Why I Can’t Stand “Strong Female Characters”

 My siblings and I were watching a bonus feature on a TV recently (Avatar: The Last Airbender, if you must know), and it was titled “The Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender”. One thing I’ll point out first is that none of these “women” were over the age of eighteen, so in my mind they were all still children or very young adults. But as the creators, fans, and writers talked, and as the clips to back up the view that all these female characters were “strong” characters played, I noticed something.

Most of the time, these girls were yelling. Or beating up a couple grown men. Or challenging authority figures.

And I started thinking, since when did strength become synonymous with disrespect? Really. Think about all the Disney Princesses over the years. How many of them are what you would call well-mannered, respectful young women? Please understand, I am not “anti-women” and know that I am directing this post to a Christian audience. If you don’t believe and live under the authority of God’s Word, the Bible, this is all likely going to sound repulsive to you.

Young Christian women and girls, what are we told strength is? Where does it come from? What does it look like?

Is it challenging any and all authority at any time? Is it fighting against any sort of rule or regulation? Is it speaking up whenever we have something to say? Does strength come from our biology? Does it come from the fact that we are “liberated” and no longer in the “oppressive” society our grandparents lived in?

What is true strength? What does a truly strong woman look like?

I can tell you with certainty: she doesn’t look like Suki. She doesn’t look like Belle. Or Jasmine or Elsa. Not like Black Widow, or Mary Watson.

She looks like my mother, like so many of the mothers and wives I know. Like the elderly women at my church who gather to pray every single Tuesday morning. Like Mary. Like Martha. Like Ruth.

Would anyone deny that Jesus was a strong person? I doubt it. And yet He is most often described in Scripture as meek or humble. As obedient. Do you know what meekness is? It isn’t shyness. It isn’t flinching away. It isn’t cowardice.

It is strength.

Under control.

That, ladies, is what our “strong female characters” lack.

They lack control. They lack obedience. They lack humility. They lack, because they are of the world, Christ-likeness.

And sisters, is that Christ-likeness not our goal? Isn’t it what we are to be striving for? Not to the be the loudest voice or the stronger personality. But to be obedient to God and those whose authority He has, in His perfect will and plan, put us under.

Our husbands.

Our fathers.

Our church leaders.

Our teachers.

Our mothers.

None of us- male or female- will ever truly “be our own boss”. And you know what? That’s a good thing.

Jesus wasn’t exactly His own boss. He bowed the knee of obedience to His Father. Every day, in every situation, no matter what the culture around Him said, He obeyed God.

He took direction. He used His strength, His power, for God’s purposes. He was not loud or obnoxious or rude. He was not constantly trying to show up others. He was not yelling about His rights. He was quietly, contentedly, going about God’s work.

Am I? Are you?

The world tells us a strong woman doesn’t have to listen to anyone. It says that obedience is demeaning. It tells you, loudly, brightly, happily, that if you submit or obey that you are weak.

Ladies how much strength does it take to give in to your flesh?

Not. Much.

How much willpower does it take to snap irritably at someone? To roll your eyes at your dad’s face or his back? To talk back to your mother? To know that you know best?

None.

On the flipside, how much strength does it take to tell yourself “no.”? How much strength does it take to obey God?

He tells us to be grateful for those in authority over us, to pray for them. He tells us that a strong- a meek- daughter of His is obedient. That she finds pleasure and joy in obeying. He tells us quietly, honestly, lovingly, that obedience is the mark of His children. That it is a way we can thank Him for the marvelous gift of salvation.

How much strength does it take to smile and joyfully obey? To be still and speak later, in private, when you’re calmer? To take a deep breath and submit? To turn away from sin?

It takes more strength than we have.

We cannot be true strong women without Christ. We cannot be meek without learning how He was meek. We cannot be good ambassadors if we do not study, stand by, and practice, our King’s laws.

We have no hope of every having true meekness in our own power. It is through genuine prayer, repenting of disobedience, and studying Scripture that we become strong. All our strength is in Christ- we are nothing without Him.

So ladies, please. Let’s be cheering for the “meek females” in our lives Let’s honor them- not the sad, distorted shadows the world tries to tempt us with.

Let us make honoring God our priority and goal- not honoring our flesh.

Saying Goodbye… Again

Over the last seven years, I have said goodbye many, many times. I’ve come to expect the word in relationships. For all the times I’ve been viscerally reminded that nothing lasts but Christ, each parting or separation is still as painful as the one before.

Goodbyes are a part of life. There are the “until tomorrow” ones. The “when you get back from your trip”. Then there are the “I’ll see you again one day in heaven.” “Be safe on your trip to your new home.” And of course, “what did I do wrong? Why did you disappear? I can’t even tell you goodbye.” They are all partings, some for longer times than others.

They all hurt.

Today, I stood at the house of my friends and told them goodbye for the last times. Over the last eighteen months, we had gotten together most Saturday nights for ice cream and nerdy fun. They know my crazy side- the imaginative one. They see all of me. I saw them lose their father last year. We have watched Sherlock, played Real Life Games, eaten loads of ice cream, and now they’re moving to Mississippi.

Another goodbye.

I didn’t cry today- that happened last week after our last ice cream hang out. I cried as I realized that in the town I live in, I once again am friendless. That the people who know me at church know part of me. That my new friend lives an hour away and is much more productive and busy than I am.

It hurts. It hurts to feel alone again.

As I look at Facebook or listen to people I know talk, I realize that people actually have friendships for more than a couple years. That some people have been friends since they were little kids. That some people get long friendships. That’s good. It’s wonderful, and I’m happy for them. It’s a precious gift and if God has given it to you treasure it. Tell that friend how much they mean to you.

Actually, tell a friend what they mean to you no matter how long your relationship has existed. People need to know.

In all that, however, as always, God remains. God is constant, faithful, and always present with us.

There is one goodbye I will never have to say, one parting I will never have to fear, one Perfect Friend, Father, King, I will never lose.

And that is Jesus Christ. That is my heavenly father. My Savior. My King.

“He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5b). That was my favorite Bible verse when I was about eleven. It is making its way back to that place now. As is Romans 8:28-29.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

Nothing.

No one- including me.

He will never leave me, never let me go.

Ever.

He will always be. He is I AM. He is my eternal friend. He is my Rock, my solid ground. And though others may come and go, good and hard times pass, He will always remain.

I will never have to say goodbye to God.

My Savior and My God

This week at my church’s Bible Study for women, I was asked to share what God has been doing in my life. As I wrote out what I planned to share, it struck me that I should share this on my blog as well!

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God has been teaching me the same things over and over because apparently I’m a very slow learner. Two of the things I want to focus on are contentment in Him and finding my value in Him.

As I’ve said before, in 2010 my family and I moved to Conway, Arkansas from our small town in Missouri where we had lived for nine years. In this move and before we came to our home church in November, God saved me and then taught me to be content in my family.

I made friends with a girl just a year older than me in early 2011. We were totally fangirls- Star Trek, Star Wars, Artemis Fowl, Lord of the Rings, Narnia– and our own worlds of course. We played Real Life Games (“pretend”) with our characters and wrote together several times. However, in 2013 she began to suffer from intense anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. For several months we essentially communicated solely by letters.

However, in 2013 she began to suffer from intense anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. For several months we essentially communicated solely by letters.

As I struggled with the difficult and often confusing questions she asked me, I learned obedience. I knew my answers weren’t always what she wanted to hear and sometimes I didn’t say things well. I really couldn’t see her very much as I was sometimes a trigger for her attacks because I reminded her of the games and her difficulties with putting those down was part of what led to her problems.

As I prayed for her and for myself and walked through that time, I also learned to be content with God’s outcome. I expected that if I did everything the right way and said what God told me to say, that we would still stay as close as we were before. That wasn’t the case and while we are still friends, we only see each other and communicate twice a year when we put together a piano recital for our students. I learned that obedience does not necessarily mean we get the outcome we anticipate.

In 2015 I lost more friends. The family that we did house church with was called to serve with a ministry in Texas. Looking for a church again was a daunting task, as I’ve blogged about before. Going to church in a city forty-five minutes from where we live has been difficult in several different ways and I have struggled with bitterness, anger, loneliness, anxiety, and complaining.

God has been teaching me that just because someone does something differently does not mean it’s wrong- in some things there is more than one way to do something. He’s taught me that no one is perfect, that His plans are perfect, and that He puts us where we need to be.

God is good. Through all of these and more circumstances, God has forcefully re-aligned my focus to Him. He has reminded me that He loves me, that I am safe with Him, that I am not alone. He reminds me that I can be fully and completely content in Him.
Another lesson God has been teaching me is that my value comes from Christ and I should be focused on pleasing Him, not man.

I am nineteen years old and I graduated high school last year. I’ve never been on a date or had someone tell me a guy was interested in me- nothing. I wanted to be married or at least close right out of high school and obviously that hasn’t happened. I want a husband, family, and home to care for and when people ask me what I want to do… that’s what I tell them.

Lately, as I have struggled with being content in this time of my life, I have started down the path of wondering what’s wrong with me that no one is interested in me. I have looked at women and girls I know who have what I want- trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I self-examine and try to figure out why I’m left out and what is wrong with me. I see flaws aplenty in my physical appearance and am reminded by others and my own mind about things that are wrong or annoying in my personality and temperament.

But my worth is in Christ. Yes, I need to be examining myself to see where my life, actions, words, are not lining up with Scripture. My worth is in what Christ did when he sacrificed himself for me and rose from the dead. God loves me because of the blood of His Son. He is the One I should be working to please. God comes with a whole book on how to love Him- guys don’t.

Because of what Christ did, I can know that I am loved by God. He is the reason I am who I am. He’s the reason I can love, the reason I live, the reason I keep going. He is pleased with me because of Christ. He is my peace. My friend. My God.

He is and always will be more than enough, and these life trials, as well as ones I haven’t mentioned, have only served to make me see that more clearly.

Speeding

I love driving.
Seriously.
I got a car roughly two months ago and I’ve already put over a thousand miles on it. I do every errand I can just so I can drive around town.
I love going fast- love driving on the interstate. No, I don’t speed. I go the speed limit.
That’s where I’ve run into problems.
See, not everyone drives the speed limit.
Some people don’t know there is a speed limit.
And if I’m not doing eighty, they don’t like me.

As I was driving into Little Rock this morning for a meeting and cars were passing me every which way, I realized something.
Driving really is a lot like life.
A lot like life.
There are dozens of areas where this is true, but I want to focus on one today: peer pressure.

When I’m driving, and not one, but three of the people behind me whiz past me at ninety miles an hour for no apparent reason (I do the speed limit, remember?), I find myself, well, wondering.

I glance at my speedometer.
Is my cruise control off?
Am I slowing down?
Did I take my foot off the gas?
Should I speed up so I don’t bother everyone else by driving ‘slow’?

The answer to all these question?
No. no. no. and no.
So when I’m with a certain group of people, and I’m outside the group once again, unsure as to how to engage in conversation, trying to make sure my face looks happy and inviting, when I’m wondering if my makeup is good enough, if my clothes are just the right combination of “fit in” and “stand out”, I find myself, well, wondering.

Should I try different shorts?
Should I straighten my hair instead of curling it?
What are they talking about?
I don’t know…
How do I take all the effort of making friends and conversation onto myself?
What did I do wrong this time?

The answers to these questions are a little more complicated, but it all really comes down to one thing:
Am I doing as I’ve been told, either by the law or by God?
If the answer is ‘yes’? Then I don’t have to worry.
I shouldn’t feel pressured, shouldn’t start panicking, and I shouldn’t start doubting the instructions God has given me.
Because I’m driving in the right lane for me. I’m going the right speed for me.

So sometimes I don’t wear makeup. Sometimes I wear my baggy shorts and tee-shirt, just to remind myself that I do not have to conform. God loves me just as much in a tee-shirt as a button-down. My friends don’t care if I put on makeup. They want to see me.

I keep doing what I’m doing. I keep walking along the path God has laid out for me. Sometimes I still panic, sometimes I still cry, sometimes I still try to change. But He always brings me back. He always reminds me, gently pulling me back to where I need to be.

And if you are His child, He’ll do the same thing for you, too

On the Eve of the Eve of My Graduation

When did you get excited about your high school graduation?

Was it during your freshman year?

During your senior prom?

When you were accepted into a college?

When you got a scholarship?

When you finished your last paper?

Or was it really, really late?

Like, six days before graduation late.

Because that’s when it was for me.

I have dreaded graduation for… well, a really long time. Maybe I started dreading it when I realized My Someone wasn’t going to come (yet…) and I wouldn’t be at the alter six months after I got my diploma. Maybe it happened when I realized I was going to have to enter the workforce again. Or when I remembered that people don’t really get their dreams jobs.

Or maybe it was when I realized: I. Am. Not. Ready.

I’m not ready to work outside the home. I’m not ready to own a car. I’m not ready… Maybe I just want everything to just slow down.

Have you heard Nichole Norderman’s song Slow Down? It’s really good. I’m using it in the slideshow for graduation. It’s beautiful and my mom says people will probably cry. Well, I agree with her, because I kinda cry when I hear when I hear it too.

Although, when I listen to it, I change the words.

Slow down
Can’t I stay here a minute more
I don’t want to walk through the door
Because it’s all too fast
Let’s make it last a little while
You pointed to the sky but I don’t wanna fly
But do you think we can somehow
Slow down

I’m trusting God with my future. I’ve asked Him for the right job at the right time. I’ve asked Him for peace. I’ve asked Him to help me trust Him. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He will answer my prayers. I don’t know what kind of job I’ll be getting, but I know that it will be the job God wants for me.

I’m graduating on Saturday. Yes, this Saturday. The one after tomorrow. Yeah.

And… well, I’m excited. I’m excited about Saturday.

But Sunday? And Monday? And the Monday after that? And the Monday six months from now?

That’s what I’m scared of.

But I don’t have to be. I shouldn’t be. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:38-39).

I will “Trust in the LORD with all my heart. And lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways I will acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths. (Provers 3:5-6).

I will “…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, I may be able to stand my ground, and after I have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around my waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all of this, I will take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. I will take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:13-17)
“Fear not, for I [The LORD] have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Is. 43:1-3)

Why? Because “…God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2nd Tim. 1:7)

So I will tell those panicking, squabbling, yelling, sobbing voices in my head to be silent. I will take every thought captive and give them to God.
Because being afraid is exhausting.

And I’m tired of being tired.

I’m done.

I’m done allowing my sinful heart to lie to me. I’m done not trusting God. I’m done saying that His promises are not good enough.

I. Am. Done.

Because “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, He will stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25)

I’m graduating on Saturday. And after that?

All I know for sure is that God has it in his hand, along with the futures of EVERYONE ELSE.

And that’s more than good enough for me.

-Sarah

Songs of My Summers

Hey guys! I’ve wanted to do this post for a long time and now I’m finally doing it!

Music is a huge part of my life and I’ve realized that especially over the last four years, my high school years, my summers can be remembered by the song (or songs) I listened to the most. And I’d like to share that with you. So here goes!

2013 (Summer between Freshman and Sophomore Year)

Songs: Whatever You’re Doing (Sanctus Real) and Worn (Tenth Avenue North)

June of 2013 started the hardest summer and the hardest two years of my life. This time was even harder than moving in 2010 from my home of nine years to Arkansas.

It was during this period in my life, when I was 15, that a friend of mine when through a very difficult time. And I was with her through it all, as much as I could be. We wrote letters, prayed, and met to talk. Sometimes. God used it in my life to have me learn what Scripture says for myself, to make my own convictions, and to learn to trust Him during the roughest season I’ve ever experienced.

Guilt, anger, fear, sadness, hope, and despair characterized those months of the summer of 2013. I went from one extreme to another, and my mom was there with me through all of it. She stayed up late into the night multiple times to talk me through what was happening. My church prayed for me and for my friend.  My siblings gave me space.

And God gave me a faith and confidence in Him that I’d never had before.

Even when the summer ended, the pain was still there. It’s only been in the last two weeks that I’ve finally put away the last hold of that time in my life and have finally let it all go. These songs were my cry to God on many a night.

 

2014: Summer between Sophomore and Junior Year

Songs: Best Day of My Life (American Authors) and On Top of the World (Imagine Dragons)

This was one of the best summers of my entire life.  It was during this summer that I wrote, directed, produced, edited, and acted in my biggest film attempt to date. The Toga-Wearing Prairie Detectives was a four-part miniseries that my friends and I made during the month of June. It was an amazing time that I’ll never forget, and Best Day of My Life  and On Top of the World fit it perfectly.

 

2015: Summer between Junior and Senior Year

Songs: Journey Off the Map (Lifeway VBS), Follow (Lifeway VBS), and Who We Are (Switchfoot)

Who knew VBS songs for K-6th graders could be so… well, wise?

Journey Off the Map and Follow have been two of my favorite songs ever since I helped at a local church’s VBS this past summer. They are both so full of truth, especially for me as after graduation in five weeks I will be heading off into the great unknown: a high school graduate not going to college. They’ve been the theme songs for my senior year as I’ve fought my fears about the future.

I don’t listen to much Switchfoot. Any, really. Who We Are is a song I’m planning to use in the slideshow for my graduation, that’s how much I love it. I’ve been listening to it for a year and half now and it hasn’t lost any of it’s charm. It’s all about how we don’t have to have our lives figured out right now. We have time. And, most importantly, God has already set the path for our lives. All we need to worry about is obeying Him in the situations He puts in our path.

The Grand Deception Part Five: Boo-Yah

My mom is giving me the ‘serious face’ as she says,

“Now tell me everything, from the beginning.”

I take a deep breath.

I weigh my options.

The international student still hasn’t been picked up. We still have an hour to kill. How can I get the student over here in time? And how can I stall for another HOUR? It’s hopeless.

So, with an open mind, and a very empty stomach (I ate a light lunch), I tell Mother everything. From the beginning.

burn it all

“The soup boiled over. While I was trying to get it off the eye, it splashed everywhere- all over the stove, the counter, and the floor. After I cleaned it up I tried to wash the pot, but it was so heavy that I dropped it on my foot.”

Pfff, you didn’t REALLY think I’d have come all this way only to back down at the literal eleventh hour? No sir! We Fulmer women are tougher than that.

And guess what?

She buys it, hook, line, and sinker.

Actually, she even helps my story along. I contradicted myself a few times but she put it off on the sheer terror of the moment or something like that.

When I finally finish to her satisfaction, Karen (who knows the truth) puts the finishing touch on the whole scam:
“So basically, you dropped the pot because you let your temper get the best of you.”

yeahsure

Ah, I’ve trained them well, haven’t I?

And somehow, in that moment, everything becomes plain.

plan

I tell Mother that the student asked to come over at about 6:15.

She leaves right at 6:15, which means everyone should be here by the time she gets back.

The girls and I jump into action, folding blankets, throwing pillows around, putting out soup, and generally freaking out.

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I hear Mother pull in just as I get a text from one of the guests:
I’m here with a carload. Where should we park?

As I try to figure out what to do, Mother walks in with our student, saying,
“There’s someone out there in a car… I wonder who it is?”

Thankfully, Mother is so confused she doesn’t question how I can jump out of the chair and tell her “I’ll take care of it!”

She just nods and goes to change out of her sweatpants, because our student is dressed nicely.

Everyone is here!

The girls and I get everyone into the kitchen. They’re in the perfect position to be hidden from Mother.

Then we wait for the guest of honor.

And wait.

And wait.

narniasilence

Yeah, honestly, sometimes I think about saying that. Sometimes.

Finally, I run back to the other side of the house and cautiously ask the closed closet door, “Um… Mother, are you… coming?”

“Almost done!”

I’m worried about that, because-

ready

I walk slowly back to the kitchen. Still awkward.

Then, finally, the moment arrives. Mother comes through the door and sees first one, then another, and then another of her new friends.

Her smile gets bigger and bigger and the girls and I trade looks.

We know it’s been worth every stressful moment and then some.

This, this, is what I wanted to give my mother for her birthday.

Why?

Because she is one of the most amazing people God ever created and she isn’t thanked enough. Because she deserves this.

Because I love her.

Shock Waves

I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t.

First, it was an email.

Pray for this family.

Confused, I shot a quick prayer to heaven asking for safety and comfort for the family, unsure as to what was going on.

Then I shot a quick text to my friend.

I’m praying, I said, is something wrong?

Yes. Something was very wrong.

Her father had died that morning.

Before I really knew it I was on my knees, crying, hands clenched together, talking to God once again.

Dead? Dead?! How could this man be dead? I just saw him playing basketball with his youngest kids last week at the gym. How is he dead?

I found out later that it was a heart attack.

But in the moment, my sinful nature fed on the shock and I asked the God of the Universe, my Father, traitorous questions.

Why did he have to die? Why did you let him die? What is his family going to do? Why, God? WHY.

My friends, a pair of sisters, had just been at my house the day before. We’d played and talked and joked and then they’d left and we’d gone about our business.

And now everything is different.

Thankfully, the Lord has shown me my sin. We can ask why, but we cannot demand explanations from God. We cannot say that He is not fair or not just.

Just because this looks like the worst possible thing that could happen does not mean that it is. Even if I cannot see it right now. Even if my friends and their mom and siblings cannot see it.

We know, and we believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this man’s death was not a surprise to God.

It still hurts and I cannot image what this family is feeling. I know I am going crazy because there’s nothing I can do.

I cannot bring my friends’ dad back.

And yet…

And yet he is in perfect peace, being there in Heaven with the Prince of Peace.

And yet this family has friends who are rallying around them, ready to help, already praying, and prepared to do anything they can to help.

Psalm 112:1-9

Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!

His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; He is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is will with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.

For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.

My friends, I am praying this piece of Scripture for you. We are all praying for you, my sisters and brothers in Christ.

-Sarah

The Grand Deception Part Two: Production

The guest list was made. Facebook messages (the only place we could communicate with a large number of people without my mom knowing) were sent, and plans were put into action.
I stalked a number of guests during various church services in order to get contact information from them. Stake-outs in front of doors, hidden in plain sight, were common. Two failed attempts did not deter me, and finally, a week and a half before the party, I tracked down one of three elusive guests.

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                         *not me*

Karen, Sydney, and I planned the menu. We’d need at least two large pots of soup, and there were various diets and dietary needs to consider. Due to the nature of the soups, I had to tell our mother I wanted to make them.

Thankfully, she was simply happy I was offering to make supper one night, and cheerfully added a few ingredients to the list.
And what about my other parental authority, you may be asking. What did my dad think of all this?
Well, I kinda forgot to ask him.

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I know, I know, it’s bad, but since he wasn’t going to be here, the thought didn’t occur to me!
One night, as I was stationed across from a ladies’ Bible Study classroom, waiting for my prey to emerge, he “caught” me.
The conversation went something like this:
Dad: Um, what are you doing over here?
Me: Just waiting for someone.
Dad: Oh?
Me: I’ve got to invite Miss So-and-So to the party!
Dad: What party?
Yeah. Bad move. But thankfully, my dad’s awesome, as you all already know, so he was fine with it. Philip was too, but his was more of an “I won’t be there so it doesn’t really matter to me…” agreement.
Oh well! I was undaunted. I was confident in my ability to pull this off. Nothing could go wrong! I was on top of the world!

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Until four days before the party.
Yeah, that’s when my mom said, “Sarah, why don’t we just make that soup today? The chicken needs to be cooked.”
Cue major panic attack.

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A Follow-Up to “What Does It Take…”

I’ve had a couple of comments after posting my last piece reminding me that my main source of beauty comes from the Lord and my character.

While I’m sorry I didn’t make that as clear as I now wish I had, I sort of did it for a reason. And now I’m going to share it. 😉

I know that inner beauty is the beauty we need to care about most. I know that “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31). Please don’t misunderstand that.

But my purpose in writing that post was because I know this. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it. The last time was Friday night at that Father Daughter Banquet. And it is so true. That’s why I wrote this post.

When we are more concerned about perfecting our inner beauty, our outer beauty increases.

At least, that’s how I see it. When I am dwelling on the Lord and His ways, I smile more. I find more things in which to give Him glory. When I am concerned about my clothes helping my spiritual brothers in their efforts to be pure and holy, just like I’m trying to be, I am beautiful.

So, yes, I know that inner beauty is what matters.

And I think it shows. Most of the girls I consider truly “beautiful” in my circles have two things in common: they all have the same smile and they are all dedicated to the Lord. They are trusting Him, not makeup, for their value. Do they wear makeup? Yes, they do. But that’s now what makes them beautiful.

When these girls smile, it’s real. When they smile, it’s full of the joy of the Lord.

I know that when I am with them, we will have encouraging and sometimes hard conversations. And that’s how I want to be.

I want my smile to be something that lights up a room- not because it’s as white as Giada deLarentis’, but because people can see the joy and the peace of God in me.

There’s a Christian song that the graduating class of my town sang last year. It’s called Let Them See You in Me.

The chorus goes like this if you aren’t familiar with the song:

Let them see you in me

Let them hear you, when I speak

Let them feel you, when I sing

Let them see you

Let them see you, in me.

and the end of the second verse says this:

I give my life, an offering

Take it all, take everything.

That is beauty. Our God is a holy God. He created beauty. He is beautiful.

And when we obey Him? When we reflect Him?

We’re reflecting His beauty.

Then it’s not us getting the praise- it’s Him.

So, Christian sisters, let people see God in you. Let them see Him by the way you talk, by the way you reach out to others, by the way you obey God even if it looks different.

Let them see God in us.

Let them not see anger, or dissension, or apathy.

Let them see self-sacrifice. Let them see God’s children praying. Let them see God’s children being willing to ask each other the hard questions. Let them see us- the kids God has saved- reading His word, praying with each other on a regular basis, and sharing this Truth with others.

Let them see you in Me. And let that be all they see.

-Sarah