Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

When I was camera shy…?

Written By: A very insecure girl.

Let’s take a walk together down memory lane…

When I was young, I loved having my photo taken, but when this comes to mind I remember a certain time in my life where I loved it even more…That was year 6 of my little life. I loved getting dressed up in fancy outfits, taking hours in the bathroom doing my hair a certain-perfect way, lathering my face with fake kids make-up and putting on my hot pink plastic high-heels that had a large, fake diamond on the front of them.

Although, with every step was squeaky sounds coming from my feet below as I walked on our 90 year old, original hard wood flooring in our bunagolo styled home. To the great amounts of pain and loss of feeling that my poor feet were experiencing…this was an invigorating time for a 6 year old.

I would walk ever so carefully in my heels to find my Mum and have her take photos of me with our family’s non-digital, non-seeing the picture till its developed camera, in our sun shine filled living room and cozy covered porch.

I felt alive when these photos were being taken. I felt beautiful. Like everything was simply perfect.

Now fast forward 13 years. There I was getting my make up and hair done. Sitting waiting to have my photos taken with my love for our 1 year anniversary.

(This should have been another invigorating experience…yet that entire day I have never felt so sick, nauseous, and nervous before in my life.)

After a couple hours of pampering, I was ready. In my beautiful dress that I had bought for this special occasion, wearing my boots that my Grandparents had bought me, make up done, and hair just right.

My love arrived to our home, I was upstairs doing some finishing touches. I heard him come in the front doors, I was beyond excited to see him, yet I couldn’t walk down the set of stairs before me. I was so nervous.

I had to have him come up the stairs to me, because I was having such a hard time facing him. Shaking inside as I heard the creaking sounds as he walked up the stairs…He looked at me and smiled like he always does. He said that I looked beautiful.

I was trying so hard to understand why I was feeling this way, I mean this wasn’t our first photo shoot. I loved getting photos taken of me, my whole life and then, it came to me… as we were driving to the location where we were getting the pictures taken.

This was the first photo shoot since I had gained 63 of the most ugliest pounds from my medication. I was camera shy. I was scared.

Feeling terrified of what I would look like on camera, we began.

All through the shoot I continued to be nervous. With every pose, thoughts swirling around in my weary heart,  “What do my legs look like?”, “What does my stomach look like?”, “What about my arms…do they look like legs?”

This vicious cycle went on, the entire time.

Then the photos were revealed to us in less than 1 weeks time and I was amazed. Even though I have gained lots and I was nervous. They turned out amazing.

Sisters, no matter your size NEVER, I repkerjosh2017-17.jpgeat never be camera shy. God created you. Yes, YOU!!! He even created me knowing that I would gain weight rapidly and hate my body through it. He knew that I would be nervous, because He knows it all. Never forget…ANY size. You’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,

~An insecure girl, who knows she’s secure in her Heavenly Father’s arms. (Kerrington)

Heather Brooks Photography.

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

The ever-changing plans, of our constant Saviour.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Sisters, have you been in a place in your life where the going gets tough? Where your emotions run like wild fire? Where there is one too many unanswered questions or uncertainties? BUT you’re doing everything right and following God’s word to a tee?

Yup, I have SOO been there…And I sincerely hope and pray that this blog-post serves as an encouragement to you, on your journey of serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Today’s topic is…God’s Will. Oh my…what a complex thing that truly is.

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye, yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Learning to see and hear the subtle signs of the Holy Spirit’s leading and listening to His directions is crucial, especially in the day and hour we live in.

Here’s a definition of “God’s will” from The Bible Study Tools website. “…as vast as his entire plan for creation, and from the standpoint of objective content, it seems to be settled and unchanging. Old and New Testament writers can thus refer to God’s will as if its existence is accepted by all. But though it may seem to have the character of a broad blueprint, in practical applications it is expressed in specific terms. God’s will can also be viewed from its active side as his conscious “deciding,” “willing,” and “choosing” to do something…”

3 specific areas of this definition above, are what I would like to dig into and discuss today, with you my sisters.

  1. It’s settled and unchanging. 
  2. It’s existence is accepted by all.
  3. It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications.  

It’s settled and unchanging: It says various times throughout the Bible that Our God, is never changing…here are a few examples below:

Settled definition: “steady or secure style of life.” 

Unchanging definition: “not changing; remaining the same.” 

Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” 

Malachi 3:6 says “For I the Lord do not change…”

Numbers 23:19 says “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” 

2 Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 

All these verses explain to us that God’s will is never changing. Its settled. Yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. Although we as humans, lie and sometimes don’t always keep our promises and change our minds…God always keeps His promises and never changes His mind. He stands faithful forever and in those moments where we are faithless. Oh yes…we of little faith, He remains Faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

No matter how many uncertainties and unknown paths come your way. God’s will is settled and unchanging for you, my sisters.

It’s existence is accepted by all: This category doesn’t have scriptures to relate to, but in the culture we live in, I thought this category was neat. How many times do you hear in movies “Oh, its JUST providence…” or coincidence somethings happen. I know that I have heard these statements countless times. But did you know that this statement is subtly saying

“Oh, its God’s will…”

When I thought this through, I was amazed. Non-Christian people saying this, don’t even completely understand that ‘Just Providence’ is really ‘God’s will’ in their lives. God’s will is accepted by all whether they realize it or not.

It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications:

How many of you dear sisters know how to read a blue print?

I would say probably 90% of you have no clue how to, 5% have done it before and the other 5% know how to. If you aren’t trained in blue-print reading, it’s hard to sometimes understand what the blue-print is saying…it’s difficult to understand the messages its trying to say, what the little words and letters the blue-print writer is tying to say to it’s readers.

God’s will at times, is just like a blue-print. Its hard to understand, its unclear at times…The Lord sending messages to us that we don’t yet understand. Seasons of life where you question “God, are you still there?” God’s will although to the human-eye may seem like a complicated, hard-to-understand blue-print. Our Heavenly Father always has practical applications for your life to help begin the process to better understand the messages on YOUR life blue-print. Sometimes it takes awhile to understand the applications and other times its a drastic eye-opening experience that you see God’s will for your life.

So sisters, if you remember one thing, remember this…

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye,

yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

One Simple Act.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Have you ever had a long, rough week? A week where it seems that everything is going wrong. Feels like everyone is working against you and then it starts thundering and raining outside. Yup, I have been there.

Depressing for sure. A week like that happens way too often.

I had a week just like this one awhile back. Dealing with drama, hearing rude comments being said straight to my face, and in all honesty, being completely blunt here…nasty things wanted to climb out of this Children’s Pastors mouth. It was one of THOSE weeks.

I still remember the moment that changed my week for good…with one simple act.

It was a youth night at the church, where my boyfriend serves in ministry. I was taking some moments to pray and worship in the sanctuary before the students arrival to the youth group. Pouring my heart out to God about how terrible my week was and how tired I was with dealing with people, with issues, and with drama. I was almost in tears with the amount of heaviness that was on this weary woman’s heart. My soul felt weakened.

Heard a little noise and quickly turned and seen out of the corner of my eye, one of my girl-students standing at the end of the pew I was sitting in. She had a bouquet of spring flowers hand-picked from her very own garden, a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean and such a proud twinkle in her eye.

She gently handed me the bouquet of slightly, wilting home-garden, grown flowers and said these exact words:

“These are for you! Hope you’re having a great week.”

Sisters, this 12 year old girl changed the course of the rest of my entire week. I felt loved, appreciated and purpose-filled. NO…Not because she gave me flowers but, because I knew that me being even just there, was impacting her in a small way.

This my dear sisters, was one simple act. Which was infused with encouragement for my weary soul. Her facial expression will forever be engraved in my mind…she was so proud.

How many times have you thought to do “One Simple Act” and simply didn’t because you didn’t think it would make a difference? If you remember when think today, remember this: “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.” 

Keeping the “simple acts” in mind, a story I heard a preacher once share, was close to something along these lines of what I can remember.

“A girl questioning her faith, feeling like she was a mistake and why she even existed on this earth, came to church one night to youth and she prayed these words to God…

“If you’re real you will show me in a tangible way tonight. Someone will give me a bouquet of all yellow flowers with only 1 purple flower in the middle of it..then I will know that you are God and I won’t kill myself when I go home later.” 

The night went on at youth group and still no flowers. It was just about to end at the program, when one of the church congregational members walked in and said in a very exuberant voice to the Youth Pastor, “I have to give something to a girl who is going to kill herself tonight…she needs to know that she is loved, forgiven and accepted by the Lord himself.”

The youth pastor in shock and utter amusement (Thinking “what is this lady doing??”) he hands her the microphone out of his hand. She announced loudly, her statement she heard from God and the room stays silent, no one says anything.

She begins feeling a little nervous and thinks “Am I sure that what I heard was from God?” Then she says in a little more timid, nervous voice “……Did someone ask God for a bouquet of yellow flowers, with one single purple flower in the middle?”

A loud sob, comes from the back left corner of the room and sure enough there she was. A girl who needed a tangible reminder from her Heavenly Father, to make sure she knew she was loved, cherished, accepted and treasured in His eyes.”

Now although, my personal experience wasn’t as drastic as this one was but, God truly works in mysterious ways even through people to send tangible simple acts, sent as reminders to God’s children of His daily faithfulness.

Sisters, are there other women in your life that you know could use some encouragement in a “One Simple Act” kind of way?

We all know someone who needs extra love and grace. Why not stop whatever you are doing right now and encourage someone. Make them feel loved and appreciated for everything they do in your life.

Sisters, remember this “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.”

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Melanie's Posts, {Worth}

{Worth} Immeasurably Beautiful You

Written By Melanie S. Pickett

Self-worth. Girls, this is so tough. This time of year sometimes brings on some painful feelings for many of us in this area. The holidays are a reminder of who’s in our lives, who loves us, who might not.

The Christmas cards arrive in the mailbox, but what if I get many and you only get a few? Or vice versa? Do you gauge your self-worth by that?

What about how many presents you’re able to put under your tree? What if this year your finances are slimmer and you have to be even more frugal than usual? Is your self-worth tied to the amount of money you’re able to spend or the number of gifts you’re able to give?

Party invitations come. But what if none come to you? Or if a dozen come to you? Does that mean you’re any more or less special based on how many Christmas events you’re invited to?

What if you’re living far away from home and can’t afford to travel back for Christmas? Are you less important because you might be alone come Christmas morning?

If you don’t get a bonus or a gift from your boss, does that mean you’re not a valuable employee?

And if the neighbors, your Secret Sister at church, your best friend, your roommate, or your significant other don’t give you a lavish gift for Christmas, does that mean you’re not a great neighbor, church member, friend, roommate or girlfriend?

Let me tell you this, lovely friends: No matter how many cards come…no matter how many presents you can afford…no matter how many super fun parties you’re invited to or not…no matter how much or how little your Christmas bonus is…or what those closest to you gift you with…or even if you’re alone on Christmas…

All these things…They don’t say one thing (not one thing!) about your worth.

Your value is not wrapped up in popularity. Or your financial abilities. Your value is not defined by what others in your life think it is. Your value isn’t about gifts you give or receive. Your value has nothing to do with how many people you’ll be surrounded by on any given holiday.

Your value is that of a Princess. You are a child of the One True King. Royalty. Priceless.

Nothing. No circumstance. No dollar amount. No person. No anything will ever determine or change your worth.

God knows your worth. He made you in His image with beautiful talents and gifts, abilities and special traits. He went before you to make a path for your life, and even if that path isn’t crystal clear just yet, it’s there…because He said so.

If you don’t get invited to one party, don’t get one card or gift, or even end up in your house or apartment Skyping someone on Christmas morning, your worth doesn’t change one iota. It will always be immense, immeasurable, priceless, and unchangeable.

…because God said so.

~ Melanie

Melanie’s blog

{Worth}

{Worth} Our Worth is Not What People Say It Is

Written By: Melanie Pickett

We’ve all been the topic of unpleasant conversation. I know I have.

People unfairly judging me. Judging my life, my decisions.

They ask questions of each other about this or that, questions they should ask me instead. If they really want to know. (Sometimes people don’t want to know the truth. The speculation is much juicier, after all).

It’s probably safe to assume each of us has been talked about behind our backs unfairly.

Most likely each one of us has also been treated unfairly or unkindly, right out in the openness of life. I sure have.

I lived inside a marriage rife with domestic abuse for many years. I know he didn’t value me, not the way a human should be valued. I know he told me lies about myself: I’m not good enough, I don’t work hard enough, I don’t dress right, I don’t cook right, I don’t do…anything right.

We’re human and human beings sometimes assume the worst of others. We judge by what we see, not by what really is.

The cashier who’s rude? Maybe she was rude that day and not every day. Maybe her husband left her that morning. Or maybe her child is sick and she had to leave her baby with a neighbor and come to work because they need the money. And all she really wants to do is hold her sick little one, but instead, she has to deal with demanding customers.

And what about the haggard mom who gets snippy with her kids in the store and we all exchange judgmental glances as we witness this, assuming she’s a stern mother without a nurturing bone in her body. The reality just might be that she’s been up and running for twelve solid hours taking care of everyone else’s needs but her own and the kids were bickering, so she snapped at them.

We slap all sorts of labels and judgements on people without knowing many facts. Even those of us who try hard never to do this, sometimes do it in spite of our efforts. So as much as we don’t like to be viewed in a dim light, we should try hard not to do so to others.

Those labels we stick on others—and the ones they stick on us—aren’t always accurate. And they don’t define us. Someone else’s opinion of who we are doesn’t mean that is who we are. Pretty or not-so pretty. Stylish or frumpy. Mean or kind. Smart or ditzy. Friendly or aloof. Wealthy or less advantaged. Funny or lacking in a sense of humor. All labels and nothing more.

We get to decide who we are. We get to choose our characteristics. And God chose our worth, so very long along, even before we were a glimmer in the eyes of our parents.

He determined our worth, our precious, priceless worth. And no label, no opinion, and no judgement will ever—not for one second—change just how infinitely valuable we are. We are truly precious in His sight so we don’t have to be in the sight of the world.

We know we are immeasurably loved. It always humbles me to know that Jesus died on that cross of all of us, but the fact is, He would have died for just one of us. Just one of us. He loves each  of us, no matter what. And nothing we can do will ever change our worth in His eyes. 

Uncategorized, {Worth}

{Saturday Mornings} Failing to See Potential

Written By: Julie-Ann Sanderson
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, – Ephesians 3:20
What is potential?  According to the Oxford Dictionary, one of the meanings of potential is “Latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”  It is something we all have, so why do we fail to see it in others and why do we sometimes fail to see it in ourselves?
Underestimating another person is something we are all guilty of doing.  We can be blind to the abilities and talents of others especially if we have known them for a long time or we haven’t bothered to get to know them enough to realise what they are capable of doing.  It is truly a case of judging a book by its cover and by failing to see their potential, we fail to help them to achieve it as well.
Failing to help others to be the person God wants them to be can also be detrimental to us.  It can show others how self-centered we can be when we miss out on helping others find their potential.  Our friends value our opinions and when we ignore their attempts to find out what they can do, the damage that is done can sometimes be irreparable.  When we do realise what they can achieve it makes us feel sad and in some ways ashamed because we made the wrong assumptions or choices in regards to what they can or can’t do.
We all have skills and abilities that lie dormant within us and failing to find out what they are can be just as bad as failing to see them in other people.  God has placed inside us everything we need to make our lives a success for both Him and us.  Most of the time we start finding out what our potential is – maybe in a dream or a vision or a passion that comes from out of nowhere or in some other way. Whichever way it starts, it is up to us to recognise it and do something about it.  We have to overcome fears and the failure of others to see the potential within us to use our potential for the glory of God, the one who gave it to us in the first place.
God wants us to have a life full of potential, which is more than some of us can imagine for ourselves or for others.  He doesn’t want us to fail in either finding it or helping it grow.  We need to learn to look for potential and to do something with it.  For others, it may be encouragement, support or understanding e.g. listen to those ideas, read that story or to simply join with someone in prayer to find out if God is in it.  Even if nothing comes of it, then you can go away with the knowledge that you didn’t fail the other person.
As for ourselves, when that seed of potential sprouts, we need to explore our options, seek advice from others and most of all pray to God to show us where He wants us to go.  Any skill, ability or interest that we are passionate about is there for a reason.  It forms part of the gift of potential God has for us and failing to see it is throwing that gift back at God.
The potential you have and the potential others have has been placed there by God to further is Kingdom.  Don’t make the mistake of failing to see it.
~ Julie-Ann
Melanie's Posts, {Worth}

{ Worth} More Precious Than Rubies

Written by: Melanie Pickett

I’m a writer and a blogger. That means social media is a pretty significant part of my every day world. We see a lot on social media: happiness, fitness journeys, fashion, relationship success, great report cards. Many social media outlets are a sort-of scrapbook of the highlights of our lives.

They’re wonderful for keeping up with old friends and new and family, displaying pictures and being able to be part of loved ones’ lives from afar.

But social media can also be only the highlights reel—only showing the happy and good aspects–and that can leave many people feeling left out and “less than”. We look at others’ lives and start wondering what we’re doing wrong that we don’t have such a fabulous home, car, wardrobe, or mate.

I remember when I first started out writing online and launched my Facebook writer page and Twitter. When I’d look at other writers’ pages, I’d feel a pang of inferiority when I’d see several hundred or several thousand page likes. There I was, just praying to reach one-hundred. Look at them with thousands of followers, all those people who think they’re great and are reading every word they write. I was envious and deflated, thinking nobody will ever adore my writing like that.

We often scroll through our feed and see what appears to be perfect couples with perfect families who have perfectly tidy homes, excellent jobs, lavish vacations, new cars, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, and we feel like the less than.

We start to wonder if there’s something wrong with us if we don’t feel head-over-heels in love with our spouse every second; or if we’re bad parents if our kids don’t get all A’s or if we’re single. We wonder if maybe we’re failures if we struggle to pay some bills or if we can’t take a vacation this year (or last year) or if our car has a little rust on it.

If we post something and only get a couple of likes, those thoughts go through our heads that people don’t think we’re pretty or that our life is less than interesting or…maybe people don’t really even like us at all!

It feels like one giant popularity contest sometimes. But take heart, friend. Our worth was never and will never be in social media or what we have or even in what people think of us. Our worth is in Jesus. He determined how priceless we are when He died on the cross long before we ever existed. Jesus was thinking of us when He hung agonizingly on the cross. He died for all of us, but He would have died for just one of us. Let that sink in and truly absorb that.

A quick search can show us dozens of verses in the Bible showing God’s love for us and some even specifically speak to our invaluable worth. One of my favorites is “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 3:15.

Next time you or a friend is feeling “less than”, I challenge you (and myself) to look up Bible verses about worth. Check out your real worth, what God says it is. He knows us intimately and He made us, knit us together before we were born and was equipping us for the calls He has on our lives.  You are precious in His sight, and please don’t ever forget that.

Be encouraged,

Melanie

 

mpMelanie Pickett is a writer, blogger, and speaker who uses her words and domestic violence experience to educate and encourage others about healthy relationships and knowing their worth.    Melanie is currently completing her first nonfiction book and contributes at Defying Shadows and is an entertainment editor at Sonoma Christian Home. Melanie’s work has been featured on The Mighty, HuffPost, BlogHer, Splickety Magazine, and Whole Magazine. Melanie calls west Michigan home where she enjoys life with her two teenage children, her husband, and a black pug named Gracie.

Melanie’s blog: Melanie S. Pickett