Know Your Worth!

Whats Your Worth_ (1)

This week, I’ve been learning a lot from small children and foreign dramas.

Let me explain, because I know that doesn’t seem to make sense.

“Small Children” – I watch a pair of toddler boys on Mondays, and they’re the most precious things ever. Recently, the weather here in Illinois has finally started to warm up, so we went outside. That turned into ‘let’s collect rocks from the driveway’. Hold the rock thought, we’ll get there soon.

“Foreign Dramas” – I will admit to watching Korean Dramas because quite frankly they’re just better than most American dramas. That said, because I knew one of the actors from a Korean boy band, I have been watching ONE Chinese drama as well. In this drama, they’re all about the Jadeite trade, which is fascinating and enlightening.

Okay, now that I’ve explained that, let me get to the real point of this post. Are we rocks or are we treasures?

Those little boys (God love ’em) have two different personalities. One didn’t pick up a rock unless it seemed like it would be glittery or pretty. The other just grabbed the first two rocks that struck his fancy. Later, after we washed them and let them dry, do you know which rocks were prettier? The ones I thought were ugly.

Just like that, did you know that Jadeite is hidden inside stones that look like regular rocks? It’s a complete gamble if there’s going to be a precious gem inside. People try to understand what signs show that there is going to be a lot of color in that stone, but they often fail.

Like pebbles and Jadeite, a lot of times even we don’t know our real worth. We may look completely ordinary on the outside, but wait til God gets ahold of us and shows us what’s inside. There’s a scripture similar to this example in 2 Corinthians:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

2 Corinthians 4:7

It’s not our job, necessarily, to look pretty on the outside. It’s not our job to be perfect and irreplaceable.

Jadeite only goes up in value once it’s opened. Once its true colors are shown to the world. It takes some careful calculation and some cutting away of the excess roughness for its true beauty to fully shine.

Sometimes, a stone won’t contain any Jadeite at all. It’s sad, but it happens. These stones are mourned over by their owner, but in the end it isn’t possible to produce Jadeite where there wasn’t any to begin with.

The good news? We’re the stones no one expects. When we came to Christ, we became a new creation, and thus there’s beauty hidden inside us just waiting for the world to see it. Our stone-cutter is Father God, and he’s the very best and bringing out the most shine in our jewel.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7b

God knows what’s inside of us. He sees the treasure waiting to shine. Trust Him when he starts cutting off the excess roughness. The things we don’t need or shouldn’t hold onto. Trust Him when he washes away the mud we like to hide behind. He knows how beautiful we’re going to be afterward.

Trust God to be your stone-cutter. Because, the best part? Once that roughness is cut off, the treasure inside can skyrocket the price up to 1,000 times the original purchase price. Our purchase price is Jesus’ blood, so our skyrocketed price? Priceless.

We are God’s treasures and He will never sell us or give us away. To Him, we are beyond precious. So trust Him to polish you today.

While I’m Waiting

While I wait

Waiting is hard. I know that you know that, we can all agree on that. No one wants to wait. In fact, we live in an “I want it now” society where they tell us we don’t have to wait. You want food fast? Plenty of restaurants are willing to accommodate you.  Do you want a relationship? Plenty of fish in the pond, boo!

Unfortunately, that’s where the world gets it wrong. Half the journey is experienced in the waiting. That’s why I’ve decided to explain to you, today, why I have chosen to wait instead of date.

Let me show you a few things I’ve been learning from scripture before we delve into that particular sore subject.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…”

Isaiah 40:31a

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the souls who seek Him.”

Lamentations 3:25

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:14

All these have come up in the past week during my regular devotional time with God. I’m a firm believer that the entire Bible is God’s word to me, and if He keeps bringing up the same thing over and over again, you’d better believe I’m going to stand up and listen to what He’s trying to tell me.

Did you know that in over half the scriptures that tell us to wait, or be patient, or let God’s timing prevail, that they tell us to “be brave and have courage”? Even God knows that waiting is hard.

So, with that in mind, let me show you a few more things that helped me decide to wait, not date. I hope they’ll help you make a decision one way or another, too.

First off, let me start by pointing out God’s original design for man and woman. Eve didn’t go searching for a man. God created her specifically for one man, and he brought her straight to him. Genesis says that God looked at Adam and said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him.” He didn’t “try out” fifteen women before he landed on Eve. God brought them together, and they stayed that way.

Next, I’d like to introduce you to Proverbs 18:22

“But he who finds a WIFE finds a good thing, and receives favor from the Lord.”

(emphasis, my own)

First, let me point out that it isn’t the woman finding a man here. It’s the man finding a woman. And, yeah, that might seem like an outdated concept to you, but I firmly believe God is still in the business of bringing the right people together.

Secondly, I would like to point out that it doesn’t say “he who finds a girlfriend.” In fact, the Hebrew doesn’t even have a word for “girlfriend”. God’s original design for relationships was for them to last forever. “Casual dating” only teaches people that they can back out of a relationship if they have to work too hard.

So, yes, waiting is hard. The good stuff always is. Think about when you were a kid, and you had to wait for a batch of cookies. Didn’t they taste that much better because you waited?

Who cares if it’s not the norm? We left normal in the dust the instant we turned to Christ. Isn’t it better to wait and not have all that emotional baggage when you find THE ONE? (Or, rather, when he finds you?)

I still believe in true love. I still believe God will bring me the perfect mate. Yes, I am still waiting and yes, it is still so hard. I’m human. I have wants, desires, and urges that only get stronger as I get older.

Guys, I’m going, to be honest here. I’ve never even been kissed. I want so badly to know what that feels like. But I’m going to wait on God’s timing. I’m going to wait for that one guy that I will spend the rest of my life with. You know why?

Because…

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:13-14

* Re-blogged Content originally posted on Sep 5, 2016 9:49 AM

Is It Time Yet?

is it time yet

 

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

Habakkuk 2:3

As I ended 2018 and began 2019, this is one of the scriptures that has spoken the most to me. Why? Because, as a single girl looking forward to married life, it’s hard to remember that God’s timing is perfect. No matter how frustrating it may seem to me, God knows why this isn’t the time yet.

Is that what I wanted to hear? Absolutely not.

Is it what I needed? Yes.

This scripture is encouraging to me — and hopefully to you, as well — because it isn’t a “no” kind of answer. It’s all in the timing. Even if the vision before me, the things I want so badly, aren’t here yet, they will have their time.

Timing isn’t my favorite subject because let’s face it, I can be just as impatient as the next guy. Waiting? What’s that? Why do I have to wait? Why can’t I have what I want, when I want it?

Why do I have to wait longer? Hasn’t it been long enough?

These are questions I’ve prayed and journaled over and over again. I’m a hopeless romantic, so why can’t I see some romance? (Can I get a witness, somebody?)

The truth it, God never said I wouldn’t see my romance. He’s just been telling me to wait.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:14

Even in my period of waiting, God supplies the courage and strength for me to go on. To endure and to thrive in this time of preparation.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about timing lately, but that’s what God has been placing in my heart. His timing is best and He always asks us to do things that will benefit us in the end.

For example (STORY TIME!!!):

I write. Constantly. Mostly books, because I love to craft stories. So, when the beginning of December came and God told me to take a break from writing until January, I admit to balking a little.

Okay, so it was more than a little. I desperately wanted to just push on. To keep going while I had momentum and to start something new while I was at it. However, after a lot of prayers and arguing with Jesus (not my brightest idea), I did as I felt led to do. I stopped writing for the duration of December.

Of course, when I started, I didn’t know that my computer would crash a week later, leaving me without anything to write with. I didn’t know that during that time I wasn’t writing, I would discover a beautiful new idea for an awesome new book and be able to spend all that writing time fleshing out characters and scenarios and places in the story world.

But God knew. And His timing was perfect.

If I hadn’t listened, how stressed would I have been when my computer crashed? I would have lost so much work and been so upset. But I wasn’t, because all my finished projects were backed up.

If I hadn’t listened, would I have been able to hear the new ideas for this story I’m so excited to start? Maybe not. Because I would have been too focused on what I was doing.

God’s timing applies to each and every area of our lives. He knows what’s best for us and He wants us to live to our full potential. It makes Him exuberantly happy when we listen to the things He whispers to our hearts.

Which is why, today, I want to leave you with one last scripture.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

Ecclesiastes 3:11a

If it isn’t His time yet, that thing you’re waiting for probably just hasn’t blossomed into something beautiful. It will, if you’re patient, and if you keep the faith while you’re waiting.

Keep fighting for the things you’ve been promised! I’ll be right here beside you.

When Happy Seems Far Away

is god perfecting you_ (1)

There are so many things I could discuss with you guys. So many emotions that go through my mind and heart on a daily basis. So many hopes and dreams that I’m sure you all share with me. However, as we don’t have time or coffee today, I’m going to share with you one thing I’ve been learning recently.

As single women, we often feel that this is a time in life to “get through”. We long for the day our man sweeps us off our feet. We secretly plan our future wedding (don’t deny it, you know you do). We imagine what lazy days will be like after we’re married. How our hubby will treat us. And somewhere in the middle of all that dreaming, we lose our sense of peace and contentment.

We start to wonder why it’s taking so long. If only… 

It’s those thoughts that will drag you down into the quagmire of depression. Did you know that we’re stronger than we think?

So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (TPT)

Even though we may feel like it’s the end of the world. Like nothing will ever go right and maybe, sometimes, like God is keeping things from us, I can assure you that isn’t the case!

God sees all, knows all, and is all. He knows the timing that’s going to make your future relationship beautiful. He knows everything you need and everything you want. He knows your heart and He is willing to inconvenience you to bless you with everything He has in store.

Our job is to let His strength move through us. We can’t give up! Even if we’re taking it one day at a time (and believe me, I am), we have to live each day to God’s standard. We have to believe that He knows what he’s doing. There is no one who cares more about us.

So how do we stay positive when the world is looking bleak?

“for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

Philippians 4:11b

According to Paul, contentment is a learned art. So what do we do? We let God teach us.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines contentment as “feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation.”

So where are you feeling unsatisfied? If you can pinpoint that, it’s not as hard to turn it around and find a new perspective on it. Find the beauty in where you’re at right now. It may seem difficult at first, but trust me, it gets easier with time.

So what are you going to thank God for today? How are you going to walk down the road of contentment while you’re still in this season of preparation?

To Be Seen

City Real Estate

 

One of the worst feelings in life is the feeling of being overlooked.

Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve felt alone and unseen. I’ve cried those silent tears into my pillow at night. I’ve screamed at the sky and asked God why he isn’t using me the way I want him to.

And then I realized: this isn’t about me. It’s all about timing. God’s timing. Even if we don’t like it, God’s timing is perfect. Maybe (just, go with me here) He knows what’s best for us and maybe, JUST MAYBE, He wants the absolute best for our lives.

Many times in our season of singleness, we feel unloved or left out. Our friends may be getting married or having babies. They may have a “prospect” or a “guy friend” and you’ve got nothing. Trust me I can relate to that one. (Seriously, if that’s you, drop me a comment. I’m living it right now.)

If this is you, feeling overlooked and undervalued, I’d like to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite men in the Bible. The beginning of his story is found in 1 Samuel 16 and the first mention of him is very telling.

Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

1 Samuel 16:11

For those of you familiar with the Bible and the study thereof, you will have figured out that this passage is the first time anyone talks about David in the Bible.

I find it interesting that the very first mention of one of the most important men in the plan of salvation didn’t even mention his name. “There is the youngest,” Jesse tells Samuel. Almost like an afterthought. Like he hadn’t even remembered him until that exact moment.

And where is David while EVERYONE else is attending a ritual sacrifice to the I Am? David is left back at home. “Just” the youngest. Watching the sheep and the goats while everyone else is in the limelight, parading before God and the prophet.

How do you think that particular conversation went?

“David, your brothers and I are going to witness the prophet Samuel offer a sacrifice. Watch the sheep and goats okay?”

Do you think David wondered why he of all people had to stay behind? Do you think he felt a little left out and unloved? Unseen? Overlooked?

You see, not all grand plans have exquisite beginnings. Even though Jesse summons David to stand before the prophet and EVEN THOUGH Samuel anoints David as the next king, there aren’t any fireworks or a parade. There isn’t an announcement that “David will rule this nation next!” There is no press release or instant fame and fortune.

After Samuel anoints David, he leaves. David leaves. David goes back to his sheep and his goats. He continues to serve his father, to obey and listen and do what he’s told. And he waits.

Sometimes we take for granted the moments that happen in the waiting. We so badly want the end that we don’t take time to appreciate the little things. We forget to tend to our sheep and our goats. We forget to love ourselves and our lives even if we know there is more for us.

Today, let’s make a pact, you and I. We will live adventurously. We will not take the mundane for granted. We will pick up our callings and we will do what we can with what we have. We will wait for God to open doors and we will say yes when he does. Today, let’s agree to stop trying to make it all happen for ourselves. Let’s agree to let God be in charge and give us every good thing he has for us.

God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

Psalm 18:30

Acts Of Obedience

 

Acts of OBEDIENCE

We’ve all been there. The place where God is telling you to do something. In my case, an act of faith. He doesn’t always tell us how, He just asks us to do. In my case, after a lot of prayer about what to do, God’s answer came in three simple words: prepare for rain.

Sounds easy, right? Except it wasn’t. The direct order was followed by a whole lot more prayer and a lot of questions to myself about what to do. How to do it.

You see, God’s instructions are always simple, but they’re not always easy. Take practically any direct order from the Bible, and you’ll see.

For example:

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

Judges 6:14 (NLT)

See? Simple but not easy.

I love the story of Gideon, because I relate to him on so many levels. Gideon had the potential to be a mighty warrior, but he didn’t see it in himself. His own insecurities ruled his life.

He was hiding, a cynical man who didn’t think God would ever use him. Gideon wasn’t actually a warrior of Israel. He grew wheat. But he also feared God. He knew, deep down, what to do, but he was scared to do it. So he asked for signs right from the get-go.

Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”

19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree

Judges 6:17-19 (NLT)

And of course, everyone knows that after that, he asked for more signs. I so relate to this! Sometimes I find myself asking God “can you just give me something to work with?” when I should really just be trusting His plan.

Deep down, we all want to obey God. We think we really trust Him. We know He’s good and has good plans for us. But then, sometimes, His timing just isn’t as fast as we’d like. He makes promises, but they don’t come to pass as quickly as we expected.

It’s in these seasons of life that we learn how to obey even when we don’t feel like it. It’s here that we “prepare for rain”, even when we don’t see a cloud on the horizon.

I won’t say it’s been easy to obey this command. It took a solid two weeks for me to figure out what I could do as an act of faith. I procrastinated another week before I started working on it. I’m still in the middle of the project. And there still doesn’t appear to be an answer to the original prayer. But I’m obeying, despite what I see. Because I know my God is good and His timing is perfect. Because I know, if I follow His commands and obey what He says, the best is in store for me.

Those Who Are Called

 

those who are called (1)

“Now to the unmarried and widows I say this:  It is good for them to remain unmarried as I am.”  1 Corinthians 7:8

Oh Paul, if only it were that easy.

Paul didn’t have to answer to his Great Aunt Bessie at every family wedding, who lamented over whether or not he would ever find the right girl and settle down.   Paul didn’t have a mother who kept hounding him about making her a grandmother.  Paul wasn’t playing house at preschool, didn’t receive Wedding Day Barbie for Christmas.  He wasn’t surrounded by Bridal Magazines on every check out shelf, nor was he feeling like he was “always the groomsman, never the groom”.  No, Paul’s greatest concern here was that if you were tempted to give into your passions… then you should marry, otherwise stay single.

It was the cultural norm to be married, have kids.  There are even denominations that encourage large families because the man who has a full quiver of sons is blessed (Psalm 127:5).   I want to think that Paul experienced the cultural pressure of marriage and family, but he seemed so very confident in his singleness.  I look to our own culture today, and I see there is still this unwritten rule about our timeline of life.  We are kids, go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, become grandparents, retire.

I’ve never pressed this on my children, and yet I remember my middle child being completely shocked when I told her she wasn’t required to get married.  I thought to myself, where did she even get the idea that it was a requirement in the first place?  It’s such a cultural norm, and marketed in television and movies, that I didn’t even need to talk to her about marriage for her to think it was an expectation of adulthood.  Women are building up Pinterest folders full of wedding ideas, bridal shower suggestions, and reception decor.  We are not just dreaming of our future wedding, we are already planning it… down to the very last detail.

There are those who are called to a season of singleness, and those who are called to a lifetime of it.  For those who are in a season of singleness… it can seem like a really long season (such as Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth experienced).  You may feel like you are floating in the ocean watching others catching all the fish, while you net comes up empty.  You may even wonder if there are as many fish in the ocean as people keep claiming.  But do not be discouraged!

  • Pray that the Lord would guide you through this time (Psalm 94:19).  That He would not only give you peace, but also guard the mouths of those around you to be encouragers.  Pray that He filters the words of those who would discourage you from your hearing.
  • Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34), but instead focus on what God has called you to do today.  Stand in obedience to that and know that whatever blessings He has in store for you will come at His perfect timing. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
  • Look for single mentors, those women who have been walking this road ahead of you. Along with other single women desiring to live virtuously for Christ. Seek their wisdom and comfort. (Proverbs 1:5) We Recommend Joining VirtuousBella’s Community of Single Women living Virtuously for Christ and The Purity Pledge.
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  • Turn to the Scriptures and let your desires be transformed into His desires (Matthew 6:33), you may find as you grow in this area that you become more confident about your singleness, like Paul was.

 

While I’m Waiting

While I wait

 

Waiting is hard. I know that you know that, we can all agree on that. No one wants to wait. In fact, we live in an “I want it now” society where they tell us we don’t have to wait. You want food fast? Plenty of restaurants are willing to accommodate you.  Do you want a relationship? Plenty of fish in the pond, boo!

Unfortunately, that’s where the world gets it wrong. Half the journey is experienced in the waiting. That’s why I’ve decided to explain to you, today, why I have chosen to wait instead of date.

Let me show you a few things I’ve been learning from scripture before we delve into that particular sore subject.

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…”

Isaiah 40:31a

“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the souls who seek Him.”

Lamentations 3:25

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:14

All these have come up in the past week during my regular devotional time with God. I’m a firm believer that the entire Bible is God’s word to me, and if He keeps bringing up the same thing over and over again, you’d better believe I’m going to stand up and listen to what He’s trying to tell me.

Did you know that in over half the scriptures that tell us to wait, or be patient, or let God’s timing prevail, that they tell us to “be brave and have courage”? Even God knows that waiting is hard.

So, with that in mind, let me show you a few more things that helped me decide to wait, not date. I hope they’ll help you make a decision one way or another, too.

First off, let me start by pointing out God’s original design for man and woman. Eve didn’t go searching for a man. God created her specifically for one man, and he brought her straight to him. Genesis says that God looked at Adam and said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper comparable to him.” He didn’t “try out” fifteen women before he landed on Eve. God brought them together, and they stayed that way.

Next, I’d like to introduce you to Proverbs 18:22

“But he who finds a WIFE finds a good thing, and receives favor from the Lord.”

(emphasis, my own)

First, let me point out that it isn’t the woman finding a man here. It’s the man finding a woman. And, yeah, that might seem like an outdated concept to you, but I firmly believe God is still in the business of bringing the right people together.

Secondly, I would like to point out that it doesn’t say “he who finds a girlfriend.” In fact, the Hebrew doesn’t even have a word for “girlfriend”. God’s original design for relationships was for them to last forever. “Casual dating” only teaches people that they can back out of a relationship if they have to work too hard.

So, yes, waiting is hard. The good stuff always is. Think about when you were a kid, and you had to wait for a batch of cookies. Didn’t they taste that much better because you waited?

Who cares if it’s not the norm? We left normal in the dust the instant we turned to Christ. Isn’t it better to wait and not have all that emotional baggage when you find THE ONE? (Or, rather, when he finds you?)

I still believe in true love. I still believe God will bring me the perfect mate. Yes, I am still waiting and yes, it is still so hard. I’m human. I have wants, desires, and urges that only get stronger as I get older.

Guys, I’m going, to be honest here. I’ve never even been kissed. I want so badly to know what that feels like. But I’m going to wait on God’s timing. I’m going to wait for that one guy that I will spend the rest of my life with. You know why?

Because…

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:13-14