Monday, May 30, 2011
I was sitting in the car today on my way home from Traverse City trying (emphasis on this particular verb) to read this awesome book by John and Stasi Eldridge called Captivating. Submerged in irony because I was trying to focus on Stasi and her skillfully and creatively conveyed opinions on the soul of women and the essence of what true beauty really is.... and.... I'm sitting next to an 8 year old (Nadia) noisily licking an oversized lollipop (and on purpose, I suspected) and secretly farting thinking no one could hear (or smell) her. I had to laugh inside, despite being grossed out, because little did that football-jersey-clad, frog-catching, no-frills, candy-smacking-little-girl realize, she is created with a soul that desires romance, a heart that represents the femininity and emotional side of of God, and pores that radiate the essence of sheer beauty.
This kind of wiring is easily noticed in lots of little girls. The ones who spend hours playing tea party, dress up in their mother's old high heels, and about explode with giddiness at the sight of anything remotely pink and glittery. Nad's twin sister, Ally, is the poster child for the classic "Girly-girl." She is never without her charm bracelet (rainbow to be exact), outfits splashed with butterflies, and some sort of sparkly paraphernalia. But Nadia, though maybe matching in DNA, is a complete opposite in character.
At first I saw her behavior and lack of "frilliness" as a stand of defiance against beauty. That being a tom-boy meant femininity was all about jewelry, high heels, and dresses and was therefore ridiculous. But, as I started reading Captivating, God began revealing Nadia's unique and special beauty that defines His diversity and ever-expanding depth of feminine and emotional and feeling character.
Nadia's beauty is fearless.
She is never afraid to try something new, or conquer a goal. If she wants something, she fights for it, whether winning a go-kart race, or catching a pesky frog (we caught 2 up north, I'm proud to say!).
Her beauty is joyful.
Her face is always painted with a mischevious smile, dimples as deep as craters finding pleasure is every activity. She never complains. She never loses her exuberance.
Nadia's beauty is encouraging.
She's a life giver, unashamedly making new friends and grabbing their hands and saying "I want you on MY team!" She makes everyone around her feel wanted and special and encouraged.
Nadia is beautiful.
God is glorified through her beauty and she doesn't even know it. She doesn't even have to try because she just is! It's in her make-up. She can make a sour face at every dress, tie up her beautiful long-brown hair, lick goldfish off of her fingertips and yet, she still can't hide the beauty God created her to be.
God is so insanely wonderful. He uses everything to encourage, teach, and grow. I've been wrestling with the whole idea of beauty and value recently; trying to understand where beauty comes from, what it's definition is and what it is not, and how beauty has been taken, twisted, and enslaved into this carbon-copied-Barbie-doll puppeteered by the media (Satan's stomping grounds). Stasi put in perfectly in her book when she described how women feel that they are "not enough and too much at the same time. Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not disciplined enough, not gracious enough. But too emotional, too needy, too strong, too sensitive, too opinionated, too messy. The result is Shame." I too, have an ongoing battle with these lies we all secretly struggle with. I've winced at photos of myself, I've spent too much time in front of the mirror, I've tried diets and exercisizing to achieve that so-called "perfect body", I've dressed myself up to cover up the insecurity in my heart, or worst of all: I've believed that my beauty was only worth how many guys valued me... No value is incorrect. Desired (or lusted after) is more like it.
But through all this mess of the ever-going war of beauty and self-worth that Satan longs to destroy women over, God brings little blessings like precious Nadia to remind me of the many forms and personalities of beauty. Nadia, with her dirty tennis shoes on her feet and her face covered in slimy lollipop revealed one of the most special and tender moments with God I've ever had. He reminded me, that beauty, above all else, is in Him. That we as girls, no matter what shape, size, color, height, age, or social status, are created to carry the beauty of our LORD GOD. What a blessing!! Why do we cheapen ourselves? Why do we question our worth? We are all made FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY by a Master Creator. We are all Beautiful.
Just a thought,
Friday, May 27, 2011
I didn't think that I was going to get a sore throat yesterday. I didn't think that it was going to rain. I didn't think our basement was going to resemble the Vasyugan Swamp (Yes, needed Wikipedia to spell that one). And I definitely didn't think I was going to bawl my eyes out upon leaving a taco bell drive through (my dad looked at me like I suddenly grew a third eye).
God works in the craziest ways. I certainly have not given Him credit where it's due in the humor department. He must have found it slightly amusing that I receive a spiritual breakthrough from the Holy Spirit amongst the aroma of tostada-grade-D-meat and processed, melted cheese. Although, I shouldn't be surprised. He was the one who created the greats like Bill Cosby and Jerry Louis, not to mention He formed the PLATYPUS (I mean, really?! A mammal that has the bill of a duck, yet the tail of a beaver, that is warm blooded and lays eggs? I think God just started getting bored after geese and squirrels and decided to spice things up a bit).
I should have known yesterday would be a weird one..
I mean work was ridiculous (I'm a hostess at America's favorite 'Neighborhood'.) , which is why I questioned my meltdown at first to be either lack of sleep or post-traumatic "stresstaurant syndrome" (a very common, deadly epidemic circulating the employees of Applebee's). It was the opening day of the restaurant since our long-anticipated remodel and EVERYONE was there. Literally, there was my boss, her bosses, their boss, his boss, and her boss. I kept scanning the windows for President Obama to come waltzing in! He's probably connected to Applebee's too somewhere in the big corporate scheme of things. Everyone was all hyper and nervous and running around trying to keep busy because they thought we were going to be slammed with guests (because obviously everyone in the metro Detroit area were losing sleep and just itching to peer their peepers on the new face of the Bee's.)
At exactly 4pm when we opened, we had our first two guests come stumbling in, completely unaware of the fact that hundreds of hands had been sweating and laboring for 72 hours before that, for those two people to have the most tip-top service and restaurant experience of all time. They were abruptly greeted by 5 (!!!) hosts clad in cheesy, overeager smiles and a "WELCOME TO APPLEBEES!" stated perfectly in unison.
From there it just got interesting.
Even on the cleanest, most over-staffed, clockwork days at work there is always someone who comes storming in on their raincloud to do a number on our smooth sailing parade. A woman came barreling down the isle way with an iced tea in her left hand ready to run out the front door. Red-faced and making the biggest scene she began taunting sarcastically "What? No manager is going to stop me?! You can tell your managers they're full of crap! Who charges 99 cents for a to-go cup?! That's absolutely ridiculous! I'm taking one of your glasses and no one is going to stop me. Let your managers know they're full of CRAP!" And with that, she marched out the door stealing one of our glasses.
Really, lady? It's 99 cents. I found more than that scraping through my couch cushions yesterday. You're seriously going to steal one of our glasses over a 99 cent charge? Way to stick it to the man.
Sadly, some people just have their minds made up over what they want and they will go to ridiculous extremes to get it.
Anyways, after work, Dad picked me up and took me to taco bell to pick up some food for Mom. We began discussing my day at the Bee's and after laughing over the iced tea fiasco things got more serious. I shared how my heart has been so burdened recently with my co-workers and how I so badly want them to know Jesus. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is for God to break your heart for the things that break his. Because He will answer it and suddenly you spend a lot of nights crying..... As I grow closer with the other hosts and they share more with me, I begin to see past the nonchalant facades they have mastered and into their hearts.
I see brokenness. I see longing for acceptance. I see addictions that they so badly want to overcome. I see weakness. I see a desire to be loved and cherished. I see shame. And I see a search for purpose; something eternal.
I had a conversation recently with one of the girls in particular who opened up a little about how she felt that it was too late for her to be a Christian because she had already been so promiscuous with guys. She said that she could never fit in with my group of friends because if they only knew what she had done they would judge her.
I shared what she told me with my dad and he showed me a bit from a sermon that Matt Chandler (lovelovelovelovelove him!) preached about a girl he knew in college who was in a similar situation and how God worked in his heart using her.
This was the bit from the sermon.
JESUS wants the rose!
It didn't matter what had been done or how broken and tattered and worthless it seemed to everyone else because Jesus wants us to come JUST as we are and he wants to repair us like only he can do and make us whole again. I realized that our value as girls isn't in how many boys we've kissed or whether we wear bikinis or one piece bathing suits or if we still have our V-Cards. No, our value is in Jesus Christ because his love his perfect and he wants all of us no matter what where we come from or what we've done or who's bed we've been in. We can't "remodel" ourselves in our own power because, like Applebee's, even 72 hours of sweat and tears and hammering and fixing and a truck load of managers to oversea the job STILL can't bring perfection.
But Jesus can repair us.
He can make us strive for greatness and change our hearts to desire purity and cleanse us from our worldliness.
Jesus wants us.