Gifts Used for Growth

“You are exactly where you are supposed to be, now and forever.” This was my reminder all through high school and into my college days. I needed to remember that 1) God was holding me and 2) He could use me exactly where I was standing.

I’ve been starting to recognize the irony of the situations God places us in. He has given me the gift of writing (or so I’ve been told), and a passion for literature and writing. Yet, I have some major issues with vulnerability. I can fake it well, I can seem like an open book. I also can be vulnerable with select people, but to be vulnerable to anyone and everyone who happens to stubble across my blog? That’s a bit terrifying. I’ve always been a private person. I still talk to people, there are always people who know what’s going on in my life, but it’s limited.

A little while ago, while talking with a mentor, I began to realize that writers must be vulnerable. Anyone who writes anything, in any form, is being vulnerable. Whether you’re writing a blog post, song or poem, you are revealing something about yourself. Some forms of writing are revealing your deepest hurts, frustrations and weaknesses. All characters we write are related either to us or someone we know. All story plots have a little pieces of our real-life stories connected. All song lyrics hold some emotion that was found somewhere within yourself.

How funny is it that God would use the very gift He has given me, a strength, to push healing and growth in one of my biggest weaknesses.

I’m not always the best at being completely vulnerable on here. There have been many a post that I have scraped because I feel like I’m revealing too much of myself. Of course, I do have to use discernment in this area, I can’t share just anything, but I still aim to be real and relevant to anyone who reads.

Take a minute to think about your gifts and your weaknesses, and I bet you’ll find some connection there.

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Modesty in 2014

This past weekend I went to the mall and actually looked at clothes for the first time in a while. Not only was I in shock, I was also thoroughly disappointed.

I, for the most part, shop at second-hand stores or the clearance racks at department stores. I don’t like to spend more than $10 on one piece of clothing, with the exception of jeans and shoes.

I am a firm believer that modesty is more about how you wear clothes, rather than the clothes you wear. Modesty has a lot to do with your heart, and how you choose to present your body.

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines modesty as, “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.”

Biblically, dressing modestly is about wearing “respectable apparel” and not wearing flashy things just to get the attention of the opposite-sex, or anyone really (1 Timothy 2:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Peter 3:3-4, Proverbs 31:30). It goes beyond simply the way we dress, into to the way we act as well.

The older I get, the more I’ve learned that modesty is a serious heart issue. It is more about your intentions behind how you dress, and where you heart is. I feel that when your heart is in the right place, that truly does shine through your choice in clothing.

photo 1

When we think of modesty, we often think of the picture to the right, most likely with extra layers and a less form-fitting dress:

While there is nothing wrong with dressing like this, there is also value in feeling good about yourself and having confidence when out and about. Again, this is majorly a heart issue! We have to be confident in who we are in Christ before we can exemplify that to others!

Why bother being modest? This is a question I have asked myself, and this is what I have come up with.

1) We’re simply called to it
As I mentioned above, the Bible is filled with a calling for women to dress and act modestly. As Christ-followers, we are called to follow the narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14), and I believe that modesty is something that comes with the territory of that path!

2) Leading by example
This is something easily overlooked when you aren’t in a position of leadership, but it is so important! There are and always will be younger ladies looking up to you to lead. Whether it be a sister, niece, cousin or a perfect stranger. Girls are always looking up to their superiors and how you dress can profoundly impact those girls. Also, we are biblically called to be an example, not just to those younger but to everyone around us (1 Timothy 4:12, Titus 2:6-7, Proverbs 22:6).

3) Attracting the right audience
I have had many experiences with men that are less than deserving of my attention. Not because I am better-than or perfect in any way, but because I am a sweet child of Christ and though I don’t deserve it, I desire to be treated with respect. Frankly, when dressing in what may be culturally acceptable, you attract disrespectful “men” that simply want you for what they think you’re offering. I’ll even pull scripture out for this as well, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, says that we are to treat our bodies as temples. If you want to attract the right kind of godly man, then you should be dressing in a way that will do just that!

These are three reasons that keep me dressing modestly, and refresh my thoughts to be Christ-centered.

Although, I feel that most clothes can be worn modestly, I was in shock while at the mall this weekend, mostly because I couldn’t find a way of wearing most of it modestly. There are not enough layers in the world to pull off a spaghetti strap tank top that barely covers your chest (unless you’re wearing a long, baggy hoodie over it!).

These are some of the clothes that I saw, that just sent me over the edge:

PicMonkey Collage

So how do you dress modestly in a culture that hardly sells modest clothes? It requires a lot of patience and searching. It requires a lot of layers and checking your motives. I often will not wear an outfit out of the house, unless I would be okay with walking into my church with it on.

These are some of the standards I hold myself to:

  • Not wearing yoga pants/leggings, without my bottom covered, out of the house if at all possible
  • Dresses being at least 2 inches past my fingertips when arms by my side, if not, then wearing either tights, leg gins or pants underneath
  • Shorts being at least at my fingertips when arms by my side
  • Wearing a camisole under any plunging, low-cut or see-through tops

You don’t have to be frumpy and out-of-style to be modest. With warmer weather on its way, I decided to showcase a few outfits that you might find me in during the spring and summer that are modest, and yet still in-style (excuse my messy hair!).

my clothes

I often times wear tights or leggings under that dress. It is also really challenging to find longer shorts that don’t fit awkwardly, so sometimes settling on looser shorts can help if they are a little shorter, just make sure that your buns are tucked away! Camisoles are a miracle worker, and they can be found in all colors, styles and sizes. Also, cardigans can cover up a lot of unwanted showing skin. I have a plethora of them in my closet and you can almost always spot me wearing one.

So, now that I’ve had my rant and discussed why modesty is important to me, I challenge you to question your own motives. When you’re getting ready in the morning, ask yourself if you would walk into a sanctuary wearing what you are. Ask yourself if you’re leading by example, or simply following cultural norms. Check to see if you are honoring Christ with not only your clothes, but also your intentions.

I think that when we find clothes that not only fit properly, but that also honor God, we are worshipping Him in a way that most women don’t.

I’m most definitely not the perfect example of modesty. There are days that I don’t stop to check myself before leaving the house. There are times that I realize what I’m wearing and begin to feel really uncomfortable, wishing I had worn more layers or something entirely different.

Obviously, there are exceptions. When working out, I generally am wearing yoga pant and a tank top, because…well, I’m in my own home! When I am at home all day working on school, I’m not so concerned about what I’m wearing. I’m talking about modesty when leaving the house.

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Walk Through Fire

It is only Tuesday, and I am beat.

I’m so tired that I feel as if I shouldn’t even be writing a blog post right now.

Hopefully this all comes out correctly and in a manner that makes sense.

This week was my first one back into work and having a real schedule since I have been back from Honduras. On Sunday night, I was feeling really overwhelmed by the coming week. I felt as if I wasn’t even able, let alone ready, to face it.

I was reminded of the many times I had to completely depend on Christ for strength and courage in Honduras.

Tonight, I’m simply done in. My asthma has been horrible and I’ve slowly been getting sick on top of that. I’ve had headaches on and off all day and currently have a migraine. These are the things I normally live with physically, but now I’m also attempting to process the past three months of my life mentally and emotionally.

Exhausted doesn’t even touch the way I’m feeling tonight. I’m not sure the last time I’ve felt this off, worn out and drained.

I’m sure you’ve been here before.

You’ve probably been in that place that you don’t want to go to bed because you know the morning just brings more exhaustion, yet at the same time, you’re ready to press the restart button.

I could state verse after verse about God being our strength and our inspiration to keep walking, but I understand what it feels like to be in the fire. Sometimes words just aren’t enough.

When I was in Honduras, there were days that I really would not have made it through without Christ. In fact, I look back on my time there and I don’t know how it was actually possible for me to do it. I see God all over that and am completely amazed.

Do it for the reward.

It may seem shallow or selfish, but it’s stated in the bible and I’m almost positive it is God-approved. 2 Chronicles 15:7 says, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded (NIV).

Don’t give in to the temptation to quit. Don’t believe satan’s lies that “you aren’t good enough”. Don’t listen to the people who tell you not to.

If anything during my Honduras time, I learned that when you give your all to Jesus and you follow Him endlessly, you will be incredibly blessed.

When I left for Honduras, I was blessed to have my job kept at the local library. I love my job there, especially my co-workers. This was my first “official” job and I have learned so incredibly much from this, but it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life.

While in Honduras, I got offered a job doing content writing and temporary video editing for a good friend of mine for his web design business. Now that I’m back in Ohio, I have been offered a job working as an office aid at Interlink Ministries (and doing some cleaning every week). I then got a small job babysitting two mornings a week.

These are all things that I absolutely adore to do.

I gave up everything to go to Honduras.

In fact, I still have a credit card bill and only $20 to my name because of following God there. Could I be upset that I’m in money trouble even though I follow Him? Sure!

But I see the blessings around me and that answer quickly changes in my heart.

I see the many people who supported me on this journey and are being so incredibly patient with me as I return and slowly adjust. I think of the three incredible jobs I have now and how much I look forward to working. I look at the many opportunities ahead of me and I cannot for a second be upset about my situation.

I am exhausted, I’m done in, and in a way feeling defeated, but the reward is so beyond worth it!

I find this interesting because I wrote a post while I was in Honduras titled, It’s not Easy, But is it Worth it? In this post I wrote, “Sometimes I even wonder why God has me here right now, what is His purpose in all of this.” I look back on that post and the rest of the three months and just smile to myself.

I would do it all again if I could do the same amount of growing and receive the same amount of blessings that I have by the end of it.

See, walking through the fire isn’t about how difficult it may be, don’t let that define you. Walking through the fire is about finding yourself and learning about Christ just a little bit more. It’s about growth and reward.

I don’t know what you’re walking through. It could be difficult relationships. It could be health issues or illness. Maybe you recently lost your job.

BUT.

Don’t quit walking through the fire.

Don’t let naysayers discourage you.

Don’t let satan get in your head.

Don’t stop trusting God and following Him.

The biggest rewards come from work, they come from the sweat and tears you put into a hard day.

I get that it isn’t easy, I get that it’s exhausting and uncomfortable.

But it is worth it.

God has so much in store for you, just keep on walking!

Have a blessed day!

-Sadie

Quite Honestly: Relearning

I’m relearning everything.

In high school, I had a great fire inside of my heart for God. It was one of very few constants in my life, and I loved it.

In the past couple of weeks, I have begun to realize that this fire has died down…a lot…and that scared me.

Over the past year, Honduras had become my passion, which wasn’t a bad thing, but in this case it wasn’t the best. My passion for Honduras became to overtake my passion for Christ. I spent more time fueling that fire and putting energy into Honduras than I did into my relationship with God.

That relationship was always there, but it was changing. My heart was slowly pulling away from Christ and the tight relationship that had once existed.

I’m not exactly sure when my God-fire started fading, or when I stopped fueling it. It was one of those things that happened so slowly that I didn’t even notice (which is something else that scares me).

This trip has most definitely been the most challenging thing I have done in my life. As a 20-year-old, who still lives with her parents, there were so many new things for me to experience. Some of them have been great, and others not so great (I love mac n’ cheese, but sometimes that low-budget meal just doesn’t cut it). I have had to depend on God in ways I never did before. I’ve needed to depend on Him for comfort, strength, courage and most often, grace. Fortunately, we serve a God who is ever-ready to provide for our needs The problem is when we stop depending on Him first, and still expect Him to provide in everything.

This has been such a humbling experience for me, relearning the basics of my faith. I am learning the many places in which I need growth in my life, and have been taking steps in that. I feel like I have been truly growing up, truly maturing in ways I wouldn’t be able to without this experience. I still have so far to go.

This week, the biggest thing I have learned is God’s desire for us to be with him. I can feel it so often. Him just calling me to be with Him. Just to sit in his presence, soak in His truth. So many times I ignore it, thinking I have better things to do or whatever excuse I have at the time. Those times I do listen, God does huge things. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to listen. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing. Sometimes, you just know God is calling to you, and yet, it’s so easy to pretend you can’t hear it. I’m learning how to tune my heart to His when He is calling me.

In the midst of all this growing and learning, I’m reliving my life again. I’m shedding all the lies that I began to buy into, and soaking up all the truths God has for me. It’s a process and not always successful, but it’s happening. I’m finding the joy and peace in which my life used to exist inside of and learning to live it out again.

I want a complete stranger to look at me, and see Christ.

Not just think that I have something different, or that my smile is full of joy, but that Christ is actually inside of me and leaking out.

I want Him to be undeniable.

The only way this is possible, is by soaking Him in.

It is such a challenge, it’s such a battle between the heart and mind. I am constantly having to choose Christ over worldly things, and I can’t say that is easy. It is incredibly difficult. Yet, the more often I choose Christ, the easier that choice gets. I believe that someday, it will not be a choice, but rather a habit. It will not be a chore (as it feels sometimes), but a delight. It will sincerely feel like something is missing if I haven’t had my time with Him. Why? Because that is how my life used to be. I used to dread having extremely full days, because I wouldn’t have time to just sit and be present with Him.

I could keep writing. I could talk about the challenges and triumphs I am walking through, but that isn’t my goal tonight.

My goal tonight is to be completely honest about where God has me, because I realized something today.

Here I am, at 20, living in a foreign country (supposedly the most dangerous country in the world) by myself, teaching English as a second language, and I am a missionary.

And yet, my priorities in life are completely off-balance.

In my heart, I am not a missionary, that is just a word. I don’t want that to be the case. I want missionary to be a heart-thing for me. I want to say I’m a missionary and feel that ring in my heart, in a way that makes God proud.

This is part of my testimony. No, I didn’t do stupid stuff in high school. I didn’t get into drugs or partying. I didn’t rebel against everything my parents raised me to be.

I don’t really have a past to run away from, and yet, I do.

Mistakes are mistakes, sin is sin. Turning from God looks the same to Him, even if it looks different to us. Planning life around what you want and what you think is best, is dishonoring to God if you aren’t first seeking Him. Dishonoring is something I never want to be, and yet it was something I was slowly becoming.

I lost sight of who I was, and was beginning to lost sight of who God is.

This blog, from the very beginning has been about two things: to keep my friends and family updated on life and to share what God is teaching me (in hopes of inspiring others). Those are the two things I always want it to be about. I can’t see the ways God has used this blog, I don’t know the people it has reached or not reached. All I know, is that God has put this passion and love of writing in my heart, and I am going to follow that endlessly.

This is where it starts. Honesty, relearning, grace, rebuilding and faith all start here. I don’t know where they will end, but I do know that God will be walking along-side me in all of this. At times, I’m sure he will be carrying me, but He will be present regardless.

Opening my heart in this way has always been scary for me, but it is part of the process.

So that is where I am, and I humbly ask you to be praying for me. God is so much bigger than my little brain can wrap around, and that excites me. I’m so glad to know that following Him is endless, that there is not a stopping point in my relationship with Him! He isn’t going to suddenly decide He is finished, and stop working in me.

So I’m going to keep walking towards Him and continue to relearn the basics of my faith.

A special thanks to everyone who has been supporting me on this journey. I cannot tell you how incredibly blessed I feel to have all of you around me, lifting me up in prayer and encouraging words.

Have a very blessed day,

-Sadie