Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beauty from Ashes

This past weekend Alivia, our 8 year old daughter accompanied me to see Kelley and her wonderful family. For 6 months I have planned to attend a women's conference that Lysa TerKeurst would be speaking at in KC. I couldn't wait to hear Lysa speak and spend time with Kelley, Lysa and her assistant/BFF Holly.

I didn't check the church website until the week before the conference and found out the conference price was out of me and Kelley's price range so we couldn't attend after all.
Well, God had something different in mind.

Unexpectedly, He provided our way to the conference and so with great expectation of experiencing His greatness over the weekend I headed to KC on Friday afternoon.
Little did I know all He had planned to show me in 48 hours.

Saturday afternoon, I told my husband and my Mom, "I have been to a lot of women's conferences over the years, but never have I felt that one was more personal than this one was".
I know I'm not the only one who was touched by something said or sung this weekend. But God used Lysa to deliver a message this weekend directly from Him straight into my heart.

After each session I would vow the next session I would not cry, but when God is getting your attention so deeply, the tears cannot be stopped. So I just stopped trying to have perfect eye makeup and let the tears flow.

I'm not going to share tonight about the conference as my heart and mind are still trying to unwrap the gift God has placed in my lap and I really feel He has put something else on my heart. I will be back later this week to share some more, but tonight I have something else to write.

There are many of us that have history we wish never existed. Shameful things. Things that make your head hang.
Choices that were deliberately made that had consequences attached that at the time seemed unbearable.
Some women can escape a lifestyle so filled with shame and enter into a new life that there's no question that Jesus is her BFF.
And then there are women that escape their old lifestyle, but continuously beat themselves up over a past that Jesus already forgave them for, but they can't fully accept His grace. And soon they find themselves in the same old pit again.

I have no idea why this is on my heart, but I just need to share it.
This post is for that woman who knows Jesus, loves Jesus, but finds herself returning to her old self because simply said, she doesn't feel good enough. It's written for women like myself.
One who doesn't think she's good enough to be used by a King that chose her.
Or worthy enough to be loved by a King that adores her.
Or even loved enough to allow her King to cut the strings of her past still attached to her heart.

God really is crazy about you. I mean really crazy about you.
You know the kind of crazy that gives you butterflies in your stomach?
I bet He gets those when you call out His name. When you shout it and when you whisper it.
I bet His heart pounds a little harder when you cry as He reaches to catch your falling tears.

And He sees you. Day in and day out. He is watching over you.
And although His heart grieves when you choose to walk through mud because you are convinced you don't deserve different, He still loves you.
Doesn't matter how dirty you get throughout your day or night, He loves you.

A few months ago I met a little girl.
3 years old little.
She is one of those girls who catches your breath.

When I first met her, I had Amiyah, my 22 month old granddaughter with me.
It was a sweet meeting.
Even though Amiyah is a year younger than her, the big sister kicked in and she wanted to take care of our new friend.
And then she wanted to kiss and hug her.
And so they did.
And then she just wanted to play with her.
And so they did.

When I see our little friend, we make each other laugh.
And we hug and give each other kisses.
And I tell her she's beautiful and she agrees with me by smiling and saying "yah".
Here is a picture of me with our little friend. She loves taking her picture.

Four months ago she was at a family celebration and fell into a pot of boiling oil.
Head first.
The only area of her tiny body that is not burned is her precious little feet.

When I look at her she takes my breath away.
But not because of the obvious scars.
Look into her pretty brown eyes and look at that smile and tell me you don't see joy.
She is what beautiful is all about.
She is Beauty.

And I truly believe that this is how God sees us ladies.
He doesn't see our scars from bad decisions we've made.
He doesn't see what we think may not be so pretty...He sees beauty.
True and innocent beauty.

When I met this little one, I didn't tell her Mom to call me when she looked like she did before the burns. I loved her from the beginning.

And that is how it is with Jesus, but only better.
We have a Savior that loves us As Is.
With Him it is truly love at first sight of us.
There are no requirements to receive His love.
He doesn't accept us after we look like we did before we made bad choices.

All we have to do is accept His love.
And He is the One that takes our ashes from the burns we received from the pot of sin we fell into and turns them into beauty.

One thing I learned from Lysa's message this weekend was that we must have
Daily Dependence on God.

Not just in an emergency.
Not once a month or just on Sunday.
But daily.

Jesus loves and adores you so much.
And honestly, that is such an understatement.


Kelley said...

It was a wonderful weekend! I feel so blessed to be refreshed, recharged and revitialized in my faith!! God knew how desperately I needed to fellowship & spend quality time with some amazing godly women and He provided it in abundance. What a gift!!

Andrea said...

Your posts always bless me.

Naomi said...

...and me too!!!

You are a huge blessing to many.

Love, Naomi x

Tracy said...

I'm speechless. What a grab-me-by-the-heart post...thank you, Lelia. What an incredible I won't soon forget.

Stacy said...


I am so grateful that God worked out a way for you to attend the conference! Can't wait to hear more about your experiences.

Girl, once again, you have reached through this simple computer monitor and deeply touched my heart.

Since the recent death of my dad, my heart-quest has been upon comprehending what God, as a Father, is really all about. My dad's death opened up some old wounds but for the 1st time, I can truly feel healing.

The hope that 'as long as there was a pulse, there was a possibility' has now forced me to deal with the grief that the man I called "dad" has never nor ever will the man I so hoped he would be.

Yet that sadness has been accompanied by the joy of really beginning to grasp the love of my Heavenly Father, despite the scars, wounds, and shame. What an amazing gift!

Thank you for using your words to consistently point me back to His gaze and the reminder to DAILY, moment-by-moment, rely upon Him.

Love you much!

Leebird said...

It blessed my heart to visit with you last night as you were in the beginning stages of processing all God taught you! Love you sweet friend I've never met! :)

Yolanda said...


I see the love of God poured into you and you pouring that love back out onto others. You are precious!

Loved the phone message, you truly bless me.


Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

That precious little girl bears the marks of the mercy of God. Truly He has saved her for something amazing!

Kim said...

love you lelia! and the words our Lord gives you!

Liz said...

Lelia, so glad that I read your post today. I have been in need of the reminder that I am forgiven. There are some things in my past (past being even since accepting Christ) that I wonder, "How did I allow myself to act like that? to behave like that? to do those things?" Even just yesterday, Satan reminded me of the horrific sin nature that is in me.
But yes, God can use me because He has forgiven me. And He is crazy about me!
The story of the little girl touches my heart. When I was a child, my family cared for a foster child who had been dipped in boiling water. Yes, it was intentional and the only thing not burned on this little guys body was his head. And we loved that child just like he was, scars and all...yes, just like Jesus loves us.
AND....if I had known you were going to go to the conference...I would have made that trip to Kansas City that you keep asking me about!!!!

Runner Mom said...

This was a beautiful post, sweet friend! I love to hear how GOd is working in your heart! So glad that you and Kelly were able to go!
Love you!

StitchinByTheLake said...

There's no one harder on us than we are on ourselves - at Satan's urging. Don't listen to him! He's stupid. :) Sweet, beautiful little one. Wish she were near so I could love on her! blessings, marlene

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow. First I am awed about how God provided when you discovered the conference was out of reach.

What an amazing post. You are an amazing lady. We have an amazing God!!

I cannot wait to hear about your weekend. What a blessing to be at Lysa's conference. Love ya,

AnooCre8ion said...

What a touching post. It is fulfilling to let Jesus touch through you.


Danielle said...

Oh, my heart breaks for that precious child... but you are so right! She is beautiful and she looks just as precious as you describe. Hug her and kiss and love on her for me! May her testimony be one that is filled with the richest blessings of God and His love and mercy!

Anonymous said...

I was given your blog name by Kelley at the conference this past weekend. I was sitting at the same table as you at lunch. Also I said hi briefly in the bathroom to you. I am touched by your words. You have written a beautiful post. I'm just sorry I didn't get a chance to talk to you at the conference. I was overwhelmed throughout the weekend and was wiping my teary eyes as well. That was my first Christian Women's conference that I've gone to and it won't be the last. Wow, truly amazing to be in a room with that much love for the Lord and for each other. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to us. I've added your blog to my favourites and just know that I will visit often. Thank you for opening your heart on these pages.

Patricia, Burlington, ON Canada

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

speechless and in tears

Twinkle Mom said...

Thank you for ths beautiful post; I needed to hear this and this was at the right time and the right place! God bless you.

Rachel Olsen said...

What a soul-stirring post. I'm so glad you wrote it.

And before I go, let me just say that I think you are beautiful.

And worthy.

chili pepper said...

Beautiful... thinking back to my own life, all I can say is perfectly put.

Jennifer said...

Lelia- yours words are so true. So many women feel unworthy even with knowing Jesus. Thank you for sharing this message with them. Every woman needs to hear about how much God loves them, regardless of their scars. He loves us no matter what. Often, that is hard to grasp but when we do it is so freeing! Thank you sweet sister. I so love your heart..


Laura said...

Oh, Lelia, this one and your Haiti post are making me cry tonight. Girl, your heart is so big. I love you, lady.