A good dress is hard to find! As I was shopping for a wedding dress with my mom and younger sisters, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find one that is modest. I am particular, and I have certain requirements that need to be met that I wasn’t willing to compromise on. I was looking for something tasteful and elegant, that wasn’t too revealing either in the front or the back. And I wanted to wear the dress, not have the dress wear me. However, as I searched through racks of dresses, I was so disappointed to see countless dresses that were either incredibly low cut at the front, revealing too much for comfort, or very open in the back. While I was met with this reality, I didn’t allow it to become my reality. I was never going to wear a dress that I would be uncomfortable in and that I would be tugging and pulling at all day, trying to conceal what it was helpless to cover. Rather than compromise to what was available, I walked out empty handed from several stores. This hunt for a wedding dress reminded me of Romans 12:2 which says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.’
I did end up finding a dress, and I really love it! It is beautiful and it meets all of my requirements. It is a dress I feel comfortable in, and it is one that I am excited to wear. However, it didn’t always look the way it does now. As we found it on the rack, we were able to see its potential. It met so many of my requirements and, upon consultation, we found out we were able to alter it to meet the rest of the requirements I had. Do not conform to the pattern of this world. If you don’t like the atmosphere, change it! You have been empowered with the ability to do so! While I liked the dress that I ended up getting, I was able to change it into one that I absolutely love. I didn’t conform to the pattern of this world and purchase a dress I would be uncomfortable to wear. I won’t be revealing too much of myself to anyone who sees me wearing it. I waited and looked and I altered what I did not like. Do not conform in this life. Your life is too precious and your eternity is too important for that. Live a life you are proud to live, one that is glorifying to God, and though it may be difficult, it will never disappoint.
There is life all around us. We are surrounded by creation. As I look out the large window in our kitchen which offers a great view of our backyard, I see an expanse of green grass, trees with blooms beginning to appear, birds resting on tree branches and bushes and flying to and fro, squirrels scurrying, and ants silently marching, all going about their own tasks I know nothing about. How amazing it is to ponder! At every moment we are surrounded by creation, whether it be the nature that surrounds us or the people we encounter.
In our own limited understanding, we know very little about what is happening beyond our own situations. We don’t know the daily grind and struggle of the blue bird seeking solace in the tree nor do we know the inner workings of the person behind us in line at the grocery store. Yet God intimately knows it all. How amazing it is when you stop and truly reflect on that.
God is the creator. He intimately knows everything He has created, the birds of the air, the flowers of the field, the humans that inhabit the Earth, and He has not only created each and every thing for a specific purpose but He makes provision for all of His creation as well. The God we serve is so much bigger and greater than our comprehension. He holds the whole world in His hands. Take comfort in that today and know that whatever you may be experiencing or struggling with, He is more than able to take care of you.
I have never been pregnant, although one day perhaps I will be, but I have known many women who have been or currently are, and as I was thinking on the subject, I realized that it provides a beautiful illustration of the Lord’s presence in our lives.
Although an expectant mother is unable to see her unborn child, that doesn’t negate the presence of the child within her. Similarly, although we are unable to see Jesus, that doesn’t negate the fact that His Spirit is indeed dwelling within us. Just as an expectant mother is never alone because a human being is growing inside of her, we are never alone because the Lord Jesus Christ dwells within us. How comforting!
As a baby in the womb continues to grow and develop, the mother produces more visible signs of her pregnancy as her baby bump steadily protrudes. Similarly, as we continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord, we show more visible signs of that relationship in how we live our lives, which is evidenced by the fruits of the Spirit we are producing.
Pregnant mothers can remind us that we too are never alone. Although we may not have babies growing and developing inside of us, we are inhabited by the Spirit of God.
Things were never made to last. Everything breaks down, falls apart, becomes obsolete, or comes to an end. The cars we drive, the houses we live in, the technology we use, all require repair, maintenance, upkeep, and even replacements. It is part of life. Even our bodies decay. No matter how much money we may invest in a particular item, it won’t last, because it was never intended to. Therefore, our hope, our joy, our purpose, and our worth cannot come from these unstable things that are in constant flux and are thus unreliable. If we do mistakenly derive our hope, joy, purpose, and worth from those things, it will not last. We will always be wanting and left perpetually unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Thanks be to God our relationship with the Lord never becomes obsolete like the things of this world; it is always relevant, meaningful, and complete. ‘If we confess with our mouth and believe “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved’ (Romans 10:9).
As I was reading Proverbs 28, the first verse really resonated with me. It is so rich in imagery! ‘The wicked flee though no one pursues them, but the righteous are bold as a lion.’ Wow!
While teaching in Kuwait, my brother and I would travel to Kenya to visit family during some of our breaks from school. On one of our visits, our family went to a game park in Nakuru. While there, we stayed in a cabin in the midst of the park, and animals would roam free all around us. It was amazing but, looking back, it could have been terrifying! I thank the Lord for His protection.
On one of the mornings, a worker came by and woke us all very early because a lioness was passing by the cabin. We all hurriedly piled into the vehicle in pursuit of the lioness to see her in her natural habitat. What we saw was something that continues to stick with me. The lioness, though being followed fairly closely by a loud and large vehicle, showed no fear. She continued to walk boldly, confidently, and slowly along the path she had set out to take. She didn’t alter her course or hurry along to get out of our way. She was focused. She was fearless. She was bold. She knew who she was. She knew where she was. She knew where she was going. She didn’t lose sight of that in the face of unexpected circumstances. She remained unaffected by what was happening around her. This is how we are called to live as believers and it is a beautiful example for the world around us to see.
We have been blessed to be a blessing. We have not been blessed to selfishly hoard that blessing and keep it to ourselves, though sometimes it can be very tempting to do just that. Often I think we fear that, if we share our blessing with others, there will be little or none left for ourselves, but this is the wrong mindset. It is a worldly mindset. When we bless others with the blessing we have received, we are blessed in return. There is no need, for example, to refill a full cup. However, when that cup is poured out and becomes empty, it is ready to be filled once again. Furthermore, a cup is not filled so that it can contain water and remain unused on a counter, becoming stale, filling with dust particles, and rendering itself useless. If that is the case, it is not fulfilling its purpose. It is filled with water to help quench someone’s thirst. It is filled in order to be used. Like the cup, we are filled with the Spirit in order to be used by the Spirit. We are blessed in order to bless others. Go ahead, don’t be afraid to empty yourself of what you have received, it means you are ready to be filled and used once again!
What do you see when you look in the mirror? This isn’t a trick question 😉 And I’m not simply referring to a sweeping glance but to a thorough observation. The image staring back at you probably looks a little different now than it did ten years ago, though, despite the change, there is one common factor . . . You! Our reflection reveals to us our current state. Over the years, as we grow and age, our reflection inevitably changes. Wrinkles for example will appear and deepen, gray hairs begin to grow, etc.
Just as we have a physical reflection, we also have a spiritual reflection. We are called to be reflections of the Lord . . . To reflect His love and light to those around us. This Christ-like reflection may differ throughout the years as we grow in our relationship with the Lord. May our reflection of Him become clearer and brighter through the passage of time.
Sometimes our physical reflection doesn’t match up with the image we have of ourselves. Occasionally, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and be shocked at what is looking back; some days take more of a toll on us than others. Similarly, our Christlike reflection may not always be what we would like it to be . . . it can become clouded and obscured when sin gets in the way.
The next time you pass by a mirror and look at your reflection, as you primp and fix your hair or check your teeth, think about your Christlike reflection as well and whether or not the witness you are projecting is clearly reflecting the Lord to those you encounter.
‘If You are the Sun, then I want to be the moon;
I want to reflect the light that shines from You.’
~’Sun and Moon’ by Phil Wickham