But lets say you're too young to get married. Or maybe you're like me -waiting for God's best to find you. It can be a frustrating season of life to be in, especially when you see friends finding their first love and planning their "big day." Your heart kind of sinks and you think, "When's my turn?" But I've got good news: Life doesn't have to be a drudgery in the waiting time. Realize that God, not your marital status, defines your life. You've got a purpose - orchestrated by God - that goes beyond marriage. It may include marriage, but whether or not you have a husband doesn't determine your value. God made YOU first, and YOU have a mission to accomplish in this life. Knowing that God values you at whatever stage in life you're in is so liberating! You're not in a contest with your friends to see who can have a greatest relationship first. You're not striving to have a boyfriend to make you feel accepted and loved. God loves you and has your best in mind. Never forget that!
I found a verse that really helped me out: "The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit . . ." I Corinthians 7:34
When I read that, it was like a little place in my heart that had been set free. This is my purpose while being single! To care about the things of God above anything else, and to strive to be holy in every way. I don't have to be absorbed in those nagging emotions that say, "You're lagging behind! You're not married yet! What's wrong with you?" There is NOTHING wrong with being single! As a single person, I am free from many responsibilities that come along with being married. I can take that extra time and energy and use them for the Kingdom of God. Wow! What and exciting possibility!
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
So while you're waiting, while you're serving and delighting yourself in the things of God, you Heavenly Father is orchestrating your love story. The desire to be married is from Him, and He desires to fulfill it. He hasn't forgotten or overlooked your love for Him. He is a "rewarder of those that diligently seek Him." God doesn't scrimp when it comes to fulfilling His promises. You'll be more than pleased with His choice for you - a choice far better than you could have picked for yourself. He's good at that.
Remember this, Princess, "the best comes to those who wait." And God never intended for any time in your life to be a "waste." There's a purpose to "every season under heaven." Look at this season as a an opportunity to develop your life as a Princess - a beautiful woman of God who is going to be the delight of her husband's heart.
I'm excited for you!
More to come on this next week!
Take a look at Luke 1:28 & 29: "And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!''
Have you ever had an angel suddenly show up in your bedroom as you're putting on your shoes, and announce, "Get excited, girl! God's been watching you, and thinks you're incredible!" I'm with Mary: "But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was." In our vocabulary, she was shocked, confused, and a little freaked out.
Sometimes we think of Bible people as being extremely holy, non-emotional, and level-headed. But they were people just like us! Mary was busy serving God as a dutiful young Jewish woman. She had her daily routine - cleaning, shopping, laundry. She was in love with the man of her dreams, and was planning a wedding. She wasn't expecting a visit like this! But - surprise! - God had been watching her. He had seen what kind of girl she was - a young woman after His heart - and He had chosen her to carry His Son into the world. Wow!
I'm sure her brain was working overtime when the angel announced, "You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus." First of all, why did He choose me? And how on earth does someone conceive by the Holy Spirit? What am I going to tell Joseph . . . and my parents . . . and my friends? How do you take care of the Son of God . . .?
But despite all the questions her finite mind came up with, her answer came from a heart that was set on God (verse 38 - paraphrased), "Here I am! Let everything happen just like you say it will." By her answer, we know God had His girl. He knew her heart and the willingness in it to do whatever He asked her to do. She already knew His heart, His ways, His love - so obedience was a natural response.
Now, what if Mary had said, "No way, mister! There's no way a girl could get pregnant like that - and with the Son of God, no less! What are you thinking? That's crazy!" Would God's plan to bring the Savior into the world be suddenly shut down? "Oh," I can hear the angel say, "excuse me. I didn't realize . . . maybe I got the wrong address. Maybe I just misread the orders from God . . ." No, God's plan doesn't end because of someone's unwillingness. He'll find someone else! But how pathetic it would be for a person to forego being used in a supernatural event just because it seems so beyond their thinking.
What I'm getting at is this: Mary was an "average" girl in the world's point of view. But what set her apart was that virtuous, God-seeking heart that catches God's eye. You don't have to be born into a high-status family to be chosen by God. You don't have to be "up front," known by more than just the handful of people in your tiny town. There's no rule that says you have to be multi-talented and witty. The only criteria is willingness. Willingness opens the door to the supernatural working of God - an incredible plan that only He can think up.
Don't let your brain get stuck in small thinking, Princess! Open it wide for God's dreams to come in. Something fantastic could be birthed, impacting the world with far more than you could ever imagine!
"Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those thing which were told her from the Lord." Luke 1:45
Now don't take me wrong. We should always be striving to live right and do things to the very best of our ability (that's called excellence). But if being perfect is your focus in life, and you're always paranoid about what you might do wrong, you'll never do right. In fact, you'll miss out on the many of the joys in life - maybe even on something that God wants you to do. Instead, your focus needs to be on who you are in Christ:
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him . . ." 2 Corinthians 5:21
"There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus . . . " Ephesians 1:6
"Righteousness" is a cool word. It means to have right standing with God. That means that no matter your behavior, if you've received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you've been accepted by God. That "inside person" I'm always talking about is perfect in God's eyes because of the blood of Jesus. Nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8) - not even a temporary boo boo! And no one - not even the devil - can say you're a reject.
Think about this. Who is the stronger person? One who makes a mistake and never recovers? Or one who makes a mistake, realizes it, and fixes it? Proverbs 24:16: "For a righteous man [or woman!] may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity." What makes you righteous isn't your perfect behavior - it's your position as "the righteousness of God in Christ." Your mindset should be, "Yeah, I goofed. And, yeah, I'll fix it. But I'm not staying here! This is not where I belong." And just like God forgives you, you can forgive yourself and let it go. You can't change yourself. You trying to change you ends with you being frustrated and always discontent. It leaves God standing on the side lines wishing you'd just step back and let Him do the work. What good does it do to bemoan what you can't go back and change anyway? It's a bump in the road. Who hasn't been there?
A year or so after my pastor exhorted me, I went to Bible School in Canada. Through three years of intense teaching, praying, and soaking in God's presence, God slowly began to change me. One year I was one way, and the next year I was another. I had no idea that I had changed until I looked back to where I had been before. That's when I realized that I really hadn't known how bound by pefectionism I had been. But God knew all along. He had plans for my life - plans that couldn't be hindered because I didn't think I was perfect enough.
I like what Popeye said, "I am what I am and that's all that I am . . ." and you might add ". . . in Christ."
First of all, let's make sure we're all on the same page. Regardless of their "flaws," God made guys for a reason. They're unique with a God-given purpose in life - just like God gave to you and me. And, if you're over 10-years-old, you've probably discovered that you're attracted to them. And there is NOTHING wrong with that! From the beginning of the world, that's how God designed us.
But there's this season of time in a girl's life where being emotionally and romantically involved in a relationship isn't for the best. Why? Because things like character building, education, and developing a relationship with God is more important. Marriage - whether because of age, maturity, or situations in life - is out of the question. It's not that you're forbidden to even notice the opposite sex. You just don't have enough life under your belt to be able to handle more than a friendship with them.
"Ugh!" you might be thinking. "That takes all the fun out of being young!" Naw, not in the least. Take a look at your parents. Look at their responsibilities. With a relationship comes more than just fluttery hearts and kisses. There's work involved, too. Choose to see this time in your life as a chance to enjoy growing up so you can be ready for what comes next!
Alright, so what do you do in the mean time? You can't - and don't want to - ignore boys! You'd really be missing out on some of God's blessings (no, I'm not being sarcastic here!). God knows that, so He gave us this:
"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another . . ." Romans 12:10
Brotherly love? What's that? Let me give you an example of what it's not. My brother and I grew up playing together all the time. But then we hit the teen years where our interests, personalities, and age just started to clash. He drove me nuts! I wouldn't call our relationship particularly "kindly affectionate." But then we grew up and matured, and now we're good friends. It would grieve me to lose that relationship. Though the season of sibbling rivalry is normal for most brothers and sisters, it's not what God wants. That's why our parents had to train us to "be kind one to another." We couldn't stay in that rut of being at each other's throats.
So when you think about "brotherly love," don't immediately imagine that pesty brother and how you want to get even with his pranks. True love - not romantic love - values people beyond their behavior. It puts them first and speaks kindly to them. It treats them as God would treat them. That's how we ought to relate to the guys in our lives. Not as play things to feed our emotional desires, or as door mats to get what we want. But as brothers whose call in life is as special as God's call on ours.
So when you go to work, church, or school, and you're hanging around you're opposite, think twice before getting into a childish argument. Stop before starting the flirting game. Build him up as you would your own brother. Show him you're a young lady worth respecting.
I'm not perfect at this myself. So let's work on it together, k? And maybe one day we'll be able to call one of those young men more than a brother.
Live beautiful, Princess!
Are you His? No shaping and molding can take place until every part of your life - spirit, soul, and body - is in the King's hands. The plans you've schemed for yourself couldn't even compare to what He has planned for you. I've given up trying to figure it all out. If I want His will done in my life, the best thing I can do is step back and say, "It's all Yours."
"I Am Yours" (c) Christa Heider (words and music)
The King desires your beauty to stand before the world."
In my last posting, I shared the story of Princess Athalie and her fear of wearing her crown. "That's crazy!" you might be thinking. "What Princess in her right mind would refuse to wear her crown?" Fact is, many Princesses every day hide their crown before they even step foot out the door. Tucked away in the closet, hidden behind dresser clutter, boxed under the bed . . . you name it - the crown sits collecting dust.
So what does this have to do with you? In this little "parable," Athalie's finery represents the blessings of being a daughter of the King, and her crown represents the glory and presence of the King she serves. Like Athalie, as God's daughter, you've got more going for you than you may realize.
Ever studied the word "salvation"? It's an awesome word that means more than just having your sins forgiven. It includes all the blessings that were bought for us when Jesus died on the cross: healing, deliverance from the devil, protection, provision, and peace. So when you received Jesus as your Lord and savior, all that was given to you. God made sure you weren't going to go through life with just enough to survive. You were going to have everything good at your fingertips - decked from head to toe in His blessings! (3 John 2) He's promised to give us everything we need and more - "above anything we could ask or think." ((Eph. 3:20) Princesses weren't born to scrimp through life! They were born to thrive!
"Cool!" You might say. "I've got it made!" Yeah, you do. But it doesn't stop there. Not only have you been lavished with blessings, you've been given a crown. A crown that represents who you are to the world. When you were born again, God placed His Spirit on the inside of you. The Holy Spirit dwells in you to give you the power you need to make a difference. It's more than just a good self-image; it's the presence and glory of the Most High God! It's the same glory that raised Christ from the dead. Whoa, baby, forget flower power - you've got the supernatural living on the inside of you!
If you were to wear a crown to school or to the mall, wouldn't you turn heads? I mean, how many girls do you see walking around with a tiara and ponytail? You may not be into wearing little headpieces around, but you do have a responsibility to let your spiritual crown shine. It's not enough to enjoy having your needs met and your heart free from fear. God wants to do so much more! He wants others to look at you and see Him and His glory. How are they going to see His glory? By you being bold enough to let that crown "sparkle with the glamour of His love." When you get around the world, they ought to see a difference in you by the way you act and speak. They ought to know you're of royal blood. They ought to know that Jesus is alive and is coming back soon.
Here's your homework: Next time you feel intimidated by who you are as a Christian, put you foot down. Look in the mirror and say, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!" Then pick up your crown, buff it until it shines, and wear it proudly into your world. Witness to your friends, pray for people with needs, stand up for what you believe. That beauty is going to turn heads . . . there's no telling what could happen when the Holy Spirit goes to work through you! Sure, you're going to get some flak. But you there's some people out there who are aching to be just like you - a Princess with the blessings AND the crown!
I believe in you . . . and most of all, your Father, the King of the Universe, is behind you all the way!
Wear your crown, Princess! Wear your crown!
"Athalie, are you ready? They'll be announcing us at the ball soon . . ."
Athalie's father, the King, took one look at Athalie's downcast face and strode across the dressing room. "What's wrong, Princess?"
"I - I'm not quite ready."
The King smiled. "You look beautiful. I think the crown will provide the finishing touch. Here, let me help you."
He reached for the crown, but Athalie backed away. "I don't think I want to wear it tonight."
The King ran his finger under Athalie's chin to turn her head so he looked into her swimming eyes. "Why not?" he asked softly.
"No one else will be wearing a crown," she whispered. "I'll be the only one . . ."
"Because you are the only princess," the King noted.
"Yes, but they treat me different. I'm not like them."
"Do you want to be like them?"
"I - I'm not sure. It's confusing . . . they don't have to attend stuffy balls and meetings. They don't have to watch what they say every moment lest someone make gossip out of it. They don't have nearly the responsibilities . . ."
"Are they of a royal blood, Athalie?"
"Nooo . . ."
"Athalie, it is a privilege to have royal blood. Yes, there are responsibilities. But think of all the perks of being a part of the Kingdom. Do they have everything they need at their fingertips? Do they get to enjoy favor with high officials? Do they get to participate in all the great affairs of the state?"
Athalie hung her head. "No, sir."
The King put his arm around his daughter. "You, Athalie, are a part what many would only dream about. Many don't even realize what they would be missing had they been born a royal heir. It's a privilege - an honor. And though you have many responsibilities, you have all the backing of the Kingdom behind you."
"But what about what they think?" Athalie protested. "Some times I see them sticking their noses up at me. Some times they whisper behind their hands - and I don't have a clue what I've done! All I did was wear my crown!"
The King's eyes sparkled with his smile. "Exactly! Your crown represents who you are. It identifies you as my daughter. They may not appreciate it because of jealousy, or because of a lack of respect for the Kingdom. But that makes you no less valuable to your country, or to the royal family. What they think is very insignificant to the value that the Kingdom and I have placed on you."
"So what do I do?"
"Don't be intimidated by who you are, Princess. You have far more influence than you realize. Yes, there will be people who despise you. But there are an equal, if not greater, amount of girls who look to you as their role model. You hold something of value that they long for."
Athalie bit her lip as she gazed once again at the glittering crown atop her dresser. This time it didn't look so intimidating. It was beautiful.
Gently the King lifted the crown and placed it atop Athalie's head. "Wear your crown, Princess. Wear your crown."
Selah . . . more to come.
First of all, let's get down to the basics. God made you a spiritual being. You are a spirit, you have a soul (your mind, will, and emotions), and you live in a body. When you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your spirit changed. God took out the "old you" and put in the "new you" with a perfect and sinless nature like His. He filled you with His Holy Spirit, giving you power to live like that new person inside. So why don't we have a bunch of perfect people running around in the world? Unfortunately, your mind and body didn't change. Now it's up to you to train your mind and body to desire what God desires. You've got to find out what He wants, and put those wants into practice. Sound like work? Yeah, it's work, but it has awesome rewards!
Think about taking a trip to a foreign country without a map. Or building a house without a blueprint. Or taking a test without first taking the class. Scary thought. No telling what the results would be! But that's how our lives would be without the Bible - lost, chaotic, and failing. God knows we couldn't make it without some instructions, so He wrote it all down for us to live by. Every day the Word of God should be part of your routine. Set aside time to read and study. God will not only reveal His will for your life, but will show you how He thinks about you. Remember, His opinion is #1!
Find the Secret Place
God's presence is the most secure place you will ever be. When you're talking to Him, and He's talking to you, there's no room for inferiority or doubts. No lies about who you are can penetrate the Secret Place. That's why it's important to spend quality time with the King. He deserves your attention as your Savior and King. But He also loves you and wants to reveal things about Himself to you. He's got dreams to download into your heart. Don't miss the chance to develop your royalty by missing a day of time with Him.
Hang With God
The Bible says not to "forsake the assembly of yourselves together." In other words, put attending church on your calendar! Going to church was never meant to be a weekly ritual - a "I have to." It should be a joy to the Princess to spend time with other believers. Hearing the Word of God preached and surrounding yourself with worship does wonders for the inner complexion of you. Take advantage of it. Expect God to touch you and challenge you to be beautiful from the inside out.
The key to these three steps is doing them, and doing them well. You can read the Bible out of habit, and get nothing out of it. You can go through the motions of a prayer time each morning, but never receive anything from God. You can even go to church every time there's a service, but go away with an empty heart. Keep your love for the King strong by pursuing Him with all you've got. Tell the distractions to get lost. You've got priorities and you're going somewhere! This is a beauty makeover you can't afford to miss!
Ciao, la bella!
Stuff like that makes me wonder: Is the outward all a guy - or anyone else, for that matter - sees or cares about? Between television, magazines, and bill boards, you would think that was all this life was for. But like I said in my last posting, God looks at the heart. Read I Samuel 16:7 from the Message Bible: "But God told Samuel, 'Looks aren't everything . . . God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.'"
So if God, who made you, looks at your heart, it would make sense that that's the most important part of you. It's what's going to last into eternity - past the pretty face and talents that fade with age. I Peter 3:3,4 says, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."
Incorruptible! That means it won't die, corrupt, or tarnish. Can't say that about the exterior. But if the interior is touched by the nature of the King, it will maintain a beauty no one else can touch. As long as you don't let them. It's yours to protect and shelter. It's yours to yield to God so He can make into what His dreams have envisioned for you. While the world loves the sparkling smile, God loves a gentle nature. While society demands a perfect figure, God desires a pure heart. One's out, one's in. One dies, one lasts forever. Which will you choose?
When I stand before God one day, it will be my spirit - the real me - that He looks at. Will tears fill the King's eyes as He sees something far short from His purpose? Or will He smile and say, "La Bella!" when His gaze falls on the incorruptible, undying heart of His precious Princess?
Until we talk again,
They say you're ordinary, far from a beauty queen . . ."
You know, models aren't all what they're cracked up to be. Sure, they're beautiful. But even on their best days a tech on some computer at the office has to tweak that blemish on their chin. Or the hair and makeup pro has to do what the model can't do with hairspray and blush. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to have someone fixing me all day long! So what's a girl to do? Spend hours every day worrying about every imperfection? Deal out hard earned cash for a fix that lasts about half the time it took to save up the money? Or maybe give up all together and take on that 70s "natural look." Yikers! There has to be some better way!
I think we'd all agree that girls were made to love and admire beautiful things. That's how God geared us. Personally, I'm proud to be feminine. I like buying a cute tops and trying a new lip color. And a new pair of shoes never hurt anyone! But who I am is not defined by the pretty clothes I wear, the perfection of my makeup, or the shape of my body. If I'm going to make it with confidence in this world of glamour, my priorities have got to be in the right place.
My favorite Scripture verse is Proverbs 31:30: "Favor is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised." Models have favor with modeling agencies because of their beauty. But guess what? That beauty is going to fade. One day, what they did when they were in their twenties and thirties is just going to be a memory. What does Proverbs say? "But a woman who fears the Lord will be praised." Putting God first in your life is the only thing that's going to last. You've got to find your value in Him. And the wonderful thing about God is that He doesn't look at the ouside to determine how beautiful you are. He looks at your heart. He sees that new born-again spirit on the inside of you and exclaims, "Ah, gorgeous!" As you give all of yourself to Him, He shapes your life into something no surgeon, makup artist, or hair stylist could ever create. He's got His own modeling agency, and every one of you is on the front cover of His book on fashion!
The bottom line is this: The most beautiful part of you is what others can't see. It's the most important part, and should receive the most attention (we'll talk more on this later). In the end, it's going to get the greatest reward - the praise of the King!
So, hey, beauty queen, when you're curling your hair tomorrow morning, take pride in that smashing super model God's created you to be!
"He says you're beautiful, to Him you're everything,
He says you're lovely, beyond the magazines . . ."
You've never won a medal for your accomplishment . . ."
Ever done this? You go to the store and see the faces of beautiful models, talented athletes, and famous actors and actresses plastered on magazine covers. It's like those pages scream, "You'll never be like these people! You're inferior." And you go home with a sick feeling in your stomach. Suddenly your value (in your opinion) has gone from large to extra-small. I can just imagine God when this happens. He sits up on His throne, concerned as you curl up on the couch to watch yet another chick flick that only makes you feel worse. "Wait!" He says. "You're not inferior! I don't make inferior; I make valuable. Don't listen to them. Listen to Me!"
Check out I Peter 2:9 from the The Message Bible: "You are the ones chosen by God, chosen of the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day differences He made for you - from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted."
Wow! You may not have the athletic abilities of your friends, but God chose you for His royal team! The judges may not have ranked you first place, but God gave you a crown that sparkles more than any medal! Despite the nauseating feeling you get on stage, God's put you on a throne all your own! Face it, no outward beauty or talent can't compare to that. The King has accepted you!
Think about that next time Miss Inferiority tries to pull you down. Stand tall . . . wear your crown, girl!
"The King's spotlight sweeps in time to your sweet song,
And He applauds the treasure that you've held all along . . ."
'Til next time,
You've never won a medal for your accomplishment.
They say you're average, like any other teen,
They say you're ordinary, far from a beauty queen.
But they don't know, they don't see . . .
You're a princess, kin to royalty,
The king looks at you and smiles at what He sees,
So wear your crown, wear you crown,
You're a princess.
The King's spotlight sweeps in time to your sweet song,
And He applauds the treasure that You've held all along.
He says you're beautiful, to Him you're everything,
He says you're lovely, beyond the magazines.
He'll let you know, all will see . . .
And let it shine with the glamour of His love,
The King desires your beauty to stand before the world.
(c) 2005 Christa Heider
These lyrics were inspired by Princess Diaries 2 (any fans out there?). My favorite part was when the orphan girls were defended and included in the parade. As I watched, I thought, "That's potential for a song!" I wrote, but it birthed more than a song - it birthed a desire to see girls like you to become everything God wants them to be. It's a tough world to fight against. You've got values of all kinds coming at you from all directions, demanding that you become like them. But God's got different ideas. He sees you as valuable despite what the world, your friends, or even your family thinks. And let me assure you - what God thinks goes! You just have to find out what God thinks!
So this blog - simple as it may seem - is dedicated to you. If you want to wear your crown, polished and beautiful for God's glory, stay connected. You're a princess, after all. You were born for royalty. Believe it.