Thursday, August 23, 2012

What can we really do?

There are times when we are fortunate enough to be thumped right between our bug eyes. Sorry, that's a saying I held onto from my grandpa:)
There are times when God is gracious enough to burst the bubble that has been carefully constructed around me and open my eyes to the state of reality. I know many people who want to run and hide when faced with the realities of the world we live in, and if I were to be honest I would tell you that I have felt that same way more than once in my life. Many people curl up and think that it would simply be easier if Jesus came to grab us all right now, before things get worse. I suppose it would be easy to think that way. I mean, thinking that way allows me to let myself off the hook...

If I hold tight to the belief that God will simply see the world as too devastating and condemn it all (while I hold tight to my cushy salvation), then am I truly doing the work? Matthew 28 tells us, referring to the saved by the grace of Jesus blood, to go and tell the nations. Now, my heart tells me that if God has chosen NOT to send His Son and take up the sheep, and I still draw breath, then I have a job to do. My job is twofold: To go. And to tell. There is no grey area here.

So I now toe the edge of the commission I have been called to fulfill. In January 2013 I will join a group of ladies for a trip to Moldova. We will be ministering to young girls who have been forced into sex slavery via the trafficking industry. Make no mistake, the trafficking industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that many people just turn a blind eye towards. Is it because we don't care? I think it is because we think we are too small to make a difference.

If you look at the stories in the Bible that drove GREAT change, they were done by little people! Goliath was huge, but he was not God's hero. Little David was God's hero. God uses the big hearts, not the most accomplished people or largest arenas. Take a look at some of the plagues God used to free His people. 1 locust wouldn't cause much harm, but a swarm can take down a city. 1 frog is kind of cute, millions are a plague. If you had 1 termite in your home it wouldn't be a gig deal, but what if you had a whole tribe of termites working together for one cause? Do you get the picture I am drawing?

Sex trafficking is not the only thing our world must fight right now. The AIDS/HIV epidemic is reaching higher daily, as is domestic violence. In countries such as Moldova, Russia and Africa, these epidemics stem from extreme poverty. Young girls are tricked into slavery from want for a little food in their bellies while many of us beg for the perfect diet plan or pill to make us skinny. There are reported to be 210 million orphans living throughout the world as of today AND 2.18 BILLION people claiming to be Christians. I know some people see where I am headed and shut down the computer and close their eyes tight, but the question isn't "what if you were to adopt?" or even "what if you went on a mission trip?" The question is "What if we stopped putting ourselves FIRST and opened our hearts to love like Jesus?"

Would that make a difference in the world? If we stood up for our beliefs instead of hiding behind them, would our world look different? If we opened our eyes instead of pulling the covers over our heads, would our world look different? If we trusted God for our safety instead of ourselves, would our world look different?

There are many ways to be actively involved in where God leads your heart, but we must first open the pages of His Word and find out where we are to go. You may never leave your hometown or know the process of adoption, but I promise you can still help. If we all do our part, big or small, what would that look like?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What we all need to hear....

    The other night I finally made some time to sit down with my daughter and watch The Help. Although they did a fantastic job, the book is so worth the read! The part that touched every soul was the 3 simply stated facts from a nanny to her charge:
  1. You is kind.
  2. You is smart.
  3. You is important.
    Now, in the movie you only hear it twice, but in the book it is repeated often. It made me pause for a moment and think of those things that we all need to hear. Even those who put a fresh coat of paint on the broken exterior need to hear affirmations. Some of us were lucky enough to grow up in a loving home, whereas others have never truly felt loved. One thing we all have in common is the thread of wanting to be loved and needed.

    You are beautiful.
Life moves quickly whether we are on the carousel or not. Outward beauty changes with the times and fads come and go with the decades. There is one thing that never changes: when God looks upon His daughter's, He sees beauty amidst the chaos that surrounds her.

    You are useful.
Now, on the surface of this sentence it may seem a bit bland, but how often do you wonder if people even care if you wake up in the morning? Many of us can struggle with these thoughts, but You are useful! There are things that you have to offer that are unique to you alone. You have gifts and talents that others can benefit from in life. Often we simply have to dig deeper into our souls to find these gifts. Even when you think there are plenty of people who can do what you do (and possibly do it better), remind yourself that as long as God places air in your lungs your gifts are useful.

   You are purposed.
Where you are is no mistake. You have a purpose to fulfill. God does not look at the SIZE of the purpose, He looks at the heart of the purposeful. God doesn't just use those who seem to have it all together, He uses those whose hearts beat for His glory. You may never see the fruits of your labor while on this Earth, but the bountifulness of your work to the glory of God's name will carry into eternity.

   You are worthy.
You are worth so very much to your Heavenly Father. You are worth far more than words from a slippery tongue. You are worth more than accolades from Earthly realms. You are worth more than what somebody would pay for you. You, my friend, are worth the life of His one and only Son. You are worth the life of a King of kings and Lords of lords. You are worth the very last breath of Jesus and His love for you is so strong that even the grave could not contain Him. You are worthy.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Romans 8:16-17

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bible Study Made Easy

I think a lot of people get an uneasy feeling when the phrase "Bible Study" is mentioned. This can be due to a misunderstanding of what this phrase means, or even a bad experience in the name of church.

Bible study really doesn't have to be all that complicated. It is simply the study of the Bible, which we can see when we look at the words. I like to think of it a little more like Bible immersion. That can be a pretty big word to wrap our heads around, but when you immerse yourself in something you simply go all-in. You can immerse yourself physically into a pool of water, or mentally into your studies. It's simply a way of giving your all to something.

Whenever we start dating, we want to know everything about our new found love interest right? We want to know his favorite color, favorite sport, favorite movie and even favorite food! Why? Because the more we know about him, the closer we feel to him. That gives us a sense of security. It works the same way with God, only better ;-)

We thirst to know about God and to be loved just as we are, no strings attached. Well, in reality we often look for that love from others, but honey, you can only find THAT kind of love in God. Studying God's Word is what allows us those inner glimpses into God Himself and His plans for us. Let me give you a visual....

My husband and I only went on about 2 dates before we got engaged. You see, he went into the Army after our first date! During boot camp and jump school we wrote each other AT LEAST once a day every day. I literally stalked the mailman and Sundays were my least favorite days due to the mail not running. I couldn't even wait to rip open the envelope when I retrieved it from the box! I would begin reading immediately. Why? I wanted to know him. I needed to hear about his day and what he had been doing. I immersed myself into knowing him better, and it paid off!

The same is true with God's Word. He tells us of His love (John 3:16) and His plans (Jeremiah 29:11). I think where we can get confused is that interpretation of His Word can sometimes get wonky. You have the name-it-and-claim-it pastors that tell you if you're life isn't perfect you just aren't believing. On the flip side, you have the hell-fire-and-brimstone ones who believe life as we know it isn't worth much and we should just buckle up and pray for an apocalypse.

It can be a lot to take in, but I am promising you now that you do not need a secret decoder ring to understand the Bible! What do you need? Well, for starters, you need to commit to spending time daily reading the Bible. For most beginners it helps to have a guide just to know where to go. These are available through your local church. Most of can benefit from a Bible study as well. You don't need to be a theology major to lead a Bible study, but make sure whoever leads has done their homework :)

The Bible itself is the focus of your study and therefore, I recommend you focus on getting one that works for you. What do I mean by that? There are many different Bibles available, both in print and online. The NIV is one of the most popular, while some prefer the ESV or ASV (new international version, English standard version, American standard version). Personally, I read out of the Amplified version mostly, but love the NIV and still even dive into good old King James when I find it's needed. Try out different versions and see what settles best with your soul. You'll find the fit to be like your favorite pair of jeans...comfortable to the touch.

Beauty Mark Ministries will be hosting online Bible study beginning in September. No need to sign up, just show up at your computer. This will be a beginner lesson, aimed at learning how to set aside that time and why it is so important.

I hope to see you in some Bible Immersion soon!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

So many wonderful things!

Welcome to Beauty Mark!

So many awesome things are happening in ministry right now and I wanted to share a bit with you.

  1. We now have a Vimeo channel that will host all things Beauty Mark! You'll get videos on the little things, like beauty products, reviews, and even home remedies PLUS you'll get video Bible studies that will walk you through the process of understanding God's promises for your life.
  2. I have partnered with Hope Chest Ministries ( and will be making several trips to Russia and Moldova to minister to graduates as well as young ladies who have been rescued from human trafficking. You will get to read about my travels as well as the wonderful things Hope Chest is doing, and how you can get involved.
  3. Along with finishing up the Crazy Talk series of books on diet, weight loss and the crazy things that happen in our minds, I'll be writing a daily devotional book for young ladies.
Whew! My daughter starts homeschooling htis year, so that is quite exciting around this house. She is 10 and entering the 5th grade! Life is rolling, God is providing: that means I'd better get to living! I cannot wait to share Bible studies and thoughts with each of you!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is it about a new lipstick on a bad day? I have spent many hours on the Walgreen's and Target aisles just seeking out that "perfect" one to compliment an imperfect day. I admit, my makeup is usually applied AFTER I have decided which shade of lip rouge I am wearing and the outfit cannot clash the lips, and yes, I feel the same way about shoes :).

It makes me wonder why I feel this way though. I mean, it's basically painting the exterior right? For some girls it's lipstick, for others it can be anything:
  • Blush
  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Rings
  • Manicures
  • Pedicures
  • Highlights
  • Lowlights
  • Curls
  • Straightener
  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara
This list could go on and on. My mom loved costume jewlery. It always struck me as odd. You see, she never liked to paint her nails because she didn't want people to notice her hands, she never wore bright lipstick because she felt it accentuated flaws, and in 17 years I never saw her change her makeup staples! However, the bigger the jewelery the better! We all prefer a different form of spackle right?

When I am feeling exhausted, a bright red lip can take the focus off my puffy eyes. Bad hair days seem to disapear in the wake of 6 inch stillettos. A bad mood will get it's marching orders at the blink of long, mascarad eyelashes. It seems these things can lift my mood...for a moment at least.

What happens at the end of trying days when the makeup is washed off and the shoes flung back into the closet? Where then do we find rest for our weary bones when our smile begins to fade off the landscape of our painted faces?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."

This comes to us Matthew 11:28. How often do you crash into bed, weary to the bone from the weight you bear? We are not meant to bear these burdens alone. In fact, our Father desires that we lay our burdens down at His feet and take up His yoke, which is light.

Jesus has paid the cost that we may not have to carry burdens such as these. Are you a perfectionist who feels like you must "do it all" only to feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated by the days end? Give that to God. Are you a business owner, feeling crushed by the weightiness of the economy? Take it to God. Are you a full time mom seeking a moments peace and feeling less than stellar because you need a break? Take that to God. Are you a young girl just trying to figure out who you are and what your place in this world is? Take it to God.

Our Father awaits but one thing from us: that we may be willing to give up what we never possessed in the first place so the He may offer us perfect rest.

Are you in need of rest today?

In Christ's love,

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

She Speaks Conference, in review


The Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference was held in Concord, NC July 21-23. I attended on the writer's track and was most pleased to get in since this was a short notice decision for me. Not only did I get to attend, but I also met with a publisher and literary agent. Did I mention this was my very first writer's conference?

Our family decided to make it a whole vacation by traveling from Texas by car. Our first stop was in Birmingham, AL to spend time with loved ones. Next we set off to Tennessee, Nashville by way of Chattanooga, to spend a few days with family. After that we were off to the races! OK, so that eludes to the fact that Concord is pretty famous for their race track..... Moving on. We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge and plan on staying there again next year. Let's get to the meat of it shall we?

Upon my arrival at the conference I had extremely high hopes. I was dressed to the nines with red shoes and red lips to match, everything else was black and white. I was happy and intent on making loads of new friends. Now, it must be said that I get over excited about possibility of any kind AND I am a self professed morning person. Upon entering the facility, I felt anything but welcome. It seemed as though glares and stares were coming at me with great force. I though this was preposterous and I simply needed to press ahead. So, I found an unsuspecting victim for my friendly behaviour. Long story short, I was quickly shut down on any friend making attempts and left outside calling my husband for a ride back to the hotel. I skipped the conference and just made my meetings that day.

My question then simply became, "What is the DEAL?" Was I an awful person? Did I look untrustworthy or unfriendly? Did I smell funky? Hey, you never know... Have you ever had these feelings? Like you know you are where God intended you to be, but everybody there seems to think otherwise?

This can happen throughout our journey and we need to take into account that though we will come up against adversity, even from within the church, we must press on towards the goal. It is times like these that I open up the life of Paul and pour my heart out to God. He does not intend for us to suffer, but if we do so on His behalf we are blessed.

Rest assured I did attend the conference the next day and made my sessions. I'm so grateful I did as I was able to meet Tom Davis and attend one of his sessions for writers. Truth be told, that one session was worth the cost of the whole conference and I am forever grateful to have crossed paths with HopeChest. That single session laid out my life for Christ as it should have long ago.

I spend the remainder of my days living to a higher calling than I ever thought possible for me. What God puts into motion can become like a roaring avalanche if we are willing to let go and just come along for the ride. I commit to stop being the driver of my own life. After all, what good is a wild ride if you're the one driving?

Are you ready to change your world?