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What I Care About

12

I don’t necessarily care about fame.

Cemetery by Kevin Poole

 I care about creative expression.

C. S. Lewis Believed in Faiytales - Self Portrait

I care about inspiring others.

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I care about saying yes to an opportunity and seeing where God takes me.

The Shops at Legacy by Hannah Cox

Relentlessly Authentic,

Naomi Rose

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Please Hold Me

I’m beginning to learn that life is full of the unexpected. I heard that it was, and even tried to teach myself that. But now experience has begun teaching me what I only had stored in my memory as knowledgeable information.

Clinical depression took me back home to my parents. I had to quit the life I had built in that hipster Texas college town. I quit my flexible facilities job. I quit serving in the youth ministry. I quit going to church. I quit going to my friend’s social gatherings. I almost quit my twelve hours at community college, but my parents dragged me out of bed and drove me to school as I sulked in the passenger seat.

My anti-depressants began balancing out my hormones and the good days came more often. I  passed all my classes. I thought the semester would never end.

But it did. It did end.

However, the past year still haunts me.

Late nights staying up laughing and discussing God’s grace with my roommate. Memories of first dates and budding relationships. Two stepping with friends at Cowboys Red River. Nights serving alongside other young adults pouring into teenagers. Serving food to refugees in Germany. Day after day cleaning my area of the church, thoughts came and tears followed. Leg pains at night resulting in restless sleep. Crying uncontrollably for two hours, yearning for the negative thoughts to go away. Pessimism became the new normal. Trivia crack and browsing Pinterest were my best friends as I sat restless in class. Once again, unexplained tears, my boyfriend hugs me for ten minutes, and I hide myself under couch pillows. Tension between my mom and I because I refused to tell her the hurt building inside of me. The look on their faces when I told my loved ones I felt like harming myself. The reality of the disease. The reality that the dark tunnel doesn’t last forever, but it’s crappy in the middle of it. The disease that God has used to bring me into a new season. A season I didn’t expect. A season in my life that is confusing and painful, but the good days do happen. And there is still lots to rejoice about and to thank God for.

Nonetheless, I won’t lie. It hurts. And I still feel lost, like the beginning days of my depression. Lost, teary-eyed, and desiring for someone to hold me and to never let go.

 

 

Deeply Beautiful

There are random moments during my days of clinical depression when I suddenly feel  almost normal again. The dreamer inside of me comes back to life, and my imagination soars with possibility. During these moments of feeling almost normal, I am reminded of some of my deepest dreams. One of which is to share with women how deeply beautiful and unique they are.

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Women who have also experienced clinical depression will understand when I say my self esteem has reached levels below the zero on the number line. Confidence in the individual beauty that God gave me has been forgotten. Yes, the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is eternal (2 Peter 3:3-4). However, God reflects His beauty in woman. He has given women the desire to feel and deeply know they are beautiful in their own skin.

“Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch…She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill. Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, ‘The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith in me.'” (For more information, check out John and Stasi Eldredge’s eye opening book, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul)

No other woman has your exact eyebrows, eye shape, legs, arms, lips, ears, hair, nose, etc…In Psalm 139, David points to our individuality from God our Creator.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

(Insert your name here), do you believe that?

I am currently asking myself the same question. Do I believe that?

I, Naomi, am fearfully and wonderfully made. Really?

I was born with a heart defect, resulting in open heart surgery. Even with my scar, do I believe I am fearfully and wonderfully made? Do I believe I am beautiful? The days I wish my straight hair was curly and voluminous, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when my eyebrows are in desperate need of an eyebrow wax, do I believe I am beautiful? The days I feel my height is too tall, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when I trace my nose and cringe when I feel the bone that brings a slight curve to my nose shape, do I believe I am beautiful? The days when my legs do not look as toned as I noticed on the other woman while I was out shopping, do I believe I am beautiful?

God, our Creator, our Father, thinks the world of us.

He rejoices in us and He rejoices in His creation of woman.

You, (insert your name here), are made in the image of God.

You, (insert your name here), reflect the magnificent beauty of God.

You, (insert your name here), are BEAUTIFUL. 

Now quit reading this and go do something that brings a smile to your beautiful face!

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Gentle

Generous

Grateful

Our heavenly Father is always teaching His children. These three words sum up the current Jesus lessons in my life.

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A gentle, generous, and grateful lived life are also the cries on my heart.

We live in a broken world. However, God is not broken.

And, as His children, we are no longer broken because of the lavishing love of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 John 3:1).

God is gentle with us, why are we not gentle with others?

God is generous. He is giving to us all day long. Are we receptive? Are we pouring out to others moments of our time and our earthly belongings?

God is gracious. Are we gracious? Grateful? If we are not giving thanks in worship, what are we giving in worship? Who/what are we worshiping?

FOUR

“Whoever possesses true and perfect charity does not seek himself in anything, but desires God’s glory in all things. The truly charitable man envies no one since he seeks no personal joy nor does he find happiness in himself, but wishes to be made happy only in God. To no man does he attribute goodness but only to God, from whom all things proceed as from their source, and in whom the saints find their joy and final rest.”

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis (20)

SIX

kindred adventurer

One of my best friends and I are currently vacationing in Angel Fire, New Mexico.

Today we drove to the artsy town of Taos and explored.

Thankful for this kindred adventurer.

You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear. Oscar Wilde

 

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Late last night my cousin and I watched a chick-flick and we both agreed the characters deeply needed Jesus.

Late last night I also began having doubts.

Should I really be watching chick-flicks?

The girly dreamer inside of me begins wondering when “the one” will arrive in my life and propose in a field of wildflowers.

(I know, I know…I am cheesy. But for real…)

When I think about how many chick-flicks I have watched and heartily enjoyed I feel ashamed.

Honestly, I know they affect me.

I begin to idolize this idea of the perfect romantic man.

And as the years continue, the content in movies grow even more inappropriate.

If the genuine and heartfelt pursuit of Mr. Darcy stirs my emotions, add the 21st century to the mix and you know it isn’t good.

But the emotional porn does not stop at movies.

Music, books, social media,  and your surroundings scream this “perfect”  formula. Every girl should view romance this one way, and if they do, a man will come into their lives to fulfill them and their heart’s deepest longings.

In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes,

“What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it subordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust…But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs.’  Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing…You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.

“Our experience is colored through and through by books and plays and the cinema, and it takes patience and skill to disentangle the things we have really learned from life for ourselves.

“In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last…What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction.

This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live until it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.”

In her book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge writes,

“The deep longings in our hearts as women just won’t go away. And so we indulge…We move into a fantasy world to find some water for our thirsty hearts. Romance novels (a billion-dollar industry), soap operas, talk shows, gossip, the myriads of women’s magazines all feed an inner life of relational dreaming and voyeurism that substitutes— for a while — for the real thing. But none of these really satisfy, and so we find ourselves trying to fill the remaining emptiness with our little indulgences…They are what we give our hearts away to instead of giving them to the heart of God.

“Take a moment and consider yours. Where do you go instead of to God when the ache of your heat begins to make itself known? … When we camp our hearts in self-doubt, condemning thoughts, or even shame because those emotions have become familiar and comfortable, we are faithlessly indulging rather than allowing our deep ache to draw us to God.”

 

This morning one of my girlfriends texted me saying she has committed to six months of chick-flick free movie nights.

Another friend texted me saying she thinks she shouldn’t ever watch chick-flicks.

I am incredibly thankful for the godly women God has surrounded me with, who  encourage  and challenge me in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sure, I will always be a hopeless romantic. That is part of who I am, and I love the way God created me.

Yes, I think it is okay for little girls to watch Disney princess.

Yes,  Jane Austen is a pro when it comes to brilliantly written romance novels.

Whether single or married, chick-flicks (and other things of the sort) can be harmful to a woman’s heart and her expectations for men and how her life should play out. I will probably continue watching chick-flicks with my girlfriend’s. Nonetheless, I think it is good to know one’s personal limits.

Paul writes,  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:21-23

 I pray my hopeless romantic pursuit will continually be for the King of Kings, the only One who fully satisfies my yearning soul.

Also, my brother and his beautiful wife Erica were married this past weekend. What a glorious time of celebration, praising God who gives good gifts to His children.

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A Child’s Trust

“Barrett, do you know how to do the monkey bars?” I asked the four-year old boy.

“Mhmm…” he responded.

“Here, I will help you.”

I hold his lower half as he swiftly swings his arms from bar to bar.

Barrett reaches the end of the monkey bars, which is attached to the wooden play fortress.

I let go of him as he insists to climb over the outside of the fortress all by himself. He tries and tries, but isn’t able to climb over it.

“I can’t do it. I’m stuck.” Barrett yells down to me.

“Barret, let go, I will catch you.”

He hesitates.

“Barrett, trust me.”

He lets go and I gently lower him to the ground.

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Dried snot.

Dirty clothes.

Sandy bodies.

Poopy diapers.

Bubble baths.

Smiling faces.

Unending laughter.

No matter how old we are, we are all like little children.

We are incapable to do life by ourselves. We try, but to no avail.

We are unable to care for ourselves. We are grimy and covered in muck.

We need someone to give us a bubble bath.

We need someone to make us clean.

Through Jesus Christ we are white as snow.

Through all of the dirtiness of life, we can still smile, because He has already won the battle.

Children, let us laugh all through the day.

When we are stuck, let us cry out to God.

Let us not hesitate.

He is speaking to us all the time.

“Beloved, trust Me.”

Let us fall into His loving arms.

Let us become like children, because our Father sent His only Son, to save us from the muck.

The Gospel is simple.

Trust Him.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a child, had him stand among them, and said,

‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven!

Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'”

Matthew 18:1-4 9 (NET)

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A few recent comments from “my” boys…

Colton (2):

“Malk. Chocla Malk.”

“Nomi Baff.”

Barrett (4):

“When you become a grandma, you can’t swing. Grandma’s are too big.”

“When you throw the sand like this, it looks like a tornado!”

“Charlee (puppy) peed on the floor.”

Hudson (6):

“Where is heaven?”

“Where do bad guys go?”

“How do you get to heaven?”

“There will be lots and lots of chocolate in heaven!”

“Naomi, can you read some of the Bible to me?”

“God, I pray you take care of Naomi as she drives home and let mom have a fun birthday.”

These boys absolutely melt my heart.