Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Beauty & the Beast….Which Are You?

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photo credit: Sean Molin Photography via photopin cc

“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 

The world is obsessed with their version of beauty. They glorify the perfectly-shaped figure by exposing bare bodies to the public in magazines and movies. They pawn off the promise of beauty to women (and men) by selling them cosmetics, laser treatments, weight loss pills, nose jobs and breast augmentations. They show us movies where flawless, chiseled men and women fall in “love” at first sight and live happily ever after. There’s no doubt the pressures to be “beautiful” by the world’s standards are great, and there’s also no denying that every woman wants to feel lovely. The question is, how should we view beauty? Is beauty something we acquire after two hours in front of the bathroom mirror? Is it something more?

God’s idea of a beautiful woman (and He is the expert, having created womankind) is a totally different concept than the world’s views. For one, we must concede and firmly believe that all of God’s daughters are beautiful because they were wonderfully made by a great Artist. In the vast expanse of unique DNA written for your life, God has detailed the very substance of who you are, and He doesn’t make mistakes. He wrote you eyes, your hair, your height and the unique curvature of your smile. He wrote you body style. Yes, we can gain or lose weight, but He wrote the very nature of your body’s natural shape. God made you beautiful, and you are beautiful dear sister. Yes you are!

“Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” Job 31:15

So we know that God designed us physically has he formed us in our mother’s wombs and that we are beautiful to our heavenly Father. As for our character, well that is the beauty that matters most and God has given us His Word to show us what distinguishes us from making ourselves the Beauty or the Beast. Let’s look at some scripture to see where we fit:

Beauty

* Worships the Lord – “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalm 45:11

* Fears the Lord – “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman thatfeareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

* Knows Her Calling – “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2:12

* Gracious – “A gracious woman retains honor…” Proverbs 11:16a

* Prudent – “…a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Proverbs 19:14b

* Joyful – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” Proverbs 17:22a

* Submits to Husband – “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:1-6

Beast

* Contentious/Nagging – “And the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping.” Proverbs 19:13b

* Foolish/Clamorous – “A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing.” Proverbs 9:13

* Indiscreet – “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” Provers 11:22

* Takes Part in Evil – “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

These are just a few scriptures that we can examine to know if we are making ourselves into having a beautiful or ugly character. God has already made us beautiful. He did it on the day He wrote us into being. Now we are called to live by His Word, and doing that makes us absolutely stunning. Leave the botox and the pills for the world. God has called His daughters to have beautiful, God-honoring hearts, and there is no comparison to that kind of beauty. It shines forth and exudes the glory of God to all who behold it!

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Insecurity and Intimacy

“Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.” Song of Solomon 1:16

It happens to all of us ladies. We grow older, have children, our bodies change, wrinkles appear and we stand before the mirror looking at a woman who has been much altered throughout the years. We have women who were once considered, by the world’s standards, quite lovely with perfect figures and features. We also have sisters who never considered themselves to be true beauties for one reason or another. The world tries to tell us what beauty looks like via the television and magazine racks. Yet we know that God’s idea of beauty is far different. The question is, does the way we look at ourselves affect the intimacy we enjoy with our husbands?

Intimacy in marriage is so very important. Having a romantic relationship with your husband is something God desires for His children. Reading through the Song of Solomon gives us an idea of the delight of being your spouse’s lover. That being said, there are certain issues that often arise within the heart of a woman that fills her with reluctancy in the area of sexual intimacy with her husband, and one of those issues is insecurity with her appearance.

There is no shame in admitting it. When we do not feel beautiful, it can be hard to accept the attention and affections of our husbands. We doubt the words of admiration. We shun away from being observed. We don’t feel sexy so we do not enjoy the experience of being intimate. We don’t put in the effort of wearing lingerie or preparing special romantic interludes. The shame isn’t in the way that we feel, or the way that we look, but in the detriment these feelings of insecurity has on our romantic relationship with our husbands.

Perhaps you used to see yourself as beautiful but the years have brought on crow’s feet and a few extra pounds. You’ve had children and your body is just not what it used to be. Maybe you have never really felt beautiful, at least by the world’s standard. Either way, we need to be reminded that God’s beauty is the true beauty that matters. A godly woman, who serves her husband and children with joy and prudence is gorgeous! A lady who is gentle, kind, generous and trustworthy is lovely! A wife who delights in being her husband’s perfect lover, his playmate and his best friend….she is absolutely stunning!

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Oh sisters, do not let the world tell you what is beautiful. Do not measure yourself by that standard and allow that to define how you see yourself. Do not let the lies from the world and the enemy keep you from having a fulfilling and loving sexual relationship with your husband. If your man tells you that he loves you, believe Him. If he tells you that you are beautiful to him, believe him. Don’t doubt what he says. To him, you are incredibly and stunning and sexy because you are a woman who loves the Lord. Not only that, but remember that you have a body perfectly suited for your husband. God intended for intimacy to be joyful and pleasurable and bringing oneness.

Now there are cases in which a husband is the one who is making his wife feel unworthy or unlovely. Even Christian men can fall into sin and wrong thinking. They can be subject to the lies of the enemy. They can be deceived. If your husband speaks to you or treats you in a way that makes you feel unattractive, I’m so sorry. You need to first pray for your husband. It sounds like he is not walking in the Spirit in this area. He needs to grow in the Lord, and when he does, he will see you the way God sees you. While you are experiencing the hurt of what your husband has said/done, I encourage you sister not to allow it to stop you from seeing yourself as the beautiful woman of God you are. While your husband is in the wrong, I encourage you to do what you can to be beautiful for him. Don’t be frumpy or give up. Do what you can to be vibrant for your husband. Be pleasant and joyful. Don’t play the part of the victim because this will only harm your marriage further. Win your husband over without preaching at him or scolding him. I know that it’s hard, but you have the power of the Holy Spirit to help you walk through the storm with your head held high and the joy of the Lord pouring out of you.

Sisters, be encouraged. You are so beautiful. God has made you beautiful, inside and out. Your husband wants to enjoy you the way God intended so don’t allow a negative self image to hinder the romantic relationship you have. Read the Song of Solomon together and then be your husband’s fair lover. Be confident and enjoy the benefits of a Godly marriage!

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

Songs 2:14

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Infertility – My Story

When I got married, I had no idea I would struggle to conceive. I figured I would try for a few months and be able to have a baby without a long delay. I did not foresee the struggle and pain that the next four years would bring, nor anticipate the amazing work of the Lord through this trial in my life. I share this story now to bring hope, encouragement and comfort to my sisters who have experienced, or are even now experiencing the pain of infertility.

My husband and I had no plans of waiting to have a child when we were married. We wanted to get a family started right away. I had dreamed of a large family with five plus kids. We never prevented pregnancy in any way. Three months passed and nothing. I wasn’t too concerned, reading online that it took healthy when up to a year to conceive at times. We were living in Scotland at the time and I figured the stress of moving to a new country may be putting my body on hold.

As time went on, I struggled with watching friend after friend conceive and deliver precious babies, while for me it wasn’t happening. My husband and I prayed and tried to leave our concerns in the hands of the Lord. As a woman I found the struggle to be particular painful because there were so many shades of emotion. I struggled with impatience, sadness, longing, jealousy….I confess these are not attractive or righteous attitudes. I prayed. Released the pain to God. After a time it would return like a haunting spirit.

For years the pain and fear built upon itself until the point came when I realized the seriousness of what was going on. A dear friend of mine announced she was pregnant with her second child. I had been trying to conceive since before she was pregnant with the first. Suddenly I was no longer a healthy woman being impatient….I was a woman struggling with infertility. I cried more tears during that time than at any other time in my life. I asked God why He had excluded me from the blessing of being a mother when it was all that I wanted. I begged Him for my womb to be open. I cried out in anger when His answer wasn’t an immediate “yes”.

During this time I found it very difficult to be around my pregnant friends. I could hardly handle a baby shower. I grew bitter and was so emotionally tender. I was highly affected by every flippant comment made by people telling me I should have a baby or asking me why we were waiting. We moved back to the US and I found myself at a church that was highly “fertile” ground, as it were. Women were having babies nearly every month and yet I sat by, an incomplete and defective woman in my own estimation. I felt that people looked down on me, that they assumed I was infertile because of my own failure or sin, and that they treated me like a child because I couldn’t to conceive. Some of this was the wayward imaginations of my own mind, and some of it had some merit, I will say.

I hit rock bottom and came to the point when I had to really give it all over to the Lord to be able to function. He was faithful to take my burden. While I still struggled with the pain, God went through it with me and gave me comfort.

Then, four years into my infertility….

I was at a woman’s Wednesday night Bible study and we came across a verse Psalm 113:9. “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” The verse, meant to encourage, broke my heart. I wept to my sisters and allowed them to minister to me. Then at church on Sunday, my pastor read the same Psalm again. I was surprised to hear it again and filled with emotion. Tuesday morning I found out I was pregnant.

The realization of what God had done hit me full force. I knew there was no coincidence. He had given me that verse and confirmed it to prove that it was Him and Him alone who opened my womb. He is the opener and closer of wombs and the only Creator of life! My first feelings weren’t as much of joy as they were of fear. Cramping had led me to the pregnancy test in the first place, so I feared I was miscarrying. Praise the Lord that it wasn’t so and I my daughter, Tabitha, was born a little over 7 months later.

If you struggle with infertility and are reading this, the victory at the end of my story may cause you the same pain that I experienced at hearing of the pregnancies of friends. I’m sorry for this and pray that you will be comforted as I was. My prayer in sharing it is that it will bring you hope and comfort. You are not defective or unworthy of being a mother. God has reasons above our understanding for why He gives children to some and withholds from others. I did nothing to earn my daughter. God had a plan and a time.

Since my daughter’s birth I have again been unable to conceive, and it has been over four years. Again, my husband and I have not tried to prevent pregnancy, so I would now be considered as having secondary infertility. Of course, these words are just terms to define your current state. God is as much in control now as He was when He gave me my daughter. He could give me another child, or He could say no. While I would love to have more children, I believe wholeheartedly that God’s purpose and plan is what’s best. Perhaps He will allow my husband and I to adopt? We are open to His leading.

I wrap this testimony up by sharing three encouragements:

1. God is sovereign and He is the one who opens and closes wombs. Our hope is in the Lord. Just like Hannah petitioning the Lord for a child, we cry out to Him and receive from Him what He wills. We must trust Him and we need to allow His comfort to minister to us and bring us peace and contentment.

2. If you are struggling with infertility, please know that you are not defective or incomplete as a woman. You are complete in Christ. In Christ all fullness dwells and you are in Christ my sister. You lack nothing. God may be allowing you to go through this trial for a purpose that is far beyond what we can see or imagine. I pray fervently that the Lord will open your womb if it be His will. I pray even more so that, no matter what He chooses to do, that you would receive a flood of comfort from the Throne of Grace.

3. If you have a friend who is barren, I pray that you will seek to understand and be sensitive to what a painful struggle she is likely to be going through. Guard her heart by being cautious of your words. Don’t make light of it or joke. I guarantee that, while she may smile on the outside, she is weeping on the inside. Pray for her. Remember her.

For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

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