Don’t Believe the Lies

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

I have been vocal in past posts about my thoughts on, and my desire for boundaries when it comes to social media. In my last social media fast, I came to the realizaton that some of my thoughts may have even been extreme. Maybe even unhealthy. My use of social media is personal, and not everyone will go on the same journey, and it is through this perspective that I have developed some different views, and healthier personal usage.

One thing, however, has not changed-my views on that comment section.

We all wanna know we matter
We all wanna know we’re loved
More the same than we are different
Desperate just to be enough

But it’s like we’ve all forgotten
How much we’re all connected
When I read the comment section. -Sidewalk Prophets

This song, “The Comment Section,” is about the hurtful comments posted in the comment section by individuals behind a screen, and the descriptions throughout it are pretty accurate. What is even more discouraging, is that at times this type of commentary flows into our personal, and face-to-face conversations.

Case in point: I lead a monthly girls group. 3 girls. Supposedly friends working through a self-esteem exercise; but in this past week’s group, spending most of the time poking fun at each other, and spewing hurtful comments about each other’s features, bodies, and minds. “Fat, ugly, dumb.” After more than an hour of this, the life had been sucked out of me. The hurtful back and forth banter disguised as “joking,” wrecked my spirit, and I carried it with me into the weekend. Why is this language among each other acceptable? Why do we poke fun to have fun? Why do we desire to hurt each other? Over time, whether read or heard-these comments leave scars no one can see. Doubts that carry on long after words have been spoken.

With each comment and verbal slur of judgment, we begin to believe all the lies said about us. That interaction in group was only a part of the onslaught of lies Satan threw at me throughout that week. All due to triggers that were reminders of my past. A reminder of an older name that had me believing divorced women truly were not fit to pastor. An email that was a reminder of all the past events that made me feel unworthy and unqualified. The consistent “uglies, fats” and everything else I heard on that day was the last straw.

I refuse to let Satan continue to throw lies at me. I refuse to let the own comment section I allow to scroll in my head define me.

I struggled with what topic to focus on this month. With whether to even do a monthly reading plan. With May holding space for Mother’s Day, themes of parenting or being a mother seemed to fit; however, not everyone fits this description. Yet, this very moment in life-motherhood; it can fill us with so many inadequcies. We have so many doubts about our abilities, and we tend to compare ourselves with so many others. Thinking they have it all right, and we have it all wrong.

But, it’s all lies. We tend to believe so many lies.

This month, we will be defeating those lies. The lies we believe about ourselves (and even others) because of the world’s vision that we all comform to one ideal. The lies that tell us we need to be a certain way, parent a certain way, or anything else a certain way to be approved. Through Scripture and song, we will discover the truth the world often shuts out, if you only read the comment section.

Because here is the truth: God has made us good, pleasing, and perfect, among so many other things. It is time we believe this, instead of all the lies the devil may feed us.

Be sure to visit tomorrow for a copy of the newest 30 day Bible reading plan, with a link to the playlist of each song, so you can also listen to truth all month long!

To The Young: You Have Influence, Too

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12, NLT

Today’s post on Christian character is for the younger folk. Those growing up and learning how to navigate the nuances and social expectations of the world. It can be difficult to walk the thin line between what the world expects, and what your faith demands. These things are in constant conflict, and we, as parents, just don’t often know what this is like.

We, of course, know what it is like to be teens. It is hard. We have all walked the line between the expectations of the world, those of our elders, our own, and what we know to be right, or even wrong. We just didn’t have the internet, or phones at our fingertips to document our every move. If we had bullies, we could retreat to safety at home, and leave our bullies at school. Turn them off until the school bell rang the next day. And if we took a picture or someone did find something out about us, we didn’t have a tribe of people calling for us to be “canceled,” or jumping in on the smear campaign because it was the “cool” thing to do. Things really were just “different.”

I talked about integrity yesterday, and it doesn’t just apply to adults. It’s the same concept no matter your age. Are you who you say you are at home, and out in the world? At church and with your friends? Do you show Christ everywhere, or just at church?

You may be young. You may be influenced by social media. You may even be triggered by the mixed messages from the things you see from it’s sources, or the people you follow. Feel you don’t measure up.

However, you still have an influence on the world around you of which you may not be aware. Especially when you let others know you believe in Christ. There will be expectations of you. Yes, even when you are young. Even on your social media profiles, and no…it won’t feel “fair.” It will likely feel like it’s one more expectation someone has of you of which you will never measure up, but it is the most important expectation. It is the one God has of you.

He does not expect you to be without a few mishaps. A few blemishes. A few bruises. What He does expect of you is to put aside the world’s expectations. What Facebook. Instagram. TikTok think for a bit, and worry about what He thinks. Walk in the way He expects. And remain honest and true to His ways. A person. A young man or woman of integrity.

No matter how young (or old) you are.

On Trend: Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

The teen years. It’s a rite of passage. And if you, as we are, are raising a teen; it can also be a day by day struggle to build a healthy sense of self. How exactly? Well, as it is with adults at times, what you wear, and how you present yourself to the world…well, it determines your social status. Put on the wrong pair of pants, and you could just be the laughing stock of the entire school! How embarrassing!

Paul in Colossians 3 discusses a different type of dress. One that has nothing to do with the outward appearance that we seem to be so obsessed with. As he mentions in verse 14, the most important part of this outfit is love. He lists it as the one thing that binds everything together.

How true this is.

Without love we cannot wear patience and mercy. We simply don’t have the capacity to do so. To extend these virtues out to others who get on our nerves or hurt us.

Without God’s love, we also don’t have the desire to remove our sin clothing. Those outfits that simply don’t belong in our closets anymore when we begin to walk with Christ. Those garments such as anger, lust, and greed. We have no use for them anymore. It’s time to purge them to make more room for the love God desires we wear instead.

Look, we could put on the trendiest outfit, but not put on love, and walk around with a downright rusty, crusty heart. The world may be satisfied, but God wouldn’t be.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather someone judge my ‘fit harshly, and see a heart that reflects God.

His outfit is the only one that is worthy of wearing. His is the only ‘fit that’s gonna get you His Kingdom garments.

Clothe yourselves with love.

You are the pearl

“June? You were born in June? Then why did your parents name you January?”

It is a question I have gotten a lot. I know the answer. Sometimes I take the time to provide it. Other times I don’t.

It has also taken me a number of years to embrace the name myself. To even embrace the person God has shaped me to be. Too many years. Too many hurts. Dark, twisty turns can often lead us to the place where we finally begin to see ourselves in the ways we were meant to be seen all along. It’s eye-opening. It’s liberating. It’s freeing. But it’s a nerve-wracking, heart-wrenching, soul-searching journey.

Sometimes it even means just owning your name. Owning your birthright. Owning the circumstances of your birth, and the suffering, darkness, and grit that have made you who you are.

Which is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that January is the first month of the year.  A month representing new beginnings. That the name January is derived from the name of the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of new beginnings, with two faces-one to look to the future and one to look to the past. I’ve always used my past to start anew. I’ve never been one to sit and sulk when hurt.

And, no I wasn’t born in January, and there is a reason for that, too. Those born in June, especially at the end of the month tend to be caring, empathetic, and kind. They are also forgiving and extremely optimistic, tending to look at the bright side, and seeing the good in most things (source).

However, they can also have a dark side. They are extremely clumsy (true fact, here), and because of their kindness and empathy-can be taken advantage of, and go through periods of suffering. Like their birthstone-the pearl.

I recently heard the following in a sermon: Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. Matthew 7:6, NLT

I thought it harsh, but it had me thinking about pearls. Why did Jesus use the pearl here, and not the diamond, ruby, or another jewel? Why the pearl?

Diamonds are great. They are said to be a girl’s best friend. Given as sign of commitment to the one chosen as a bride. Heavily sought after. Written about in songs. Everyone seems to want diamonds on their necks. Their wrists. A ring on it, and not a pearl ring, a diamond one. So, why is Jesus not talking about those? Diamonds?

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” Matthew 13:45-46, NLT

Again, why not diamonds?

One must understand how pearls are formed to understand why Jesus would choose to use this gem here. To find a pearl, one must search through hundreds of oysters. Why? Because pearls are not formed by chance. Contrary to belief, not every oyster contains a pearl. Pearls form after an irritant or some pesky monster enters the oyster. Some annoyance. To keep the oyster safe and secure. To protect it from harm, a fluid is secreted which eventually forms a rare, natural pearl.

So why pearls? Not diamonds?

Diamonds are a dime a dozen. Cut, fashioned, shaped, molded in the way the world desires. Placed in cases at every jewelry store, and set on any band you desire. There are infinite commercials about the diamond of one’s dreams-from Jared, of course.

Pearls don’t need to be cut, shaped or molded. They have to be searched for through seas and seas of oysters. They are sought after in their natural state. They are valuable because they need no polishing from the world, but are polished by God. They are the true representation of grace under pressure, purity, and integrity. They are protectors. Cased in shells until found in their infinite beauty.

Everything that represents Jesus.

June. I was born in June.

Full of wisdom. Polished in my natural beauty and rarity by my Maker. Pure. Innocent. Loyal. A place of safety in darkness. Valuable.

A pearl of great price.

To be known

I walked in the room, knowing I needed to apologize. Dinner in our home is definitely a time of interesting, and fiery conversation. The fiery ones center mostly on the state of virtual school. On any given night, one parent ends up being the bad cop, the good cop, or we both end up just being lame. Tonight, it was me.

I wasn’t “bad.” I hadn’t yelled. We hadn’t had the dreaded school discussion that ends in stomping to rooms, but I hadn’t set a “good” example. Not one sprinkled with grace and acceptance.

I had mocked someone we knew at the dinner table. Judged a situation, and judged the person in the situation.

And any of you who haven’t committed this sin, be the first to cast a stone. I’ll wait.

While I wait…and wait, I’ll explain my apology. If I feel my example has not been one of Christlike-ness; or let’s just say, if I KNOW, because the Spirit tells me it hasn’t, I will apologize. This means I will also apologize to my kids.

Now, I know some don’t believe in this. But, the Bible is clear about how humble we must become to enter His kingdom:

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3, NLT

Like children. So I’m not above apologizing to a child. Especially if I know that one is watching and learning from me.

“I shouldn’t have said what I did tonight. Made fun of what happened. It was wrong. I am not going to justify my behavior. I should have explained my thoughts differently. It was wrong. I didn’t set an example, and it wasn’t kind.”

The apology opened up a conversation about authenticity and belonging.

See…I had left a space earlier that day feeling shunned and unwelcome. Like I was an intrusion. And I let it fester all day. To the point that I let the inauthentic response of another trigger me into anger, and a mean-spirited response.

When I should have explained at dinner the importance of making others feel comfortable in all spaces. Allow others to be free to be themselves, so they don’t have to constantly “shape-shift,” and be less than themselves. To be inclusive to all. To make others feel a little less self-conscious, but rather accepted, seen, loved, and known.

“I don’t want you to be 42 years old, and just figuring this out like I am.”

As I sat typing out the words to this post, I reached for my phone to locate a verse I needed and found this…a note I had typed out in my phone over a year ago. A short “letter” I had written to the younger me.

Dear Younger me,

Choose your circle wisely. You should be loved by your peeps for who you are, not for who you pretend to be. If you have to change who you were made to be to fit into a space, that isn’t your space.

And as I read it, I realized…though she thought it “cringy…” I had just said these exact same words, without my even knowing to a pretty spot-on, younger version of 13 year-old me.

And no…I didn’t want her to have to figure all this out in another 30 years.

And goodness, I am still trying to figure out many days who it is that God sees in me.

Because that is what I want her to see: who God sees. Not what anyone in any room she may walk into may see. Because more often than not…they may not see ALL that God has given her. ALL her talent. ALL her gifts. ALL that makes her so uniquely special, and set apart.

And it’s the same for you. There will be rooms you walk into where you may be known by name, but in which people still just don’t see you. You still don’t feel known. You will move in circles with people who don’t know who you really are, because you feel as if you have to cover up the real you. Play pretend. You may waste years and years trying to fit into spaces that will just never “fit” you, and who you are.

Know this. Embrace it today.

You are always seen and intimately known by God. He knows everything about you, and He still loves you. He has a place for you, and you never have to pretend, cover up; nor will you feel all alone.

He sees the real you. The broken you. The insecure you. The too loud you. The shy you. The you trying to fit into spaces that make you cringe.

He knows your name. He sees you. He loves you. He accepts you. You are known. You belong.

What I know now

“Are you an albino?”

“I was wondering that, too. You know…because of the hair and big lips.”

Those questions? Those comments? They were made about me. All while trying to get through an already awkward middle school gym class.

Those comments told me these things: You don’t fit in. You look different. You don’t belong.

So I did everything over a number of years to somehow look like everyone else. I couldn’t change my lips, but I could at least try to change my hair. So I thinned it out. I tried to straighten it. So I could run my fingers through it like all the other girls could their hair.

Try as I might, I still looked different.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

“We’ve gotten some complaints about your ‘sass.'” You are passionate, but maybe tone it down a bit.”

“Pink hair? Interesting…”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that you shouldn’t have tattoos? And aren’t you a Pastor?”

“You’re so naïve. That’s cool and all, but you’re too naive. Face it! Some people are just jerks.”

Comparison and criticism didn’t stop in adulthood. If anything, it hurt worse.

I wasn’t in middle school anymore. We were all adults. Why were we still picking apart all things? And casting folks into categories?

I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew that those middle school taunts, though not forgotten, would one day not define me.

I wish I knew that I didn’t need the approval from those adults to fulfill a purpose God had given just to me.

I wish I knew then, because maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to stop straightening my hair. To show my daughter to love and style her beautiful curls. To love my face. All the delicate, and supposedly big parts of it.

I wish I knew then, that even if I didn’t fit anywhere in middle school, that I was accepted.

That if I didn’t fit the mold of what a pastor was supposed to look like, that I was made for a purpose.

That if I was naïve and saw too much good, that I was loved, and could show others this same love.

So others know they are also accepted. They also belong.

I don’t know what middle school lies you may be believing today. What mold you are being forced to fit into. Or who keeps telling you to give up on seemingly lost souls. Or even that you are one of them.

But it’s not true.

You are made for so much more. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are his. You’re beautiful.

He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

Not Today

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I’ll sing the night into the morning
I’ll sing the fear into Your praise
I’ll sing my soul into Your presence
Whenever I say Your Name
Let the devil know not today. -Hillsong

These are the words of a song I heard while driving home on a summer afternoon a little over a year ago. I heard it a day on which Satan had been beating me up badly. “You are not good enough. See, look at what has happened. What will people think of you now?”

I had just found out I was about to become a grandma…and my biggest worry was everyone else’s expectations of me.

But, really I have been here for a long time. Living up to everyone else’s expectations. What I needed to look like. How my kids should act. Who I should be at church. At work. As a parent. How I carried myself. Whether I said “ask,” or pronounced it “ax.” I never thought I measured up to what the world expected, and Satan uses this any time he can.

Not today!

I started posting that message all around me when his voice started to get louder, as the expectations of who I needed to be became too much to handle.

It’s on my bathroom mirror, so when I look into it each morning, see something different than what God sees, and start to pick apart my flaws, my first response instead is “Not today, Satan!”

It is on my coffee pot so I can repeat it to myself before I get my “cup of courage” and the day becomes too crazy. It even adorns the mug I use each morning as I hurry about the house, or spend time in His word.

It is on my steering wheel as I head into work, on my planner while I work; all to keep those all too familiar “not good enough” thoughts that creep up in this particular place at bay as I walk into classes feeling incapable-“Not today, Satan!”

It serves as a reminder that all the expectations that the devil places in my head. The ones that make me feel inadequate, are the world’s…not God’s. He created me. My edges. My weaknesses. My struggles. My mistakes and flaws are made perfect through Him. And, everything the world thinks is a fatal flaw, God will use for His glorious purpose.

They remind me that the devil has never filled my head with anything but lies. Tore apart my soul, and tries daily to strip me of my worth.

He didn’t succeed yesterday. And, he won’t today. No. No. Not today.

If He sees beauty here…so will I

If creation sings your praises, so will I. -Hillsong UNITED

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I decided during my quiet time this week to do something a little different. Instead of my usual front porch sitting, I took my show on the road. I loaded up my Bible, my journal, and my pen, and headed to the lake in my local neighborhood in which I am blessed to live.

And, I just sat. Taking in all the beauty that surrounded me during that time. The big huge boulder that supported and anchored my back as I sat in the grass along the bank. The fireflies that danced and skimmed the waters surface. The water that rippled with the blowing winds, and the sun’s rays. The stray bird that flew through the air.

As I sat there, I realized that I needed to make sure that I spent more time doing this. Just sitting. Appreciating the beauty that surrounded me daily.

And, then I thought of something else.

What if I applied this to the body I was in? Saw beauty in it, and all that it has to offer? Walked into a room, not feeling uncomfortable, naked, and exposed? But, feeling like I belonged…because my Heavenly Father always sees beauty there?

This need to feel comfortable in my own skin. To see beauty where God sees it. To accept my quirks as gifts from Him, comes from the transformation I have witnessed in the last several weeks in my daughter.

My preteen, who still adorns her head with silly headbands, and professes she doesn’t care what others think, has now gained a certain slouch of shame when she witnesses the all to common changes that she is seeing in her body.  And, I know. I know she has witnessed this from me. Even heard many words of shame as I critique my body, my supposed personality flaws, my errors. Yes, modesty is key. Integrity. Righteousness. These are something for which we should strive. However, perfection doesn’t exist, and our personalities are usually given to us for a reason. Furthermore, being a woman should never be something of which we are ashamed.

Then there is my son. Neurologically different because of his autism. A condition that makes him look no different, but yet keeps his belly in knots with anxiety. In addition, he is also a bit socially awkward…sometimes saying and doing the wrong thing, at the absolute wrong time. Who now has a sister who will wrestle with her self-esteem. He will hear her negative self-talk. See her be uncomfortable in her skin, and begin to believe it may be alright to talk to women this way. To allow women to feel this way.

And what comes next, is the doubt she begins to feel when she hears someone tell her mom, “You sure are sassy!” She hears she needs to tone her spunk, her “go get em” attitude down a bit.

When she hears me lament about some part of my physical makeup that I don’t like. My tooth that’s crooked. My too curly hair I only started to make peace with, that is just like hers. She will in turn start to wonder if she is flawed as well.

When he becomes more aware of his differences (because as he gets older, they do become more apparent), will he continue to shrug off the kids that call him “nerd,” or “weird?” Will he be bothered by the fact that he truly is uncomfortable, because he doesn’t know how to interact in the space he is in? And, if I can’t see beauty in me. If she can’t see beauty in the skin she is in, he will in turn learn this is the norm.

Her spirit is diminished more and more, and the belief that she is truly fearfully and wonderfully made becomes overshadowed by the critiques and expectations of the world.

She forgets to see God’s beauty in the space she is in. In the body she occupies. In the personality He has given her.

He feels different because he is wired differently. Thinks differently. Is sometimes awkward. Often comes off as rude. Wonders why God made him this way, and forgets that He too…was made in His image. Autism, and all.

We are all messy, unique, quirky, weird, sassy, beautiful, funny, and glorious. In the space we are in. But, somewhere along the way, we will hear a different message.

I hear…she hears…he hears…we hear…You don’t measure up. You don’t fit in. You need to change.

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I

 If He says I am fearfully and wonderfully made….so will I.

Because the tree just stands majestic. It may drop its leaves in silence when the time is right, but in due time, it buds again.

The flower isn’t told not to bloom. That its colors are too bold. Its fragrance too sweet. Its petals and design too quirky.

The bird isn’t told to sing a new song. That the one it chirps is too loud, not their style, or doesn’t sound quite right. It belts out its tune anyway.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. Psalm 139:13-14

That girl. That boy. This woman. You. Will walk into a room and feel comfortable in the space we are in. Not slouching. Standing tall and majestic. Not feeling awkward, or weird, or different. But, like an exotic flower that blooms boldly. Like a bird, singing a song, that may not be someone else’s style. It may be out of tune, and too loud.

But, if creation can sing praise for what God has made…then, so will I.

So will I.

Who cares about hair…and other truths about me

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If only I could see you as you see me, and understand the way that I am loved. Would it give a whole new meaning to my purpose, change the way I see the world? -Mandisa, The Truth About Me

Growing up I stood out. Not for any typical reason. I wasn’t taller than my peers. I wasn’t exceptionally pretty. I didn’t stand out for any supernatural reason either. I had no awesome talent or some super athletic ability.

Nope. Nothing like that.

It was my hair. I had extremely, unruly, wiry, curly hair. Like…can’t-get-a-comb-through-it-without-getting-it-stuck-in-the-ends-curly. Puffy. Poofy. Frizzy on rainy days curly. Can’t do anything with curly. Same haircut since kindergarten curly.

And it made me stand out. Made me different. A target.

For envy…because I wanted the long, silky, straight strands of my classmates. The ones that could sit in class and brush each strand without looking like the love child of Diana Ross.

And for bullies…who feared different. Who called me names. All because my hair didn’t look like theirs. Or their dolls. Their sisters. Their girlfriends. Because I didn’t fit the standard of what the world considered pretty. Beautiful. Acceptable. Perfect.

I didn’t fit into a neat tidy box.

Now, many years later…there is another little girl who often stands out. In a world that wants to think that it has changed, but has not all that much.

This girl is my daughter. With the same unruly, can’t get a comb through it hair.

But, she’s a little different.

Unlike me…if she has one hair out of place. If she has one knot. If someone makes a comment about how she is different…she simply does not care.

We could learn a lot from this spunky, sassy, strong-willed, curly-headed, beautiful little girl. We could learn that it is OK to not fit into a neat tidy box. And to simply not care when we don’t.

See, we all want to think that as we got older and grew out of our “awkwardness,” that we also stopped worrying about our bullies. The simple truth is, some of us didn’t. Some of us still carry around the hurts of the bullies that made us feel less than. And, yes…let’s be real. Some of us still have a few bullies. Some of them even live among us in grown-up (even “Christian”) bodies.

But, we don’t have to continue to be their victims. Because, yes. We are different. We are set apart. Molded. Made unique. Made different on purpose. By a creator who loves us. Just.As.We.Are.

So, when the bullies start to attack again and tell you that you are worthless, remember that He says you are worth so much more. A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31: 10

When Satan whispers that you are not beautiful, or don’t fit in, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

When those who call themselves martyrs try to call you by your sin, remind yourself (and them) that you are redeemed! Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly, free! Ephesians 1:7, MSG

You are loved. You are worthy. You are set apart. You are His. It is OK to be different. To fit in a different box. To stand out in all your sassiness. Spunkiness. Strong-will. And to not care what the bullies or world thinks about it. Even if they decide your brand doesn’t fit into their tidy box.

Embrace the truth about you.

Love it. Own it. It’s how and who He made you to be.

Because He doesn’t care about our hair…and frankly, neither should we.