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~

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

When the Devil Tries To Take You Down

Recently, I’ve been on the cusp of making some big decisions about Unfading Beauty Ministries. Everything ranging from projects to events and writing and everything in between.

Making decisions has never been my strong suit. What I mean by that is, I am an incredibly indecisive individual. So, when I make up my mind to follow something that is heavy on y heart, it often comes with a lot of spiritual attacks.Most recently, I made the decision to ask my pastor if I could use the church for Unfading Beauty Ministries first ever young women’s conference. I’ve had this dream in my heart since I was sixteen.

On March 12th 2017, I finally made the decision to talk to him about it. 

Thus enters the where the devil decided to start attacking me and trying to take me down.

It took place in the form of a horribly nasty message over Facebook-something that put me out of sorts for several days. Then, come Wednesday, I woke up with one thought on my mind “Today’s the day I’m going to ask,” So I set up a coffee meeting with my pastor, and we talked and he gave me the go-ahead that I was praying for. 

Fast forward to the weekend, and I got in fight after fight with family members-however, I’ll admit, I was partially to blame-but through these fights crept in anxiety, fear and a thoughts like “How can I talk to young women about something, when I so royally mess up in that area myself?”

Just as I thought that, I came upon an article by Joy Pedrow about how the Devil likes to use thoughts about being unworthy, unqualified and incapable to pull us down. This is when I realized that this is exactly what had been happening to me. 

Ladies, we have the ability to either raise our self or raze ourselves.

The enemy loves to make us think twice about what we are called to. He knows that God created us for a very special purpose. He gave us the incredible ability to have compassion and empathy in ways men have a hard time doing. Our emotions, our love, our concern and our automatic need to nurture and care for others are all God-given gifts to women.

But, when we mess up, when we let our emotions go out of check for a moment, when we fail to care for someone who needs to be loved or when we fail to be the helping hand someone needs, we start to beat ourselves up and question our self.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve most certainly had thoughts like “there is no way I can (fill in the blank) after what I’ve just done (or failed to do)” And I beat myself up and I start to get so emotionally, spiritually or mentally drained to the point I just want to lay in bed all day. 

Or maybe, it came in the form of a harsh word from someone after making a mistake of some kind.

Personally, I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve been told “you write all these things on your blog and then you act like this? You’re nothing but a hypocrite,”

As I read what Joy wrote, it reminded me of something: 

NO ONE IS PERFECT.

Everyone makes mistakes. Many of the mighty men of the Bible messed up in big ways-yet God still used them in ways that were even bigger than how they messed up…

Abraham lied about Sarah.
Moses stuttered.
Noah was a drunk.
Jacob was a liar.
Joseph was abused by his brothers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Jeremiah was said to be too young.
David had an affair.
Elijah was suicidal.
The Samaritan woman had multiple divorces.
Jonah ran away from God.
Peter denied Jesus.
The disciples fell asleep while praying.
And there are more examples found all over scripture”

(Excerpt from Joy’s article. Link Below)

http://joypedrow.com/2014/06/im-not-qualified/

Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what God has called you to do.

So often we let the enemy win us over to the side of “can’t”. It’s so easy to let ourselves get pushed down and dragged, but it’s when the devil tries to drag us when we have to put on our spiritual armor and fight the only way that will defeat the enemy: With prayer, worship and praise. Pray like a warrior fights. Worship like a warrior yells. Praise like a warrior celebrating his victory.

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6:11-13 (NLT)

So, put on the armor of God and let us fight this war as we were meant to: with the Unfading Beauty of the Warrior Princesses God has made us to be. Let us strive to do good, and when we mess up, let us remember, that it doesn’t make us unqualified or unworthy. Let us learn from our mistakes and grow to be even stronger warriors for the Kingdom of God!

XoXo,

~Kristen~

P.S.  In regards to the Unfading Beauty Ministries Young Women’s Conference I briefly wrote about, stay tuned. When I have more information that I can give you, you can be sure I will!  

What Do You Do When God Changes The Desires of Your Heart?

hearts-desire

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of changes in me. More specifically, changes in my heart’s desires. 

Recently, I had a very part-time, very temporary job as a cook/dishwasher at local diner. On my second last day, I had a thought that came out of nowhere, “I think I’m ready to be okay with the idea of being a house wife/stay-at-home mom if that’s what God calls me to,” 

or me, this thought represents a big shift in the desires of my heart-as well as my thinking. For many, many years I’ve wanted nothing to do with staying at home full time-no matter whom it was for. I always equated it with being like a caged bird. That I wouldn’t get to go out and be free to have “me-time”. The thing is, as Christians, we are called to lives of surrender, sacrifice and selflessness-a life of servanthood.

Another thing that God has been changing my heart about is where I live. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to move-to leave the small town I’ve grown up in. Then. one day this last week, I woke up with one prayer in my heart, “Lord, I’ll go-or stay-wherever you want me to be,” 

Lastly, one other area God has been transforming my heart’s desires is in the area o my future husband–whomever he may be. For the majority of my teenage-and now into my twenties-I’ve had a long list of “necessary qualifications” my future husband must meet. But recently, I realized that I was starting to think that many of these qualifications on my list seemed frivolous and unnecessary. In the end, I have realized that there are only 2 necessary qualifications that I desire:

  1. He must love Jesus above all else
  2. He loves Me (and our future children) in the way the Bible calls him to

“Delight Yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

This is a verse that is referred to so often in Christian circles-and we even pray it over our lives-but then when God actually starts transforming and replacing our desires with his, we are at a loss as to what to do and how to handle it.

I don’t know about you, but when I realized all the shifts  and changes in my heart’s desires, it scared me. Part of me felt like I was losing an integral part of myself. I’ve invested so much time and energy into these dreams. I mean, they’re my desires. My wishes. Things that I want. Then it hit me, my plans and dreams and wishes pale in comparison to what He wants for my life.

” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways.” Declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth; so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ” Isaiah 55:8-9

So, how does one handle God changing the desires of your heart? 

I think it comes down to two things: First is Faith and Trust. We need to trust that God is doing a good thing in us. that we are living life out according to what he is calling us to-even thought it may be something that we didn’t want at first. Second is spending time in his presence. Reading his word.

Change is an inevitable part of life, but, I think it can be even harder when the change is occuring in a place as sacred and deep as the heart. A place where we invest so much emotion and time.

When we want to live out our lives according to God’s will;  when we ask for him to give us the desires of our heart, we better be prepared for him to do just that. And sometimes, that means being willing to let him transform our desires to things that we may not have desired before.

transform-our-desires

I recently read a story about a woman who didn’t want to have kids, but her husband did. She was afraid for a myriad of reasons, so, after much prayer and asking God to give her heart his desires rather than hers, she realized one day, that she was ready to try to have children.

Maybe you are fearful of the desires God might place in your hearts. And that’s okay. Fear causes us to lean less on ourselves and our own devices and more on Christ. It’s the living in fear rather than surrendering it and leaning on Jesus for strength that will cause heartache. Leaning on fear and holding it closely to our chest causes anxiety and stress. Leaning on Jesus in the midst of fear causes us to trust him more. And, the more we trust him, the more faith we have to let him transform us into the person he wants us to be.

I’ll leave you with this verse-of which is my prayer for all of you.

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.” Ephesians 1:18

XoXo,

~Kristen~

 

God’s Faithfulness. Presenting: A New Light on Modesty

I am so continually in awe of God’s goodness and faithfulness! To be honest, I never ever thought that the dreams I had for Unfading Beauty Ministries would ever actually come true, but here I am planning a HUGE project that is literally changing the way I think and look at things. Not only in the knowledge I’m gaining from all of my reading and research of the Bible, but also how much my trust in God has grown. He is providing one thing after the other for this project and it is coming together so perfectly!

One of the verses that I have continually prayed over Unfading Beauty Ministries is Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” 

I remember the very first day Unfading Beauty Ministries was set up. A good friend set everything up for me, and everything was ready for me to write my little heart out.

But, before I even wrote my first article, I knew that I needed to dedicate this new endeavor to God and to his Kingdom Building. That he would have his will and way through this new Unfading Beauty blog.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t fully committed to writing on here at first. In fact, it wasn’t until May of 2016 (approximately three years into this blog) that I realized that God had given me something that I needed to be a better steward of.

One of the dreams that I’ve always had, is that I would be able to partner with other bloggers, companies and ministries to reach an even wider demographic of young women. 

Several months ago, I was approached by a company that wanted to do a collaboration with Unfading Beauty Ministries-something that I’ve been dreaming about doing for a very long time. However, when I went onto the website to find out what their beliefs the company was founded upon, I was met with a long paragraph telling me a lot of stuff that goes directly against what I believe-and the beliefs this ministry was founded upon. 

Then, I found out that a Christian friend of mine was doing a collaboration with them. This caused a lot of wrestling within me as to whether I should or shouldn’t. I kept having thoughts like “If she’s okay with doing it, then it should be okay for me…but it just goes against what I believe to be right…”

After much prayer, I had to decline the offer, knowing that I couldn’t in good conscience support-and advertise my love for a company that goes completely against my fundamental beliefs. 

So, I started praying, Lord, if it’s your will for me to collaborate with other companies, lead me to ones that believe your truth…I surrender this dream to you.”

God has been so faithful in everything and I am far beyond excited to announce to you that I have partnered with several different companies and ministries to bring you a project about modesty!

a-new-light-on-modesty

Before you start thinking, “Modesty? Yeah, I’ve heard it a million times. Don’t dress like this, and do dress like that…” 

Well, let me tell you, this project, while it will talk about how we dress ourselves physically, I am also going to be talking about other kinds of modesty. I’ll just leave it at that and you’ll have to tune in to find out what other kinds of modesty there are! 

*Wink, Wink*

I want to say a special thank you to all the companies and Ministries that I am partnering with to bring this project to you!

  • Dainty Jewells Here’s a little bit about their company from their “About Us” Page:

“Dainty Jewell’s is about more than just selling beautiful clothing. We are on a mission to provide every woman and girl the opportunity to choose timeless fashions that stay true to her sense of modesty. We believe that having access to affordable, modest, and beautiful pieces allows all women’s true beauty to shine through.”

“NeeSee’s Dresses are vintage inspired, exclusive designs for women who love to wear beautiful clothes but who won’t sacrifice comfort or modesty. Each dress is feminine, flattering, and fashionable. When you wear one of our dresses, you feel confident because your best features are emphasized. Comfortable. Modest. Beautiful.”

Kosher Casual is a company that is in Israel and is dedicated to modest fashion. Their clothing is modest, beautiful and versatile! 

And Finally, I am getting to partner with Pure Freedom Ministries to do an absolutely fabulous End-Of-Series Giveaway!!

I want you to know that I truly, absolutely LOVE and support each and every one of these companies/ministries! 

I am so excited to see everything God is going to do through this awesome project! Within the next month or so I’ll be taking part in a photo shoot of some different outfits that have been graciously provided by the above companies as well as getting the rest of the exciting articles, print outs and other materials put together for all of you! As well as a vlog for each part of the series!

One last thing, I want to encourage all of you, if you have any questions or thoughts about modesty, please don’t be afraid to contact me! I am very excited to answer questions and interact with you!

Before you take off take a few moments to go check each one of them out! You won’t regret it!

Stay tuned for more details to come!

Until next time!

XoXo,

~Kristen~