The Girl in the Front Church Pew: Accepting the Lie of Mandatory Perfection

The Girl in the Front Church Pew

The girl in the front church pew. She’s happy and kind. She is always perfectly put together and she has it all together…

Al least, that’s what everybody seems to think.

She’s that girl who came from a good, strong, steady Christian home. At church almost every Sunday. Participates in extracurricular church activities. Lends a helping hand when she’s asked. 

Congregants look at her and think that her life is without hurt. Kids at school think of her as the “goody-goody church girl” who doesn’t like to have any “real fun”.

Yet, she’s breaking on the inside. Her heart feels like a cracked window; a hundred little shards falling out one by one. 

Putting on a mask so that she doesn’t “let anybody down”. 

When people ask her “how are you?” she smiles and says “I’m doing so good” in the most chipper voice she can muster, all the while she just wants to scream and claw at something. Yet, she keeps things upbeat and lighthearted because she doesn’t want to bring someone else down with her troubles.

The girl in the front church pew…

I’m that girl…rather…I was that girl.

I was the girl who used to think that I had to cover up when I was hurting because people expected me to be happy; to always have a smile on my face. 

I had myself convinced that people only wanted anything to do with me when I was hurting; that they didn’t care about me the rest of the time, so why do that to myself.

I have seen several girls who grew up in church go through the same thing. We let the lies of the enemy convince us that we have to be happy. That we’ll let everyone down if we let them see that we are going through a rough time. 

There was a period for about two years that I wouldn’t let myself cry in front of people because that showed weakness. I didn’t want others to see the pain that I was hiding. It also didn’t help that I was told that crying in front of others was purely selfishness and a means to gather attention to myself.

Some of you may know from my social media sites, that I was at a ladies retreat this past weekend, and the topic above is one of the areas where God was doing some major healing in.

I’ll be honest, I had myself completely convinced that no one cared unless I was visibly going through something. That they wouldn’t take time for me unless they knew I was hurting. So, I started closing myself off to people, as I decided that if they didn’t truly care about me-or take time for me- at my highest like they did at my lowest, then they didn’t deserve to know the details of my life… 

It wasn’t until this past weekend, that I realized I wasn’t closing them off because I thought they didn’t deserve to know my life, I closed them off because I didn’t want to feel the hurt and pain of rejection again.

I want to talk to you ladies who have lived a similar life as the image of the ‘Church Girl who sits in the Front Pew’ that I wrote at the beginning of the article.

 

You are loved and people do care about you. You don’t need to put on a mask of happiness in order to make sure you live up to the standard that you think people have for you. and take it from someone who has lived through this, most of the time it is only what you think they think. 

It’s all a lie from the devil. Plain and Simple.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy wants to alienate you (us) from our church family. Without that support and fellowship, we’ll close ourselves off and could end up falling so deep in believing the enemy’s lies that we start to walk away from the church altogether-as is what started happening to me. 

I left my home church and started trying other churches, and started to feel like I could start sharing stuff again; my life, my testimony some of my struggles and eventually, I ended up going back to my home church, and that’s when I started thinking that I had to keep this happy attitude. That people expected me to have a happy smile on my face, so, that’s what I did-even if I was feeling totally miserable.

What I’m trying to say, is that I believed so many different lies. Lies that I had to do this or else that would happen. That this is what people thought-or didn’t.

Ladies, it can be so easy to let ourselves get lost in believing these lies. 

I know…I know

One of the definitions I found for “to know” is: “to have developed a relationship with…through meeting and spending time…” 

I developed a relationship with these lies. I held them close and used them as my proverbial safety covering. I met with them and let them convince me of their so-called “truth”. Shielding myself with them. The lies of having to present an air of happiness became an exhausting chore, yet whenever the exhaustion would hit, my “friend” the lie would come calling and remind me why I was doing it.

 

I want you to know, you aren’t alone. I know what you are experiencing. I also want you to know, that these things you believe are so far from the truth. People care about you, and while I might not know you personally, care about you!

Seriously, I want to encourage you, if you ever need to talk, you can always contact me.

You can get a hold of me through Facebook or through e-mailing me at unfadingbeauty77@gmail.com. And if I can’t help, I’d be more than happy to try to help you find someone who can.

XoXo,

~Kristen~

Unfading Beauty Ministries Top 5 Articles of 2016!

Hey there!

I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Christmas! With New Years swiftly approaching, I thought that I’d share with you all the Top 5 Articles of the year! That way, if you want to re-read-or read the ones you missed-then they’re all here in one easy, quick place for you to find!

So, without further adieu, here they are!

unfading-beauty-ministries-top-5-articles-of-2016

  • Number 5: Summer Internship: The Beginning –This past summer I got to intern at a Bible Camp for a few weeks, and this is the first article that I wrote about it!
  • Number 4: A Moment of Honesty –This is a more recent article I wrote about my struggles with being single-and why I have struggled with it. Along with it, I also wrote some truths that God has reminded me in the midst of it all!
  • Number 3: Lessons I’ve Learned From Disney’s Beauty and The Beast –This is one of my most favorite articles I’ve written to date! Why? Well, first off because it’s about my most favorite movie to date: Beauty and The Beast. Secondly, because as I watched it this one time, there were so many things that really spoke to me, similarities and lessons alike, that I somehow missed every other time I watched it!
  • Number 2: Witchcraft in the Church — This is an article that I had on my heart for a very long time before I wrote it. Why did it take so long? Well, it’s considered a pretty “controversial” topic. I have watched so many good christian people get dragged down because they’ve gotten into all sorts of New Age Mysticism, and there was an itching in my spirit to write about what the Bible says about those kind of activities.
  • And, finally, the most read article of 2016: Glancing Back at the Past; Looking Forward on the Future –I wrote this article about how God impressed upon my heart to wait to date until I was 20. I wrote this just before my 20th birthday, reflecting the two years I took as I followed his leading-and boy! am I ever glad that I did! Why don’t you go ahead and read just why I’m glad I took those 2 years!

Just before I sign off for the night, I want to say a very big Thank You to each and every single one of you; my wonderful readers! I have so enjoyed getting to interact with each of you–whether it be through FacebookInstagram, YouTube or Twitter–I have enjoyed every single comment and message!

Finally, make sure you stay tuned, because come the New Year, I have some incredibly exciting news! I am expecting to do a vlog about it, so go subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you get it as soon as it’s out there for your viewing pleasure! I’m so excited-and I hope you are too!

Love You All!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

 

What’s Driving You?

There are many days that I don’t actually just sit down and work all day on projects and whatnot for Unfading Beauty Ministries. To be quite honest, I generally only spend a few hours in the evening working on stuff-although there’s the odd day that I am working for the better part of the day making phone calls and writing/replying to e-mails or doing research.

I’ve actually been thinking about the current format of how I do things for quite a while, and then last night I was told something that caused me to ask myself: What’s driving you?

whats-driving-you

As I was scrolling through and approving/replying to comments made on articles, I came across one that I wasn’t too sure what to say. And the more I thought about how to answer, the longer it became, so eventually, I decided just to respond through an e-mail. 

While I was replying to the person’s comment and retrieving Bible verses to answer some of the things said, it hit me: This is why I write! I write to open up conversation-be it between me and the reader, the reader and them self and most importantly, the reader and God. I write to spread the love of Jesus. I write so that people can see the mercy and grace he has bestowed upon my life and then desire the same for their lives. I write because I want people to know the good news of Jesus Christ and that he came to die on a cross so that they may be saved from living through eternity in hell. I write so that people can know just how desperately much Jesus loves them. I also write so that those people who already have a relationship with Jesus can be spurred on in their faith. So that they may come to know him and his word better-thus pushing them into deeper communion with him.

Being able to write to this person and openly and honestly share the truth of Jesus’ words reminded me that He is the reason I do this. He is the reason I’m in ministry. He is the reason I’m still here-and why wouldn’t I want to share about the love of the person who has quite literally saved my life more than once?

I’ll be honest, there are times when I have had my heads in the clouds, dreaming of bigger, brighter horizons-some full of fame and glamour. I have beat myself up and told myself “It’s not going your way because you don’t focus enough, you aren’t dedicated enough and you just aren’t good enough to have a successful ministry.” But again last night, I was reminded that this ministry is more than successful. The fact that I get to write an e-mail like the one I did last night reminded me that that is exactly why I do what I do.

Yes, I pray that God will make this ministry flourish and grow-as he has, is and continues to do-but he also reminded me that I need to quite comparing my ministry to someone else’s. My ministry is completely different than anyone else’s. 

I want to encourage you to ask yourself “What is driving me?” Is it fame? Recognition? Money? Maybe you’re doing it to show someone up? 

I want to leave you with these Bible verses:

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Whatever God is leading you to, do it for his glory, trust him and he will make your paths straight!

I love you all so much! 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! Stay tuned, as I have another huge project announcement coming in January! 

Love,

~Kristen~

Glancing Back at the Past; Looking Forward on the Future

Have you ever just stopped and taken a moment to look back at where you were at this point __(Fill-In-The-Blank)_  years ago? Well, that’s me. Right now. At this very moment. Not only am I glancing at the past, I am also looking at my future, pondering oh-so-many questions…

glancing-back-at-the-past-looking-forward-on-the-future

Two years ago, I sat thinking and praying very much the same thing I am now. 

Those of you who have read any of my past articles about dating, know that when I turned 18 I felt God impress upon my heart to wait until I was 20. 

Well, 20 is here-in ten days, that is-and I feel…well….exactly the same I did on that day- wait, actually, it was night. 

Anywho.

Several weeks ago, while doing my Bible study and praying about my future as I com upon “the big” 2-0, and I felt led to a verse that filled me with such an immense amount of hope.

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.”

Song of Songs 2:11-12 (NIV)

I love the imagery it gives.

In my mind I see a girl who has sat and waited out the rains and when she looked out again, in it’s place is a beautiful blue sky and flowers off all kinds-flowers that wouldn’t have grown had the rain not watered the soil and seeds. And as she goes out to look at all the new growth and beauty, she hears a bird singing, and then, she starts to sing. And the farther out she walks, the stronger her voice gets, and pretty soon she is singing a chorus with the rusting leaves clapping their maraca leaves and the birds singing harmony and her feet keeping beat of the very song that is bringing her soul back to life.

And I realize, that that is how I am starting to feel once again. There have been rains through this season, and I know that one day I am going to get to look out my “window” and see that I have endured the “rains” and the flowers have bloomed and there are birds singing. That is what my soul is excited-and longing-for. The day that I can step outside, and say “This is more beautiful than anything that I could have made for myself.”

As I look back, I realize that I am definitely not the person I was, nor was I ready to date when I turned 18-despite the fact that I was.  It’s funny how when you look back, you think “Okay, God. It makes sense…now.” 

Maybe you have realized that a lot of my recent posts have been about dating and relationships? It seems the closer I’ve gotten to my twentieth birthday, the more I think about all of this. Maybe it’s just natural of someone to think of something more often as they get closer to the event? 

Really, though, I’ll be honest with you ladies, waiting two extra years to date has been hard! There have been moments where I desperately wanted to ditch the whole thing and “put myself out there” as it’s said. But, I waited. There have been many times of intense prayer-some of it more of a “Why?! It’s not fair! I Don’t understand!” cry of self-pity.

What I haven’t said before is the one thing God guided me to do in the middle of it-right after my nineteenth birthday last year. That thing? To study and learn about what a real woman of God is. What it looks like in my life. How to be a helpmeet for my future spouse and even a Godly mother for whatever future children I may have. 

As I come to the “finish line” of all of this, I hear an ever gentle whisper “Are you willing to wait just a little longer if asked?” and I think to myself, “Well, I’ve waited two years, I think I can wait a little more”. Although, to be honest-I hope a little is actually a little. 

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what the future holds. I hold no expectation that once I turn 20 my “Knight in Shining Armour”, but I do know that these last two years have been years on incredible growth for me-and I am so thankful that I hear God’s voice and obeyed.

Ladies, I want to encourage you that if you are in a season where you know God is asking you to give up dating-or anything else, for that matter-it will be a time of wonder and you will be so, incredibly happy and at peace with it all in the end. It’s not always easy going through the season, but just like a diamond, sometimes we need to go through immense heat and pressure to come out to be the perfected diamond that the jeweler intends for us to be.

XoXo,

~Kristen~