Monday, August 28, 2017

Lasting Beauty

I like to go down by the river to ponder and reflect. I did so yesterday, stopping at a bench surrounding the big fountain at the park. The population down by the river is comprised of couples and families—and me. It is very beautiful, and I usually find it very funny, but yesterday evening I was feeling lonely. The loneliness goes beyond a romantic relationship—I just moved to a new state—but I read a book last week about the complementarity of men and women, the reflections I have been preparing for a Scripture packet/Bible study have been on a very relationship-y theme, I had just watched the live-action Cinderella movie that afternoon, and all of the couples in the city were walking around me. I found myself contemplating silly fears about the expiration of beauty and the possibility of never being pursued.

I started jotting things down, but did not even finish a complete thought—my discouragement was intercepted by a darling little girl. Probably under 2-years-old, blonde curls, bright blue eyes, and overalls—she was standing directly in front of me, looking up at me. I said hi and smiled at her, and she returned the biggest and best smile. She stayed with me for a while, exploring the squares on my prayer journal (because I miss math and use a graphing composition notebook), and we poked each other’s fingers. She was overjoyed (as was I). Her shoulders would go up as she scrunched her face to smile and laugh. It was truly a delight to be with her, and she taught me that beauty is timeless.

If this is something you have also found to be a struggle, your beauty has not—will not—cannot—expire(d). Your beauty comes from within—it is your spirit which enlivens the rest of you. Its beauty will not expire, but only grow more beautiful as you allow the Lord to continue purifying and molding it.

Then I started reflecting about God’s Kingdom and being a princess and such. Thinking back to Cinderella, the prince was captivated by her when he found her simply—she did not need anything to make her beautiful, but was free to be herself—which was beautiful. That is what I want, and I was feeling quite convicted about it—content

And then I looked at my list of Scripture passages to see which one I was supposed to pray with next. 1 Peter 3: 1-7. After I read the passage, I just kind of sat there. I did not know what it was going to be about beforehand, but here is an excerpt:

“... let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit … (4).”

I considered that maybe I should post some sort of reflection, but basically decided that I did not want to risk writing a post that would sound like I am whining about not being pursued—because I am NOT—so I called it a night and went to sleep. If you know me, you may be aware that I do not particularly like to sleep, and that is in part because my dreams are often not so enjoyable. Last night was no exception. I will spare the details, as they are irrelevant, but will leave it as a conviction to share this message.

Why are we so cruel to ourselves? Why are we so unaccepting of who we are? Why do we hurt ourselves more in hopes that it will “fix” us?


You are beautiful. (This applies to you, too, men!) Regardless of what has happened, no one has ruined you—even you could not destroy yourself. You are not worthless. Your life is not hopeless. You do not need to look a certain way. You do not need to act a certain way. You are lovable as who you are. By your nature, you are good. By your nature, you are loved. Nothing can change that. Give your spirit room to grow. Allow it to pour forth from you. Embrace your beauty. Accept your goodness.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Delighting in Differences

I moved to a new place. A new city, a new state. Everyone is new to me, and I to them. Conversations commonly involve my new friends asking questions like:

“Wait, I just have to clarify, is that actually what you do? Are you making this up?”
 “Hold on, did that actually happen? Are you just trying to pull my leg?”

Several years ago, these kinds of questions were the worstthey made me feel so “different”—it was isolating. Now, such questions bring me joy. There is so much beauty in how DIFFERENT our lives ARE. What is extraordinary and different in our lives can become so ordinary—we become so used to it—we forget how incredible and interesting it all is. The asking of these questions serves as a reminder to come out of myself—to open my eyes to the reality surrounding me. How strange my “job description” appears, and how incredible it is that I am alive and well!

My life is so, so simple. I exist, I pray, I make things, and I go places. At the core, all of our lives are so simple. But there is so much depth in each one of us—such mystery that no one else could ever fully grasp. Not being understood can be a difficult reality (at least, it has been for me), but also so beautiful. We may be blessed to relate to another on different levels based on our personal experiences, but we could never fully claim to understand another person.

I am so intrigued by the lives of others—our different combinations of experience, temperament, family, skill, tragedy, interest, personality, travel, etc. Everything in our personal lives is so intertwined, making us so unique. It truly fascinates me that—though we are each a unique reflection—we are all still reflections of the Image of God. Through our lives, we reflect His Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. It looks differently in each of us—because we are different! We will reach different people—because we will relate to different people. It is so cool!

Stop telling yourself that your life is boring or unimportant. You reflect God. God is not boring. Simple, but not boring. A mirror reflects that towards which it faces. Turn towards God. Reflect Him. Share Him through your life. With Him, it is simple. You are never too little—or too much.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness..’”
Genesis 1: 26

(What am I doing now? Check out mikaylaruthcatherine.com)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Exposed

I used to hide that I was in a near-fatal car accident—paranoid that anyone would find out. I thought that the exposure prevented people from knowing who I truly was. As time went on and I began to accept reality, it turned to seem like no one could really know me unless they knew about the crash. This split-second in time ten years ago that I do not even remember has been imprinted on my very being. The crash is certainly not the source of my identity—and you do not have to know about it to know me—but it does explain a lot about me.

I desire for you to know about what happened to me—because I desperately want you to know what God can do for you. Nothing you say could explain to me how and why I am still alive—but I am—and I pray that God will be glorified through my life—always.

If you have five minutes to spare, watch this video. I pray that it fills you with Hope, and I encourage you to share it with anyone you know who might be needing some as well. Nothing can prevent you from living your life to the fullest

God bless!

“But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth.”

Exodus 9: 16


Friday, June 2, 2017

Compelled

“During the night Paul had a vision; there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.”
Acts 16: 9-10

I am so grateful for Saint Paul. He has been an incredible mentor for me in boldness, exhortation, and trust. He also makes me feel less crazy! I seem to have a reputation for impulsive journeys and life choices. Though I actively overthink everything, what I do often appears random and illogical—like the time I traveled to Rome “because Kansas City was stalking me”—or how I started writing song lyrics at a time when I did not even listen to music. When I feel convicted that I am called to do something, I may hesitate, but I strive to follow through and do it. I continue to trust the convictions of my heart, and they continue to be fruitful. When I went to Rome, I received a miraculous healing in my back. Writing songs led to the formation of a non-profit organization. So much good has come forth—both in the simple and the extraordinary.

Despite all this, there is still plenty room for my trust to grow. God is continuously calling me to stretch outside of my comfort zone. Currently, I believe that He is calling me to move to La Crosse, Wisconsin. Why? I think Saint Paul best describes how I feel here:



“But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know…”
Acts 20: 22

(my homes over the years)
I have been trying to logically present why I am moving, but to be quite honest, I have no idea! On a practical note, it is halfway between here (Ypsilanti, Michigan) and home (Minot, North Dakota)—not that making the 2,400-mile-round-trip drive is an inconvenience. In regards to other convictions of what my heart needs, it is beautiful! And they have the Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Also, it is in Wisconsin, so beer and cheese and the Packers and stuff. (Bonus: I can go on walks to Minnesota again!)

No, I do not have a job lined up there—or a place to live. Yes, I will still be creating things and traveling for COR – Cats on Rockets. Expect to see more paintings, writings, rosaries, and adventures. My first grade desires to be an artist and an author are being actualized, and it is about as unstable as I had been warned. Since deciding to move, a few job opportunities have arisen here in Michigan. The prospect of stability and the avoidance of starting over in a new community is quite tempting. Though I know it would still be good, I also know that I am meant for something else. I do not know what it looks like, but fear cannot be what stops me. It is worth the risk. Even if it is largely unsuccessful, I have an incredible opportunity to grow in trust.



To truly trust, you must act upon it. You will never know if something would work out if you do not give it a chance. It might not go how you intended—it may not appear to be successful—but that does not mean you should not have tried. Think about something you were confident about that seemingly failed. How did you grow through this experience? And what about the convictions on your heart that you have been ignoring? Why have you not acted upon them? Do you fear failure? Are you afraid of what others will think? I encourage you to take a risk. Let go of who you think you should be—of who others expect you to be—and become who you are meant to be.

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!”
2 Corinthians 11: 1