Sunday, October 25, 2009

With the problems women already have with their appearance and their body image; a recent headline really struck a nerve with me. A very well known celebrity has been encouraging her daughter to take her clothes off for a movie. She persuaded her daughter to take a role as a stripper and a lover to her “boyfriend” character in the movie and to get naked “while she’s still young.”

Media already plays a huge role in the way women feel about themselves and how men view women. Clothing ads all have skinny models. Movies portray sexy women with perfect figures. Modeling shows parade around stick thin women all competing to win a large monetary contract leaving those who do not make the final cut feeling horrible about themselves. It is shocking to me that even a mother would encourage her child to parade her nude body around for millions of viewers while playing a stripper.

Not only are we subjected to “perfect” “sexual” women on television, in movies and magazines; but we also see them displayed in pop up ads while innocently checking our e-mail. The other day I was googling a VERY innocent subject searching for an image to use in a card I wanted to print for a friend. Somehow my google search engine setting was changed to “No Filter.” I came across a very pornographic image. I was in shock! I was angered!

The world has an extremely distorted view of beauty. I wish I could shake each person until their brain rattles and they see what true and real beauty is. (lol…my anger showing?) But out of the anger and the insecurities and the self disgust I often feel, there is one thing I hold on to; my Lord and Savior.

I know my God sees how beautiful I am. He made me. His designs are all perfect. His works are awe inspiring. Each woman or man or child…we are all beautifully created. What matters most about each of us is our internal beauty. The saying “pretty is as pretty does” is honestly a very true statement. There are women who seem perfectly put together externally, but their internal attitudes make them appear less attractive.

The Lord says:
1 Peter 3:3-4 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious

In other words, it doesn’t matter what we look like or what we wear. It matters not our hairstyle or how straight our teeth are. We are called to be beautiful within.
Just to clarify, I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to be physically fit, dress nice, or watch what we eat. However, we should not let it be the driving force for our validity as a woman of beauty.

The other day we had a womens meeting discussing the truth of beauty and I was called on to share something with the women on “real” beauty. Below is a poem that I wrote for that event. As I read the poem, the instrumental version of Barlow Girl’s “Mirror” was playing while I removed every ounce of makeup and recited the following poem. I hope that you will gain something from it. I pray that the Lord will teach you the beauty you posses and that you will see that because you are His child, because you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”; that you are worth more than a rare diamond.

Made by your hands
Designed from your plan.
The same one who made the seas
Created the beauty in me
Lies of this world tell me who I should be.
But Father, I trust you…

You know me inside and out
Your love for me, covers all doubt.
True beauty lies within my heart
I am your work of art
Lies of this world try to tear my beauty apart.
But Father, I trust you…

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain
In your eyes; I could never be plain.
Fearfully and wonderfully designed
In your eyes; my beauty shines
Lies of this world try to make true beauty blind.
But father, I trust you…

Complete in your reflection
My loveliness needs no correction.
You love me inside and out
You notice what my heart is truly about
Lies of this world try to fill my head with doubt.
But Father, I trust you…

Rachel W. Clark
September 2009

Please see the Barlow Girl Video at the bottom of the page titled “Mirror.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ahhhhhhhh (big breath and deep sigh)

For the past several weeks I have felt blah! I haven’t known why and couldn’t explain it. I haven’t felt like myself. I am usually motivated and full of life and energy. I seem to be always seeking something productive to get my hands in to. Here lately, I haven’t been me. I haven’t felt like Rachel.
I do not like this feeling. I have tried to pinpoint the source of my feelings. Is it because of the weather and seasons changing? Could it be because my husband and I are struggling financially right now? Is it possible that this wait, for him to receive a job, is finally getting me down? Or maybe, these past 8 months of the unknown, of taking each day as it comes, of looking for strength to remain hopeful that our time will come is finally getting harder and harder to do. I wasn’t sure.
It seems like it is all too common for five things to go wrong when one thing begins going downhill. I am a hopeful person. I try to stay positive in negative situations. It is something I have had to work to obtain. But, positivity started to become very easy for me when it comes to waiting on the Lord. However, lately; it has been really hard to remain upbeat. I am seeking God’s word harder. I am trying to hear His voice in the midst of my “trials.”
The one verse I keep stumbling upon comes from Proverbs 18:10 – The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
It has really taken me almost a month to realize why the Lord keeps showing me this verse. I have not been able to understand it until today. I felt like I have been looking too deep for the meaning to try and apply it to my day. But what I see when I hear this verse and what I visualize has made no sense until now. Each time I hear this verse, I imagine a tornado or terrible storm approaching or I can see a thief or robber or murder chasing after me and running in to this strong, steel, unbreakable building and hiding for safety. Then it hit me…..I am seeing this correctly.
That is exactly what is happening…my finances have taken a hit from a terrible storm. The enemy has sought after me to steal and rob my joy and my money. He has tried to kill my spirit and shatter my strength. But I hear the Lord telling me to keep running to Him and I will be safe. It does not matter if it takes 100 times; for 100 times He will be there. The Lord won’t let this storm remain in my life for longer than He knows I can handle. He is showing me that while I wait, I have a place to run.
I know that things will look up for us, and though it is weary to wait for the time…it will come. It has just been difficult for me because I am great as a giver…but not as a receiver. These past 8 months, I have had to humble myself to receive from others. People in my life have given to us financially, provided us with meals, and so much more. I am thankful, for I know the Lord gave these people to us for a reason. I know that through their hands, He has been providing and I trust Him to continue.
I know that eventually things will look up for us. My husband will have a job again, our bills will be straightened out, and we will be able to have more money than we need. Be assured, when that time comes…we will give unselfishly to others and we will save as much as we can…just in case. I know that the Lord has been teaching me, shaping me, and preparing me. I know He has a greater vision ahead. I lost my sight and direction for a couple of weeks. However, now I am starting to see again.
Thank you Lord for your promises. Thank you Lord for Jeremiah 29:11… For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I claim that!!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Small Break

For some reason my writing bug has left me. I haven’t felt inspired or creative enough to write anything at this time. I am praying and trusting the Lord to reveal to me what He would have me write. So, I may be off of here for a while….seeking.

Monday, October 5, 2009

For the love of God

Who has been wronged? How many people have hurt you deeply? Who has loved with all their being and given of themselves unselfishly to another, only to have it thrown back in to your face?
I have! I had a friend that I loved and cared for deeply. I would do anything for her and the majority of the time did. For one reason or another, our friendship ended. When it did end I was left brokenhearted and confused.
I used to let people use me. My need for approval in the past left me giving my all and draining my soul. I wanted to be liked, loved, considered a good friend, pleasing and loving. But, for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of loving her in a manner in which God would be glorified, I let fear of rejection run my emotions and overdid myself. I bit my tongue when I saw her life being shattered because of the decisions she was making. I knew the reason her life was crumbling was her lack of faith and her non-existent relationship with Christ. I did not ever want to upset her. I would speak little of turning to God for help, but if I felt her close up, I would pretend I never said anything. I felt that if I were to be honest with her about the way her life was headed, that I would be considered closed minded and mean. Instead of being the godly friend I should have been, I failed her.
When this relationship finally came to an end, it was during a time in my life when my own relationship with Christ was strengthening. Timid, quiet, “respectful”, open-minded me suddenly started speaking my mind to her about her lifestyle and the response wasn’t received well. One time in particular she told me that I was self-righteous. She told me that I acted as if my life was perfect and I had no problems. That after 10+ years of friendship with this person and me giving my all to them, I was told she never considered me anything other than an acquaintance. WHOA!
However, I cannot fully blame her for the hurt I felt. I accept probably more than partial responsibility. Because I loved her, I should have been honest with her from the beginning and never tiptoed around her to avoid confrontation. If I had been honest all the time in the beginning, instead of when our relationship started to crumble, she may still be in my life and I might have been able to be used as more of an influence on the importance of a relationship with Christ.
Now that I am older and have learned from my mistakes, I have found that it is easier to be myself – Jesus lover and all- and to be honest about who I am from the beginning. If my convictions run someone off, at least I know that a seed has probably been planted. It saves me a lot of hurt and heartache now to be me from the start because I know God shines through and if they run away screaming, at least I know that I did what I could to be a true witness for Christ.