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Posts Tagged ‘girl’

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.

 

 

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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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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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thoughts

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these are my thoughts today

unknown. fears. worries. concerns.

all being turned into hopes and dreams

dreams of the person i want to become

dreams of the person i hope to be

dreams of the person i ardently long to be

yes i long to be Christ’s faithful servant

He brings hope

thankfully or else my dreams and hopes would seem impossible

i want to be a runner

i want to be a reader

i want to read, read, and read some more

i want to read novels and be enraptured by everything a novel brings forth

i want to know people

i want to learn who people are

i want to travel (I believe this longing has something to do with the fact that our citizenship is in Heaven {Philippians 3})

i long for people to know that life is more than drugs, sex, alcohol, wealth, popularity, etc.

life is about serving

life is about living

life is about pursuing the interests God has given you and embracing your individuality

so if reading, outside breeze, flowers, people, photography, and simplicity (to name a few) exhilarates my heart

then i want to run fast and hard towards that exhilaration

i have no idea what tomorrow brings forth, or even how the rest of today will play out

i do know that GOD IS SOVERIGN

i do know that He longs for us to bask in the person He created us to be

so there are my thoughts

what are your thoughts

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It Takes Courage To Grow Up And Become Who You Really Are // E. E. Cumings

The other day Abigail and I met up for creamy, delicious Gelato. We sat at a little metal table knowing there was much to talk about. Nonetheless, we were silently content in each other’s company as we ate our Gelato and people watched. I told her my camera was in the car, and asked if she wanted to go to the top of the parking garage to snap some photographs. She happily complied.

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I don’t know about you, but I forget who I am.

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I have the tendency of being caught up in what people may think of me…

Dwelling on what other’s think, you sometimes forget who you are.

Confusion springs up as you try to remember what exhilarates your heart.

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Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Judy Garland play through my iPhone speakers as I sit here editing photographs.

My window is open, a candle is lit, and my ball cap sits on top of my braided hair. I like tonight. Tonight is me.

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I dislike forgetting.

I like who God made me.

I forget all too often.

{This is my “gangsta” pose. Enjoy.}

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It was only a few minutes ago when I was sitting at the kitchen table, looking at my phone and meandering online.

My phone was laying on top of my Bible which had been there from my morning quiet time.

I asked myself, “Naomi, what the heck are you doing? You’re using precious time up. The Bible is right there in front of you.”

How many times do we do this? The Bible is right before our eyes, but instead we opt for our phone, or some other distraction.

Ironically, this morning I read Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (NASB).

DILIGENCE: Constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

If we carry on with our days continually doing whatever we’re doing because it’s what the world does, and we never take into consideration that we could be making better use of our time, how unfortunate is that life???

A life full of Christ is beautiful and lively! He has created our heart anew! Why wouldn’t we want to spend time in the Bible?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1:1-4 (NIV)

I want to challenge both of us.

Let us use our time wisely. Let us ardently seek to know Jesus. Let us ardently seek with a diligence free of distraction.

Precious time is out there. Don’t miss out.

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Characters

I have a tendency to imagine myself outside of reality. I imagine myself as characters. Anne Shirley, and her honest to goodness, spunky personality enraptures the handsome, understanding Gilbert Blythe. What about Elizabeth Bennet and her dislike for the noble Mr. Darcy, who in return is ardently and passionately in love? Or, I think of Mary Scudder from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, The Minister’s Wooing. Mary, a young woman striving to live her life solely for God, thinking she lost her only love, cuts herself off from the community. Prompted by her mother’s doing, she agrees to marry the town’s minister out of what she believed to be, revered duty. When her only love is ascertained alive, however, she discovers her heart has been wildly lost with him.

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My head is in the clouds with these characters and their zeal for what quickens their hearts.

The daily routine of life can be incredibly monotonous.

I never want to succumb to the monotonous living that society basks in today.

Embarrassingly, Monotony has pulled me way down, deep, deep, and further yet.

I find myself viewing what the world views. I find myself listening to what the world listens to. I find myself giving in to the lies this world believes. I find myself thinking like the world thinks. I find myself acting like the world acts. When I find myself living like the world, shame knocks at my door.

Jesus Christ did not intend for us to live a monotonous life, succumbing to the horrid way of life around us.

He came so that we may have life in abundance (John 10:10). He loves us. He loves us a great deal.

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He loves me. I dare not imagine why. I think ill of Him entirely too often.

“Praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the grave”

And I feel, mingled with my indolence and love of ease and pleasure, some drawings toward a higher and better life. There is one thing I can do, and that is to pray that Jesus would do for me what He did for the blind man—put His hands yet again upon my eyes and make me to see clearly. And I will. Elizabeth Prentiss

As I continually think of myself as characters, my head is often in the clouds. Unfortunately, I am intimidated by genuine reality.

Nonetheless, I would rather have my head in the clouds, seeking adventure, rather than monotonously living like the world.

If you have never known what a “Naomi Ramble” sounds or looks like, now you know.

All my love to you, dear friend.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. {e. e. cummings}

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