Sunday, July 26, 2015

Am I Skinny Enough For You?

(Beware: Complete transparency and insecurities addressed below)



Last week at my girls' swim lessons, I was approached by another mom who gave me a sample pack from a company that specializes in weight loss. She didn't say anything or explain why she was giving it to me; she simply told me to call her with any questions. Not realizing what just happened or how to react, I just smiled and said, "Thank you." It wasn't until after the lessons were done that I had a chance to process what just went down and couldn't help but wonder..

 Had this stranger just looked at me and decided that I needed to lose weight?

Something about me is that I am not exactly proud when it comes to my physical appearance- never have been. I like to think that I've gone through life being strong and confident in a lot of things, but truth be told, I still have vulnerabilities and insecurities just like everyone else. I may not think I'm downright repulsive, but I do have this perception of myself and what I should look like, and let me tell you what, it is NOT matching up to the image I see in the mirror.  So when someone I don't even know basically implies I have "room to shrink," its pretty hard to keep my head held high.

I wish at this point I could say that I held my ground...  that I scoffed at the nonsense and let it roll off my shoulder... but I didn't. In fact, I stared at that packet for almost an hour, locked in my room, crying my eyes out. It didn't matter what sweet and encouraging words my husband was telling me on the phone or what I knew in my spirit was truth, I had hit a new low and was basking in the self-pity. The thing is, I had never really dealt with someone else basically reaffirming my own physical insecurities, let alone a stranger!!! Sure, I had people make comments about the size of my bum when I was younger, but back then I must have not realized how mean they were or I didn't care. Either way, for the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of how I looked... and this comes after going through four pregnancies. Yeah, it was pretty bad y'all.

So why am I telling you this sob story? Because chances are, you've been there. Maybe you are there. You know what it feels like to be judged in one way or another. That pain that is so deep and so personal that it begins to cripple you from the inside out. No matter how hard you try to put it in the back of your mind, every once in awhile you are clearly reminded of how you don't measure up to the standard of someone else.  You're not skinny enough... You're not smart enough... You're not rich enough... You're not creative enough... You're not... You're not... You're not...

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of listening to those lies. I'm tired of feeling as though I'm not good enough to walk around with a smile on my face and be proud of who I am. I'm tired of doubting. I'm tired of ME. Because truth be told, no matter what anyone else has said, it is ME who has believed those lies. I gave in.

What is so ridiculous is that there is absolutely no way anyone who could EVER convince me that there is no God. Ain't gonna happen folks; truth is truth. Oh, but if someone tells me that I'm not wonderfully made but instead that I need to lose a few pounds, they are instantly in my "circle of trust?!" What is WRONG with that picture y'all?! Well I'll tell you what's wrong, I let the opinion of a complete stranger matter more than the truth of the founder of perfection... the One who created me in His image... the One who "saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31)... the One who says that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). I put my identity into the wrong hands and the Word is pretty clear:

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself"- Proverbs 26:4

I may not have responded with words, but I responded in a way that ultimately made me no less of a fool than the lady who handed me a weight loss pamphlet. I knew truth, yet I chose to ignore it and it only caused me pain.

But you know what the great part is? There is a Redeemer. There is a Comforter when it felt as though I had no joy left inside of me. The Lord "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3). He poured out His love and mercy over me and gently reminded me that..

"In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence"- Proverbs 14:26

"For the LORD will be your confidence"- Proverbs 3:26

"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."- Deuteronomy 31:6

... my dignity is not for the taking, as long as I willing give it to Him. He formed me. Only He determines my identity. He is my confidence.

Friend, my hope is not to get your sympathy, but rather to encourage you with my story; to remind you that you are beautiful. You are God's creation, I hope you don't take that lightly. I'm not saying that you won't encounter hard days, but there is such hope and joy in knowing that as long as you put your identity in the hands of God rather than in the hands of man, your confidence in and through Him will stand.

Friday, July 10, 2015

{Fashioned with a Purpose} Featuring :Altar'd State

One thing I absolutely love is supporting businesses, groups and/or organizations that have solid values, goals and missions that are focused on improving the lives of others. There is something so rewarding about investing into those who invest in others. That being said, once a week I will try to feature a new business or other venture that has a heart for people and is impacting the world in a positive way. 

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First Up... 




One of the many great things about this woman's fashion boutique, aside from its amazing style and selection, is there is one located here in Oklahoma City! I hadn't heard anything about Altar'd State when I saw it for the first time in the local mall, but it didn't take long for me to not only fall in love with its clothes and accessories, but with the heart of the company as well: 

"People often ask us why? The answer is simple, to give back. It is not just what we do, it is who we are. We want to do more than provide fashionable alternatives to young women who want to make a difference. We want to inspire a movement to stand out - for good."


I have tremendous respect for this company and what it is about.  Not only does it donate 1% of all its sales to charity, but it has an entire section for prayer requests on its website. It's clear the heartbeat of Altar'd State is driven by giving back and that is something worth supporting. So go ahead friend... head on over to their website and find your next date night outfit and be fashioned with a purpose!



*All images are property of Altar'd State


For more information or to do some good ol' online shopping, visit their website at
www.altardstate.com

Have a blessed day friends! 

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Do you own a business or are a part of an organization that you would like to be featured on my blog? Send me an email to theJARettedal@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Being Intentional With Love.


I want to help the world. That is a genuinely honest straight-from-the-heart fact

Every morning when I turn on the news and see terrible story after terrible story, I begin to brainstorm about how I am personally going to change the lives of these hurting people. I'm not one who is content to just sit there and hear about how all these children are being abused and do nothing about it. No, I am going to make it right. I am an Olivia Pope (with a straighter moral compass of course). I am a fixer. My mind starts to devise ways that I can help people across the globe in big ways. And let me just tell you, I've had some pretty spectacular plans if I do say so myself. I don't want to give away all my tactics, but they range from: simply running into the local missing girl at the grocery store to winning the lottery in order to buy thousands of houses for the Nepal earthquake victims (obviously very feasible plans).

That is, until reality hits and my woman of valor bubble is bursted when my three-year-old boy comes in soaking wet after an accident. I am quickly reminded that the only thing I will try to save that day is the mattress from getting stained and maybe a baby bunny that has a death wish trying to survive in our backyard with two great big dogs. And to be honest, that's okay with me. (After all, what heroine has braces? I mean, really?) 

Yes, I'd love to be able to impact the world in a great and astounding way in order to better peoples' lives, but aside from the fact that I may completely lack the skill set or resources to do such things, it may be as simple as, that's not what I'm here for (Besides, I can't quite live up to the standard of the One who literally saved the world already. He kind of set the bar high on that one [John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 Timothy 1:15]). 



It may be that the only thing I'm here for and/or capable of is to love and encourage those around me; to share the steadfast love of Jesus with those hurting so that they may then turn and share it with others. The ripple effect of just introducing someone to a God full of grace and mercy is immeasurable. I guess impacting the world can look as simple as loving your neighbor... raising your children to honor and respect... sponsoring a child in need... or praying for those hurting on the news. It doesn't take creating a non-profit organization or winning the lottery or randomly encountering the President to make a difference... it simply takes being intentional with love.