Beautiful Things

Thoughts from a once pessimist

Letter to my 18 year old self June 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — pakhathaway @ 3:29 am

My girls and I love listening to all sorts of music in the van. I cannot count the number of times that we have had impromptu dance sessions while waiting at red lights and stop signs. Those memories I hold near to my heart. One song in particular, they LOVE. It is “Springsteen” sung by Eric Church. It is all about how music is tied to our memories. You hear a song and it sends you right back to a time in your past. It doesn’t hurt that it is a country song either, after all I am from Amarillo. I am a believer that a song can take you back to a moment like you are living it fresh again. This is one reason I find it difficult to listen to some songs. The memory they bring forth is at times painful or even shameful. However, this song takes me back to my later years of high school, around the age of 18. There are wonderful memories mixed with painful ones. SInce I am going to be 30 this year, and I thought back to 18 and high school, I thought of a few nuggets of wisdom I would share with my 18-year-old self.

Dear Green Eyes,

Congratulations, you have made it to your senior year. It was a long journey, or so it seemed that way and you have finally come to the end. It seems to take such a long time to get to the 12th grade but I assure you, time really does move fast when you are finished. It is so short in comparison with the rest of your life. Enjoy this coming year, adulthood is not to far ahead of you and with it comes responsibilities, they are wonderful but challenging. Enjoy the time you have with your family, things will not be the same after you graduate. It brings about a new stage in your relationship with family. They have to begin releasing you and letting you fly on your own. It is scary but remember the One who holds you in His hands. He is with you every step of the way even though it does not feel that way right now.

I see the insecurity in your heart. The whispering in your mind that tells you, you are not good enough. You are awkward, goofy, and a dork. You are precious dear girl. You are. You were created by a Father who loves you more than you can understand. Please start wrapping your mind around that truth. He created you and knows every last strand on your head. He knows every tear you have cried for the boys who have come and gone. He knows every lie you have told to make yourself look better. He knows EVERYTHING about you. Nothing is kept secret from Him. He loves you fiercely despite those imperfections. He knows that you will never be perfect. He just wants you to love Him with every ounce of your being. Let Him change you. The battle you fight to change yourself will always be a loss. When you allow Him to work through your heart, you are forever changed. Don’t let boys define you. Your worth is found in Him alone. For those time you have screwed up, His forgiveness awaits right there at the door, run to it and open it. There is NOTHING that cannot be forgiven by His beautiful grace. NOTHING.

He is fighting for your heart. Dear girl, let Him have it. It will bring refreshment to your soul if you do. You don’t have to keep fighting upstream. Fall into the depths of His love and grace and He will gently guide you down this path called life. I will not promise you that life will not get tough. In fact, I can tell you that you are in for quite a journey. It is filled with great joy but there is much pain as well. Let me assure you of this. He will never leave nor forsake you. He will bring peace in the midst of things that you never thought possible to have peace.

Laugh hard dear one. Smile often. Be thankful for all things in your life. Take the time to see the gifts that you have been given. Life is too short to find the negative so much. Trust me, anger and bitterness are no way to walk this life. They are a destructive poison that will eat you up.

When you meet that boy that looks at you, grab his hand and run together. Trust me, he is a good guy. Be kind to him. He is not perfect, don’t expect him to be. Encourage him and point out the good about him rather than nag him about the bad all the time. Love and cherish him. Laugh and have fun together. He has hurts and weaknesses as well, don’t always assume that you have it worse. When he talks, listen with your whole self. Pray together. Hold his hand and verbally tell him that you love him and why you respect him.

When you stare at your kids for the first time, say thank you to the mother that birthed you all those years ago. Kids are tough and sanctifying but such a gift. Try to remember that in the trenches of every day life. Find the thankful and focus on the good things about parenting. They will only be with you for a short time. Show them how to love Jesus by actively showing them Jesus in your life. Teach them His word and how to walk life with Him. Hold them, laugh with them, care for them. Enjoy your parents. Know that they are truly seeking your best interest. They are humans and at time they will fail but their love for you is constant. Give them grace. We all need grace. Help out around the house and find ways to serve them the way they have served you.

Love people. Don’t just be kind to people but truly care about and love them. Get to know people. Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from trying. Fear paralyzes. Meet people right where they are at. Show them who Jesus really is. Pray fervently. It will be your saving grace. Things are going to get tough at times and His strength is all you can rely on. Pray for others. We are all in need of something greater than ourselves.

Watch your tongue. Words hurt or they can heal. Don’t let anger be your god. It will be destructive to not only yourself but to those around you. Relationships can be destroyed with the constant loss of a temper. Seek to use your words wisely. Use them for encouraging, speaking truth and loving others. The faster you learn to bridle your tongue, the better.

Fight for injustices. Don’t stand silent. FIGHT! Do it in a way that comes from love but never remain silent. When you see someone struggling, find a way to meet their need. When you see someone hurting, comfort them. When someone is scared, stand with them. Don’t live in complacency. It will get you nowhere. Your passion is a beautiful thing, remember to place love in the midst of your passion otherwise you are like a clanging cymbal. People don’t want to be near that. Trust me. Love your friends with everything you have. They will sharpen you, encourage you, challenge you, hold you when you cannot stand, and laugh with you until you can’t breathe. Enjoy the gift that they are. Love your enemies. Yes, you read correctly. Stop fighting with those that fight with you. Be different, show grace, because my beautiful girl you have been given so much grace. Enjoy this life that God has given you and always place your eyes on the cross. Run the race hard but joyfully. You have a place in this world. Glorify the One who has laid His life down for you. His love will transform you. Allow it. Love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. He will finish the good work that He started, I promise.

Love,

Green Eyes-12 years later

 

My Favorite Military Christmas Memory December 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — pakhathaway @ 6:55 pm

So I am trying to win some awesome books from the Wives of Faith blog, http://www.wivesoffaith.org, and I have to write about my favorite military Christmas memory. So here I go!

Each year I have been married to my military man has brought about one or two special memories but my favorite year would have to be decorating the tree this year. When my husband and I were first married, I knew that life in the military would be difficult and challenging but I knew this was the man that the Lord had graciously given me and that He was more than capable of walking us through each trial and moment. Boy, have I found that to be true time and time again in the last four years. Anyway, the first year I decorated our store bought tree it had only store bought ornaments on it along with two or three personal ornaments that had been gifts from our wedding. Don’t get me wrong it was a beautiful tree but it represented that season in our marriage, brand new, no breaks, pretty looking and no real depth. The years have gone by and each year has brought about new stories and depth to our little store bought tree. The bottom row of lights no longer works on it and it is a little crooked from being moved so many times but now it looks broken in and real. It holds joyous moments in our life, like our daughter’s birth, our first bought home, our son’s birth and now the welcoming in of our new daughter who was brought home from Ethiopia a couple of months ago. It also holds some of the trials and sorrow in our life because we do not want to forget how God has carried and shaped us through those moments. Those are the ornaments that really bring about the depth in our Christmas tree. Moments like the loss of my husband’s sister or the short-lived life of our son who are now both in Heaven with Jesus and Pete’s deployments. Those are the moments that have shaped us and our marriage the most. They hold each location that the military has taken us and the journey that each has brought.

So as I looked at the tree this Christmas season I am incredibly grateful for how God has taken that first shallow tree and now made it overflowing with depth and gratitude. It reminds me of His constant loving kindness and graciousness in our lives. I am so grateful for the journey He has been taking us on and I look forward to seeing how our Christmas tree will hold memories from other journeys the He will take us on, the good and the bad.

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To the little girl in the mirror November 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — pakhathaway @ 11:35 pm

Hey you, yes you, the one who is poking her stomach in the mirror and pointing out every flaw about herself. You see the little eyes that are peeking out from behind the corner and watching your every movement? Yep, they are learning from you. They are taking their cues for what is beautiful based on what you show them. They are primarily learning what is beautiful through you. What are you teaching them? Especially in those times that you think they cannot hear the whisper under your breath as you tell yourself that you are fat and not beautiful. Or the times when your husband tells you that you are beautiful and you simply brush off his thoughtful and kind comment. Every time you bash yourself, every time you pull at your tummy, every time you tell someone they are crazy for considering you beautiful is another lesson that two pairs of little eyes and ears are watching, hearing and learning. Is this really what you want them to learn? That their beauty is simply marked by the outside? That who they are and their worth is simply defined by what their outside consists of?

 

This is a truth that is being gently reminded to me every day in the last week. Why did it start? I am ashamed to say because I know it was my heart and actions that led to the event that really began to spark these questions. I know that it is so important for me to tell my daughters where their beauty is found. It is found in the One who knitted them together in their mother’s womb. The One who knew their names long before their parents conceived them. (Psalm 139) The One who loves them more deeply than anyone on earth could possibly love them. The One who sent His only Son to die on a cross for them so that their beauty would be made complete. (John 3:16) Yes, those are the truths I want my daughters to have in the deepest parts of their soul. Their beauty is not in their outside appearance, although we are told in scripture that “they are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) No, their beauty is found in how God has made them. Each unique and gifted to glorify the Lord and make His name known. (1 Cor 12) They have each been made to touch lives for the Kingdom and in very different ways. They were purposed for this time and this place. They are beautiful!

 

So what is the problem….me. The incident that occurred was about a week ago. I was doing some things around the house and I walked around the corner and started moving past the girl’s bathroom door. There standing in the mirror was my 3 year old daughter up on a stool poking at her stomach with a grimaced look on her face. I asked her if she felt okay and she said, “Yes, I am just fat.” WHAT??? She proceeded to suck in her stomach and said, “there, now I am skinny.” I was so upset. She is 3?? I gently told her that she is not fat. She is healthy and the way she needs to be. I then reminded her of what God tells us beauty is, a girl who fears the Lord and loves Him with all of her heart. (Prov 31 and Duet 6) I could not get the image out of my mind. Fast forward to the evening and I had just finished a workout. Amelia comes into the room and says , “see momma, you do it to.” What? I looked down and realized that I was playing with my stomach bulge and rolling my eyes in frustration. At that moment, I realized that it is not just about telling my daughter’s how God sees them and what true beauty is, it is also about me, their mom, living that truth out. My heart hurt. In my insecurity and self-loathing, my precious 3 year old has been learning what beauty is and it is not the sort of truth I want her holding on to. Every time I criticize myself, every time I play with my fat, every time my daughters hear me say to their dad that his comments are untrue, every time I say that I am not beautiful or worthy, they are learning. Ouch! This hurts and is humbling. I have to start speaking truth about myself and about beauty if I want my girls to learn that truth as well. Just like James says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1: 22 It is difficult to teach them God’s truth if I do not live it out for them. The action is far greater than me just telling them, although telling them is super important as well. It is not  good enough for me to speak this truth in their life and then not live it out. They need to see a mom that holds to the truth that she is fearfully and wonderfully made and that God loves her right in this moment and not because she is toned and spent three hours at the gym. They need to see how God defines beauty and they need to see it through me.

This is what I want my girls to see:

A mom who fears the Lord and loves Him with everything she has

A mom who depends on Him for her every need and satisfaction

A mom who spends time with her daughters, laughing, talking, loving, singing, reading, playing and other things. Even if that means that one day I do not get a run in or any other workout.

A mom who thanks her precious husband for times that he has expressed his satisfaction in her beauty.

A mom who respects her husband and is a good companion

A mom who serves those in need around her and who allows her children to be a part

A mom who puts her selfish desires down and spends time with her kids

A mom who prays for her kids and with her kids

A mom who eats healthy, not to look good but show them how we are to take care of the body God has given us

A mom that is active but teaches her kids to be that way as well so we can all do more for the glory of God.

A mom that reminds herself that God loves her just as she is and that He has fearfully and wonderfully made her.

A mom that chooses to be thankful rather than pessimistic

A mom that uses kind words instead of angry words

A mom who is generous

A mom that points others to Jesus

 

This is just a few that I am going to strive towards with the help of the Holy Spirit and my husband’s encouragement. This is the kind of beauty I want my girls to learn and model. The kind of beauty that is eternal.

 

Hello world! March 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — pakhathaway @ 2:26 pm

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

 

 
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