Tag Archives: beauty

Thirteen Miles of Grace

I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could. Normally 6:17am hardly qualifies as late on a Saturday morning but in this case it did because I was supposed to be at the starting line of my half marathon that was thirty minutes away.

Even though the race didn’t start until 7am, it was necessary to get there 30 minutes early because there were 2,600 other runners that needed to line up too. Thanks to my alarm clock I was now running extremely late. I had less than 15 minutes to reach my destination.

I threw on my clothes and grabbed my stuff. My husband and I headed out the door as quickly as we could. God had favor on me and I arrived to the half marathon with 5 minutes to spare. I had a few problems though…

My late schedule caused me to run out the door without eating anything or even going to the bathroom. This meant that I had to run 13.1 miles with an empty stomach and full bladder. Running a half marathon is hard enough. Frankly, I didn’t need anything else to make it worse.

As I stood there in running position, waiting on the race to start Paul’s words from 2nd Corinthians 12:9 began to echo in my head. Over and over again I heard.

Grace

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

So when the race began I held on to those words. As my feet hit the pavement I thanked God for my ability to run and begged him to help me get through this race. I finished the race in awesome timing. My goal was to run the half marathon in 2 hours in 15 minutes.

did it in 2 hours and 14 minutes. Yup, I beat my time by one minute even though I was running on no food. God’s power worked in my weakness. He helped me through the whole thing. 

Have you ever had one of those moments when you just thought that you couldn’t do it because you didn’t feel strong enough? Well heres the thing, you aren’t strong enough, but your Creator is.

His power works best in your weakness so sit back because He has got your back.

~Lovelle ❤

The Waiting Game: What I wish I Was Told When I Was Single

I had this dream that was tucked inside my heart so tightly that hardly anyone knew about it. Everyone in the world saw a completely content and independent woman, but deep down all I wanted was to be married.

I was ashamed of this dream and at times, I felt that I obsessed over it too much. After all, a woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her. I was taught in church that I should be content and my impression of content was to be happy single.

The problem I had, was that I wasn’t happy single. Instead I was stuck with an unwanted desire… 

I would pray to my Creator because I wanted Him to take away my feelings. I was sick of guilt and I thought that my desire for a husband meant that I wasn’t content.

After years of struggling and an extreme amount of guilt, God gave me an answer to my request but it didn’t involve Him taking away my desire. He gave it to me through a simple scripture.

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please Him.
~1 Corinthians 7:32

I learned through this scripture, that there is nothing wrong with my desire for a husband. God created me that way. I learned that I should embrace this chapter of my life by spending my time doing the Lord’s work and thinking about how to please Him. This verse taught me what it really means to be content.

Being content means that you are making the best of your situation. The fact is, we all have unwanted feelings. Paul says it best in 2nd Corinthians. In two powerful verses he tells us how to be content in the midst of hardships.

I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Despite what I was taught in church, desiring a husband isn’t a bad thing and it does not mean that I am not content.

You see, God designed us with a desire for companionship. Since the beginning of time, man has struggled with loneliness. We see that in the book of Genesis. Adam was lonely and needed a helper so God made Eve {Genesis 2}. When Adam saw her he praised God because he thought that she was a wonderful gift.

“At last!” the man exclaimed “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!”
~Genesis 2:23

The Christian culture tells us to be content with singleness, and yes that is true but often times we think that a desire for a spouse means that we aren’t. It causes us to feel shame because we think that our desire means that we aren’t having faith or trusting in God. How we handle that situation often involves us feeling guilty, stuffing our feelings inside, and hiding them instead of embracing them. 

I am married now and I absolutely love it. Ironically enough, I met my husband a couple months after God changed my perspective but as I look back at the four years I struggled with singleness there are a few things I wish I would have been told because they would have helped me through that season in my life and it probably would have made my time as a single woman more useful.

If you are struggling with singleness I want you to know that your feelings are completely normal, in fact, they are a gift from God. I’ll be the first to admit that being single is REALLY hard. Friends are great but on those cold days, there is something really depressing about not having someone to snuggle with.

Here’s how you get through it: Focus on advancing God’s kingdom. Take advantage of your time, and minister to people.

Hispowerinweakness

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

p.s. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be perfect, my mom Holley Gerth’s new book will encourage you. You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.

I drove into the parking lot of the country club where my meeting was supposed to be and did a double take. “Surely this isn’t where the meeting is” I thought to myself. With determination and a little bit of desperation I typed in the address again only to find Google maps doesn’t lie… This was in fact the building.

As the realization hit, all the confidence in my abilities suddenly diminished. I had only been to a country club once in my life, and that was because I had gotten a scholarship to attend an event.

As far as I knew poor people didn’t attend country clubs. I didn’t even think they were allowed in.

I took one last look at my underdressed self through the rearview mirror and attempted to straighten up my messy hair I took a deep breath, and stepped out of the car.

Excuse me.” I said to the fancy lady at the front desk. “I’m here for the chaperone meeting.

She smiled and pointed me down the hall to the conference room filled with women who I thought were all better off than me. “What do I have to offer. They are so blessed.” I thought to myself. Those thoughts remained throughout the meeting and they almost made me change my mind about helping until God whispered a powerful statement.

Receiving blessings often means you have more blessings to give to others.

Boy was that a kick in the butt from Jesus… Here’s the best part. I was walking to my 2013 Ford Fiesta that the Lord had BLESSED me with! I was also reminded of God’s response to Samuel when he was picking the next king after Saul’s reign. Like any normal human, Samuel assumed the good looking tough guy would be the chosen king. 

Not Our Ways

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7

The same goes for us. Making assumptions about a person is like trying to see in a deep fog. Just like it is impossible to see in front of you when it is foggy, it is also impossible to see the true character and beauty of a person when assumptions cloud your view of them.

When it comes down to it, we are all blessed. When we forget that we are blessed, we become jealous and lose confidence in who God made us to be.

My prayer is to ditch the labels and see people like God does. The next time I walk into a country club {probably a very long time from now} I will be confident and genuine because I know that every one in that building as well as myself was fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who loves us deeply. {Ps. 139:14} 

~ Lovelle ❤

Healing from Abuse: Turning to God

I see a little boy going up to a his friend’s house because the girl hadn’t shown up for school. He finds the girl terrified and as the girl shakes with fear he suddenly realizes why she never wanted to go home all of those times before…

Jenny! Where are you!?!” her dad yells from the back porch.

The scared little girl grabs the boy’s hand and says, “run Forrest!” The intoxicated man throws the beer bottle on the ground and starts running after them. They ran as fast as they could only to realize that they can’t outrun her dad.

With one last ounce of hope she grabs the boys hand, gets down on her knees and yells in desperation, “pray with me Forrest!” and over and over again the girl says,

Dear God,
make me a bird so I can fly far far away…

The scene in Forrest Gump ends and the past begins to flood my mind. I begin to remember all of those nights that I would be on my knees asking God to take me out of my abusive home. I also remember how it didn’t happen.

As my husband holds me with his strong and protective arms and I am reminded of God’s mysterious ways. It’s easy to blame God and accuse him of not being there but what if I told you that He was holding you through every bad trial you endured?

While you look at yourself in the mirror, feeling dirty and when you feed into all the lies, God is staring back with the most adoring eyes.

When you feel alone and defeated, He is there with you. When you fall, He is holding you up. He is the strength that sustains you and He is the one deciding your steps when you feel you can’t go on anymore.

I know because it’s in my lowest that I feel God most of all…

Faith-is-Confidence-by-HolleyGerth.com_

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

Yes, I was abused.

Yes, at random times the pain still occurs.

However, I am not my pain or my past and neither are you.

The worst thing you can do to yourself is ask God “Why?” I don’t know why my step dad did what he did and I don’t care because my God is bigger than what was done to me. His love overcame it all.

God did what no man can do. He redeemed me. On that cross, He alone made me new. So in those hard times I will run to the feet of my Savior because answers won’t make me feel any better. Only His love can.

When Peter told his listeners in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sins I know that he wasn’t only talking about the sins they committed. I believe that he was referencing the sins that were done to us, too.

You see, it takes love to save, but it takes love to forgive. Jesus was the first example of that when He was being beaten and spat at on that cross. We see true redemption in the words, “Lord forgive them for they do not know what they have done.”

Abuse is real and healing is a process. I love that even in my pain, when I can barely even whisper, “Lord make me feel better” I know without a doubt that God is there and He is better than what I am going through now.

That fact may not take away the pain but it helps me sustain. If you’re hurting today I just want you to know that God says it’s going to be okay…

~ Lovelle ❤

Six Ways to Live a Healthy Life Inside and Out

6 Ways to liveA HealthyLifestyleInside

As I stated in my previous post, I have always struggled with respecting and honoring my body. I used to be overweight, and this caused me to disregard the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I was wrong because I didn’t take care of the body I was given. Since then, I have lost eighty pounds and although I take care of my body’s health, I find myself disrespecting my body through my words and thoughts.

That’s where the Bible comes in. It turns out my friends were struggling with the same thing so after looking through scripture we have found six ways to live a healthy lifestyle inside and out.

1. Physical exercise

 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
~ 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is so important because it displays the care we feel for our Creator’s work. Running was one of the ways I got in shape, and this verse is one of my favorites. Exercise takes discipline. I have to make myself get off the couch and work out. I have to commit to do it on a regular basis. 

2. Eating Healthy-

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.  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 12:1-2

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19

Lisa TerKeurst explains the importance in an amazing way in her book Made to Crave. Her outlook is that we were all made to crave. Sometimes there are things we shouldn’t crave though and for me, it’s food. One of the ways I can give my body to God is by eating healthy. This means not eating when I am hungry and avoiding a lot of junk I don’t necessarily want or need. Eating chocolate once in a while is not a bad thing by any means but food and cravings shouldn’t control you.

3. Studying your word-

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.
~ 1 Timothy 4:8

My friends and I are big believers on the importance of exercise. We also know that sometimes, exercise can aid our Spiritual discipline. Striving to live a Godly life is a workout and discipline of it’s own. Just like exercise, reading our Bible and praying should be done on a regular basis.

4. Kind words to yourself-

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
~ 2 Corinthians 10:12

As I stated in my previous post, one of my biggest struggles is comparing myself to others. If I don’t fit the mold I see in others, I tend to knock myself down through comments like, “you’re fat” or “you need to work out more” and this is wrong. I may or may not need to work out more but that is based on staying healthy and honoring God with what I do with my body that he has given me. It’s not based on trying to fit the mold of others.

5. Keeping your security in heaven

We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
~Proverbs 16:1

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
~Proverbs 16:24

As poor college kids, my friends and I know how hard it is to keep finances and other worldly items from becoming our security and we know the consequences of that. This life has no certainty. The only thing that stays the same is God and he will take care of us.

6. Kind words to others-

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
~Ephesians 4:29

Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
~Proverbs 16:24

A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
~Matthew 22:39

Let’s be honest, girls can be pretty hateful and that hate often occurs through words. Little whispers of gossip and slander are not kind or necessary and hateful words to someone’s face aren’t either. You can never take back what is said. I don’t know a single person that hasn’t been really hurt by hurtful statements. The Bible says that this is wrong so it shouldn’t be done.

There are a lot of things that my friends and I want to improve on this year. We believe every day holds a chance for growth. We know that these six basic principles will help aid us in the process of our personal refinement. We hope these can help you too!

What are some ways that help aid you in living a healthy lifestyle inside and out?

~ Lovelle, Karley, and Cathy ❤

My New Years Resolution: 6 Ways to Live a Healthy Life Inside and Out

I step on the scale and hold my breath as the machine I dread so much decides my fate. I hope to actually see a change in my weight this week. All I want is to finally see positive results.

But to my dismay, the numbers are not what I want to see. I step off, only to get back on for a second time. Scales are always off the first time, right?

As the inanimate object that seems to have so much control over my life loads, I find myself saying a silent prayer:

“Dear Jesus, I want to lose weight. I’m sick of my curves and extra flab. I want to feel pretty. Please help?”

After what feels like forever, the number is finally revealed. It is exactly the same. It is not what I want to see. Those ugly red numbers are like a flashing light, taunting me. Every time I see them, a voice inside me screams, “You are fat! Not good enough!” and frankly, I’m sick of it.

I’m done looking in the mirror and seeing negative things. I’m fed up with working out regularly, only to put myself down. I need to appreciate my body. I am sick of degrading the body God designed, and looking to the world for acceptance.

This year, my New Year’s resolution is not to lose weight. My resolution is to respect my body and honor it. My body was paid for with a price. It is not my own, so from here on out, my body will represent its creator: God (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Even though the magazines and television shows tell us that we are not good enough, God says that you are wonderful and loved. He knit us together with his delicate hands and crafted us with a purpose (Psalm 139:13).

Ignore the lies the world feeds you and look up, because your creator is staring down at you with the most adoring eyes. You don’t have to change.

made

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

Respecting and honoring your body is easier said than done, so after a heartfelt conversation with my fabulous friends, we came up with a guide to help you walk the talk. To help you kick-start your year, next week I will discuss Six ways to live a healthy life inside and out. Stay tuned because you don’t want to miss this!

What My Wedding Meant to Me

On January 3rd, 2015 I experienced my wedding day and it was something I will hold close to my heart forever. You see, I come from a family of mostly shotgun weddings. Abstinence was non-existent and elegance was foreign. So as I looked at myself in the mirror with my white dress, make up, and well-designed hair I just couldn’t seem to look away.

Feel Pretty

Lovelle, do you feel pretty?” my bridesmaid Lindsey asked me.

Yes” I said in amazement. “Yes, I really do.

My wedding symbolized so much more than marrying the man of my dreams. My wedding symbolized the redemption of a horrible past and God’s unfailing love. 

My white dress symbolized purity, a concept that was hard to accept because I was sexually abused. God really showed me the meaning of the verse in 2nd Corinthians 5:17. He says that those who find Christ are a new creation. Their old life is gone. They are made new…

My husband symbolized a broken cycle and true love with a person God chose specifically for me. As both of our families joined together and prayed around a corner (to keep from seeing each other before the wedding) I couldn’t be happier because even before we said “I do” we were able to start our new life off with a focus on God.

Family Prayer

I think one of my favorite memories though was the father daughter dance. It wasn’t even two years ago that I was without parents. I remember being on my knees praying to God. All I wanted was to be loved.

I never thought it was possible, but God answered my prayers by giving me two amazing parents and I can honestly say they are better than even my wildest dreams.

They were worth every bit of abuse.

They were worth the long journey of pain.

They were worth the confusion and every horrible situation I faced.

Father Dance

Its funny to me that the one thing that I thought I would never have in my wedding, God proved to be so. As I took my Dad’s hand and danced to our song I began thanking the Lord for the many gifts He had given me. When the song ended I grabbed my Mom and we all began to cry. We cried because we knew that this wedding wasn’t about us. It was about God, His ability to answer even the craziest of our hearts’ desires, and His ability to redeem.

In the past, I never really understood the significance of a wedding but now I do. It was the best day of my life and it was so full of joy. I want to relive this moment for the rest of my life.

My marriage was a celebration to God for everything that He has done. It was His love that saved me and it was His strength that sustained me. This wedding was proof that everything that was taken from me, God, in his love, redeemed.

~Lovelle ❤