Fashion Friday

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I have always loved dressing up.  I love the excitement of searching for a specific accessory to complete an outfit. I adore the wide range of colors and patterns and the endless possibilities that a well managed closet can hold.  I can be a perfectionist at times so the control I feel over my own wardrobe is fascinatingly fulfilling.  And I really believe I was born with this passion for fashion. At the ripe age of 6, I would come home from church and change into play clothes making sure that I had changed my socks, shoes and hair bow so that no one would ever catch me playing in the yard without my matching accessories.

But eight years ago when I married a soon-to-be pastor while we were both still attending college, my fashion became strictly limited by a very tight budget.  I fought the system for the first year of our marriage by going to the mall and spending money that we couldn’t spare.  I argued about getting more money and even at some points contemplated getting a job just to fund my habit.  But as time wore on, I became much more consumed with caring for my family and raising children.  Life became less about what I looked like and more about who I was becoming….and I really liked that.   I visited the mall, but I rarely purchased anything.  I stuck to our budget by not buying a stitch of new clothing, so my wardrobe became consumed with old t-shirts and faded jeans that I had since high school.  But I was gaining confidence that I didn’t have before.  And I was learning about love and sacrifice and joy and contentment.

But one day my drab wardrobe got the best of me when I got invited to a bridal shower and had nothing to wear. I felt ugly, sloppy and overlooked…so being the spontaneous girl that I am, I dyed my hair and threw together an outfit from the back of my closet with patterns and colors that I hadn’t seen for a long time.  I held by head high, full of the confidence I had built from not NEEDING to have more stuff. And from that day on I have been a new person when it comes to my clothing.  I realized I don’t have to spend tons of money to feel and look good…I just have to have confidence.  But I also learned that being on a budget does not mean you have to give up looking put together…it just means you have to be more careful and thoughtful about when and how much you buy.

Through the grace of God and the power of His hand working in my life, I have found balance in the way of fashion. God has taught me be thankful for what I have, to love more and consume less, and to seek righteousness above beauty.  In the weeks to come, I would like to use Fashion Fridays to share advice and tips on how to build a functioning and fashionable wardrobe on a budget, while also encouraging contentment in Christ and a constant pursuit of righteousness.

I hope you stuck with me through this lengthy explanation….next week will be much more instruction and a lot less narration.

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The Journey I’ve Been Given

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After months of just trying to keep up with the most basic of responsibilities…loving my family and trying to remember to take care of myself….I have finally found time to blog again.  Here are just a few thoughts to sum up the last few weeks:

Life has been a lot of crazy highs and lows lately.  Circumstances have pulled me in one direction and then another leaving me feeling drained…and yet it all causes me to grasp at the hopeful future where the solidity of reality rests solely on the worship of my Father.  If I have learned anything in this journey of reckless survival it is that this life is fleeting and the life ahead is absent of all worry and pain and frustration and disappointment.  Life will one day be a free and careless serenity, but until then I press on in the journey I’ve been given.

In the journey I’ve been given, I have choices to make. I could choose to complain that because of a form of arthritis, I now have the back of a woman twenty years older.  I could choose to stay in bed because my joints ache with every motion.  I could choose to never leave the couch because my energy is not what it used to be.  I could choose to be annoyed that I now have to spend an hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday doing physical therapy.  But in the mercy of God I have been given hope. Instead, I choose to rejoice that kind doctors who listen to me were able to work together to find that I am not in fact fighting a life threatening illness but I am learning to live with a chronic yet treatable problem that many people live with everyday.  I choose to rejoice that I have made new friends through my experiences who have one by one joined in the crowd of saints who have already been praying for me.  I choose to look at my trips to the Life Center as a reward…a short break during the day to have grown-up conversations. And I rejoice that I have been forced to live my life at a slower pace, taking time to relax and to enjoy the little things, like I should have been doing to begin with.

So, my life hasn’t happened just as I would have planned it….but in the journey I’ve been given, I have been blessed more than I deserve.  I have a husband who loves me more than life.  I have kids who adore me and a family who would give anything for me.  I have meaningful relationships with friends who truly invest in each other’s lives.  And most of all I have a God who sees me and plans my journey so that I learn to be strong, loving, merciful and wise….just like Him.