Why We Pray

Why We Pray

Over the last while, I have been trying to figure out some things. More specifically, where I’m supposed to go in life.

I was actually supposed to go to college this year however because of my severe allergies I wasn’t able to go. 

Long story short, not going made me start questioning my whole life; “Where am I gonna go to school? When am I going to go? Will I ever actually figure out what kind of schooling God wants me to have?”

The more I questioned, the more frustrated I grew. 

You may have read in my eBook that when I graduated high school I had convinced myself that everything would just fall into place because of how hard high school was. I thought God would give me an easy ascendance into adulthood…wishful thinking! 

Test after test has come and each one has stretched and challenged me more than the last. And just when I thought I was about to break, God gave me exactly the amount of strength I needed to make it through.

The crazy thing is that God almost always does the exact same thing to give me strength. He reminds me of one thing I should already be doing, but often times forget to be doing: Praying. 

To bring my heart to him and seeking him for guidance.

The first reminder came when he kept directing Jeremiah 29:13 my way. The New Living Translation (NLT) reads it this way:

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Emphasis added)

More recently, as I was sitting at my newly refinished desk, I prayed, “God, speak to me today. I’m sick of reading my Bible and feeling like I’ve not learned anything from you.” 

And, as I opened my Bible up to where I left off, I read Luke 11: 5-10

“Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

As I read this, God gently spoke to me. He reminded me that he wants to guide me and to fulfill my heart’s desires, but first, I need to be relentless, shameless-as the passage says- in pursuing him and knocking upon the door asking him to guide my footsteps.

“Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.”  (Emphasis added)

He doesn’t promise to give us whatever we want, cause, let’s be honest a lot of the things we want, aren’t always good for us. But, he does promise to give us what we need!

Here’s the thing, it is so easy to pray and thank God when everything is going good. It’s in the bad that it’s hard. 

Why?

I think it’s due to a couple of things:

First, because we know that God may not take away the pain.

This leads us to reason number 2: We are so enamored with the pain, so swallowed up with how bad things are in the moment, that we don’t think that God could be letting the bad happen because he’s going to use it for his glory later.

But, isn’t that exactly why we pray and seek him? So that he uses the bad for his glory? So that he can reveal himself in a deeper way to us through the pain? And, to take us into a deeper level of relationship with him?

What are some things in your life you need to seek God about?

Or, what are some things you sought after him for in the past? How did he answer you?

I would love to hear! Drop me a line (in the comments or even a personal message if you don’t feel comfortable sharing for all to see!)

XoXo,

~Kristen~

 

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!  

Willingly Watching the Glorification of Cheating

One of my most favorite things to do in my down-time is grab a bowl of popcorn and watch a chick-flick. 

I mean, who doesn’t like a good ole romance about a damsel in distress being swept off her feet by a knight and shining armor? Or, even better yet, the damsel saving the knight!?

Unfortunately, there is one incredibly unfortunate theme I have watched take place over and over again in this film genre.

glorification-of-cheating

What is the one thing that makes a good chick-flick? The leading male and female falling in love despite the odds. Unfortunately, all too often, while the leading couple is falling in love (often unbeknownst to them) they have the person they are actually dating left in the background foundering.

The most unfortunate part of it all is that we, as the willing viewers, condone this by saying “Well, he doesn’t treat her right” or “he’s controlling and abusive” or “She is way too prissy and mean”. 

Now, I want to make it clear, I DO NOT in any way, shape or form support any kind of abuse, but if a person is in an abusive relationship, they need to seek help from a family member, pastor, counselor or even the authorities, not through an extra relationship with another person.

It’s so super-duper easy to dismiss the events we’re watching because “it’s only a movie” and that’s just it, it is just a movie. The movies make it look so innocent that we, the viewers, start to make excuses for this behavior by thinking, “Well, they’re not actually dating. They’re just friends who fall in love…” I would like to counter that by arguing that while they may not be physically “dating”, they are most certainly emotionally dating.

Look at the way the leading lady and her knight are always in constant emotional turmoil over themselves, their real boyfriend/girlfriend and each other. 

These youthful, lustful desires that are displayed are not only going to lead to immense pain for one-or all-involved, but it’s also morally wrong. The movies might make it look like fun. A rush of emotion here, a stolen kiss there, but what we are failing to see is that in amongst these rushes, are lies woven into lies. The leading lady lies to herself that there isn’t anything going on-thought there clearly is-lying to her boyfriend that there isn’t anything going on and making excuses for what’s going on like “it’s just work” or “he’s helping me with (fill in the blank)…”

Ladies, in reality, we are called to a much higher standard. We are called, not only to walk away from these desires, but to flee from them;

 “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” 2 Timothy 2:22

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:1-17

Emotions are fickle and change from day to day-even from moment to moment-and we can’t be led by them. Following our emotions can lead us into all sorts of bad places and/or situations.

I can follow my emotions and eat a big piece of chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream everyday, but that doesn’t make it right or good for me. Doing something like that can lead to being not just over weight and unfit, but could lead to worse circumstances like diabetes. 

God created our emotions to be used in tandem with the leading of his spirit. Through prayer and seeking, we can see if what we feel in our emotions is from him, or if it’s a fleshly desire that will lead to ruin.

emotions

The glorification of cheating and adultery that is so willingly watched is, quite frankly, frightening. So many young women watch this take place over and over and over again and eventually start to think that this is the way life really is. That it’s okay to be dating one guy until they find another guy they like better, and then sneak around and become emotionally and, unfortunately, sometimes physically, involved with someone they aren’t already in a committed relationship with. No amount of ‘buts’ and ‘what if’s’ can change the fact that this is in fact cheating-and the fact that we as christian women stand by and so willingly watch this-and even start to condone this kind of behavior is appalling. 

Ladies, we are called to a higher standard. Not only in action, but also in what we put into our minds and hearts. These movies may be fun and entertaining, but when a person starts to watch these movies for an extended period of time, it starts to transform the way they think and act and conduct them-self.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23

Ever hear the old term “what goes in, must come out”? This is what happens, when we start to glorify-or even just condone-this type of behavior. Eventually-in some form-those thoughts and ideologies are going to start to seep through into our everyday lives.

Dear sister, you are called to be set apart from the world, and sometimes that means having to give up-or at least start to clearly review and vet-what we are putting into our hearts and minds.

“You have been set apart as holy to the Lord your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.” Deuteronomy 14:2

There are so many good movies for us to watch without having to sacrifice.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Princess Cut- A story about a young woman trusting and waiting for God’s timing to bring the right man into her life.
  2. Old Fashioned- A story about a young man and woman overcoming their personal thoughts and pains about/from dating to embark upon a good old-fashioned courtship.
  3. One Night with The King- The story of Queen Esther, with the twist that each contestant gets to spend “one night with the king” (in actuality it’s either an afternoon or evening), to test their compatibility. Esther (obviously) wins the Kings heart and they marry and then Esther saves the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman.
  4. Love Comes Softly- The story of Marty, a young pioneer woman whose husband dies, and she soon-after must marry a young widower with a young daughter with the so that she has a place to live over the harsh prairie winter with the agreement that if she is a sort-of mother to the young girl-teaching her how to read and just letting her be a kid rather than having to help look after the farm-that he’ll pay for her to make her way home back east on the wagon train in the spring. Over the course of the winter, they fall in love…I’ll leave the rest of what happens a mystery! 

 

Well, that’s all for now, lovelies!

XoXo

~Kristen~