I am a Beautiful Treasure

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to a God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

I am a Beautiful Treasure.

Has anyone ever told you that you are a treasure? I don’t know about you, but those are words I have never heard in my life, or believed if anyone ever said that to me. But just because you have never heard those words or never believed it, doesn’t make it any less true.

A treasure is something of value. Something that is cherished. Something that somebody holds dear. Something that a great price is placed on. Take a moment and think about the things you place high value on. What do you cherish? What do you hold dear? Treasure looks different in everyone’s eyes. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Some people have an eye for seeing the beautiful, priceless nature in something that other people deem as trashy and worth throwing away. That’s why the idea of upcycling now a days is so popular. People taking ordinary, broken down objects that have been left to be dumped and transforming them into beautiful new objects. Whether those newly upcycled objects serve the same purpose they were designed for or whether they have been made into something with a totally new purpose, those items are usually seen as beautiful masterpieces when all is said and done.

Does any of that sound familiar at all? It should. Because, it is a reflection of what we are in this life. Often times, the world sees a person as used or damaged or broken. Only worth being dumped out and thrown away. They view a person as dirty and too destroyed to spend any effort on fixing or bringing back to life. They laugh and jeer and kick that person to the curb because they know that person is no longer worth it. But, let me tell you friends. God sees a completely different picture in each and every one of us.

You are a beautiful treasure. The verse I wrote at the beginning of this post talks about being a treasure in jars of clay. Do you see that in yourself or do you have trouble seeing past the jars of clay on the outside? If you think about a clay jar, especially in respects to Bible times, those jars were not very fancy. They were often a simple clay jar created to hold things. Nothing much distinguished one jar from another jar and only the person who put something in the jar knew what was in the jar. Some probably contained milk or oil or water while others contained flour or grain or other things. Even that in itself may not seem like a great treasure to us, but think about how precious food is to some people. It is life, it is sustenance. It often cost a lot more than people could afford and so to waste any amounts of it would have been a near tragedy.

Do you see yourself as precious or needed? A great treasure to be hidden away to prevent thieves from breaking in and stealing it away? You should. God sees far beyond the dusty, broken jar of clay that creates the outside façade of your life. He sees the beautiful treasure that lies underneath. Like a diamond in a dirty, dark mine, that treasure has to be hunted for and worked at to dig it out of the depths of the earth. And even then, diamonds have to be cleaned up and cut away at to make them shine and reflect the light in the most brilliant and beautiful way possible. If you know anything about diamonds, you know that diamonds are also one of the hardest substances on this planet. You can tell well a diamond is real or fake by whether it breaks under pressure or not.

You are a beautiful treasure. Just like the valuable substance hidden away in the jar of clay or the diamond that is buried deep in the earth, you are a precious treasure. And just like hunting for buried treasure, you are something worth searching for and waiting for. You are a glorious and wonderful human being whose worth can be found far beyond the surface picture that everyone sees in you. People who pass you off as just another jar of clay have done themselves a disservice by passing over the beautiful, radiant you that lies underneath. Don’t sell yourself short or see yourself as a broken antiquity that can no longer function as it was designed. Believe in the beautiful you that lies beneath the surface. Maybe you just need someone to do a little digging to find that beautiful treasure that lies underneath. Find people who are willing to dig into the crummy broken places of your life and draw out the beautiful diamonds that sparkle beneath the surface. Keep those people close and get rid of the people who don’t take the time to discover that beautiful part of you or want that beautiful part only to use and abuse the most precious part of you.

God knows that beauty lies underneath. He sees the beauty on the inside and looks at the outside with what lies underneath on His mind. He doesn’t see the broken or damaged jar of clay. He sees only you. The whole and beautiful you He created you to be. You have such worth and He knows how valuable you are. Satan wants to destroy even that part of us because he doesn’t want the world to see how truly precious and valuable you are. He also sees the beautiful diamonds of our hearts and minds and souls and tries his hardest to bury those beautiful gems deeper in the earth so that the world can’t find those priceless parts of our lives. Trust God to draw out those radiant parts of your life and believe that they truly exist. Let the world see the depths of your value and worth and let the light and power of God’s love and glory shine out and reflect in every aspect of your life.

You are a Beautiful Treasure. Don’t let that part of you stay locked away.

 

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I am Enough

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

I am Enough. I bet you don’t hear those words often enough. Growing up, and up until recently, I never felt like I was enough. I was always trying to prove myself worthy of my father’s attention and love, and as a backlash, I was therefore prompted to be continuously proving myself to the other people in my life, especially the men in my life. I didn’t realize until recently how much not having that simple act of approval from my father affected every other aspect of my life.

Satan wants you to believe that you will never be enough. No matter how hard you try, you will never be enough. He destroys your self-worth and debilitates your ability to carry on and push through all the negative influences in your life. By never meeting the standards of the people we interact with here on this earth, whether it be a parent, a boss, a spouse,  a “friend”, whoever it may be, we doubt our worth and our purpose on this earth. We shut ourselves down and shut ourselves into ourselves but we never stop trying to win the approval of that one person in our lives who never gave it to us. I mean, if you weren’t worth their time or effort, why would anyone else even bother to take notice of you or your accomplishments or show you that you are enough?

This has been a major struggle for me my entire life. And never feeling or believing I was enough caused me to turn to my sin for comfort because that seemed like the only place I could find that “happiness.” My thoughts and actions may have been wrong but at least I was wanted there. If that was the only way I could find approval, then that is what I would do. Those thoughts and actions became a catalyst for me to expend my faltering thoughts whenever things went wrong in my life, and especially when my father displayed his disapproval or disappointment in me. I would turn to those things quicker than a light because that had become my quick response to those feelings in my life. I was so wrong, my friends. I can tell you first hand that those fleshly desires that creep in when your life is spiraling out of control are not any source of comfort in those times of need. They are a hyped up distraction from the present situation but you never feel anymore wanted or desired after you are done pursuing those pleasurable parts of your life. If anything, you will feel even worse and less desirable than you ever did before.

God sees you as enough. He carefully crafted you and formed you with His own hand in your mother’s womb. He breathed his own breath into your lungs from the moment you were born and has carried you through from the beginning. His Word is a reflection of how ardently and how deeply this almighty God loves and cherishes His children. Every story, every word tells of how much He cares for each and every one of us. Everything He has ever done has been done to show you just how much He loves you and how much He wants to be a part of your life. He doesn’t demand that we save the world or conquer the corporate ladder or be the best athlete in the entire world. He doesn’t expect us to be making our millions by the time we are 30 and have all our problems solved or fixed. He wants you, exactly as you are. Right here. Right now in this very moment.

You are a treasured jewel. A prized possession. You were created and called to live a beautiful and radiant story. God has such a higher purpose for your life and He cares so much for you. He longs for you to submit your life to Him and allow Him to take your hurts, your pain, your sorrows and replace those things with the affirmation and confirmation of His love, His joy, and His peace in your life. You are enough for Christ. And, you are enough for me.

If you have never heard those words in your life, let me be the first to tell you that you are enough. Stop striving to please people and find your fulfillment in the things of this earth. You will only drive your broken spirit further and further into the depths of despair and destroy the great worth God created and confirms in you. Let your weary soul be at rest at last in the presence of our God and King and let Him tell you how enough you are. Listen to His loving words and let His presence pour into your lives.

I am enough. You are enough. Tell someone they are enough today. It could change their life.

I am Redeemed

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” Is. 43:1

I am Redeemed.

Have you ever lost something? If you are like me, I’m sure you’ve had your share of lost things throughout the course of your life, but have you ever truly lost something? Something so precious that you would pay any price or go to any length to retrieve it or get it back? I hope and pray you have never lost something so precious to you, but the reality of the matter is, we have all been lost and we have someone who has gone to the most ultimate lengths to get us back.

Many years ago, when we were being formed in our mother’s wombs, God was forming and creating beautiful human beings that were, and are, designed to be a reflection of His beauty and His light. But, as soon as any baby is born and draws its first breath, the darkness of sin steals into our lives and steals us away from the God who created us. It creates a separation and a chasm between us and God that can never be fixed or restored by any amount of work that we do to get back to our God. Satan stole our hearts away from the moment God put us on this earth and he has been holding us captive ever since. Filling the prison cells of our minds and hearts with evil or impure thoughts, abusing us, either by our own hands or by the hands of others, creating problems and addictions and fulfilling the desires of our flesh. Sin wages a hefty price against our lives that no one in and of themselves can pay and it tears God’s heart apart to be separated from us. His heart groans and aches for us to be returned to Him and He paid the ultimate price for our lives by sending His one and only Son into this world to die at the hand of His own creation and be raised up again to show the world that God has conquered death and allowed His children an opportunity to return home to His loving arms.

I don’t know how often you allow yourself to think about that but the subject of redemption is a heavy one if you look at the weight of which the price for our souls was paid. It can be overwhelming to think that someone so perfect and so pure would make such an incredible sacrifice to bring His children back home to Him. I don’t know about you, but I know I have felt unworthy of that redemption for pretty much my entire life. The sins of my life have so often overwhelmed me and consumed me and made me believe I was a tragically broken, unredeemable creature who was better off dwelling in the pits of the earth. I accepted Christ into my heart at a very young age and so I know my sins are forgiven and I have been washed by His redeeming blood, but knowing and believing are two different things. But hear me when I tell you–you are redeemed.

God has paid a price in order to regain the presence of His children in His life. Not because He needs us, not because we deserve it or earned it. But because he so genuinely and completely and unconditionally loves us that He can’t bear the thought of being separated from us. If He had to die a hundred thousand times over to buy back each and every one of us from the devil’s grip, He would do it. And if you were the only person on this earth that He could die for, He would do it. You have been redeemed out of the pit of sin and death. Your life has been bought back from the grip of Satan. You have been pulled out of the depths of death and Hell and brought into the glorious presence of our Father and King. The debt you owed has been paid in full with the blood of Christ and nothing can ever reverse that act of redemption. You need only reach out and accept that redemption.

You are beautifully and wonderfully redeemed. Satan has no right to your life anymore. You are a beloved and wanted child of God. If you have given your life over to God on a previous occasion, that is wonderful and you will never have to worry about losing that part of your life. But, if you have never allowed or haven’t allowed yourself recently to experience the tremendous and overwhelming redemptive power and love of God, let Him reach back into your life and redeem you. Let Him ransom your heart and make it His once again. Live your life as a redeemed child of God. You are redeemed.

I am Victorious

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” 1 John 5:4

I am victorious. These are words that played through my mind while I laid in bed praying in the middle of the night last night. I don’t know about you but I never thought those words would ever apply to me. It seemed I was always kept falling apart or falling back into the same old sins. I have lived my life in a viscous circle of awful sin, shame and guilt, confession and redemption, ok for a little while, repeat. Some things are easy to be victorious in. Other things, it seems no matter how hard you try, you will never pull out that thorn in your flesh. You wonder if that will forever be your destiny. To be in this neverending battle against your flesh and never fully attaining full spiritual freedom.

Let me tell you friends, you have already become victorious in so many ways. Whether you know it or realize it yet, your life is one victory after another and it is time to start counting your victories. Satan wants you to remember your failures, remember your sins, remember your shame and guilt and remind you that you will never be perfect. God does just the opposite. He pours into your life desperately trying to remind you of the remarkable human being He designed you to be. He begs us to see our lives in the same light He sees us. He is constantly reminding you that He loves you. Your life is worth it. You are beautiful and gifted. And, He wants you to know that He is already victorious over all those little things in your life that Satan keeps bringing up and shoving in your face.

God says multiple times in His Word that He has already overcome the world. He has victory over death. The light cannot be overcome by darkness. And you know what else He says? If He is in you, you have already overcome the world as well.

So many things were on my mind last night as I lay in bed praying. All the what if’s and what nots about the future. I kept worrying about what would happen with a certain situation and had no idea how I was going to face something and stand strong against something that has deeply hurt me so many times before. I was afraid of losing myself to the bonds of that prison cell again and I wasn’t ready for that to happen again. But, God started quietly whispering those words into my mind. “You are victorious. I have already overcome that evil part of your life. Claim the victory over that situation and let me handle it.”

Let me tell you, my attitude toward the situation instantly changed. A supernatural peace entered my heart and reminded me that I am victorious. I started thinking about other things I have already overcome in my life. I am victorious. You are victorious. Whatever you are struggling with, you are victorious. Whether you struggle with addiction of any kind or anger or overeating or whatever it is that sticks you like a thorn in the flesh, God has already overcome and He will not let you fail now. If you take even a tiny baby step towards your victory, that’s one step more than you made yesterday. Keep going. Maybe you had a great day yesterday, maybe even just a good 5 minutes or an hour, and maybe today you are struggling to get yourself out of that pit of darkness yet again. It doesn’t matter how long you have victory over an area in your life as long as you realize that it was a victory and keep pushing yourself to become more and more victorious. Every little victory is a victory and the more victories you achieve in your life, the easier and bigger those victories will become.

Don’t forget the almighty power of the God who made you and stays with you and has already overcome. You are victorious. Claim that victory in Christ today.

I am Confident

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

I am confident. I have to be honest, this is something I rarely feel or realize about myself. More often than not, I feel insecure, unnoticed, invisible, basically anything other than confident. I felt this way all through high school and even parts of college, and when I moved back home a few years ago, I felt like the same person I had been wired to be in high school. Even looking back on my childhood, I think of how I was always different from the other kids and never really felt like I fit in. Like I was never truly free to be myself.

Having confidence in one’s self can be total game changer in your life. People are attracted to confident people. It makes you stand out in a crowd and people start to take notice when you are confident in yourself. I’m not talking about the so confident that you don’t ever ask for help or could never imagine doing anything wrong. I’m talking about the kind of confident that makes you stand out because you have taken time to notice yourself and believe in the beautiful person you truly are.

It can be extremely difficult to find that confidence in yourself when you live or work in an environment that teaches you not to notice yourself or take pride in your accomplishment or constantly have your actions looked down upon or constantly judged or condemned. I know because I lived in that life for most of my childhood and teen years. It wasn’t until I got to my second college that I started to notice who I really was. I realized I was funny and passionate about theatre–and good at it to boot. I was a part of the singing and drama teams, I was excelling in school, had friends that became like a family to me and people who believed in me. For the first time in my life I felt like I was making a difference in the world. I was becoming and discovering the very beautiful person I felt I had always been designed to be but never really knew existed. It was one of the most special times in my life so far, and moving back into the environment I had been raised in killed every part of that special person I had found in school. I retreated back into the person I used to be and felt lost and trapped and lost all hope again.

Moving out to central Oregon made a huge difference in my life. Like I said in my earlier posts, people kept telling me I was brave to be moving across the country like I did, but at the time, I just saw it as something I needed to do. I needed to get my life back. Rediscover who I was  and find out who God was again.

Life has been changing again for me and plans are in the works to be moving again, but things are drastically different this time. Since starting this beauty project a week ago, I am regaining the confidence God created me to have and starting to believe I am a beautiful person again. Through all the planning and praying through life’s changes, I have been becoming confident in another thing in my life. I am confident in the power and the presence of my God in my life and I am realizing that as long as he is in my life, I can be confident in who He is and what He is doing in my life. I am confident that He will never leave me or forsake me. I am confident that He is my Jehovah Jireh and that He will truly provide and supply all my needs. I am confident that He has fully forgiven me of every sin I have ever committed I have been saved by His loving grace and mercy. I am confident that no matter how hard Satan pushes into my life or tries to knock me down or destroy my, my God will protect me and fight for me and strengthen me. I am confident that Satan is no longer my captor and I am no longer a slave to my sin. I am confident that God is going to work and move and place all the pieces of my life exactly where they need to be and when they need to be there.

You too can be confident in Christ. Confident in yourself. Confident in the world around you. I pray you find yourself confident as go forth into the day and let the courage and strength of Christ shine through your life for all the world to see.

I am Resilient

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

I am resilient. Isn’t that word amazing? Something about it just sounds incredible when you say it out loud. It is defined as the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Now, I don’t know about you, but if you were to take a look at my life these past few years, I have not been making a quick comeback from any of my difficult situations, and there have been a lot of them. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not resilient. The mere fact that I am still standing after everything I have endured means I’m resilient. I haven’t given up all hope, I’m not lying six feet under, and even though it has felt like a very slow recovery, I am on the comeback and I will stand again. And you will too.

When I think of resilient characters in the Bible, I think of Job or Joseph or David. So many more come to mind but when you think of those people, don’t you just kind of stand in awe of how much they endured in their lives and still lived and accomplished amazing things in their lives? Job lost everything. His flocks were stolen or destroyed, practically every servant he had was killed, his son’s house collapsed and killed all of his children, his health was crudely altered. Everything he owned and loved was taken from him, but he stood strong and held his faith and trust in God and God blessed him for it ten-fold in the end. Joseph was nearly left for dead by his brothers until they decided to make a profit off of him instead and sell him into slavery. He was bought and taken into Potipher’s house where he advanced through the ranks of servanthood but was then wrongly put in jail because he refused to sleep with his master’s wife. He was forgotten in jail but also became one of the higher ranking leaders in the prison until he was brought into Pharoah’s household where he also rose to the highest ranking he could. David was also a resilient man, being hated by the current King of Israel, who by the way was also his best friends father, and his father-in-law, was constantly pursued by soldiers, and came close to death on countless occasions. He was even chased by one of his sons once among many other trials and difficult conditions he survived. But he rose to become one of the greatest kings of Israel and was considered a man after God’s own heart.

I don’t know what trials you have endured in your life. I don’t know what you are going through right now. It may seem like a 20 year battle that has no end in sight. It may be a tragic situation that has completely turned your life upside down. Whatever you are going through, know and believe this. You are resilient. Life may be doing its best to knock you down and keeps knocking you down every time you stand up. Satan doesn’t want you to stand because he know the moment you do, you will find the insurmountable amount of strength within you that you never realized was there. So, he will do everything in his power to destroy you, destroy your loved ones, destroy everything you own or hold dear, just to keep you off balance and to keep knocking you to the ground. But, here’s the thing. Satan still has to answer to the authority of God whenever he does something to you. If you read the story of Job, one of the first things you will find is Satan going before God to ask his permission to bring harm to Job. Did you hear that? Satan has to ask permission from God before he can do anything to you or to me. And Satan had to keep going back and asking God if he could do just one more thing to Job because Job kept standing tall despite the constant harassment of the devil. You may think, “Why would God allow Satan to do all those horrible things to Job?” God allows things like that to happen because He knows the character and heart of the person enduring those hard times. He knows they are resilient and able to withstand so much more than they realize.

You are resilient. You have withstood so many trials and so much pain. You have fallen apart and possibly even believed you would never feel whole again, but you know what? You are still standing. And with every trial or tribulation that comes, you will continue to grow stronger. You will beat this. You will live to tell others about it. You will see a day where you are no longer enduring that tribulation. You are no longer fighting that war. You will bounce back. You will stand tall. Remember how resilient you are.

I am Loved <3

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8

I am Loved.

How often do you hear the words “I love you”? How often do you say those words? Do you mean it? Do the people saying it to you mean it? Do you feel unloved more often than you feel loved? Have we cheapened the mighty power of love? Do we even really know what love is?

I remember the first time someone outside of my family said “I love you.” I have to say, it caught me off guard and for a brief moment, I almost didn’t know what to say or how to respond. It wasn’t a boy who said it to me either. It was actually one of the first people I could truly call a friend. She was one of my best friends from 4th grade all the way until graduation. When she said those words to me that day and gave me a hug goodbye after school, she opened up a whole new world for me that I had never known existed. People actually said that to each other? People cared about me that much that they would say those words to me? It’s not like we didn’t hear those words at home. Any time we left or said good night, we would say “I love you,” but I think saying it all the time became rote and the meaning of it got lost somewhere in translation. We weren’t super touchy feely as a family either and it is incredible to be swept up into a life where hugging becomes the norm and human touch is something you didn’t realize you wanted or needed until it becomes a constant presence in your life.

Often times, we don’t realize how much we need love in our lives until we truly experience it for the first time. We all long for love and search for it in our own ways, trying to fill that empty void in our lives, but how will we know what it is when it hits us if we’ve never really experienced it before? Let me tell you, that is one of the beauties of being loved. Once someone opens that door and starts to show you the way to being loved, your life will be forever changed. It may be difficult and foreign to accept at first. You may even buck at it and turn yourself away from it to prevent yourself from being hurt or disappointed or rejected. But the more people push into your life and pull you out of yourself, you start to realize you don’t have as many things to be afraid of anymore. You slowly start to change and realize you too are capable of loving others and returning the love that has been given to you. Loving someone is the greatest gift you could give them, and even though it may be one of the most challenging things to do in this life, it is by far the most rewarding things you will ever experience.

I want to tell you right now that you are loved more deeply and more intimately than you could ever imagine. You are not loved because of your looks or your clothes or your choices in music or movies. You are not loved because you make the most money or donate all that money to charities. You are not loved because you are the greatest athlete or the greatest artist or the greatest teacher or banker or lawyer or doctor or the greatest anything. You are loved simply because you are you.

You were created out of love. You were born out of love. Every single moment and breath you breath in this life, you are loved. Every mistake, every heartache, every misery, every sorrow–you are loved. Every happy moment, every joy, every celebration– you are loved. Every ugly beautiful part of you is loved. God is love and He loves you. If you don’t know what that means, I challenge and urge you to take a look at His Word, the Bible, and ask Him to show you what love really means. The kind of love He gives us is so far beyond our human comprehension, but it as simple as someone saying to you for the first time, “I love you.”

He loves you. I love you. If you have never been told those words before, I want you to know that I love you. And, I love myself. It isn’t always easy, but I am learning to love myself more and more each day so I can learn to love others more fully in my life. Tell yourself you are loved and share that love with someone else today. You might be surprised at how far a little love can go.