A Beautiful Song

This song came on the radio this past week and I was reminded of many things.

I was reminded how the first time I ever heard this song was when I was 17 years old as a senior in high school. It was a hard year full of growth and pain, but this song was one of the things that encouraged me deeply. That first time I really listened to the lyrics it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time… I felt so alone and so unwanted. The lyrics of this song made me weep as I began to let them encourage me and realize what they meant.

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Just in case you haven’t heard it today: you are beautiful. You are so loved and so beautiful. Just know you are not alone in your struggles. Know that you are so desired and loved.

“Beautiful”

Days will come when you don’t have the strength
When all you hear is you’re not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart they’d see too muchYou’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

And praying that you have the heart to fight
Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you’ve held inside so long
And they are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You’re the one He madly loves
Enough to die

You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
In His eyes

You’re beautiful
You were meant for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You’re meant for so much more than all of this
You’re beautiful
You’re beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His

Much love. Much grace.
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Failure.

The first week of No Fear November was much harder than I expected. For some reason I thought that overcoming my fears and insecurities would be easy, but the whole reason why my fears and insecurities even exist is because they are hard to overcome.

These past couple of weeks I have been trying to tackle the biggest fear I have:

 Failure.

I have been wanting to try a yoga class in our local area for sometime now months, but I never could get the motivation to go.

I always thought I was just being lazy, since this class starts at 6 am and goes for a full hour. As the day drew near to go, I became anxious and began dreading my decision to go.

“What if I am not as good as everyone else there?”

“What if I can’t do even the basic moves?”

“What if I fall over or hurt myself?”

“What if I find out that I just can’t do yoga at all?”

So on the day of the class I woke up at 5:15 am… and promptly decided I would not be going to the yoga class.

Later that week, I began to realize that I was not being lazy, or just making excuses, I was genuinely scared of looking silly in front of others. During a class I had never taken. For an activity that I have been trying to do on my own for months, but know I need help with. 

This fear caused me to go a full week and a half without trying the yoga class. I couldn’t seem to get the courage to go.

I began thinking about what I was missing out on. The opportunity to hone or learn my skill, possible new friendships, and making the choice to be healthy by taking care of my body. I was missing out on all of these wonderful things, just for a few “What if’s” that honestly don’t matter.

So what if I am not as good as everyone else? I am just beginning the class and it has been happening for about a month and a half.

So what if I can’t do the basic moves? If I can’t do the basic ones, then I have been learning the wrong way to do them and need to learn the right way so I don’t injure myself.

Really? Falling over? Come on girl.

If I find out I am actually not good at yoga, then that frees up my time to find a different health activity that I can do.

While these were all valid questions in my head, asking them out loud and then actually answering them gave me the power to overcome, at the very least, these questions. 

By not even trying the yoga class, I had already failed. I did yoga at home that morning when I skipped the class, but was still unsure of certain poses and it was only for a quick 10 minutes, like every morning. By skipping the class, I was missing so much and causing myself to fail. I was creating my own cycle of fear.

I was missing so much and causing myself to fail. I was creating my own cycle of fear.

The first week of November went by, and I had yet to try a yoga class; until I found a studio in my area that had a community class during the evening. I chose this class because there was no longer the excuse of needing sleep or being in a rush. I could go at 7pm and enjoy the class; without excuse.

So this past Tuesday I went to the class! Can I just say that it was the best decision ever? Because it was definitely wonderful.

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Everyone was so kind and excited to be there doing yoga. Since this class was a “Community Class” there were people who were of all levels and ages, even some who had never even attempted yoga before.

I was able to get the help I needed for certain poses, have a focused yoga practice for a full hour (instead of a mild practice at home), and I met different people who I would love to know better.

Each one of my worries that built this fear was utterly debunked. I now know that I enjoyed yoga in a studio and can’t wait to go again. Not only that, but I conquered my fear. I tried every pose, even if I had never attempted it before, and did the best that I could. Even with the risk of failure, I still participated in the full class; and had such fun in doing so.

I am so proud of myself for doing this! Little baby steps are leading me down a path with less fear and worries. By turning over these little things to God and allowing change to overcome these fears, it makes the bigger things seem less intimidating.

Are there any fears you are overcoming this month? How are you accomplishing your goal?

Much love. Much grace.

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A New Perspective : Kathy

Kathy is a friend and mentor of mine, and has been for years. She always has just the right words to say and encouragement just when I, or others, need it most. She did Mr. Yell’s and my premarital counseling this past year and was our college minister for several years. I am so excited to have her on the blog this week!

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Worship- verb, proskuneo – pros=”towards” and kuneo=”to kiss”.

I will never forget learning this meaning years ago.  A room full of college students were at my house for discipleship and we began talking about what “worship” actually means and what God desires of us in our worship of Him.  We looked it up in our Vines Expository Dictionary and found this definition.  “To lean towards, as if to kiss”.   I was overtaken with the visual of that intimate act and could hardly speak for a moment.  Worship in my personal, private time was not a new concept, but that intimate act used to define it made it become a sharp and clear picture.  It made me understand why personal, private worship of the Lord Jesus Christ was crucial in feeling the power of the Holy Spirit when the whole church worships together.

Scripture teaches us the power of God’s people gathering in authentic worship together in 1st Corinthians 14:24-25.  The word of God was being taught and they were praising God together in such a way that listeners who did not know God came to understand how much they needed him and fell down on their knees and worshipped God, declaring that God really was there among them!

Only God is worthy of being worshipped this way.  In Matthew 4:10 Jesus rebukes Satan and tells him that we should “worship the Lord our God, and him only should we serve.”  The priority of faithfulness in worship is clear.  He wants all of our worship.

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Truly, my sweetest experiences in worship have been when I am alone at home or riding in my car.   Songs with strong biblically sound lyrics have made me want to stand up right there in my car and worship Jesus – which may be tricky since I am the one driving.  Reading God’s word and coming to a new understanding of God’s character or a new principle to apply to my life has often brought me to my knees in worship or caused me to weep at His overwhelming acts of grace and kindness toward me.

My encouragement to you is that you find a place where you can spend time “leaning in to God, as if to kiss Him”.    Even if you are one who doesn’t really know God or much about Him, seek Him – lean into Him and He will show you who He is.

Imagine what our weekly worship gatherings with others would be like if we all came to the room having already spent private time in worship of our Savior.  Let’s pray together that each of us who claim to follow Christ will be faithful to worship Him and only Him.  He is so worthy of our worship and praise.  After all, the bible teaches us that if we don’t, the ROCKS will cry out in worship.  And like the song says – “ain’t no rock gonna cry out in MY place!”

May your worship this week bring you a new understanding of how rich and fulfilling private worship can be.  For me, it changed my day, renewed my spirit and transformed my life.

Kathy

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Kathy is founder of “Speak It Ministries” and author of “5 Things” – a book about how a man should love a woman by looking at the life of Boaz.  She loves to share God’s word with anyone who will listen.  You can find out more about her ministry, as well as buy her book, at her  website www.speakitministries.com or follow her on Twitter: @cckathy and on Instagram: kathybnelson

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Pre-Wife Life

As I am here in the middle of one of thousands of Starbucks writing a paper for my history class, I can’t help but to make things personal.

My paper for class is slowly morphing into what I want to discuss, which is the second feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s in the United States. I keep writing about the change of traditional roles of women in American society. Women began to burst into the workforce in larger numbers than ever before. Women started to demand the same respect that men receive in both their careers and personal lives. The passive, submissive, “controlled” housewife and woman had gone as women began their long climb to break the glass ceiling. I absolutely love this, being a woman I am in favor of equality for women (and everyone, but that is a post for another time). However, with that freedom came crazy power struggles, problems, and stigmas that are alive today. AIDS became a horrifying and real problem with the opening of sexuality. Feminists are tagged with negative thoughts and feelings. There was the struggle of power between men and women. And now with the options of education and work, if a woman desires a family or to stay home with her children, she is not doing enough. She is not living to her potential or taking advantage of the rights that those social martyrs in the 60s fought so hard to get. Women should be grateful, and go to college to stick it to the men. To prove we are better.

NO.

This is a new struggle I have just recently noticed. I am an educated woman; I am finishing my B.A. degree in a few months and hope to obtain more degrees from schooling in the future. And I am getting married during my time here at university.

Once I received my engagement ring and started wearing it proudly on my finger, people seemed to no longer see a respectable, educated woman, but instead a sell-out, anti-feminist who only wanted her MRS degree. I was instantly transformed from an individual person to a desperate woman. All because I had found the man who I want to spend the rest of my life with.

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With remarks and jokes from others*, I began to struggle with these ideas of being needy or becoming a trophy wife. I even wrote my fears in a journal entry. “I don’t know if I can do this. How can I be a wife? I am not finished yet. I can’t cook or clean like a good wife should. I can’t be passive. I can’t stay home and waste away in to nothingness. I am still a person.”
These may sound trivial or ridiculous, since some of these are old-fashioned ideals but these are the struggles I ran into when thinking about myself as a wife. Living in a world where the world calls for super CEO wives and moms, and being in the church where I had the Proverbs 31 “checklist”… these expectations became too much. I knew that there is no way I could do everything that everyone asked  or expected of me.

But here’s the thing: I don’t have to.

The thing about marriage is that it is the absolute representation of Christ and the church. The bride needs her groom and the groom cherishes his bride. This perfect partnership makes both people more effective for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. When I accepted Christ to become a part of his church (and be His “bride”), he did not expect me to bring anything to the table. He does not require that I need to have mastered patience, kindness, gentleness, and love. All I had to be was willing to be with Him, to want to learn, and take on a new name as His bride.

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That is the same realization I had about my personal feelings.

My future husband is not asking me to be a perfect wife (there is NO SUCH THING.), to have the perfect budgeting with money, or to stay at home and be a trophy wife. All he asks is that I be willing to be with him and to learn with him. I mean, that is how he proposed, right? “Will you do ME the HONOR of being my wife?” That’s it. I bring him honor by being willing to marry him. I become a new person by marrying him and taking his last name. New beginnings happen. Just as in Christ we become new creations.

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All the pressure to be the wife I imagined that I should be is now gone. That imaginary wife is imperfect in her perfection because she is impossible to be. All I can do is be willing to love, learn, grow, and be with my future husband and make the choice to do that each day.

I know the stigma, jokes, and meanies are out there. I still hear from them. But I am not doubtful in myself, or my abilities.

I am right where I need to be.

Much love. Much grace.

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*Disclaimer: My fiancé never said any of those things. I am referring to classmates, peers, and “friends”. Mr. Yell is quite the sweetheart and protects my feelings.