Monday, July 9, 2018

The Blessing of Sisterhood PART II - Dinner #90

THE BLESSING OF SISTERHOOD
Part II



“All girls?!”  I have heard it all my life.  The truth is, I went from having only sisters, to now having only daughters!  Four daughters, to be exact.  They are our beautiful little “stair steps”, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  I daily find myself in a world of pink and purple, dolls and dress-up, hair accessories and tiaras.  But it’s what I’m used to.  It’s all I’ve ever known.  God has surrounded me with female relationships, and in so doing, He has given me a rare perspective on the beauty and the blessing of SISTERHOOD. 

You see, the blessing of biological sisterhood is very special.  The blessing of Christian sisterhood is sacred.  We’re adopted into God’s family.  We’ve been bought with a price.  Our hearts are knit together by a common salvation.  And we each have a special purpose in the body of Christ. 

Romans 12:4-6 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us . . .”

I Corinthians 12:4-6 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administration, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”

My girls are quite close together in age, but each one has a personality entirely her own.  God intends for it to be that way!  The same is true in the body of Christ. 

I Corinthians 12:17-18, 20-21 “If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him . . . But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

It is so easy for us to look at each other and compare. To complain when other members of the church don’t appear to be doing as much work as we are.  But perhaps Sister-So-And-So doesn’t possess the gift of service, as you do.  Perhaps she won’t be the lady overseeing nursery Sunday after Sunday.  She has been given the gift of exhortation and is writing encouraging letters.  Or she has been given the gift of prayer and is interceding on the behalf of every person in the church directory.  Who are we to judge and say, “You aren’t doing your part” . . .  “I have no need of thee”?

Do sisters sometimes squabble? Certainly!  But God desires that, as His daughters, we seek to be at peace with one another!

I Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that she should inherit a blessing.”

Colossians 3:13-17 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” 

The Scriptures call for UNITY among the brethren.  How much could our loving Heavenly Father accomplish in this world, if His girls would only WORK TOGETHER?!

Philippians 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Philippians 2:1,2 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

“She hit me!” . . . “She won’t share!” . . . Perhaps our disagreements don’t sound so childish as grown women, but we are prone to aggravate and annoy one another, nonetheless.  This is true, even in God’s family! 

 “The decorations for the Ladies’ Fellowship are horrendous!” . . . “Did you see how short her skirt was on Wednesday night?!” . . . “She doesn’t immunize her children!” . . . “Why am I the only one baking cookies for Vacation Bible School?!”

Romans 12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

Philippians 2:3,4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

Caring about one another.  Praying for each other.  Rejoicing with those who are rejoicing, and weeping with those who are weeping.  (Rom. 12:15) 

I Thessalonians 5:11 “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”

Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today. . .”

Why? Why put forth the effort to “get along”?  Because we are the body of Christ! 

I Corinthians 12:25-27 “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

The word “schism” in that verse means “a rent, as in a garment, a division”.  Imagine a beautiful wedding gown - the beads, the embroidery, the sparkles - but when you lift it out of the box, you find there is a giant rip right down the front.  It’s enough to bring any young bride to tears.  May the Lord help us as we seek to “hold the stitching together” . . . As we seek to live in harmony, doing our God-given part in the body of Christ. 

There is something so beautiful about watching my little girls ENJOYING spending time together.  Whenever I happen upon those scenes where the four of them are engaged in some fabulous imaginative play, or where two are snuggled together on the couch reading a book together, I immediately feel the need to grab my camera. Such moments never seem to happen often enough!  How much more must God feel that way about us?  How must HE smile, when He watches His daughters greeting each other pleasantly in church, painting the backdrop for Vacation Bible School without complaining, kneeling in prayer together . . .

Psalm 133:1 tells us, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

I encourage you to do those things that tend toward UNITY with your sisters in Christ, this week! 










Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Blessing of Sisterhood PART I - Dinner #89

THE BLESSING OF SISTERHOOD
PART I


Ironed uniforms.  Taps at sunset.  The ear-splitting sound of jets taking off.  Airshows.  Commissaries.  And moving boxes. 

We lived in 8 different houses through the course of my military childhood.  My parents treated each new duty station as an adventure.  Across state lines, the scenery, the brand names, and the accents changed, but my immediate family stayed the same.  We were quite close, my two younger sisters and I.  People often referred to us as “The Guthrie Girls”.  As sisters, we were not only family, but friends and classmates, too.  Homeschooling brought a sense of stability to our constantly changing lives, and we loved it. 

My sister Jessica is nearly 3 years younger than myself.  Being the middle child, my mom used to refer to her as the “Oreo filling.” She was the peacemaker in the bunch.  She was enamored with horses and cowgirls, and could definitely look the part.  Her outstanding feature was her long blonde hair.  Until the time she went off to college, it only saw healthy trimmings.  I had thick bangs and waves that went every which way.  Jess’ hair curled up and frizzed up in humidity, and tangled horribly in water and wind, but she resembled a Medieval princess with a long rippling sheet of blonde down her back when her hair wasn’t braided.  Jessica was lovely.  She’s still gorgeous, by the way.  But, most important of all, she was sweet.  She prayed beautifully.  She read Scripture beautifully.  She often played the role of peacemaker.  And she was nearly always willing to participate in whatever playtime idea her bossy big sister concocted next.  All in all, she was pretty amazing.  Whether it be Barbie “Olympics” or “orphan trains”, elaborate dress-up story lines or Disney karaoke, Lincoln logs or toy soldiers, Jess was my closest friend. 

Ashley was the baby in the family.  She’s in her late 20s now, but forever an adorable curly-headed preschooler in my mind.  Some of my earliest recollections of our homeschooling days include her sitting at the dining room table with us, coloring or playing with the Math-U-See blocks while we did our school papers.  She was learning about “Leif Erikson” and “Erik the Red” right along with us, and for a period of a year or two she had “Luke Skywalker” for an imaginary friend.  She was a little firecracker and consequently the one who got annoyed and pestered the most by her sisters.  Quite special to me is the fact that our sisterly relationship grew stronger in the years after I got married.  Ashley was the member of my family who visited the most often.  She came to help me after every baby was born.  She was the one who took the beautiful newborn photos, the one who helped get lunch on the table amid the toddler wails, the one who sat on the couch and had long talks while I waited for my husband to arrive home from selling cars.  She jumped wholeheartedly into her role of “Auntie”, sending cards for every birthday and holiday, and buying presents to go with every birthday theme her nieces and their mother came up with. She’s a pretty strong and fabulous young woman, and I love her dearly! 

Jessica and Ashley are my biological sisters.  We memorized AWANA verses together, tent camped together, canoed through alligator-infested waters together, survived eating Mom’s “mush-mush-crumble” together . . . We’ve made hundreds and even thousands of memories, while walking hand-in-hand.  Sisters.  There’s no other bond quite like it on earth. 

But it doesn’t stop there.  Our loving Creator has taken a relationship so special and precious – the bond of SISTERHOOD – and has allowed that concept to spill over into the spiritual realm as well.  How tremendously beautiful that we can also have Sisters in Christ!  We can be members together of GOD’S family!

No two ladies are exactly alike.  God has created us with unique personalities, weaknesses, strengths . . . If we are His children, then He has given us certain spiritual gifts as well.  We may be as different from each other as night and day, and yet, God in His infinite wisdom has woven us together in a beautiful tapestry of grace; members of one body - the body of Christ.        

I Corinthians 12:12, 14 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ . . . For the body is not one member, but many.”

How is this possible? Because when we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we are adopted into God’s family! 

Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.  Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

No matter the race, the nationality, the background . . .

Colossians 3:11 “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

Are you a believer in Christ?  Have you been adopted into God’s family? Then you, Dear Lady, have sisters! – Beloved sisters in Christ!  Do you realize how very special that is?!  There are women and girls from every country around the globe united by the redemption that can only be found in the Lord Jesus.  Do biological sisters, by nature, love each other?  How much more should sisters in Christ love one another!

I John 4:11,12 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. . . If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love . . .”

I pray that as you finish reading Part I of this devotional, you’ll thank God for the beautiful blessing of SISTERHOOD. 

Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue.”




Friday, June 1, 2018

Return To Candidate School - Dinner #88


The truth? Last year, I sat at missionary candidate school and I cried as I asked my husband, “Can we really do this?  Can we really do this to our kids?”  You see, deputation can be a daunting task.  Missions conferences all over the U.S., late nights, long drives, strange beds...


Yesterday afternoon, I found myself at BIMI’s headquarters, sitting in the same exact bedroom we had last year.  I’ve often thought about the 2017 training session where Mrs. Snyder had all the second-year candidate school ladies share lessons and blessings from THEIR first year of deputation . . . Now, here I am, myself.  We’ve only been “full time” since January, but oh how our lives have changed since this time last summer! 

What would I say to those following along behind us?  What would I share with the missionary mamas who are just about to embark on this deputation journey?

--------------------------------------

There will be “fewer” – fewer movies and TV shows, fewer possessions that you feel are “must haves”, fewer evenings alone with your husband . . . But there will be “more” too – more restaurants, more opportunities for creative romance, more road trip photos, more friends than you’ve ever had before, more preaching from God’s Word . . . Don’t be afraid to embrace the changes!

Psalm 65:11 “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness. . .”

You’re going to swap overwhelming “Mommy tasks”. Piles of dishes and meals to prepare will turn into packing, unpacking, and re-packing, and organizing things to occupy your children in the car for hours on end.

Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Education for the children will switch from “at the kitchen table” to clipboards, and missionary encounters, and totally awesome field trips along the way.

Deuteronomy 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, 
and when thou risest up.”

Be prepared for days you want to jump out of the van and leave your husband behind - LOL, and moments when you realize you’ve never been closer together as a family in your life. God’s blessings are always there if you look for them. 

Psalm 26:3 “For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes . . .”

Open your heart to love and be loved by ladies in churches all across America.  Open your heart to love and be loved by fellow missionary wives all over the globe.

Psalm 26:12 “My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the LORD.”

Psalm 122:1 “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

Don’t let your guard down in thinking that 15 or 20 “church days” in a month is “sufficient” or “enough” – You’re going to need your PERSONAL time with the Lord like never before.  You’re going to need some special-to-you deputation verses to cling to, as well.  God is the Only One Who can see you through this journey!

Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.”

It is vital that you “love on” your children daily – hugs, snuggles, books, audio adventures, art projects (even in hotel rooms), puppets, funny songs in the car . . .

Genesis 33:5 “. . . And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.”

Be ready to use some God-given creativity.  You may be making peanut butter sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls, when the sliced bread is running low.  You may be laying your kiddos crossways in order to fit three to a bed, or placing a sleeping bag on top of a deflated air mattress for added cushioning.  Make sure you have plenty of Bible songs, and coloring sheets, and washable crayons in your “back pocket”.  Ask the Lord to help you be flexible! 

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is 
stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee.”

Your children are going to love it more than you ever thought they would!  Sure, they’re going to have days when they admit, “I want to go home!”  You are too!  But most of the time they’re going to be begging to be the next one to push the elevator button, and asking if they can have waffles at the continental breakfast.  They’re going to be excited to sit beside the pastor’s wife at the missions banquet, and inviting other children to look at their display table.  They’re going to be telling others about cool places they’ve visited, and requesting to see your hostess’ talking parrot as soon as they wake up in the morning.  Deputation can be a childhood adventure they’ll never forget!

Isaiah 54:13 “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD;and great 
shall be the peace of thy children.”

God can take care of any and every financial difficulty you’ll face.  You can truly leave every need and every want in His care.  You might be running low on gasoline or “Goldfish” crackers, needing a date night with your husband, worrying about how worn your girls’ church shoes are, or thinking how pleasant it would be for them to have a new book to read or a doll to share this journey with them, and the Lord will suddenly provide! Sometimes from a corner you never would have expected . . . When you’re doing God’s will, He truly DOES take care of you! He shows Himself FAITHFUL – again, and again, and again, and again . . .

Matthew 6:32 “ . . . for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

Are you about to “step out by faith”, as they say? Is the “road to missions” laying before you?  Rest assured that the Lord is by your side!

Psalm 121:8 “The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

May the Lord bless you, Dear Ladies, as you seek to serve Him with your lives! 




Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Thought On Marriage



1 Peter 3 starts by speaking of the husband and wife in their individual roles, and then groups all together as they are in Christ - BRETHREN. Verses 8-11 were no doubt written for all believers, regardless of their marital status, but I believe it would do couples good to read this passage and to think of it as an ongoing discourse on marriage. Having compassion and courtesy, not seeking to “get even”, keeping our tongues from evil, pursuing peace ... We live in a day when Satan would like nothing better than to destroy our homes - May we “seek peace, and ensue it.”

Friday, May 4, 2018

Weary Pilgrims - Dinner #87


My husband purchased the classic Pilgrim’s Progress for my birthday this year.  It is a work that has long been on my “need-to-read” list.  As the main character makes his lengthy journey, I find myself wondering, “When is he going to reach the Celestial City? Shouldn’t he be nearly there by now?”  But author John Bunyan accurately portrays the Christian life – it is a series of defeats and victories, of valleys and mountaintops, of weaknesses and strengths.  Any number of things tries to hinder the pilgrim on his way – the Slough of Despond, lions, Apollyon, the Valley of the Shadow of Death . . . and so it is with us. 

It isn’t always easy to travel from one missions conference to another.  There are times when I feel the weariness in my very bones. 

“I didn’t volunteer for this,” my heart sometimes wants to say.

“Yes, you did,” the Lord whispers in return. “Don’t you remember that day as a teenager, when you kneeled beside your bed?  You told me you surrendered all your life to Christian service and that you would do anything I asked of you. This may not feel like ‘missions’ yet, but answering questions, sharing your testimony, riding in a vehicle for long hours at a time, packing, singing, home schooling on the road . . . this is the ministry that I have given to you, right now!  Are you still surrendered? Are you still willing?”

God reminds me of my book on the subject of miscarriage, as well.  “You’re listening to the tears of others who are hurting. You’re sharing the Gospel and the comfort that is found in Christ.  You’re in the business of rescuing souls from the power of Satan’s darkness – Do you think you won’t be fought?!”    

How about you, Dear Sister?  Do you, too, feel the battle raging?  There are days when we all wish to quit – our jobs, our ministries, our role as “mom” . . . “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall . . .”  Do you recall the remainder of that verse? “ . . . but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)

God desires for us to Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” (I Chronicles 16:11) The truth is, we can’t live even the “easy” days without Him! We need THE LORD if we are ever to “ . . . run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) 

There’s an old hymn that reads:

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half-done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth and giveth and giveth again.”

In Galatians 6, Paul writes “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” 

Have you been struggling with “continuing on”, as I have in recent days? Have you found yourself weary, even in the midst of doing GOOD things - the RIGHT things?

May we allow the Lord to help us and enable us as only He can do!

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (II Cor. 12:9-10)




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Treasuring Our Children - Dinner #86


Without a doubt, there is a great amount of stress that goes into traveling with little people.  Toys and books drop in the van.  Clothing gets stained.  Voices become loud.  Jumping on hotel beds occurs.  Parental blood pressure rises.  And I suddenly catch myself gritting my teeth and saying, “Why can’t you all just be PERFECT?!” But they aren’t perfect, nor will they ever be, in this world.  And my heart is pricked with the realization that sometimes the problem is ME. Am I REACTING to the daily conflict and chaos, like I ought to be?

Psalm 113:9 speaks of “... a joyful mother of children...” On the difficult days, how easy it is to lose that joy.  When they’re still awake at 11:00 p.m. and asking for another drink of water . . . I know – I’m in the trenches myself right now.  But they are our REWARD – our BLESSINGS! How often do we neglect to treat them as such?

Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

Genesis 33:5 “And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.”

Graciously given . . . They are a GIFT, My Friend!  Somewhere in the overwhelming stickiness of jam and the changing of diapers, we can forget that fact.  We can forget to truly TREASURE our children! I’m not speaking of idolizing them – not putting them first in our marriages or first in our lives, but CHERISHING them as God would have us do.

When was the last time we TOOK THE TIME – to read the book, to sing the song, to pull out the Play-Doh, to look up from our phones and see the little faces in need of us, once again?

Instead, in our frustration and annoyance, we can find ourselves mindlessly muttering, “Not tonight”, or “Not right now”, or “Not this time, Sweetheart - Mommy’s busy.” 

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones . . .”

Now I am a great believer in mothers “taking time” for themselves.  I’m not talking about refusing yourself the renewing that we so desperately need to keep going every day.  However, as parents, we can become guilty of laziness and selfishness, and of addressing our children with very little kindness.  We can interrupt them, can speak in frustration toward them, can ignore them – many of the same things we rebuke OUR CHILDREN for. 

James 1:19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath...

The Bible reminds us that we as parents have the ability to either anger or encourage our children by our parenting methods:

Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  

This verse speaks of disciplining as well as warning, but without needless severity.  One commentator described this idea as placing them “under such discipline and instruction that they shall become acquainted with the Lord.” Are we remembering what an important role we play in leading our children to the Savior?

Perhaps this is a day to bow our heads and to ask the Lord to help us TREASURE our sons and our daughters, once more. Children will whine, they will argue, they will try our patience at times. They will, literally, climb over the back of the couch, like mine are at this present moment.  Our words, our actions, our attitudes toward our children are powerful, Sweet Mamas!  Are we seeing our Little Ones as God sees them, today? Are we THANKING GOD for them, and continuing to lead them to Him?

If it were always easy, then there would be no reason for Titus 2:4: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children . . .”  Sometimes we all need instruction and encouragement in this area of our lives - myself included! And now I will calmly request that my children stop closing each other in the hotel closet . . . Because my little girls are sweet GIFTS FROM GOD.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Special To God - Dinner #85


The world speaks to us often of “self-esteem”.  The Bible, however, tells Christians to “esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3) and “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think . . .” (Rom. 12:3).  I, Kristen Kelley, am nothing but a sinner, and all my “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Is. 64:6). I have no worth in and of myself – no goodness of my own – but I was bought with a price: the precious blood of the Lamb of God!  Therefore, I am WORTH something to the Lord!  My self-worth is found in my Savior!

Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We are special because we are special TO HIM!

What makes you unique? Freckles, fingerprints, facial structure . . . Your talents and abilities . . . Your past . . . Your heart – who you care about and love . . .

God made no mistakes when He gave you life.  Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” The texture of your hair, the color of your eyes, your ability or inability to see, to hear, to speak, to walk . . . every detail was chosen by Him.  He had a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us, right from the very start. 

I’ve seen so many young ladies who have tried to “stand out” and to “make a statement” in this world.  Others so depressed by their appearance that they have sought to significantly alter it.  The world can be cruel and unaccepting - our Savior understands that fact.  He endured bitter mockery and even death at the hands of jealous, angry men.  He was not a man who stood out as being “handsome” by the world’s standards (Is. 53:2), and yet He was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  You may feel as though you are invisible, but you, My Dear, are God’s princess. 

You are SIGNIFICANT.  Out of the billions of people in this world, God cares about YOU.  He formed you and gave you life! He saved your soul!  The Creator of the entire universe knows YOU by name! You are God’s child!

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand . . .” (Ps. 139:17-18)

Yes, man DOES look at the external, and they often judge harshly by it.  This focus on appearance is evident all around us – plastic surgery advertisements, revealing clothing, expensive make-up brands, quick-fix weight-loss programs, etc.  But when God looks at you, He sees your HEART (I Sam. 16:7).  He knows every single thing that affects the exterior that others might judge you by – the blemishes, the scars, and the pounds in “undesired places” . . . And He sees you as BEAUTIFUL.  Because, you, Sweet Sister in Christ, are HIS.