Wednesday, April 6, 2011


 I once had a friend who told me that cardigans were my trademark.  Not my strawberry-red hair, my very pale skin, the way I laugh, or a repeated phrase I use- but cardigans.  Before I had time to question if he thought I dressed like an uptight librarian, I took it as a compliment.

You see there is a man that I truly believe may be the greatest American hero.  In fact, during my junior year of high school, for a history assignment, I called him just that.  While students around me debated between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, I closed my history book and delved a little deeper.  In the background, silly girls debated if they could convince the class that a musician or actor could be crowned such a title.  I had a hard time believing any celebrity could really be given such a valiant honor.  And as I sat there a little longer, it came to me.  Mr. Rogers, everyone’s friendly neighbor, was truly the greatest American Hero.

Now before you go thinking that I spent a little too much time in front of the television as a child or that Mr. Rogers doesn’t fit the quintessential mold of a hero, hear me out.  I believe that he was more than a man that appeared on our screens every morning, meant to distract children and allow mothers to sneak away for a quiet cup of coffee.  Here was a man, who dedicated his life to instilling love and worth in the lives of little children.  His goal was to not only show us how to love one another, but most importantly how to love ourselves.  If I could have known at the age of five, the battle I would face in loving myself, I would have been taking notes.  He once stated that his entire goal in broadcasting was for the viewer to know that, “you are an important person just the way you are.”  What a mantra for such a young target audience.

I remember watching “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” as a child and while it wasn’t my favorite, I know I enjoyed it.  Something about it I found comforting, much like resting my head on a cool pillowcase before falling asleep.  Here was a man, a very simple man, who had no interest in being flashy or famous.  He wanted no business in bombarding his audience with typical media messages.  Messages that at a very young age begin to tell us of what we are lacking or what we desperately need in order to be of value.  Mr. Rogers’ messages were quite the contrary.  He whispered through our television screens, and reminded us time and time again, that we are special just the way we are.  He literally embodied the unconditional love of Christ in his mission to build healthy self-esteems in America’s youth.

Later on in life, after my high school report had been turned in and graded, my respect for Mr. Rogers crept on.  I began to learn more about his life outside of television.  I read books and interviews and discovered that who he was on camera was just a small glimpse of the greatness he was off camera.  I learned of a man, who found value in every interaction he ever had.  He did more than just exchange pleasantries to his fans and friends.  He invested in the lives of others.

Mr. Rogers was best friends with a man named Henri Nouwen. He was a man who was an internationally renowned professor and beloved pastor, who wrote over 40 books on the spiritual life and dedicated his life to serving the social outcasts and underprivileged. Nouwen was a very great man, to say the least.  But if you should know one thing about Henri Nouwen for the sake of his friendship with Mr. Rogers it is this: Nouwen was a man who felt very alone, who struggled with his identity, and often found that his greatest challenge was loving himself and believing that God loved him. 

I don’t find it ironic that God placed these two together as kindred spirits.  Henri was a man who needed to know of his worth and Fred was the man, whom God knew would know just how to speak value into his heart.  I imagine there times together, hunched over tables, holding napkins of spilled tears, praying together and reminding each other that in Christ they are so dearly and completely loved.

The scriptures are filled with the promises that God loves us.  And not only does He love us but He loves us without us having to do a single thing.  We don’t have to tap dance our way into His heart or spill a cup of coffee to grab His attention.  He simply loves us.  In Psalm 117:2 it says, “For great is His love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” 

There’s no catch.  He just has love and when He looks at us, we are worthy of His love just as is.  I don’t need a nose job, a Bentley, a well stocked fridge, or a clean bathroom sink.  I can wake up, decide not to make the bed and great is His love towards me.  Towards you.

The hard part is that sometimes it is impossible to see.  We look around us and in a life and in a world that demands more and more of us-we can’t possibly believe that His love for us endures forever.  But I have to believe that our God cloaks us in cardigans.  He shields our bare shoulders and with His hands, He fastens each button, speaking the truth of how vast and how high, how rich and how deep His love for us is.

When I say that having a cardigan trademark is a compliment, I mean that I hope in some way I resemble Mr. Rogers, the way in which he resembles Christ.  With each sleeve, he was a man who taught me more about grace.  In looking at his life, I wonder if each day, while changing into his cardigan, he was preparing for battle.  As he zipped into the knitted yarns of his sweater, he raised up the shield of Christ.  Through every interaction, he fought against the devil’s schemes and abolished the lies we so often believe.  The lies that tell us we aren’t lovable, desirable, or precious.  And in the comfort of his cardigan, he extended to us the truth that we are special just the way we are.

In looking at my closet I can see why that old friend believed it to be my trademark.  It certainly is my wardrobe staple.  But these days, it’s more than just a layer of clothing.  I strap on a cardigan every day, much like a bulletproof vest, to defend myself from the mixed messages I receive about not being enough.  I button it to remind myself that He loves me just the way I am, and I hope and pray that there are moments where God can use me to extend it around the shoulders of a stranger or a friend, who is hunched over a table, clenching a napkin filled with spilled tears- to whisper the truth of how greatly they are loved, just the way they are.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keep Us

If you’ve been a bride, a bridesmaid, known a bride, or simply don’t live under a rock you are aware that planning a wedding is difficult work.  There are details after details to be attended to, decisions to be made about food and flowers, and the ultimate task of choosing what to wear, among many other things.  Will we sip champagne, should we hire a band, will the reception be lively enough to keep the guests dancing all night long?  Decisions, choices, and demanding details all run their course as plans for the big day unravel.

When Nate and I began planning our wedding we knew we wanted to dance under the stars and for our closest friends and family to celebrate with us.  We looked forward to a reception filled with sweet laughter and soft candlelight.  But, our main concern was the words we spoke before the celebration.  For us, our ceremony was what was most important.  Of course we wanted a lively reception and a chance to share with our guests the moments of our day- but before the celebration we wanted our hearts to be heard in our ceremony.

The ceremony was our chance to come together, as a couple, and not only commit our lives and love to each other, but devote our relationship and marriage to God.  The vows we spoke softly to each other were also offered to Christ.  As important as it was for each of us to become husband and wife, we had a greater desire to come together, as two instead of one, and offer our marriage to the Lord, in hopes that the sum of our parts would be greater than what either of us would ever have to offer on our own. 

After exchanging rings and speaking words of promise to each other, we wanted our first few moments of married life to be spent in communion.  As we broke bread and drank wine, as symbols of Christ dying on the cross for our sins, we had our dear friend, Alex, sing a beautiful song. 

We chose a song with lyrics that are a prayer.  Nate and I saw this song as a prayer we so desperately wanted the Lord to hear, from our hearts.  The song is called, “Keep Us.”   It is a prayer asking God to keep us from the storm.  That when the rains set in, when the world turns upside down, when the ground shakes, and when we’ve had enough- keep us.  It speaks of two lovers, lying hand in hand, as the world outside rages and they ask that in the safety of their home, that they are kept.

To us, it wasn’t a prayer asking God to keep us from harm, but a prayer that pleaded that when the storms arise, as they certainly will, that in the midst of the struggle, that He would keep us.  Keep us together, hand in hand, and keep us safe, in His arms.

In the bible it says, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4

The Lord is a refuge and a shelter.  When we are poor, needy, broken down, and in severe need of shelter-He is there.  When we feel beaten down and scorched by the sun, He is our shade.  We can retreat to Him and He will “keep us” from being overtaken.

When Nate and I got engaged, after only 6 months of dating, many people questioned us if it was too soon.  But, the people who knew us and who had traveled our journey alongside of us, knew that we had already weathered all the seasons.  We had already encountered storm after storm and surely did not have our head in the clouds about a “happily ever after.”  We already knew of the wind and rain and had prematurely had the chance to stand together in the storms.

Our wedding was my most favorite day.  I found the perfect dress, decided on simple music, fresh flowers, and to sip on sweet champagne.  It was filled with love and hope.  We celebrated being man and wife with all the ones we love most and most importantly committed that our lifetime of marriage would be spent serving God.  On that day, during the most precious moments of our ceremony  and for every day after, it has been our prayer that the Lord would keep us.  No matter what waters rise and rivers overflow that He would hold us and keep us within His grip.  We know that there will be times of pain and times where our own legs shake beneath us, but God is our shelter and our refuge, and He will grasp onto us in His love and hold us steady.

My prayer for you is this:  Wherever you are; if you hear the thunders roll or if you’re looking dead on into the eye of the storm, remember that He has promised to be your refuge and ever-present shelter.  The world may turn wrong, but in the safety of your Home with Him, you will be kept.

These days, while Nate and I lay in bed, the rain seems to be relentless right outside our windows.  And often times we find ourselves thinking that perhaps we’ve had enough.  But, as the waters rise, we lie hand in hand, and whisper a song that He would keep us. 

To hear “Keep Us” click here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

He Fights For Me

When I was younger, the evidence needed to determine what kind of night’s sleep I had was in the sheets.  If the sheets lay flat, it was probably an indication of a good night’s rest.  Yet, if blankets had fallen to the floor and my sheets had come un-tucked, it was a good sign that my night was filled with nightmares or wild, crazy dreams.  Making my bed was always more difficult if the sheets and blankets had been strewn around the room and as a little girl, after an eventful night’s sleep, I would often ask for my mom’s help in putting my bed back together.  As we re-tucked, pulled, huffed, and puffed my mom would always ask me if my night had included wrestling a bear.

Some nights, when my dreams leave me twisted and tangled, I wake up feeling tired.  My mind is racing and it seems as if my time to rest has been interrupted by a host of snarled dreams.  Instead of feeling refreshed and ready to face a brand new day, I have prematurely face planted before even placing my feet on the ground. 

During some seasons in life, we feel the same way.  Twisted, tired, and tangled among our circumstances.  There are times where we feel conquered.  We drag our bodies round and round, clench our jaws in frustration, and brace ourselves for impact around ever corner.  With no warning at all, our covers are stripped from our bodies and we lay cold and exhausted.  We try to run, to stand up and fight, but just like in our dreams, our movements are played out in dramatically slow motion.

Our natural instinct in times of distress is to rise up and fight.  We keep pushing and straining ahead.  If we can only just move forward- the key is to keep moving.  In the madness of the world, in our disappointments, tragedies, and fears we crawl uphill.  In the rain, we carry heavy wet blankets of our pain, sorrow, and strife.  We tell ourselves that if only we can keep moving, then we will be okay.  As long as we toss and turn in our sheets, the battle continues and we are not knocked down and destroyed.

But, only for so long can we continue.  Soon we are too tired from wrestling the the bears and utterly exhausted from the wet blankets on our backs.  The last thing we think we can do is rest.  Yet, this is just what He calls us to do.

One of my favorite verses in the bible is a promise found in Exodus 14:14.  It says, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Still.  I only have to lay still.  In this scripture we are promised that He will fight for us.  His strength will save us.  We can give him our heartaches, transfer our worries to him, and lay flat as He continues the fight.

I find that to be such sweet relief.  I can unravel the sheets from my ankles, drop the heavy, wet blankets from my back and I can rest.  Not only do we not have to face the torments of life alone- but also He takes up our battle.  It’s no longer a dreadful diagnosis of cancer that we must bare or the untimely death of a loved one that we must survive.  Instead, we can be still and He will surround us in His love, compassion, peace, and comfort and He will fight for us because He knows it is too much for us to handle. 

In being still, there is no more waking up in cold sweats from nightmares.  Wrestling bears is a thing of our past.  Our beds have been re-made with fresh sheets and properly placed comforters.  We lay still as the Lord tucks us in and takes on our battles.  And while I rest, close my eyes, and crawl underneath my cool covers- He fights for me.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day

In my family, today’s a holiday.  It’s Opening Day!  Spring training has come to a close and baseball season is officially underway.  With it, we welcome long, sunny nine inning days, home run screams, and seventh inning stretches.  Opening Day’s rainbow is a promise that summer is quickly approaching and the long dark days of winter are almost just a memory. 

For your team, it’s a new beginning, a chance to start fresh and charge the field with fervor.  Players approach the game with their bats held high and the missed opportunities of last year’s season behind them.  Before the first ball is pitched, each athlete is filled with a confidence of big dreams.  Mistakes have yet to be made.  The diamond sparkles and for a moment failed seasons of the past are obsolete. 

However, after the first pitch is underway it’s only a matter of time before failed at bats, wild pitches, and fielding errors.  An imperfect season is inevitable and at times agonizing for a team and its fans.  For me, it feels a lot like life.  We arrive with the best of intentions and championship dreams and simultaneously begin dodging the curveballs life throws in our path.

Last night I felt like I was standing in the middle of a losing season.  I lay on the couch and desperately tried to wish it all away.   I felt covered in grass stains.  It’s been strikeout after strikeout of health grievances and financial overloads.  We feel like we’re on the road, far from a home game, and each loss tears at our spirits. 

Flat on our backs we called to God.  “Hello?  We know you’re there- but look at us, Lord.  We’re barely hanging on.”  And in the dark hours of the night, we lay exhausted from a day that resembled being hit by pitch after pitch.

Today, when I opened my heavy eyes, I was reminded of His promise.  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

We are not consumed, in His love and compassion we will not fail.  Each morning, God’s mercies are new.  No matter how dark the night can be, His light comes in the morning.  I don’t have to wait through a long season to bounce into life again.  With Him, each time I awake it is an Opening Day.  He is faithful and by His love I am restored every morning.

I need to be reminded that each day, He is there.  My pain and my financial worries do not consume me.  Every day, He opens my eyes with His love and fills my mind with His mercies so I can begin again.  His great faithfulness helps me back to my feet so that I can approach the day with confidence.  I can hold my bat high and hold onto a hope of homerun dreams.  I am not withheld from His love.  By His compassion, when I awake, it is always Opening Day.

Play Ball!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back Up Plans and Perfect Provisions

Tomorrow morning I planned to pick up one of my dearest friends from the airport.  Her name is Dena and she’s a lovely soul.  In fact, she’s more two parts sister and one part friend.  You know the kind of person I’m talking about.  Someone you can say anything to and do absolutely nothing with; a person who has seen you at your lows and toasted with you at the highs.  In short, she just gets me and as an added bonus likes me still.
Her visit was supposed to last 6 days.  It planned to be her first visit up north to see us as well as her maiden voyage to Seattle.  I saw us dancing in rain boots, drinking large doses of hot chocolate, and gallivanting on adventures to discover hidden treasures by the fist full.  We both have had our calendars marked for months and tomorrow we planned to temporarily cure the long distance of our relations.

As the days have drawn closer to our impending time and the countdown dipped into the low single digits, I began to feel anxious over our visit.  Not in a single way did I not want to spend time with my soul sister, I just grew frustrated that our visit might become less than intended.  You see, by now you know I prefer things to be perfect.  Anything less leads me to believe that I have failed someone, which coincides with my biggest fear of letting people down.  And as I began to imagine Dena’s trip to the Pacific Northwest, I knew it would heavily contrast perfection. 

I haven’t been feeling well for quite sometime.  I’ve been dog-paddling in pain, suffering from little sleep, and racked with unending nausea.  It’s become a chore to get out of the apartment, much less my bed.  I have been on the hunt for suitable doctors in our new town and finally, just recently I think we stumbled upon someone we can trust.  Long story short, I am prepping for another surgery.  Yet another incision, which will lead to another scar, all to clear my body of the disease that ails it.  Of course it leaves my spirits weak as reality sets in, over again, reminding me of my fragile frame.  Everything is harder when you don’t feel well.  Smiles are harder to come by and patience is scarce.  And in a city of almost perpetual rain, it’s harder to pull yourself up by the boot straps and venture off into an unforgiving world.

All I could think to do was pray.  I asked Nate to pray and dialed my mom to assuage my concerns.  And so I prayed.  I prayed that God would provide me with strength and smiles.  I asked for the ability to enjoy my days with my dearest of friends and for anything else I believed could muster me through.  I knew that it would literally take Him to accomplish anything at all.  So I bowed my head, and I prayed.

I’m embarrassed to say that when He answered, I was surprised.  Maybe even shocked.  I figured He’d answer my prayers through the course of our six day visit and I’d find myself on the other side, smiling and spent.  But, I was wrong. 

Last night, I received a text from Dena.  She was asking for prayer.   She informed me she was feeling quite ill herself and if she didn’t feel better soon she was afraid she’d have to cancel.  I responded saying that I was feeling less than myself as well and that I would pray.  And then it hit me…was this His answer?  So I offered my thoughts to her.  “Do you think this is God’s way of telling us we had better postpone?”  And her response, “I’ve had this feeling, all day, that you were in this same place and I actually think that is what we should do.”  We both wanted this visit to be wonderful and well consumed because on our budgets they seem to be so futile and far between.  But, unsuspected circumstances inevitably would prevent that from happening so we postponed and God answered.

In the bible it says, “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

And yet when He accepted my plea and answered in such a tangible way, I was shocked.  It seemed unexpected.  He heard me?  God has provided a way?  He is bestowing mercy and grace?  No way! 

But, of course He listened to my plea.  He promises to hear our cries and while I thought He’d provide in a different way, His way was better.  Instead, this answer fills Dena and I with ease.  It’s not one friend bailing on another.  Now it’s two friends going with our Plan B and His apparent Plan A.

I know sometimes His answers are not so cut and dry.  Often they’re blurry and keep us second-guessing ourselves.  Other times the answers themselves seem like simply no response at all.  But that’s just the thing, what seems to us as unanswering is actually just what we need.  As my Dad has told me time and time again, we must expect the unexpected when it comes to our God.  He frequently provides in what appear to be round about ways and while His answers may not be our first choice, they are exquisitely beautiful because they remind us of His promise to hear our prayers and accept them.

Dena, you know I’d sit on a couch with you- anywhere, any day.  But, God’s Plan A is for us to meet together another time and perhaps another place.  I’m hoping it also includes healing for both of us in ways of physicality and emotional grace.  I love you, my sister, so far away- but know that He has heard our prayers and has bestowed us with peace amidst our failed perfect plans.

And God? Dear God… Help me to, among my prayers, have confidence that when I call, you will answer.  Open my eyes to see your answers in canceled plans, unsuspected pains, and promises revealed in time.  Thank you for your patience when it takes me more than a second to see it’s not my backup plans but your perfect provisions.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Needy Thanks

 On Sunday afternoon I received a text from a family friend requesting a need.  Her youngest daughter was on a trip in Washington and her perfectly mapped out itinerary had taken a detour, leaving her without a place to stay the following night.  Thankfully, Nate and I were able to rise to the occasion and welcome her daughter, whom I once used to baby-sit, into our home.  I could tell, as any other appropriate parent would be, that the mother was worried about her daughter being stranded in a city not her own.  And she spoke tears of relief when we were able to meet her needs.

So Monday morning, I opened our doors and welcomed in a friend in need.  We watched movies and talked of her academic dreams.  Later that afternoon, after Nate was home from work, we took her to dinner and then made milkshakes back at home, mid way through another movie.  When it came time for bed, we covered the couch in blankets and sheets, found a nightlight, and gave her a choice of two pillows.  Come morning we chatted over toasted bagels and juice and listened to music.  Later today, we will drive her to the airport, where she will board a plane headed home, safe and sound.

Last night, as Nate and I lay in bed, wishing ourselves into a deep sleep, Nate whispered how happy he was to have had the chance to supply her needs.  He recognized how many times others have opened their doors to us as a couple and an even greater amount of times that others have helped us out individually, before our love story began.  People have lent their ears, have cooked meals, and shelled out bits of advice.  Others have offered their homes, provided transportation, and slipped us checks to pay medical bills.  While what we had the opportunity to do last night was just a small taste of what others have done for us, we were grateful to be used in such a way.  A menial meal and some covers on the couch was all it took to supply a need.

A need is defined, as something required because it is essential or very important.  It expresses a necessity.  We need water.  We require food.  Shelter is a necessity.  And then we have or “wants.”  The things we desire to possess or do.  I want a new camera.  I desire to travel more.  “Wants” aren’t needed, they are extra. For Nate and I, these days it is about our needs.  Of course, there is so much more that we want but the basics are all that we need.  And by His provisions we have everything essential.

In Phillipians 4:19 it says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Without a doubt I know that this is true.  He supplies our needs.  My God meets all my necessities.  I will be the first to admit that sometimes I doubt He will provide.  I wonder if He sees my needs or is aware of the minimal requirements.  But, there has yet to come a time where He hasn’t shown up or where I have failed to be blessed in His glorious riches. 

You see, like our recent houseguest, we can set out on our perfectly mapped out itinerary.  But as sure as you think those plans are or that your bank account is set, you can be equally asssured that the course you are on will involve some detours.  Many of which you will not be able to provide for on your own because sometimes it isn’t about just food and drink.  There will be times when you need strength and moments that will require a tremendous heap of hope.  In times of fear, you will need to be brave and when you feel consumed you will need comfort.  It is He that can provide that to you, to me, and to all His children in far off lands.  Our God will meet all of our needs.  And often times, even greater than that is that He will choose to use us to meet the needs of people in our lives and of perfect strangers. 

Rest assured that you cannot do it on your own; no matter how hard you try.  And wake up to the reality that there will be times when He chooses to use you as a vessel in His providential care.  My God has met all my needs and I am beyond humbled when the blessings He has given me allow for me to be a blessing.  He is supplying our needs and choosing to use us to meet the ones of those around us.  It’s an amazing double blessing as we are provided for and also given the gift of being used in other people’s detours.  His plan includes meeting all of our needs. When I find myself back at the point of thinking I have it all figured out on my own, I will remember these days where our story included both needs and being needed and I will remind myself of His never ending capacity to supply our needs, even in the detours we thought we’d never see.  I am thankful to be needy when I realize He is all I need.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Perfection Reflection

I spent much of this past weekend trying to figure out what I needed.  I wasn’t standing in front of an open fridge surveying what I needed from the market to complete dinner’s recipe.  No, I was standing in front of the mirror, inflicted by my own reflection.  With my own eyes staring back at me, I searched for what I lacked.

I’ve been my own worst enemy for as long as I can recall.  I have cast disapproving glares in my own direction.  I’d even go as far as to say that I’m among professional ranks when it comes to introspective fault finding.  I am constantly concerned with not being enough and often question what it is that I am lacking.  This weekend in particular I found that not only was I lacking long hair, but with that discovery I only opened up a host of many more apparent absences in other areas of my life.

Let me rewind.  This Saturday morning I had an appointment to cut my hair.  I wavered back and forth and side to side whether to leave it long and go with a trim or chop it off and cut it short.  Either decision should have suited me just fine.  I mean we all know that cutting our hair is not life changing in the least.  On the drive to my appointment, I thought I had concluded that I would opt for a healthy trim and leave it long, however at the last minute, while sitting in the stylist’s chair, I gave her permission to cut it short.  Almost as soon as she started the cutting I was filled with ten million ounces of regret.

Regret? Over a haircut?  How silly can I sound?  But, soon after the damage was done, it was the mirror and I, hurling insults back and forth.  The discussion about the hair lasted no longer than 2.5 seconds and then we got down to business.  With the shorter cut and concern for how it looked, came bigger questions.  Could I not pull off my new ‘do because I lacked poise?  Or perhaps I lacked beauty?  Was it my face, my bone structure, or did I need longer eyelashes?  It must have been my body.  Too round, too soft?  And then it was about my brains.  For what I lacked in length could I make up for in wit?  In intelligence?  Maybe my skin?  Too fair, too impaired by blemishes?  Then the digs dug deeper.  Who could love me with this hair?  I began to believe that I wasn’t good enough.  Not good enough to be liked and certainly not loved.  My heart not sweet enough and my mind not great enough.

And as I stood in front of the magnifying mirror, I realized it wasn’t about the hair.  Not even about the eyelashes or wit.  It had nothing to do with being round or soft but everything to do with falling drastically short of perfection.  It’s been about that for quite some time.  I’ve stood in front of my personal pantry for hours on end, searching for all that I lack.  What is it that I need or what can I add that can make me the best version of me?

And you know what I’ve found?  I have found that I am asking the wrong question.  It isn’t about what I can add or what better ingredients I need.  The truth is that it is about what can be taken away.  And not even what I can take away but what He can.

In Psalm 18:32 it says, “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.”

He makes me perfect and not in terms of beauty or brains.  He makes me perfect by stripping me of the lies in which I have been deceived.  The world all around us tells us of what we apparently lack or goals that we have failed to reach.  We are inundated with pressures of perfectionism and they scream of what we supposedly need.  But the truth?  The truth is that He makes our ways perfect and He arms us with strength to stay the course.  Because with Him, perfection isn’t attained when there is nothing left to add, but rather when there is nothing left to take away.

So, He takes from our shoulders our false preconceived notions of what we lack in order to be loved.  With our God’s hands, the fog of lies that scream we are unworthy are wiped away.  He removes from us the burdens of pretended perfection and lifts the veils  we have hid under in shame.  And in place of all that has been washed away, He covers us in Truth and Strength.  We are filled with His love and find identity in His ways.

The world tells us of our need for perfection.  Its voice can be so loud, to the point it had me debating of whether to scrounge around my apartment for spares of my once long hair to scotch tape back to my head.  But God’s definition of perfection is nothing like the worlds.  He is perfect and He calls us to strive towards His perfection.  Meaning we grow more grace, cloak ourselves in compassion, and shed ourselves of the lies.  It does not matter, my reflection in the mirror.  What matters is that He offers me strength as he guides me in His perfect way. Through His mercy He takes away all I have added in my false attempts of perfection and as I abide in Him He blesses me as I strive to see glimpses of Him in my reflection.