Dear Brokenhearted

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Dear Brokenhearted,

You are not alone.

We have all been betrayed, abandoned, or wounded by someone we love. Some offenses are greater than others, but we all are familiar with the ache of heartbreak. The low, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as the person you thought you knew chooses to stop caring.

Hope dies, and your heart cries, “This is not the way things are supposed to be!”

And, you’re right, it isn’t.

We serve a God who is love (1 John 4:8), and what He designed was good, very good (Genesis 1:31). Heartbreak wasn’t a part of the original design but a product of the fall. It’s a fervent reminder that this is not our home.

The person that broke your heart, their lives are affected by sin just like yours is. It doesn’t give them a Get Out of Jail Free Card for their behavior or their inability to protect and treasure your heart, but it’s merely the reality of living in a broken world. People are going to disappoint you. In fact, although you may not want to hear it, I guarantee you disappointed them too.  This is because we are all constantly in a battle against our selfish flesh, struggling to die to self so that He may become greater (John 3:30), and so we can actually love the way we are called to (1 Corinthians 13:4-13). The sad truth is that often our hearts get caught in the cross fire of someone’s struggle to die to self. This does not make the person bad. This definitely doesn’t give you the right to hate them. It merely makes them human just like you.

You may have been disappointed by someone, they may have changed, but you have a Heavenly Father that is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He will never leave you, nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5), and He promises that nothing in all creation can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-19).

God loves you. He also loves the person that broke your heart.

You have a choice to do the same. Although often it is necessary to distance yourself from a friend, boyfriend, or family member after a heartbreak, you can still choose to honor them by not gossiping or smack talking about them. They are a beloved child of God, made in His image, and therefore your tongue should respect them as such (James 3:8-10). It’s not easy, but it’s right. God is just, your difficult choice to do what is right in spite of your pain will not go unnoticed. (Galatians 6:7-10).

So my dear brokenhearted this is not just about your pain. It never is. You have a choice. You will either become a victim of your circumstance and allow it to define you, or you will allow it to refine you.

Romans 5:3-5 tells us, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

You can either listen to the voices that will trap you in a cycle of self pity, feelings of unworthiness, and distaste towards the one that caused your pain, or you can choose to allow God to define and refine who you are. He says you are loved (John 3:16). He says you are His child (1 John 3:1). He says you are radiant (Matthew 5:14). He says you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). And even in your weakness He says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

My dear brokenhearted friend, I am sorry. I’m sorry that you had to experience this, and I don’t want to make light of your pain. Trust me, I understand. All I want is for you to see there is more than this moment. God desires more for you than your broken state, and He’s ready to help you overcome it.

So, take a little time. Eat the ice-cream. Cry the tears. Mourn the loss.

But.

Don’t let it define you. Allow God to refine you.

The Power of the “Like”

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Popularity.

Aka – the favor of the general public….or something that used to be measured by whether or not you were offered an invitation to sit at the cool girl’s table at lunch.

But today we often judge our social status by the number of likes our latest post on Facebook or Instagram receives.

We’ve all done it. Posted a picture or updated a status only to check our computers or phones every five minutes to see if anyone has liked it yet. Once the first person likes it there is an instant relief at being accepted. Someone thinks I’m as cool as I want them too!

BUT…it’s followed almost immediately by the desire for another and another and another person’s approval. Especially if your friend has posted something at the same time as you OR something similar. Then it becomes an all-out war to see who is more “liked”.

This vicious cycle will repeat itself: two, five, twenty, maybe fifty times a day. The “Like” button has dangerous power over us that we don’t really want to acknowledge, but we know it’s there. We fear no being accepted. We fear not having peoples favor. We fear we are unlikable.

The Bible has something awesome to say about this, and I think that you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s pretty right on.

Proverbs 29:25 (GNB) “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord you are safe.”

When we place our value in what others think of us it is dangerous. Flat out. It gives people power they are not equipped to manage well. In the case of social media it’s not only what they say that concerns us but also what they don’t say. It’s not so much the fear of someone writing “Woah, that’s a horrible picture,” but the lack of “likes” that has us trying to find the perfect filter for our latest Instagram.

But God is so faithful. Not only does He take the time to point out to us that placing value in what others think is dangerous, but He tells us “Hey, trust in Me and you are safe.”

The definition of safe is: to feel protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; to be secure, protected, shielded, sheltered, guarded, and out of harm’s way.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful! I mean seriously, in a world where every part of your appearance, wit, humor, intelligence, and experiences are on display for the world to see who doesn’t want to feel safe?

I’m not saying to not participate in social media. It can be an awesome tool when used properly! It’s fun! It keeps you connected! I’m just suggesting that next time you post something be conscious. Choose to find your identity wrapped safely in the arms of your Heavenly Father. Know whose you are. You don’t need the acceptance and approval of the masses or even of one. That is not where your identity lies.

Placing your value in the hands of people is risky business, but placing it in God’s hands will never disappoint. You will always be safe.

Bruno Mars Wishes he had Chosen Purity?

Bruno Mars Purity

In a beautiful, yet little known track called If I knew, off of his latest album, Bruno Mars sings:

“I wouldn’t have done all the things that I have done/If I knew one day you’d come.”

The entire song is about how when he meets the woman of his dreams, he wishes he could give her “all of the innocence” that she gives to him. I encourage you to give the song a listen; don’t worry, it’s relatively short…

The first time I heard this song, I was shocked that a secular artist would admit that sexual immorality is not a wise long-term move. You see, purity is not just a Christian thing that we do because we are “good kids”, and we want to keep our parents happy.

God encourages purity because He loves us, and He knows there is no way we will ever regret choosing purity. Yet there are countless ways the lack of purity can bring about devastation. In my 24 years of life, I have never met anyone who says they wish they hadn’t saved themselves and their hearts for marriage. I have however met a tragic number of those who, like Bruno Mars, wish they had been wise enough to choose purity from the start.

Truth is, most of us have a strong desire to be married someday, a beautiful and God-given desire. The song greatly emphasizes how Bruno wouldn’t have done the immoral things he had done if he knew one day she’d come. If we desire marriage and are seeking after God, there is an incredibly good chance we will one day have that special someone come into our lives…after all, God is a big fan of marriage, He did create it.

Let’s not wind up with regrets like Bruno Mars where he is pleading with his dream girl to believe him that he would do it differently if he could. For me, that is a conversation I’d rather never have to have, and I hope you agree.

So ladies, instead of living 100% in the now and making impulsive decisions like many of our friends and celebrity icons. Let’s start thinking about the future. Let’s focus on when we someday meet that handsome man who we will want to give everything to on our wedding day and every day thereafter, and let’s make choices that will make our lives as joyous and baggage free as they can possibly be. In reference to what a Godly wife looks like, in Proverbs 31:12 it says, “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”  Let’s start living intentionally today so we can be a blessing to that man we may meet tomorrow…or 10 years from now.

Guest Columnist: Laura Coulier

The Power of a Wrecking Ball

Songs can be so catchy, can’t they?!

You find yourself repeating the same tune and lyrics through your mind over and over and over again… and eventually you start singing it aloud (which isn’t always a good thing for some people) wishing it would go away. Well today I  found myself singing Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus…. not so good.

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You know the whole “curiosity killed the cat” phrase… that was me. I like to be in the know.

So I will admit it – yes I did watch the music video…. sadly. If you have not seen it, I would NOT suggest following in my footsteps. Images do not erase out of your mind easily/at all. But one thing that did come out of the song for me personally was the thought of redemption. I know this may sound a little silly but bear with me. Some members from our AMH team recently were talking about the power of redemption, and as Christians we can either shun away from all the things of this world, become a part of this world, or try to redeem it. For instance in this song, Miley sings:

“I came in like a wrecking ball, I never hit so hard in love. All I wanted was to break your walls. All you ever did was wreck me.”

This is a powerful image that is full of emotion and energy. When asked about the song Miley said if “you actually look at me, you can tell I look more broken than even the song sounds.”

This is a song about a destructive relationship between two people where they jumped into something without truly knowing the other person and came out hurt (at least that is my interpretation).

But look at it with me from a different perspective.

If we take the analogy of the power behind a wrecking ball and how it demolishes even the hardest of walls, then instead look at the resurrection power of Christ coming into someone’s life. When God enters our heart he comes with all the power of Heaven, walls crumble in the presence of our Lord. Sometimes you hear people pray to God – wreck me in the best way possible.

It is sad to look at how Miley has allowed the world to overcome her life, but God has said in his word that HE has overcome the world (John 16:33)! We have a powerful God and I think we can overlook God’s strength when we only focus on his love. They are synonymous – one and the same. God’s love is like a wrecking ball when it enters our life. He came in like a wrecking ball, by breaking down your walls. He only wants to free your heart. So you can fully love Him.

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Dear Jesus, Thank you for being a redemptive God who is jealous for our love. I pray that you would powerfully move in these girls lives this week that they would be able to give up some of the strongholds in their lives to your wrecking power. Please wreck them in the best way possible that they would feel the power of your love.  Help lead them in your paths that they do not become over powered by this world but would bring your redemptive love to the world. Thank you for all of their beautiful hearts and willingness to follow you! In Jesus name – AMEN!

Epic zits of giant proportions

We’ve all had those days. The ones where we wake up in the morning, feeling pretty good about ourselves, and then, we look in the mirror. And, we see it. The red, ominous dot on the center of our face… the zit.

Anyone who has been to an Across My Heart retreat, probably remember’s Ashley’s stories about zits. Getting a white head so big that it squirts the mirror and sprayed her in the mouth…. or the time she was too embarrassed to open the front door for her next door neighbor because she had terrible acne and hadn’t put on any make-up for the day. Yeah… embarrassing stuff. But, hopefully you also remember the point to those gruesome stories.

The punchline goes like this: When we find our confidence in what we look like, we freak out. Because, no matter how pretty you are or how pretty you think that you are, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have one of “those” days. If we find our confidence in what we look like, we’ll be disappointed.

But, when we find our confidence in who God is, we’ll never be disappointed. If we realize that his plan for our life is bigger than a bad hair day or a zit on our face, we don’t have to freak out over our outward appearance. Instead, focus on who you are inside. Because who you are is what God cares most about. And, he has great plans for you.

Does it have to be itsy bitsy?

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The itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini…. we all know the lyrics. But do we know what these lyrics actually meant for bathing suits lining the seashore? With the turn of the fashion world and the women’s rights movement, the bikini became a tool used for female empowerment. But, fashion designer Jessica Rey reveals the shocking research on the male brain that shows otherwise.

Check out Jessica Rey’s fashion line for modest and super cute swimwear http://www.reyswimwear.com/

Just A Glimpse

Artists strive to make a statement with their paintings. Each brush stroke, each color mixed on the palette is an intentional effort to create something beautiful…. something meaningful.

Every moment of our lives we have the opportunity to create something beautiful too. Every person we talk to, every smile we give, every time we answer the phone, we make a statement.

We often care so much about what other people think about us… our friends, our family, our co-workers and classmates. But we very rarely think about the glimpses a stranger catches of us. We very rarely care about the way we treat people we don’t know.

The person standing behind you in line, the women sitting across the room at Starbucks, the old lady walking behind you through the door… all of these people are strangers who just catch a glimpse of who we are.

This video shows 500 years of women in artwork, each one unique and each image shown only for a moment. As I watch this beautiful video of women through history, I can’t help but think about the statement my life makes. Surely, these women were known and loved by people at that time. But today I catch just a glimpse.

Years from now, when people look at your life, do you want them to see just another pretty face frozen in time, or a life that brings glory and honor to your King. Our life can say something about who we are, but better yet, our life can say something about who He is when we find our identity in Him.

Philippians 2:15 says we can shine like stars in the sky by being children of God. When we reflect who He is, it’s hard for anyone not to notice.

After all, you can see a star shining bright… even when you catch just a glimpse.woman

Photo Shoots… Good Clean Fun?

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It’s fun to take pictures with your friends. Candid shots of laughter can capture a memory. Goofy photos on the webcam never seem to get old. But what I’ve noticed a lot of girls doing lately are photoshoots…. a full session of photography with a few friends with different poses and different backgrounds often revolving around a specific theme. I’ve seen quite a few girls upload these photos to facebook… sometimes creating a whole new album with up to one hundred photos. The photos are usually fun and artistic, showing the creativity of the photographer by thinking outside the box.

Unfortunately, many of these photos don’t exude a sweet and innocent fun time. Sometimes these photos include seductive poses of teenage girls trying to look sexy. I’ve seen way too many pictures of thirteen year old girls and girls my age with pouting lips and heavy make up looking longingly into the camera lens. Even if they are fully clothed, photos like this create a sense of seduction and give the wrong impression.

But it’s easy to have a photo shoot that fun and creative without compromising your innocence. Getting a few of your friends together to create a series of photographs should be a fun and artistic activity! And it can be! A few of us from Across My Heart ministries got together to show you just how fun photo shoots can be!

We picked a theme, got some props from the 1970s, donned a few old school outfits, and made lots of memories! Check out some more of the photos from our 1970s photo shoot below!

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Fun photo shoot ideas:

Pick a decade like we did…. love the 1950s? How about the 1980s? Dress up in your favorite checkered dress or neon leggings and don’t forget the bouffant!

Pick a fun background… whether you are a country girl or a city girl, there is a place for you!

Blow bubbles or balloons… props can be a lot of fun to play with and add an awesome visual effect!

Recreate your favorite movie… take snap shots while acting out the plot line and role play as your favorite character from the film!