Friday, May 27, 2016

Being Raw

Authenticity. Over the past several years in our culture, authenticity is a concept that has been buried in a closet somewhere. People have gone about their lives for years, hiding their hurts, fears, doubts and confusion, even in the church, a place where people should be free to be open and honest about their struggles. The church itself has become a place where taking off a mask and being real causes the vast majority to frown upon your mistakes - to scorn and to judge.

Maybe this is the reason we so often hear the common phrase, "church-goers are hypocrites." Because here is the sha-bam... everyone struggles with something. Surprised? I didn't think so. It's a simple and obvious concept, but one that is easy to overlook when surrounded by a room full of people who seem to have it all together. There's something called the human condition. It's an innate nature in each of us, and it's one that we battle every. single. day. No one is exempt.

Why have we fallen into this repetitive, daily trap of hiding?
Fear of judgement, fear of being hurt, talked about and rejected. Ironically, fear of being subjected to these things by our fellow human beings, all of whom should understand better than anyone the struggle of sin nature.

See, we live in a society where "fake" has become the norm. Where airbrushed models, selfies and perfect social media facades are something to be admired. The world we've become comfortable with, is a dangerous one. It encourages us to shove our struggles behind closed doors, left to be unfaced and unchallenged. It's a dangerous place to be.

When we don't face our problems, they grow. They fester and spread. So many don't know how to break out of prison, because no one told them how. Or why they would want to.

This is no small issue. And it's highly overlooked.

We need to challenge ourselves as a society to be there for others. The only way to do this, is to first be real with yourself and with God. And then start allowing yourself to be real with others. We are given experiences in life to be better equipped to come alongside people who are struggling with similar situations. Don't let your story be untold.

If you are a church-goer - you are the church. You have the ability to be that Christ-like example - to minister to those that God brings into your life. Don't hold back. Christ didn't hold back from you. Not only did Jesus know the most real and raw version of you; he loved you enough to take your deepest regrets, mistakes and burdens, and to own them for you. Think about that. The most perfect and holy man in all of creation chose to love you, not to scorn you. He didn't just listen and know your problems, He cried with you, and made them His own.

Here is a challenge. It's time to be raw. It's time to be real.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

With Respect // My Thoughts on Dressing Vintage

It's probably a bit controversial to bring this up, but I figure, if you have a platform to speak your thoughts on something, you may as well go for it! I was reading, recently, an article over at the Vintage Vixen blog about the mind behind the statement, " I wish women still dressed like that." No secret to anyone here, I am a complete vintage guru. I love dressing the way women used to dress- ladylike and feminine. Solanah was driving the idea that when a man says, " I wish women still dressed like that," what he really means is that he wishes women were still put in a lower role beneath men. There was a deal more to her argument than that, so if you are interested, you can click here to read her thoughts.

In general, I don't have super strong opinions about things unless they undermine something God has laid out in the bible. Even among fellow Christians there is often so much controversy over matters like free will/pre-destination, pre tribulation/mid tribulation etc. Generally, I say, if it isn't spelled out for you in the Bible one way or another, and both sides have verses to back up their theories, then both should be considered and respected. But neither should be taken as fact- because God didn't say that either way was the only way!

With something like Solanah's post however, I can't help but want to join in on the little debate- we're talking vintage and ethics here- who wouldn't? Haha! On a more serious note, my thoughts go something like this. If a guy says he likes the way you dress because your style is vintage, it should be taken as a compliment. I know, at least from experience with my guy friends, if they admire the way you dress, it is because they respect you for dressing modestly and like a true lady. A lot of times women today are so stuck on being equal with men, that they cast off the idea of being feminine with disgust. If you are a woman, then what is so wrong with acting and dressing like one? There is something extremely beautiful in embracing your femininity as a girl- it's a gift, and it should be protected. In some ways, I guess it is sort of like swimming up stream, just like being a Christian.

Anyways, in a nutshell? If a young man compliments me on the way I dress ( in a polite, non creepy way), then I'll take it as a compliment, not a rude, underhanded statement of male chauvinism.

On another note- I think to stop dressing vintage entirely, simply because a person feels like men are looking down on you the way they did in the 50s is sort of a lack of self confidence. Dressing vintage is already stepping out of your comfort zone to express yourself, despite what people think. In my eyes, as long as I am dressing modestly, who cares what other people think? If a guy does think I am below him because of the way I dress, huzzah for him- he can go on his merry way. And I would say too, that categorizing all men who like the vintage style to be looking down on women is a pretty carte blanche thing to say, and not fair to the other men who really do look on a true lady with respect and admiration.

Some girls were commenting as well, that they felt that they received some lewd comments/ behavior because of their vintage style- mostly because of the whole pinup caboodle. But honestly, as long as a girl is dressing modestly, it doesn't really matter what you wear- vintage, modern- you still meet creeps who will turn you into an object no matter what era of clothing you are wearing.

I hope this isn't taken the wrong way by anyone- don't be afraid to voice your opinions- just do so in love! I respect all of your thoughts, but I think discussion should definitely be something done in good, fair and kind conduct.

Alex <3

Everything to God in Prayer

I was thinking today about how incredibly amazing it is that we can come to God at any time, and for any reason. I love that we don't have to wait for the perfect moment- He is always waiting eagerly to hear from us. Whether we be asking for forgiveness, prayer for others, or even just having a shoulder to cry on in difficult times, God will always be available and ready to have meaningful conversation with us. To top it all off, we tend to become so distracted by every day life, that we forget or push aside our time with the Lord. Yet He is still listening for us when we want to talk to Him. It reminds me of the hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Sometimes I think I prefer hymns over other worship songs, simply because their words are so rich, thoughtful and full of meaning. I would encourage you all to read through the words below and really digest them. It's a beautiful song, with a beautiful message that should truly be taken to heart.

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  2. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful,
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness;
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  3. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer!
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Downfall of Shopping Hauls

Happy December, Dearies! It's been an awful long time since I've brought a post to this blog- my apologies! Today I thought I would share this video I filmed earlier this afternoon. This is a video that has been on my mind for a while now, and I am so excited to finally have it finished! Unfortunately I was losing light so it's not too long- short and sweet I suppose! Comment to let me know what you girls think!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happiness is a Choice

It's interesting- perhaps I just become more perceptive as time goes on, but it seems like more and more I am discovering people I know who suffer with sadness or depression. Maybe it even has to do with where I am in my life- my age, the age of my friends. On the same token, undoubtedly, there are people I know who are either really adept at hiding sadness, or they just haven't suffered anything traumatic enough to alter their personalities that way (thank the Lord). Nonetheless, whether it be in the blogging realm, or my life here in So Cal, it never ceases to amaze me.

So many things can be the cause- chemical imbalance, life events, other people. Especially blogging- the more publicity you snag, the more you attract the internet trolls- unfortunately. There are people lurking, just wasting time, waiting to ruin someones day. It can get to me often, when I see friends of mine suffering from this- I can't understand how anyone could be cruel and thoughtless enough to drop a comment on some forum in cyber space that starts a crazy, wacked out trail of internet bullies. 

Then there's "real life" as it could be called. A lot of times, I think the life events that take place day to day are like the wood for the fire, and the internet realm sets it a flame. Why? Because we all have base insecurities, every single one of us. All it takes is for someone to hit a cord that will bring out all of those nasty hurts we've worked so hard to brush aside and move on from. 

But besides those little things, there are always underlying causes for sadness- something that lurks in our minds and gives us that melancholy facet to our thought life.

The thing about sadness and depression is that it will nag you incessantly, until it fills every thought, every action, every word. And it feeds off of each day that passes- like Chinese water torture. The more you think about the things that scar you, the more the dripping water drives you to a state of madness. 

Which is why a choice must be made. Struggling with sadness or depression is like wearing handcuffs, and having the key to unlock them sitting right in front of you. But you make no move for them. Because sometimes letting go of the memories and things that ail you can seem more painful than remembering. It's gathering the courage to reach for that key and release yourself from whatever it is that holds you back. 

The thing is that our minds will grasp at anything we can to hold onto those hurts- even though we don't want to suffer the pain anymore, it just takes too much strength for a human being to let go on their own. 

Mathew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Sometimes we will reach a point where, at long last, we realize we don't want to feel this way anymore. The times when I've experienced this, I've had to sit back, say a farewell to those feelings and memories that have held me captive, and pray to God that he will remove them from me. While a part of me aches for the thought I letting it all go, I realize that I will be all the better for giving it up to God, and leaving my bundle ( as in Pilgrim's Progress) at the foot of the cross. When we let go, God is faithful to heal us. It's not to say that old wounds won't be re-opened from time to time- it's a journey, a breath by breath process. But it's 100% easier when we know that God is there beside us. It's a much less lonely notion that muddling through it by yourself- and trusting that He will be faithful to work it all out is momentous! What an incredible relief it is to trust that we will one day be able to look back and see how it all makes sense.

"Cast all your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."
 Psalm 55:22

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Greatest of These

Going into this new year, I am so greatly blessed by the things God has done in 2013. It's always so complicated to see why things happen during the height of a storm, but once you get a chance to take a moment and look back, it's amazing to see how He worked it all out for my benefit. There are still things I don't understand- undoubtedly. But seeing the good in smaller things helps me to have faith to believe that the bigger things will work out the same. I've mentioned this before, but, it is such a comfort to be able to sit back and say, "As long  as I do the things I know are right by God, he will be faithful to work things out according to His plan." It is an incredible relief, to know that the course of my life is in the hands of God. I don't need to worry!

I've been blessed by amazing friends and experiences in 2013. I look forward to 2014 with excitement, a little nervousness, but most of all, filling it with the people I love.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stamped and Approved

I found this great little quote back in the Spring, and was quick to write it down in a journal. Only yesterday did I finally get around to finding it again, and it was so great that I thought it would be a good one to share,

" Sometimes the people around you will not understand what your love for Christ compels you to do; do it anyway."

Especially in society the way it is today, it isn't uncommon to have friends mocking you for your faith. Sometimes we just have to remember that God is the only one who really matters. You reach a point where you just have to tune out those voices of doubt, and focus on Him. I've had times before, whether my choice was small or large, where I had to literally picture Jesus holding my hand. When I've done that, I never feel alone because I know He's there with me. In the end, it's all that's important.

Romans 12:2 "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."