As summer is nearing & bikinis are hanging up on store racks my anxiety begins to rise. A year ago I probably would have fallen into a deep depression, not wanting to socialize or be around people. I was very caught up & obsessed on trying to change my outside. Once I heard the words “You look beautiful” I all of a sudden felt this pressure to look beautiful at all times; & if I didn’t feel like I was pretty enough, I’d begin to feel angry or ashamed. Every time people would tell me I looked beautiful, I would feel good about myself & feel happy… but then it would quickly fade & I would go back to feeling depressed. Beauty had become my master and The Lord began to convict me BIG TIME. [In my personal opinion I think that is why I went through that major break out phase.] He told me that if I wanted to really FEEL beautiful I needed to change who I was on the inside FIRST. I’m not saying I was a horrible person, but there was definitely a lot of room for growth. It was a long & hard lesson to accept. It is slowly getting easier for me. I also noticed that as soon as I began to accept it in my heart & apply it to my life, not only did my break outs go away pretty quickly, but I also began to see a completely different person in the mirror. Grant it, I do have scars, which is a constant reminder of my “golden calf”, but one thing I realize now…when people say they notice a positive change in me, it’s not happiness I feel, it’s joy…the Lord’s joy… & that’s long lasting. It sure is more rewarding to please The Lord rather than trying to please people. And you have so much more to offer with your inside beauty than your outside beauty. Most importantly, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:30 NLT.
Now there is nothing wrong with trying to look beautiful on the outside as long as it doesn’t become your idol. And I think or at least I hope, I can say I am no longer a slave to my vanity. Forget trying to obtain society’s “triple threat” status. My definition of a triple threat is someone who’s inside beauty surpasses their outside beauty while having God’s Word in their hearts!
So whenever I’m feeling “ugly” & I start to feel that anxiety rise up inside me I remind myself that in God’s eyes I’m beautiful & “worth far more than rubies.”
Yikes! I get a text from Ms. Nellie Saturday evening that she wasn’t going to be able to make it to church on Sunday to teach the preK class. Being the assistant, I kind of go into panic mode. But then I decide to calm myself down & figure “Mela, wouldn’t just throw me in there last minute like that. Would she?!” I text Mela & let her know. She replies with “…so are you ready to teach?” But then she quickly tells me not to panic & that she could cover if I needed her to. I was relieved & figured, “Ok, that solves that.” Well later that evening as I’m sitting down drinking tea…the conviction begins. The tugging at my heart. All the scriptures that kept “appearing” through the last couple of weeks started to make sense. “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9. I kept wondering, “Hmm…I wonder what God is preparing me for.” My imagination was trying to run wild, in an attempt to scare & discourage me; but I tried to use all the strength I can muster to not allow myself to go there. All I could do, is continue to keep repeating that verse over & over again. Then “BAM!” He hits me with it. You are going to teach…by yourself…for the first time.
After the initial shock & anxiety subsided, I decided to see what the lesson is suppose to be about. The Lord’s Supper. “Hmm..ok, I’ve read/heard this story plenty of times. It’s pretty familiar. Maybe I can do this.” I pick up the iPad & search “How to teach preschoolers about the Last Supper”. Well my over-analyzing brain kept me up for 2+ hours “researching”, brain-storming, planning, whatever you want to call it. I almost gave up several times, but I tried my best to push through it. I didn’t want to miss another opportunity that God provided for me…AGAIN! Finally, nearly 2am, I printed my notes out, printed the coloring sheet, gathered my supplies & packed it up. The funny thing is, I had all the supplies I needed. So I really had absolutely no excuse…zero, zilch, nada! I had a tablecloth, I had juice boxes (which I never have in my house), I happen to have crackers (for the unleaven bread), I found the perfect coloring page online with the perfect picture & the exact verse I wanted to use. Really?! So I go to bed feeling somewhat confident, but expecting absolutely no energy.
In the morning, I woke up, got ready fairly quickly without feeling rushed, in a good mood & surprisingly not feeling as tired as I thought. I get to church & in all the excitement, nervousness, (I have no clue which one it was), I ended up leaving my coffee in the car. What?! But I was wearing painful heels, so I didn’t want to walk back to the car to get it. Haha! I tried not to think about it so I wouldn’t panic. I was also suppose to greet that morning, so as people arrived, I was counting all the preK’ers walking by.
After I greeted, I walked over to the MPR & caught the end of worship. I tried to stay confident, grabbed the clipboard & called out the names of the kids in my class. I only had 5 & they were the regulars. When we walked in the classroom, I started my little shpeel & realized I still had to pour the juice & get the crackers. What was I thinking? I should have done that before hand! I started to feel the panic rise & lo & behold, Mela walks in with Reagan. “I found you a helper”, she said! “Thank you, God!” So she helped prepare the juices as I got the kids to help me lay out the tablecloth & pass out the napkins. I continued with my shpeel & took a cracker & acted out how Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it & passed it to his disciples. He told them to eat it & remember Him. We all ate together. Then we did the same with the juice. It was cute, cuz the kids had these smiles on their faces. Rianna wanted to do it again. Haha. I went around & asked my questions & finished the lesson too quickly. “NOW WHAT?!” I looked at the clock & began to panic. What was I going to do for 45 minutes more? And when I panic, my mind goes blank. So I didn’t even know what to improvise with. So I kept them busy with snacks & asking random questions. We then cleaned up & we colored the coloring sheets, which most kids, I realized, don’t really like to do AND it takes them like 1 minute (at the most) to do. I scramble to look for a kid’s Bible & fortunately the kids knew where it was kept. So I prayed that it would have the Lord’s Supper in it & IT DID!!! And it had all the parts of the story that we just did & acted out & the same verse. I wanted to cry! So I went ahead & had Rianna read it. Right when I almost gave in & about to let them have free time I noticed people coming out of the sanctuary. What? I looked at the clock & there was still at least 15 more minutes, maybe. So I just figured the clock was broken or the battery was dying. It was only later, I found out that service ended early. That rarely happens when Pastor Bob is teaching; he is usually pretty punctual. It is usually when we have guest speakers, that we end early. Really?
Now that I’m looking back at the day, I see God’s hand all over it & I just witnessed Joshua 1:9 played out in my life today. The cool thing is, I’m sure I’ve heard this verse before & it never stood out to me. But in June of 2011, Ricci & I & the kids went to one of those ceramic places & for some reason (I can’t remember if I even had one), I decided to put this verse on my ceramic. From that point on, it seemed like that verse would continue to pop up…as if to continually remind me of it. As this day got closer, the more frequent it appeared. The Young Marrieds ministry is studying the book of Joshua, so of course I read it there. I’m also doing the Monday Night Women’s study of Nehemiah by Kelly Minter & there is a verse similar to it mentioned in there also. I heard it from other people, devotionals, radio. Then in just the past week, I felt like I kept reading it over & over again on Facebook. Posted by different people at different times. And finally the day came when I really had to use it. And I’m sure this isn’t going to be the last time I will need this verse. Being such a fearful person, I’m sure this is my new life verse for this phase/season in my life. But in a way it does seem to go hand-in-hand with Philippians 4:13 “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” This was my 1st life verse. And what makes it even sweeter is that I believe this is becoming the kids’ 1st life verse as well. These are the moments when I wish I could jump up to heaven & give God a great big hug & ‘thank you’.
I’m watching Noelle & Franco today & I’m trying to figure out what to make for lunch. I ask Noelle if she eats hot dogs & she says “no”. So I end up making her chicken nuggets.
As I’m cooking hot dogs for the other 3, she walks into the kitchen & asks, “Who farted?” Giggling, I replied, “Nobody farted, it’s probably the hot dogs you’re smelling.” She quickly & sincerely says, “And that’s why I don’t eat hot dogs.”
Buhahaha! That was funny.