Today we're featuring a guest post from Melissa's dear friend Sarah.
I met Sarah doing something crazy (probably mattress surfing) in the halls of "Middle Howard". She has to-die-for curly hair, is super spunky, she plays the guitar and sings worship songs, and is compassionate enough to cry when others hurt. She shepherded the hearts of many girls on my dorm hall.
I had the amazing opportunity to serve with Sarah at a Christian girl's camp. Normally, we only crossed paths at the pool where she life guarded while I worked as a counselor and high ropes instructor. But one week some other counselors needed a break and Sarah and I were paired together in a cabin to work with a teen camp. There may have been a silly interlude of "Señor Navel" visiting our teens... but the only 'evidence' is a headless slightly blurry picture... hardly verifiable in a court of law as anything other than circumstantial evidence.
But in all seriousness, that week as teen counselors stretched and grew both of us immensely. We dealt with some of our own fears of beauty as reflected through the eyes of young girls barely starting high school. We pleaded with a young girl who had already sought her worth in the eyes (and hands) of a man twice her tender age of 15. We stayed up late talking about the hard things and trying to process how to serve these girls and who we were becoming in Christ. And we gave one another many reality checks that week: some brisk edifying "Snap out of it and serve these girls." and some "God made you beautiful and that's the truth."
Since camp, God has taken Sarah on a long road. She married prior to finishing school to a guy who appeared to love the Lord and doted on her. She became unexpectedly pregnant with a sweet girl named Emma who has milk allergies, is gluten-free, and has Asperger syndrome (a syndrome low on the autism spectrum). After a couple years of marriage, Sarah had to be strong enough to endure a biblical divorce and become a single working mom. A few years later the Lord brought back an old friend who loved Him to love her. They've been married for almost 2 years now and are daily striving to serve each other and Him to the best of their grace-reliant resources.
Through it all, Sarah's attitude has only become more gracious as she learned endurance and joy through the difficult paths she's walked. Oh, Sarah, I am so blessed to call you friend and wish we could visit more often.
Ya know, there are many people in the world that seemingly have it all together and also have everything all together in a nice house. They look great, are really "cool", have friends with class, big-important jobs, and money. I've honestly been struggling with the "looking great" (i.e. perfect body) aspect of all of this for about two years. Now don't get me wrong, many of you know I'm trying to eat healthier and make better choices in food and exercise and that's fine and dandy.
But when my heart is set on the goal of perfect, tan, skinny, American wife and mom I lose sight of what's truly important. I begin to not just keep a healthy biblical goal of eating healthy but lose integrity and forget about the truth of Christ's love that really matters.
Yep, it's bold to say that, and might sound extreme but that's honestly and truthfully what we lose when we strive to be like the world!
True integrity, doesn't come with perfection, in any form, or jean size! In fact, Christ tells us to cease striving and to lean on Him for help. So why do I continue to desire to look like the world when I'm only here visiting? And not just in my clothes size but in longing for bigger and better things such as money and home.
Friends, we are living in a modern day Babylon. I'm learning, in my new Bible study in Sunday School (Daniel by Beth Moore), the the parallels between the ancient and very worldly Babylon are actually very, very similar to today's world. The book of Daniel is the best example to explore these truths. Our class has only gotten as far as chapter one, in which Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah stand up to the chief guard and request to eat clean healthy foods vs. the king's food.
But, in this modern day world, why do we seek worldly beauty and choices over true beauty and Biblical truths?! Why don't we stand up to the chief of all lies and say we're standing in truth and requesting to seek to be like Christ not that tan blonde with the size 4 pants?!I've got a new mind set, sweet friends. Time to seek some more Jesus and less of myself. Will you join me?
"For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it."
Do keep in mind that it's okay to eat healthy and stay at your height proportioned weight. That's taking care of your body that God gave you and there's nothing wrong with that. But let's aim even higher and set our sights on walking in truth, God's word. Let's stand on that more than a scale, dressing room floor, a "cool" but bad scene or Satan's pretty little lies of deception.
Let me leave you with a humorous reality check I was dealt, lovingly, a few nights ago. My sister and best friend is a realist to the max and I love that about her. She's always had a good head on her shoulders and heart in her chest. She knows how much I greatly desire the best for my family, but sometimes I get over exhausted in the perfection of spotless carpeting and sparkling dishes. So here's what she did: she rearranged Emma's doll house to reflect the humorous truth about a home.
Rather than sleeping babes, we have....
the toddler climbing out of the crib! Emma was doing this, mind you, at 15 months. Which is mind boggling because she didn't walk till almost two years old! I tell ya, that kid has some serious determination! Haha.
Oh look, the sweet little baby boy is washing the kitty in the toddler tub :)
The mother desperately trying to sleep before her 5 a.m. alarm clock goes off.......Not that this is at all exactly like me or anything! lol
The Daddy staying up late reading his nerd blogs and web pages, exploring new gadgets........very familiar lol. My favorite part about this photo though is that the doll Daddy is looking at Fisher Price girl clothing.
Improvement, I say!
And of course the dog is escaping.
And the puppy has found the dog food, readied to hork it down!
Lastly, and my favorite, the toddler is raiding the fridge (of course for GF foods lol).
Thank you, Sarah, for a reality check. Your words are strong, but they are true. Often times I find myself wishing for the perfectly kept house, perfect body, perfect... one thing. But what I have in Christ is soo much more than anything else.