a.profile-link { display: none; }

Saturday, August 25, 2018

when your future isn't looking bright

When I wrecked that motorbike in Thailand, my dad had never been overseas. Nor did he ever intend to. But he and mom, they booked a flight the same day they received the call. 
Three days later, they were sitting by my hospital bed in Bangkok.

That August 25, 2012 event- wrecking and colliding head-first into a metal pole- it's still teaching me the Gospel. I'm taking today to celebrate the Gospel, and that I'm still alive. 

Luke 15:3-7; Jesus tells us a story to teach us what He's like. It's about a shepherd who loses one of his sheep, so he leaves the rest of the flock to go find it. 

It was the sheep's fault. He got distracted, stopped listening to the only voice that could keep him safe, and got himself lost and alone. I picture him in a woods, the sun is going down, he's cold and lonely and scared. He can't hear any of his sheep friends, see any of their tracks, has no way of getting back to them. And there were probably some big animals- the kind who like to eat sheep at night- not too far away. His future wasn't looking bright. 

But shepherd is determined and after a lot of searching, he finds him. I love that part. God looks for us and finds us. I like this next part, too. 

The shepherd didn't use any harsh words, didn't beat the sheep or tell him he was to blame. There were no speeches. He picked him up. He put him on his shoulders. He carried him the whole way back to the rest of the flock. Then they had a party. 

Because I was unconscious, with a feeding tube down my throat and life support strapped to my face, there was a constant stream of drool coming out of my mouth. So dad stood my by bed with a drool-suction tool and used it to suck up the slobber. No one told him to take that job, he just wanted to. He wanted his unconscious daughter's cut-up face to be drool-free. 

Mom decided to fast. She stopped eating when she first heard about my wreck, and made a commitment to fast and pray until I woke up. 

Today, my remembering is focused on the parents who flew across the world to bring me back home. This is teaching me more about God's big Heart.  

It's not exactly the story Jesus was telling in Luke 15, but has some similarities. The wreck was my fault. The thousands of dollars I cost my parents was my fault. And like the dumb sheep, my future wasn't looking bright. But mom and dad, they were determined to get to me and determined to help me recover. 

There's always room for us on God's shoulders. 
Dim futures get lit up when we let Jesus pick us up.

Mom and dad have never spoken one accusatory word about that wreck. Jesus takes all the "fault," and He gets rid of it. We get to live without blame. The Cross made that possible. When I woke up, mom and dad didn't give me a motorbike safety speech, tell me how worried they'd been, or ensure I knew what I was costing them. They bought me milkshakes. 
And watched movies with me. 

God is like that. 
We sin, we make stupid decisions, we have wrecks, we end up lonely and weak and confused. But He searches for and finds us. Then He erases all the blame and celebrates us.

August 25, the God who became a man to rescue us out of the scary woods, take all our blame, and have a party for us, milkshake-buying parents, dim futures that suddenly get bright, and a scarred face that's smiling; I love the Gospel and I love today.  

Lord, how wonderful You are!
-Psalm 31:19

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

bearded man from the dollar general

I was standing in line at the Dollar General. The bearded guy in front of me was an old friend I've known my whole life, like most people in this town. He was happy and told me he and his wife had decided on a name for their little boy. We left the store and continued our conversation in the parking lot, as he asked me about Hong Kong and my future. 

I gave him a one sentence summary of my life; that I'd be in Asia until December, then move in with my sister's family in Kentucky to help at their church for a year.

“Isn’t it cool that you can live so free?” 
He smiled and appreciated my life, right there in the Dollar General parking lot. 

A few minutes later, as he told me about the nursery they’re preparing for the new son, working a 9-5, and that he was on a snack run for his wife, I felt the difference between our lives. I don't know what it's like to live his, nor he mine, but I know we both get the opportunity to live "so free."

I don’t know about owning a house or decorating a nursery for a baby of my own or having a husband get me snacks. But it sounds awesome and I’m sure it is. 

I know what it’s like to live with women from Africa in a house in the mountains of Hong Kong and rejoice that our pasts are washed clean.  

Both me and my bearded friend, we're alive for the same purpose; to be loved by God, to love Him back, and to help everybody on the globe know that's why they're alive, too. 

Being home this trip has been different. I’ve had lots of feelings to sort through and Jesus is in the middle of all of them; loving me and telling me I don’t have to be afraid. “I’m here” He says over and over. 

I've had a tendency to start grumbling about my life. The sorry-for-myself feelings have been giving their A-game and I guess it's the same for everyone; we get plenty of chances to decide we're not going to let self-pity stay. My bearded friend could get down in the dumps that he's got to be at work every day at 9, while I could cry for myself that I have to buy my own snacks at the Dollar General, and we both could let self-pity take all the hope and fun and Jesus-likeness out of our perspectives. But let's not. 

When I'm feeling self-pity, I'm not agreeing with the truth that Jesus says to me. Getting alone with Jesus- for me that looks like a Bible, a journal, lots of colored markers, usually some twinkle lights and a candle, and often a cup of coffee- fixes self-pity. He tells me the truth and changes my mind. 

"So free" are two words God wants to write over all of our lives. When I'm listening to King Jesus' words to me, I start agreeing with the bearded friend from the Dollar General. "So free" was bought for us by Jesus. It kills self-pity, pulls us out of the down dumps, and fills us with joy about the lives we're living. 

We can all be people who change the world with the size of God’s Heart living in us. When the focus of our lives becomes letting Him love us and helping us love him back, people notice. Then He changes their focus to love, too, and we all get to be "so free" together. That's what His love does. We get to live these "so free" lives in Hong Kong, Kentucky, and everywhere in between. Red light districts and family dinner tables; they both get to be places we pour our love into and places where freedom grows.

We get this one life to live and God lets us choose what we do with it. If we choose a 9-5 in the U.S. or a move around the world with the Gospel, let’s let our lives be filled with surrender and listening to Jesus whisper truth into our hearts and letting Him make love grow in us while we live "so free." 

His job is to extend the lordship of Jesus Christ into every part of society and to take His Good News to every person on the planet. As the Lord of the harvest, He will tell us the part of the field where we are to work.”
-Loren Cunningham 

Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God's perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17, TPT

Thursday, July 5, 2018

a move across the world

I'm getting ready for a wedding. And I’m moving to Kentucky. 

Two years ago, when I packed up my purple suitcases, cried, hugged my parents goodbye, and moved across the world, I gave God the commitment I'd stay in Hong Kong until I died if He wanted me to. But I was hoping He didn’t want me to. 

These two years have been really hard and really beautiful.

Jesus wants our attention. He wants us to want Him. He moved me to Asia and He got my attention. He became my strength, the mercy that forgave me when I fell apart, and the truth that showed me how trustworthy He is. He's getting us ready for a wedding - forever spent with Him in love. 

I have a tendency to want to be a hero - to work, to strive, to sacrifice - and closedown the red light districts and save the world. But God isn’t looking for a hero, He’s looking for a lover. Over the past few months of praying and asking wise people for advice, I've sensed that God was telling me it's ok to leave Hong Kong because He has change for me coming up. In the midst of these months, there's also been a fear that I am not good at this "missionary" thing. 

"Is two years enough time to live in a place?"
"Will everybody think I should stay longer?"
"But all the red-light districts haven't closed down yet?"
"I haven't even learned a new language."
"Oh no."

But then Jesus, He enters the conversation I'm having with myself and He tells me I don't have to be afraid (some of His favorite words). He's not looking for a hero, He's looking for a lover. 

The Lamb in love - He’s the reason I’ve spent two years in Asia, and He’s the reason I’m moving to Kentucky. He's taken these two years and made love grow in me, gotten rid of stuff that was no good, and shown me way more of His giant remarkable Heart. Along the way, He's helped women quit prostitution, helped me teach kids in the Philippines about how close He wants to be to them, let me journey to India, Thailand, China, Singapore, England, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Andorra, and in every step, shown me and others how awesome He is. God has a giant remarkable Heart and we get to discover it. Wow. 

The time's coming when I’ll look back and remember the days I walked through red light districts wearing matching t-shirt’s with my friends; “FAMILY IS REVIVAL” written big across our backs. The nights I sang those words, “I’m no longer a slave to fear” loud in the living room floor, my voice blended with my African sisters’ voices, all of us happy to be forgiven and set free. The Sunday's I went to church as a minority, surrounded by beautiful people who looked different than me. The fall-apart cries I had as I mourned the moments I was missing with my family, while Jesus held me and sang and love grew. These days are amazing ones. And I know the next ones will be, too. 

My heart being given to Him, secretly adoring Him inside of me where no one else can see - this is His greatest desire and the first command He gave me. Me loving Him - it's the main thing. I can't and I won't forget that.

In Kentucky, I’m going to fall deeper in love with Jesus as I help others do the same. While all this love-falling is happening, I'll also help run a food truck for Daylight Church with my best friend, feed the homeless, preach the Gospel, sell great food, and live with some of my favorite people in the world. I'll be in Hong Kong until October, then go on a lovesick evangelism tour through a few countries in Southeast Asia, then move back across the world to start the new adventure. The plan is to live in the U.S. for about a year. We'll see what God wants to do with me after that. 

All you beautiful people praying for me, sending me mail, giving me money, being my friend; thank you. These two years in Hong Kong have been fruitful ones - many people getting to know Jesus a lot better - and we've got to help that happen together. 

A safe house in Hong Kong, a food truck in Kentucky; the main thing's still the main thing. He wants all I am. And He wants all you are. As I keep giving Him myself, continually amazed at the way He is, I get to help others give Him all of themselves, too. And that's what He wants! All of us! Oh to be loved like this! 
It's good, it's good, it's good. 

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment."
Mark 12:30

*photo taken in 2015 when I came to Hong Kong for the first time

Friday, June 29, 2018

my wedding plans

I printed out a wedding photo of Prince Harry and Meg, and two photos of my parents on their wedding day. I took all three photos into LoWu Prison. 

 The big story hasn’t changed. God is love and He wants a lover, so He made us.

Natural history, it ends in a wedding. The Father knew His Son wanted a bride, so He made me. And He made you. It’s not made up, and although I am romantic and dramatic, I’m actually not exaggerating anything here. It’s impossible to exaggerate His romantic love-drenched intentions. Jesus will have a wedding. And people from every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be there, dressed in white and mesmerized by the beauty of the Lamb they’re marrying. This desire God has for a bride, it's the point of life. 

The ladies in LoWu Prison, my friends who live in trash in India, the African sisters I live with, my Chinese neighbors, you, me, all of us; Jesus is wanting to be with us forever, in love. He's lovesick. 

An engaged couple; they're not likely to forget about their upcoming wedding. Words like "longing, passion, thrill" describe feelings happening inside an in-love couple. These are the feelings Jesus is filled with! Longing started with Him! He invented passion! Thrill is what He feels as He thinks about forever with His bride! And these are the kinds of things He wants to pour into our relationship with Him. 

Did you know you can read Song of Solomon in the context of Jesus as the Bridegroom and you as the beloved? You can. Mike Bickel said so.* And that makes reading Song of Solomon kind of amazing exciting. 

Like I told my friends in LoWu, Jesus doesn't just think we're beautiful when we're behaving ourselves and feeling holy. He sees the mess we are, and right in the middle of it, in the struggle and immaturity and confusion, He keeps singing, "You're beautiful, My darling."* His lovesickness for us doesn't change. 

A couple days ago I was mad at someone, feeling sorry for myself, had a bad attitude, and then got piled up with guilt and blame against myself for all of the above. I laid down for a few minutes outside under a tree, and turned my attention to God. I asked Him what He had to say about my current condition. His response? He still saw me as beautiful. He didn't say my attitude was ok or praise my unrighteous anger, but He let me know the beauty He sees in me goes much deeper than my moods. Even when I'm immature and disappointing myself, He still wants to marry me.  

The ladies in prison hooped and hollered several times throughout the message. Romantic talk is fun for a roomful of women. I think the photo of my parents kissing was their favorite. 

I told them to say aloud, "I am the bride God chose and I am beautiful." Those ladies, in their brown plaid prison uniforms, said it loud, like they meant it. 

We're the bride and the Groom is looking at us right now, singing, "You're beautiful."

My wedding plans are like this; talk to the Groom, look at the Groom, sing to the Groom, love the Groom. Then I'll die and meet the Groom face-to-face. It's a good plan. 

This wedding is true and it's coming. You're invited. 

Let us rejoice and exalt Him and give Him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come. And His bride has made herself ready.
-Revelation 19:7

* Mike Bickle has some great teachings about the Wedding 
*"You are altogether beautiful, My darling."
 Song of Solomon 4:7

Thursday, June 7, 2018

rainbow home

It’s in the middle of the red light district. The room is big and the walls are bright blue. 

Here on this floor, I’ve laid for hours. 
Within a mile of this spot, in the big blue room, there are many strangers having sex with each other.
But here, in this room, there's a different kind of intimacy that happens. The holy kind, between human hearts and God's. This bright blue room is His space and He always uses spaces for one purpose; intimacy. 

Here on this floor where I lay, I open my heart and God looks at me and I look back at Him. 

I’ve become nearly obsessed with rainbows. Revelation 4:3 tells me that there’s a rainbow surrounding God’s throne, and it has emerald light filling it and coming out of it. Doesn't that sound like a wild and beautiful scene? The place where He sits in the center of the universe, it’s surrounded by an emerald rainbow. And I’ve made it my life’s goal to live in that rainbow, close to Him, looking at Him inside of my heart. 

All of our hearts have eyes. 
Sometimes I use mine to look at conversations with people which have never happened, or replay scenes of my life that have affected me, or worry about how I may be not good enough, or approximately 5,789,928 other scenes I look upon with my heart. But there's just one scene that my heart's eyes were made to see; my Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. The eyes inside our hearts have the ability to look at Him. Wow. 

My journal pages these days are filled with rainbows. And sometimes I color rainbows all over my arms, too. 

When I first started coming into this bright blue room in the red light district, it was 2015 and I was feeling like a disapointment-to-God-and-mankind failure. I was trying really hard to be enough, do enough, impress everybody enough. That was exhausting. And left me in the feel-like-a-failure place. The boss of the red light ministry was becoming my close friend, and she one day suggested I lay on the floor for 45 minutes and ask God what He feels for me. She told me not to talk after I asked Him that question, not to pray through a prayer list, not to intercede for somebody, but to just lay down and be quiet and let my heart meet with God. That sounded lazy and boring but I liked this girl so I tried it. 

For 45 minutes, my striving hurting heart was surprised. God showed my heart His love and He has so much of it. For me! Despite my not being nearly as good as I wished I was, He told me He liked me and He put scenes in my imagination of me and Him and He let my heart feel the way He enjoys me. The eyes of my heart looked at Him.

That 45 minutes changed my life, changed my relationship with my Maker, and I'm making the rest of my life like that 45 minutes. 

 I want to live in the rainbow surrounding this beautiful, mysterious, humble, beyond-comprehension Being. And I want to help everyone in the bright blue room, and all over the globe, do the same. 

Yesterday morning, I told one of my African sister/roommates that I'd prefer she stop eating my peanut butter. 

"Looking at God" can sound kinda weird, kinda complicated, kinda beyond what you think you can do. But it's not. Yesterday I was reading Revelation 4 - reading the Bible is a great place to look at God - and then I thought, "I want to see this throne room scene that's described here so I'm gonna lay in the floor and imagine it." So that's what I did. And know what I saw? I saw a big and super cool rainbow surrounded a big and super cool Being who is three different beings so close They're One. I don't understand Him nor can I see all there is to see, but it's so fun to see more and every time I tell my heart to look at Him, I see a little more of what He's like and my amazement keeps growing. And then, yesterday, I pictured that super cool Being sharing His peanut butter. 

When I look into God, I see Him lifting up orphans and hugging suicidal people and sharing His peanut butter and looking back at me and being good good good good good forever good. 

I apologized to my African sister and told her all my peanut butter is her's. She forgave me and God squeezed my shoulder and grinned. 

This rainbow is my home. 

 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbowthat shone like an emerald encircled the throne.
-Revelation 4:3

Monday, May 14, 2018

rich, poor, and learning to share

There are these kids I got to meet who live in trash pits in India. They are really really pretty and really really dirty. They’ve never slept in a bed. Never once. Can you imagine?

Where they live is where the city dumps all of its garbage. Their houses are made out of trash, their beds are made out of trash, their clothes were dug out of the trash. It's not an easy place to visit for an hour, let alone a place to be raised. 

So what about them? They’ve never eaten Swiss cheese in Switzerland or drank coffee in Spain. How do I justify vacationing in Europe while kids live in trash and sniff glue so they don’t feel hungry? It’s something worth thinking about. So we’ve been thinking about it. 

If you would’ve told me about this trip to Europe a couple years ago, I mighta got mad at my future self, called her self-centered, then shook my head at the “waste.” But today, I’m just happy. Happy He is extravagant and likes kissing us. 

God shows me His extravagant heart. As He does, I get to help everybody else see it, too. And it’s super fun to look at. He blows me away with undeserved kindness because that’s what He’s like. And I don't keep all the undeserved kindness to myself, but let it hit all the people around me. He's got enough extravagance for everyone. 

He doesn’t love me any differently than He loves those kids in India. The awe my heart felt for two weeks in Europe, the awe He lets me feel regularly, He wants those kids to feel. He has enough awe to fill their hearts, too. How can I show them how extravagant He is? How can I show ladies in the sex industry in Hong Kong that what He offers is a lifetime of joy? How can I help them know His kindness kiss? These are pretty fun questions. And He has the answers! 

I’ve been thinking, maybe those kids in India need a hot air balloon ride. And some donuts. Those ladies in prostitution could use some ice-cream dates. People in jail cells and hospital waiting rooms and on bed rest in their living rooms, God's wanting to show them undeserved kindness and He's wanting to use you and me to do it. He doesn’t just give us what we need, He goes way above and way beyond and shouts “I WANT TO KISS YOU GUYS!” 

He is so much more than I’ve dreamt about. Bigger, better, wilder. And super in love. 
With me, with you, with all of us. 

Our last night of vacation, in a hotel in Barcelona, Kelley Roo watched street kids in India documentaries. We asked God to teach us how to share. 

 Luke 3:11 says,
 "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

I have lots and lots of sharing to do! And the Great Generous God is an excellent teacher. 

We've all got different amounts of money to live on. Some of us have lots extra, some of us don't have enough. God has plenty for everyone, and we need to let Him help us share. God isn't mad if you spend a lot of money on coffee. He isn't upset that I went on vacation to Europe. He just wants us to remember that we're living in His extravagance and He wants us to share. 

The same God who flies me around the world because He’s in love with me is the same God who has storehouses in Heaven packed with love-filled extravagance with your name all over it. And lots and lots of kisses. 
He's the same God who sees all those kids who live in trash, and He has extravagant plans for them.
That’s fun, huh? 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

What I know about getting kissed

When I was in seventh grade, this boy I had a crush on tried kissing me. I put my hand over my mouth and shook my head. I had a pretty big crush on the boy, but letting him put his mouth on mine seemed like a serious step I wasn't ready to take. 

I thought I may wait and start kissing boys when I was 16. But by the time I turned 16, Jesus was showing me He loved me like those boys in high school never could, so I told Him I wouldn't kiss any of those boys if He'd help me.
And He helped me. 

 Now I'm 30 and kiss-less as far as normal kissing goes. But there's another kind of kissing I'm quite engaged in and it's the God-leaning-down-and-kissing-me-right-on-the-heart kind. 

In the Swiss Alps, between sunshine and snow, He kissed me. He's kissed me in India with kids' big hugs and in Thailand with open hearts excited about the Gospel and in Hong Kong with a family made of three African nations. He raised me on a farm in the United States and kissed me with a mom and dad and sisters and grandparents and cousins and a thousand healthy relationships. He just sent me on a road trip through Europe with best friends and kissed me every mile (and kilometer). 

I’m so romantic. And the reason is this; I’m made in my Maker’s image. I’m like Him. God is romantic.

For my 30th birthday, someone bought me a two-week vacation in Europe. Why? Not because I deserve it. But because He likes kissing me. 

It wasn’t necessary to give me two weeks of nothing but fun and cheese and bread and coffee. I didn’t deserve the hike through the Swiss Alps or the all-you-can eat Brazilian meat in Portugal or the complimentary Swiss chocolate on the flights. But God likes being extravagant. He enjoys shocking us with kindness, smothering us with kisses. 

Six countries in two weeks, driving a little red rental car through western Europe with two girls who are best friends and heroes, that was His idea for us. Wow! Kisses! 

In this tiny country called Andorra (which we didn't know existed but when we discovered it, we knew we had to go), we ate in a warm restaurant with wooden walls and lots of windows and ate cheese fondue (that means lots of bread and meat dipped in rivers of melted cheese). We used the money dad gave us for “a nice meal in Europe.” Sitting there all cheesy and warm, God planted a kiss right in my heart. 

Zurich, Switzerland's train station had my favorite perfume store so we could cover ourselves in sample perfume and lotion. As we explored the city, our hearts were filled with God's kiss. And we smelt really good.

We received a half-off discount seatbelt ticket in Spain from the cop with his cheeks squished together in his big cop helmet. We were in the back of the airport shuttle van, without seatbelts because who wears a seatbelt in the back of an airport shuttle van, when the big-helmet cop pulled the van over. He peeked into the backseat where Kelley Roo and I sat seatbelt-less, took our passports, and asked if we were friends. We told him we were friends and smiled big. Then the big-helmet cop said he'd only charge us for one ticket instead of two, so he'd go ahead and take our 100 Euro payment right now.
 I handed him my credit card and Jesus kissed me. 

Going through immigration in Switzerland, the watching-the-x-Ray-screen people soon discovered I forgot my awesome (and pretty fancy) flip-blade knife in my carry-on so they called down their supervisor who took my passport and escorted me to the police station. It was kinda fun. Turns out that owning a flip-blade knife is illegal in Switzerland, and trying to carry one onto an airplane is double illegal. The Swiss police were nice and I think they liked me. After having me sign some sorta papers, they let me get on the airplane but I didn’t get my cool knife back. Hopping on the plane, without my knife and without handcuffs on, Jesus kissed me. 

Sometimes kisses from Him are covered up by my self-pity, unstable emotions, unfortunate circumstances or just downright selfishness. Everyone has hard moments and hard days, but even in the midst of the hard, if we’ll look around, we’ll be able to see God kissing us.

A kiss is intimate. To kiss, you got to get close. God wants this kind of relationship with us. 

It's how mankind got it's start, kissing. God put His mouth on Adam's lifeless body and breathed. Adam opened his eyes, saw God's big smiling mouth close to his, and probably smiled back. 
God's been kissing people ever since. 

 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

-Genesis 2:7

Sunday, April 15, 2018

for days you feel fat, ugly, and bad

Yesterday I felt ugly. 
I used to think insecurity was only for 14 year-old girls, but I've learned that it finds its way to all of us, no matter our age or occupation or body fat percentage. 

Some friends looked at old pictures of me. I was 20, bleach blonde, all my front teeth were the originals, and I didn't have any scars on my face. They were surprised and said nice things about how pretty I was. "Was." 

"Insecurity breeds insecurity. It is a formidable saboteur of love’s potential to heal. Whether you are the insecure person in a relationship or the one who is trying to rein in that demon, it is imperative that the battle is won."
-Randi Gunther, Ph.D., 

I'm familiar with insecurity showing up, not just what my face looks like, but in my interactions with people. Am I caring enough? Am I spending enough time investing in this relationship? Am I a good daughter? Am I a good friend? 

Insecurity shows up in ministry. Am I a "good missionary?" Am I "doing enough?" Am I showing people who Jesus is? Do all the people supporting me think I'm doing a good job?

Insecurity leads me through a series of questions all revolving around one big question; "Am I good?" The series of questions always leads to the same place: insecurity. 

God is suggesting that I stop the series of questions altogether. He's digging the insecurity out of my heart and planting in its place the really beautiful life-bearing seeds called "confidence."
As He plants new seeds, He sings, "You're good, you're good, you're good. You're good because I say you're good."
I love that song. 

I know you know what insecurity feels like, too. I'm sorry. I wish we could all stay confident 4 year-olds who assume that we're wonderful and everybody wants our company and never once wonder if we're good.

We don't have to wonder if we're good enough, not when we belong to Jesus. He died to take all that wondering away, all that fear away, all that insecurity away. We get to live like 4 year-olds again.

After my feeling ugly day, I turned my attention to Jesus, 
"Do you think I'm beautiful?"
My heart heard Him assure me that He does. 
Then my heart heard Him tell me He likes my scars and fake teeth and less-glamorous-than-my-20-year-old-self appearance.

When we turn our attention to what Jesus is thinking about us, He turns insecurity into confidence. He turns fear into courage. He turns lies into truth. 

If your stomach has rolls instead of abs, your marriage has a divorce date instead of an anniversary, your kids give you cold shoulders instead of hugs, if you're a missionary wondering if you're actually helping anybody at all, turn your attention to Jesus. Ask Him what He thinks about you. 

I've really screwed up a lot. "Perfect" is a long way from what I've got going on here in my life. But He says I'm good and that's the end of it. 

I hope you let Him talk to you about what He thinks of you. If you're not used to talking to Him, or if you're not sure what His voice to your heart sounds like, you can start like this, 
"Hi Jesus. I want to hear you. Help me, please."
And read Luke 12. I've been liking that chapter a lot.  

I'm awesome. And so are you.