: 1-2 seriously and we get serious about not conforming to the patterns of this world, but instead, we let our minds be transformed by the Spirit.  What if we allow God to bend and mold us, what if we allow Him to touch our eyes so that we might see again in new light, what if we prepare our hearts to be astounded by what He has created?  What if we become astounded by ourselves, not with a sense of selfish pride, but with heartbeats of gratitude?  What if we let God's Word lavish our souls with wonder and amazement?  What if we believe Him when He tells us that we are beautiful and that we are His?
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Due to a sneaky loss of perspective in my mid-thirties I found myself sitting across from a psychologist or physician several times a month for five years. I had forgotten God (and me) and sought only thin until I was too sick to fix myself and had to have help. One of a psychologist’s most memorable questions was, “When did you first stop thinking of yourself as pretty?”

I gave him my best sixth-grader-eye-roll-and-snort. “I’ve never thought of myself as pretty.” He looked surprised, but I found the question ridiculous. I mean, I liked myself until I was about ten, but in a more general way than beautymy abilities in ballet, tree-climbing and reading bolstered my confidence. As I became aware of the world’s measures of beauty and accomplishment, my self-esteem plummeted - the scrawniness, mousy hair, glasses, braces, old jeans and generic sneakers worked together to tell me that I didn’t measure up. Pretty? Not by a long-shot.

At age thirty-five, I began listening to someone who defined pretty for me. This little voice (ED, for eating disorder) started as a whisper but quickly became a shout. He told me that if I just lost five pounds I would be prettier. I would measure up. I would be better than others. But five pounds went and I was still ugly. And five more pounds went and I was still dissatisfied with myself. In fact, I was miserable. I hadn’t particularly liked myself (inside or out) before I lost the weight, and I certainly didn’t like the woman I had become.

 I can honestly say that now, I have a positive relationship with myself.  No, I didn’t have plastic surgery. I haven’t had a skin or hair transplant. But yeah. I like what I see most of the time. I don’t automatically think ugly when I look in the mirror. And inside? I have grown into a stronger, more confident woman of God over the last eight years.  How?  I changed to whom I listened. I trained myself to ignore ED and the world and began listening to my husband, my doctors and God. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. If the creator of the universe made me, I not only possess some sort of beauty, but I am calling God a liar when I call myself ugly. My husband has been telling me for more than twenty years that I am beautiful, and once I believed God, I began to believe Chris. I used to obsess over my weight, my looks, my clothes, my mistakes, but believing God, really believing him, has freed my mind for much more healthy and important ideas.

How often do you feel disappointed in yourself? How many minutes of your day are spent lamenting about earthly measures? Freedom can be yours. Start listening to truth. You are wonderfully and fearfully made. I know that full well.


Kendal Privette is a wife, mom, teacher, runner and writer living in northwestern North Carolina. She is an eating-disorder survivor, and has a book, Full, chronicling her journey. Kendal's blog is, a spacious place.

Monday, February 18, 2013

when you forget to pray for You (giveaway!) and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood weekly party!  To find out ways that you can be involved in the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, please click here.
If you are planning to link up, would you kindly visit the person that arrived before you?  You never know what surprises you await in this community!  Prepare to be encouraged and loved.
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I just have to tell you that one of the highest honors of hosting this gathering every week is getting to know you, being able to support you, and learning from you.  It's incredibly rewarding to be able to facilitate relationship growth, to be able to read your blog words, and see what you're up to on Facebook.  God uses Facebook, you know.  

Many weeks ago, a fellow Soli Sister, Julie Gillies, put a prayer request out of Facebook.  She was in incredible pain at the time.  I commented on her post to ask if I could send out an urgent prayer request to the the SDG group so that we might lift her up and ask for healing.  She immediately responded with a "yes!"  Later that day, God whispered to her that she would be healed and very soon after, her pain was gone.

After that little bit of conversation and the miraculous presence of God, Julie asked me to review her new book, Prayers for a Woman's Soul.  I said "yes" of course because it's my personal mission to collect books and art produced by fellow Soli Sisters because I wanted to help her in any way possible.  And clearly, we are a praying group, so I knew y'all would be interested.

Essentially this book is about being diligent about praying for YOU.  Just like we are often the last ones to sit down at the kitchen table to eat dinner (which is usually cold by then), we are often the last on our list for prayer.  I cannot count how many times I knew I needed to pray for myself, but began to feel guilty, and so I prayed for everyone else first.  By the time I got around to me, I had either fallen asleep or my attention was needed elsewhere.

But as Julie speaks of airplanes and oxygen masks, we are reminded that praying for ourselves is about survival.  She writes:

"Praying for myself has enabled me to persevere when I wanted to quit, to forgive when I wanted to hold a grudge, to hope when reality screamed "Impossible!" and to remain close to God when I ached so badly I wanted to run and never look back.  In essence, praying for myself not only helped me, it transformed me." (page 13)

I don't know about you, but I long for transformation.  But if I'm only focused on others, I shut out the very Voice that coaxes me into the chrysalis and back out again.  

Julie gives us one prayer a week to pray for ourselves daily.  Each prayer is so rich and thought-provoking that you really do need a week to digest it.  Along with the prayers are relevant scriptures that form the key tenets of the prayers she writes.  And each week, she shares her own heart and life in a real and authentic way.  It's always nice to know someone else can relate to how we are feeling ourselves.
I also love the fact that this book as a table of contents.  We know the basic theme for each of the 52 weeks.  Therefore, we don't have to travel through the book just by numerical weeks.  If God places something on our hearts, we can use this book as a resource to speak specifically to what God wants to address in us.  

Maybe you are looking for prayers regarding your marriage?  (week 49)
Maybe you need help discerning balance for your life?  (week 26)
Perseverance?  (week 28)
Contentment?  (week 38)
Calling?  (week 50)


Interested?  Of course you are!  You can win a copy of this book (sorry, oxygen mask not included) by entering below.  If you don't win, don't panic.  You can also purchase the book on Amazon by clicking here.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beloved: 5 Minute Friday

I'm going to confess.  I break the rules every time.  no, I don't go longer than five minutes, but I do edit.  I make sure my sentences are correct, that I've not misspelled anything.  And I'm guilty of tweaking.  You know -- adding a word, subtracting a word, reconstructing a sentence so that it will maybe hit your heart a bit stronger.

But, we've been togehter for awhile.  Maybe not all of you (thanks for visiting today if you are new), but even if we've never met before, I want you to know that I'm getting used to letting my flaws be known.

And if I show you my flaws, it means that I'm putting myself out there.  And I'm trusting you.

And isn't trust such a part of being loved.  Of being beloved.

I don't know about you, but everyone I know is flawed and I love them anyway.  Why would I expect anyone else to view me differently?

so, if we are going to be really real on these 5 minute Fridays, and hopefully every other day of the week, let's not be afraid to expose our flaws, some of which go much deeper than a few misspelled words adn missing capital letters.

God doesn't expect us to edit our lives for Him.  And we don't have to edit our lives for each otehr.  We all come imperfect.  And loving without requiring perfection is the essence of love.  Sun streaming down, warm on your face, never gonna leave you - love.


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I'm hanging out with Lisa-Jo this morning.  Want in?  Here's the deal:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


A note from Jen:
Wanna take a dive into sisterhood?  Walk with us each week?  Or maybe even each day?  Find out more info on the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

beheld in a different Light (New Guest Post Series)

There is beauty everywhere, but so often we look through the eyes of the world, and we simply miss it...or maybe dismiss this beauty because it does not seem to hold up to the standards that our society has created.  But what if we take the words of Romans 12: 1-2 seriously and we get serious about not conforming to the patterns of this world, but instead, we let our minds be transformed by the Spirit.  What if we allow God to bend and mold us, what if we allow Him to touch our eyes so that we might see again in new light, what if we prepare our hearts to be astounded by what He has created?  What if we become astounded by ourselves, not with a sense of selfish pride, but with heartbeats of gratitude?  What if we let God's Word lavish our souls with wonder and amazement?  What if we believe Him when He tells us that we are beautiful and that we are His?
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The lovely Kendal Privette will kick-off the guest posts for this new series next week, but I thought I'd write about about my own stories when God told me I was beautiful.  They aren't particularly poignant, but perhaps they will resonate with you in some way.

Here's the thing about me.  I can walk around with my hair undone and no make-up.  I can even vlog this way and it doesn't bother me.  But don't ask me to wear shorts when I run.    I've been in a love/hate relationship with my legs ever since I became a runner.  I love my legs because they have endured a lot.  Training, races, injuries.  But, you see, I also have high expectations.  If I have run a marathon, I expect my legs to look as though they have run a marathon.  I don't think this is too much to ask.  I've done the work.  I've put in the time.  And yet, I still have flab.  I still have cellulite.  I still feel the jiggles.  And this is the reason why I have major indecision when the only running clothes I have left to wear are my shorts.  Do I run feeling naked and exposed or do I just not run?

But just last week, I had this crazy desire to wear my shorts.  Strangely, this desire was not born because I woke up and no longer had jiggly, cellulite-laden legs.  No, all divots and extraneous fat pockets were still in place.  But somewhere along the way, God must have changed my heart without me noticing.  Because there, as I knelt down in front of my running garments, I chose the shorts over the clean tights, capris, and skirts.  

All along the run, I had moments when cars would pass and I would concern myself with how far the shorts were riding up.  And I'd glance down a time or two to see if the sun was highlighting the cottage cheese on the front of my legs.  But each time, I heard God's loud voice say to me this:

"It doesn't matter, Jen.  You are running and you are beautiful."

And each time I heard that, I would repeat it back to myself.  I am running.  I am beautiful.

During those miles of pounding pavement, I saw how I had let my flaws determine my actions and my inactions.  It hasn't just been in realms of the physical.  I've been there in the spiritual world, as well.

I often have pled with God to please take away my competitive spirit. I honestly could not find one redeeming quality about it and saw only how it easily led me down the path to pride, envy, and dissatisfaction.  My good friend, Michelle, tried to open my eyes to the fact that God gave me this spirit for a reason, but I wouldn't believer her.  I just wanted to shut it off because all I could see were the downsides of having it.

One day in my closet as I was getting dressed, I heard Him address me about what I felt was my fatal flaw:

I gave you this spirit, Jen.  And I gave it to you because it compels you to fight.  Yes, you've used it to fight some of the wrong battles, but I want you to see something:  If you didn't have it, you wouldn't confront the darkness like you do.

Would I, in this realm, too, choose not to run with light to the darkness, because all I could see were my flaws?

It's beautiful to bring light to the darkness.  It's beautiful to not succumb to the enemy.  It's beautiful to wield the sword of the spirt, to open the closet doors of our hearts -- the places where we store our fear and our anger and our crutches -- and expose them to God's amazing light.  

It is beautiful to run with and for the things He has given us.  Let us not let extraneous voices trump God's vision of us and for us.  Our flaws are not what define us.  Only He does.
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Oh, I so hope you'll journey with us over the next few months as we listen to our sisters' stories of times when God has told them they were beautiful.  If you for one moment think that God would never tell you that, I want you to know that you are wrong.  All of us, at one time or another, have refused to believe truth, but the point of this series is to show that we don't have to listen to lies.  We can be inspired by each other's willingness to let truth speak louder than lies.  And we can start to believe the truth ourselves.

Do you have a story to share?  Contact me at jenfergie2000 @ me. com.

Linking today with Tracy and Emily and Michell

Monday, February 11, 2013

when life feels like ill-fitting clothes and the soli deo gloria party

Welcome to the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood weekly party!  To find out ways that you can be involved in the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood, please click here.
If you are planning to link up, would you kindly visit the person that arrived before you?  You never know what surprises you await in this community!  Prepare to be encouraged and loved.
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Sweet Sisters,

I wrote this on Wednesday and my media fast was Thursday.  I took this from my journal for SDG so you can see my heart on one of its more melancholy, thoughtful days.  Because around here, at SDG, it's all about sharing your heart, no matter what state it's in.

Love,
Jen

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Sometimes life feels like ill-fitting clothes.  And you think you weren't made for this.

I beginning to wonder if it's not my body type or my size and shape or the contours of my heart and my spirit, but my sin.  Because we weren't made for sin.  We were made for union with God and sin separates the two of us.

I thought, at first, it's the calling, the daily sound of God's voice leading me out of my comfort zone, that makes for the wrong fit.  I thought He must be calling me to be more than I am, to give more than I have, to swallow more than I can chew.

But no.  It's not the shirt that is too tight.  It's all the other layers of clothing that I've donned that make me feel the near suffocation.  And I've put them on preemptively because I've pondered if the clothes He gives me will be enough to cover me.

I wondered if I'd feel naked.

I tweeted once about the armor of God and how it doesn't fit right if I have tethered on some of my own self-protective pieces.  And I think the clothes of calling might work much the same way.

In order for both to fit correctly, we have to be willing to be satisfied with the pieces that He gives us.  Whether we think they are coordinated, in style, or comfortable, is simply besides the point.

The point is that He thinks they are and perhaps I should just go with it because, well, He is God and I am not.

People tell me that I am brave, and I am in some things.  In others, I run and cower and I cloak myself in anger or hurt or silence.  Then, I'm just a girl crying in a corner.

God whispered something two days ago about taking a day away from social media and email.  And I gave Him a long list of reasons why that really wouldn't be a good idea.

But regardless of all those rambling things I said, He responded with one simple sentence.

"You need to do it because you're afraid."

And the truth is, to be completely honest, I am afraid.  Because somewhere along the way, I've grown dependent on the voices contained in the emails and in the comments and the messages on Facebook and Twitter.  Many times there are daily pick-me-ups contained in those lines and I use them to feed my hungry soul.

"I'll pick you up," He says.

And I think He's trying to address the little girl in the corner, who is crying.  The one who has not yet learned how to be brave.  The one who still has broken pieces to lay at the feet of Jesus.

"Words have power," He says.  "Feast on my Word.  I will make that little girl brave.  And I will show you how I clothe you makes Me luminous and bright."



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Are you new here?  Welcome!  We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture?  Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Read our new, revamped page by clicking here.
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Want to show a sister some love?  Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters.  Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!  
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(linking up with Jen, for Unite, and Laura, for playdates!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

5 Minute Friday: Bare

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The truth is that I feel naked, bare, exposed most every day.  I try and I try and I try to cover myself - in a good way, with prayers for protection, with the reaching out to say that I need help, but today in my quiet time, God reveals to me where I've hidden my real self.  The self that thinks she can do it all alone.  That thinks that if she asks for help that she is being dramatic or not pulled together or unbearably selfish.

Sometimes I think that I'm being authentic, but there always seems to be another layer.  Another layer tucked beneath the one recently excavated.

And sometimes, it just makes me cry.

And I cry not just for myself but for you.  Because I know if we both sat here together and really peered into each other's soul, there would be a new level of bare that neither of us knew existed.  I know there is a part of you that wants to live with no holds barred.  To live free of the trappings of this world, to pierce the darkness with light, to shun the lies of this world.

Shall we go there together?  Should we just keep our eyes on Jesus, get out of the boat, and show the world that all the things they thought not possible...actually are?


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I'm hanging out with Lisa-Jo this morning.  Want in?  Here's the deal:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


A note from Jen:
Wanna take a dive into sisterhood?  Walk with us each week?  Or maybe even each day?  Find out more info on the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

when you cannot see



I rushed out the door, drove 40 minutes in traffic, arrived at the party only to realize that I brought along an empty glasses case.  Knowing that my sunglasses would not serve me well driving home long after the sun went down, I panicked.  How would I get home, unable to clearly see?

Thankfully, my friend lent me some glasses that happened to be relatively close to my prescription and I was able to get home without incident.  But the whole situation made me think about how our friends can help us see when we simply cannot.  Or maybe when we refuse to do so?

How often do we dismiss our friends' comments when they tell us that we are beautiful or giving or loving or wonderful?  How often do we meet their compliments with words like:

you're just saying that...
or
that'd be true if I lost 30 pounds...
or
you probably tell everyone that...
or
it was nothing...
or simply
you're lying.

Why do we assume that the good words that flow from the lips of our friends are less valuable than ours?

Why do we assume that we have the correct vision and their vision is the one that is skewed?

And I wonder, if we compare our words next to the words of our friends, whose words sound more like the words that have come from the very mouth of God?

God gives us community so that we can be encouraged by truth.  So perhaps, we can do a better job of recognizing it when it is offered to us as encouragement and love?
"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Hebrews 3: 13
Perhaps we can try on their vision of us, instead of letting what we see as our glaring flaws always shape our mind's eye view of ourselves?

Will you receive a compliment as encouragement?  Will you let it sink deep down?  Will you let it be a sword that fights against all those negative thoughts that send you spiraling into a sea of doubt and despair?

Will you believe me when I tell you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made?  Will you take that piece of truth with you today?

(Need some more truth to fill your soul today?  Click here and here and here.  Oh, one more?  How about this?)

Linking today with Tracy and Emily.