look in the mirror

Today, I’d like to talk about beauty. Humans are naturally self-conscious, and we often spend quite a bit of time on our outward appearance. Despite what we often hear – that inward beauty is what truly counts – we still spend time and money to make ourselves “beautiful” according to worldly standards, and we still judge others by their appearance.

With this in mind, I’d like to remind you of something very important: When you look in the mirror, you’re looking at a work of art.

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

Your physical appearance is exactly the way that God intended it to be. He doesn’t make mistakes. Every imperfection was intended. Out of the seven billion people on earth, each one is uniquely made, and that is something truly incredible.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. – Psalm 139:14

I’ve read and heard “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” countless times, but I never really processed what it means. Consider this: The One who made you is perfect, and those things that you think of as flaws are in fact what set you apart and make you beautiful.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

There is no one person whose appearance is superior to another’s. We are all image-bearers of God, and therefore we are all equally beautiful. The worldly standards of beauty were created by humans and are therefore imperfect. If we could all see that the only place where human beauty differs is on the inside, then our world would be a much happier place.

For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7

As I mentioned above, physical appearance isn’t the kind of beauty we should be worried about. Inward beauty is what matters to the One who created us, and it’s all that should matter to us. Given the choice between the kind of beauty that the world is looking for and the kind that God is looking for, which would you choose?

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.  – Song of Solomon 4:7

To sum up everything I’ve said – we are all image-bearers of God, and all outwardly beautiful. But if you have accepted Jesus, then you are inwardly beautiful because of Who is living inside of you, and that’s the beauty that is so much more important. Next time you look in the mirror, look deeper than your outward appearance, and remember that your beauty shines from the inside out.

-Clara ❤

Advertisements

heaven, home

this is for you. yes, you, reading this. because no matter who you are, I truly believe this is something so important for us to remind ourselves every day. it’s simple:

heaven is our home.

heaven is where we belong. with God is where we belong. and we shouldn’t wait another moment to live for Jesus in the here and the now . . . but we do.

this is not me preaching at you; these are things that I strive to remind myself every single day. my friend, this life is not the one that is eternal. this life is not the one without suffering. that’s all heaven. that’s all God.

so many of us are caught up in my own ambitions, and — keeping it real here — so am I. I’m easily distracted. I’m a professional overthinker haha. but if I were to just set my eyes on Jesus, I would realize that He is worth so much more than a test grade or a college admission. ETERNITY is worth SO much more than a business endeavor or what people think about me. because eternity will last forever, and this life is fleeting.

God never said that giving your all to him is easy. but it is simple. so much simpler than the ever-changing, ever-out-of-reach standards of this world and of other people. if we could just give all ourselves to him, imagine what an impact that would have — and that is what we are called to do! that is the least that we can do for our Savior who died for our sins! we are fishers of men, and if we knew that we could catch fish with every cast of the line, we would cast that line until we dropped! 😂😂 (I mean, am I wrong lol?)

this week, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. no matter who you are or what your situation is, know that you are loved and the trials you might be going through or will go through will only refine you.

blessings,

sarah

how to feel sucessful

have you ever wondered if if you could make a difference in this world? as if you could learn a skill or use one you already know to do something life-changing? you’d be able to spur on a world-wide movement that could impact thousands in such a positive way. so many people would know about your genius idea, because it’d give you so many opportunities to help others. and as you sat back after decades of changing lives for the better, you would know that you’ve lived a successful life.

honestly, i think all of us fantasize about that. and it’s so easy to wish it were true with the massive uprising in creative geniuses today. the amount of technology and knowledge that lies at our fingertips is amazing. seriously, as long as you have access to the internet, there is no limit to what you can learn to do.

and that can terrify a person.

in today’s generation, this seemingly infinite knowledge can push someone to their limits and beyond, just so they can be considered “successful” in life. as kids, teens, and young adults, we are pressured to harvest every last drop of this powerful tool we call the internet. we should to be able to do everything possible to mankind, and all at once.

so many people believe that since we youngsters have endless resources at our disposal, we should work to better their lives. we should be geniuses. we should create devices that make everyone else’s lives just a little bit easier, even it means that all sense of our own self-care and self worth goes down the drain.

i’m here to tell you that doesn’t have to be law.

now, if you choose to do any and everything that’s possible simply because you can, by all means, knock yourself out. but please, only if you seriously want to. please don’t sacrifice yourself to something that will keep you from caring about your well-being, simply from the stress of others’ pressure.

i want you to know that you don’t have to be a genius to make a difference in this world. you don’t have to create some kind of new gadget that will only increase laziness, and you don’t have to clear out miles’ worth of trash off a beach. you don’t have to impact millions of lives when impacting just one is enough.

God has planned out an intricate existence for each and every soul on this planet, but most of it doesn’t even matter in the long run. no single, earthly achievement can grant you more satisfaction or purpose in life than His reason for creating us all in the first place: to glorify Him and spread the news of His love and sacrifice to others. if you’ve done that to as little as one other human being, than you are 100% successful with your life. in addition, it is literally the most gratifying and rewarding act a person can commit, and nothing else can top it.

so there has never been a need to daydream about what you could or should do to be successful, and there never will. you already know what you need to do, and there’s nothing stopping you.

so go. be sucessful.

good news

Every single day, I am continually amazed by the good news of Jesus. The thought of His incredible sacrifice and redemption just isn’t something that I can get used to. I don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me, and I love that. It’s a source of endless joy.

One of my favorite bands, Rend Collective, writes songs that are incredibly joyful and full of love for our Creator, and every time I listen to them, I’m reminded just how much good news God has for us.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 43:1) Our Creator has defeated death itself, leaving us with no reason for fear. As soon as we confess our sin to God, He gives us eternal life with Him. We have literally no reason to be afraid of any earthly thing. Fear not. Is there any better news than that?

To the Lord our God belongs mercy and forgiveness. (Daniel 9:9) We can never lose favor in the sight of God. The forgiveness and love that He has for us is endless. We disobey Him again and again and again, and every single time, He forgives us. He loves us perfectly, never wavering, patiently waiting for us to return no matter how many times we run away from Him. For us, flawed and imperfect people that can’t stop making mistakes, this is such an enormous relief and source of joy.

We are not of this world. (John 15:19) I’ve actually posted about this before, but it’s such a wonderful reminder that I want to share it again. We are outsiders in this world. Once we have been saved by God, our home is in heaven, not here on earth. This is simply our temporary home, and we don’t have to worry about trying to fit in where we don’t belong. We can proudly stand out and wait for the day when we no longer outsiders. As one of my favorite Rend Collective songs says, “There are no outsiders to Your love. We are all welcome, there’s grace enough.”

For this very purpose I have raised you up. (Romans 9:17) As soon as we are saved, we are given an incredible purpose for our lives. We get to live for Jesus, sharing the wonderful news of his redemption with the world and serving Him through our words and actions. What better way to spend our time on earth than to spread the good news of our Savior?

Just the simple truth of our own brokenness and Jesus’ sacrifice should be enough to inspire joy on a daily basis. I think that sometimes we get too caught up in the details and forget to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. No matter what happens to us, if we have been saved, then we have nothing to fear. Jesus loves us eternally, forgives us eternally, and protects us eternally. That good news should be spread throughout all creation.

I will be undignified,
I will praise the Lord my God with all my might,
I will leave my pride behind,
I will praise the Lord my God with all my life.

Rend Collective, I Will Be Undignified

-Clara ❤

above | below

watermarked_window

honestly, it’s so easy for us to forget just how small we are as humans, and just how great God is. but sometimes those magical reminders come your way, and I had the chance to experience a lot of them during my recent two weeks out of the country.

I’ve been on planes many, many times in my life — from moves across the country to flights to New Zealand — and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful my Father’s creation is from a view above the clouds. one of the nights there, my sister and I stayed up until 2 AM talking about our faith, and we thought a lot about just how small we are. just how precious life is and how quickly it goes, and how our worlds can become so small in our comfort even though the world is so vast.

taking that step back and realizing how temporary everything is was so beneficial for us. because time and life is incredibly fleeting. if your worst enemy, let alone your close friends, and even anyone who you don’t know around the world, died suddenly — would you want them to step out into eternity without knowing Jesus? to step into an eternity of suffering?

“no one deserves that,” I said.

then, after a moment’s pause, I added, “actually, we all do.” but we don’t have to experience it because Jesus died the most painful death for us, and we need to share the gift of life that he has given us with others.


God’s creation is such a masterpiece, and these clouds were some of the most amazing that I’d ever seen in my life, so I’ll leave you with this smattering of sky.

sending you all my love,

sarah

DSC_0946

DSC_0939

DSC_0925

mistakes prove your strength

​Have you ever made a mistake before? Have you botched something up, and just let it really bug you? The embarrassment, the guilt, the complete nervous wreck that pretty much sums up the whole situation can’t stop eating away at your brain. You toss and turn at night, constantly going over the scenario, and how much better it’d all be if only you hadn’t messed up that one, itty bitty detail.

And let’s not even talk about who saw you do it. They’re probably thinking it about right now, just like you, letting that simple error taint their entire view of how you are as a person. You’re a clumsy individual and nobody’s going to see you the same way again!

Okay, hold up.

Let’s right there and drop a nice, fat truth bomb: we all make mistakes.

Wait, what?

Really?

Are you sure?

Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Each one of us is human, each one of us is imperfect, and each one of us messes up at some point every day. Mistakes are impossible to avoid. Of course, there are ways you can increase the chances to prevent them, but there will always be that slim margin for error that will always be there. As a fallen human of this world, you will stumble, you will blunder, and you will fall. You just have to accept that.

And so it doesn’t matter nearly as much by how many errors occur, or how skilled you are at preventing them. No, what truly matters is how you react those errors.

How you will your attitude appear to those who know you’ve done something wrong? Will people see you scuffing your feet, head in the gutter, mind wallowing in self pity and blaming some outside force? Or will they see you fess up, apologize, and learn from your failure?

Because here’s the thing. When you watch someone else mess up, do you hold that against them for as long as you both live? Of course not, and that’s the case for almost everyone you will come across. Mistakes are usually always forgotten minutes after their made, unless you react poorly. In fact, the better your attitude towards your own failures, the stronger and more mature people will see you as an individual.

Errors are completely healthy, to a certain extent, because errors are how you learn. You’ve done something wrong, but now you’ll know to never do it again. If you choose to look on the bright side and see your failures as a learning experience, there is limitless potential for you, friend.

Mistakes don’t show your weakness, they prove your strength.

– suzy –

being a light

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

If you’re a Christian, you’ve probably read the metaphor of being a light. It’s such an incredible idea to me that once we’re saved, Jesus’ light shines out of us and into the world as He uses us as a bright spark in a place of darkness.

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. – 1 Thessalonians 5:5

Isn’t that such a beautiful and inspiring verse? Something I think about often is this: how do I share the light of Jesus with others and help them to see the beauty of His love? Here are a few suggestions:


pray for others:

Making sure your friends and family know that someone is thinking of them and praying for them is a great way to show them God’s love. It can be really encouraging to someone to know that they’re being prayed for. If you’re forgetful like I am, make a list of everyone you want to pray for and keep it with you so you can add to it whenever necessary.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. – James 5:16

help everyone:

Beyond just telling someone you care, actually show them that you care. Do chores in the house that your parents would normally do. Help your siblings with schoolwork. Offer to help everyone, everywhere as often as you possibly can. This shows someone that wow, they’re not just saying that they care – they actually do. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and making sacrifices for others is a wonderful way to show them the love of Christ.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

stay positive:

Pointing out the bright side during a hard time can shift everyone else’s point of view and turn a less-than-ideal situation into a reminder to be thankful. The attitude of one person can change the attitudes of everyone around them – I know from experience. If you’re smiling and praising God even when things go wrong, I can guarantee you that the people around you will follow your example.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

love your enemies:

Loving those who don’t seem to love you in return can be really hard, but the results are well worth it. Along with confusing your enemies and making them wonder what gives you the strength to treat them with such kindness, this is a wonderful, inspiring example of God’s love for anyone who might be paying attention.

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:44

 share the gospel:

There’s no better way to show Jesus’ love to someone than to share the gospel with them. Though no one apart from Jesus can save their soul, sharing the good news of God’s redemption with a person can point them in the right direction and give them hope, encouragement, and a purpose for their life.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! – Psalm 96:3


I hope those ideas were helpful and encouraging! Remember that no matter who you are, God can use you to be a light in the lives of others.

“You are the light of the world.” – Matthew 5:14

-Clara ❤

trust.

it’s hard to trust.

sometimes. most of the time.

it’s necessary to trust.

always.

recently, I’ve been constantly reminded of both of these things. how painfully hard it is to trust sometimes, and how painfully necessary it is. i’ve been forced to do a lot of trusting. clinging to the light at the end of the tunnel. trusting

others,

because i really can’t trust myself.

the struggle,

because the only way out sometimes is through.

God,

because His ways are higher than mine.


and let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy. there’s been a lot of tears and a lot of brokenness, and there’s going to be a lot more. it hasn’t been fun and it won’t be. it’s not easy when things like

eating

keeping your head up

remembering what it’s like not to be hurting all the time inside

get so incredibly hard, and it feels like no one understands.

it’s not easy when existing hurts.

i don’t really have an aim with this post, other than the hope that if you’re reading this and you’re finding it hard to trust God right now — if you feel so painfully, painfully alone — i can share this with you: i’m there too, and we will make it through —

(hold on to that when you can’t hold on to anything else.)

— not by our own understanding, but by leaning on God’s.

not by solving our own problems, but pushing through the crushing pain and letting God carry them for us.

i love you all. trust your Father. and trust me when i say this: you are not alone.


gonna be real, guys, i don’t really know where this post went, but i hope it speaks to someone (without me going into too much personal detail about my own recovery) because chances are that someone out there is going through the same thing that i am. and it’s okay. it’s okay to feel lost. just hold on tight to the knowledge that even though it doesn’t feel like it, you’re not lost because God’s got you. ❤

sarah

p.s. ‘pologies for us missing the last few weekends of posts! we’re hoping to get right back on track next weekend.

p.p.s. thank you all so much for one hundred follows! we’re honored to have all you wonderful dreamers along with us. mwah!

your words matter.

Do you ever see someone who needs some encouragement and wish you could do something? Do you doubt your ability to help because you’re shy, embarrassed, or not good with words? You’re not the only one.

I think that many of us struggle with this – but we shouldn’t. You can make an enormous difference in someone else’s life, no matter who you are or how young you may be. All it takes to lift someone up are a few simple words of encouragement.

The power of words is immense. They can build someone up or tear them down. You’ve probably heard the saying that “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.” That’s very true and important – but there’s more. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything – but if you do have something nice to say, say it. No matter how insignificant it may seem. If you know someone who’s really talented, it’s easy to assume that you don’t need to say anything encouraging to them. You might feel like your words wouldn’t matter much among all the compliments they must be getting. But if everyone thinks that way, then no one will compliment them at all. Every bit of encouragement, no matter how small it may seem, is important.

I wouldn’t be doing many of the things I love if people hadn’t encouraged me to keep going or complemented what I had created. Even the simplest things, like someone leaving a comment on one of my blog posts and telling me that they enjoyed it, makes me smile and inspires me to keep doing what I love.

Just as easily as words can make an amazing impact on someone’s life, they can also be incredibly hurtful.

Someone once told my dad that he didn’t have a good singing voice. Though the person who said that may have long forgotten their words, their comment impacted my dad so much that he didn’t sing again until he was in college and a friend encouraged him to sing. Even after that, it took him many, many years to sing confidently again. He actually has an amazing singing voice. You might have had a similar experience at some point in your life. Many people are much too careless with their words, and they never realize just how much they’re impacting others.

That’s just one small example of how your words can hurt someone. A single sentence can influence a person enormously. Words can tear down and destroy, but they can also be beautiful, encouraging, and inspiring. Use your words to put a smile on someone else’s face. Encourage your family and friends. Be that person who has a compliment for everyone they meet. You can make an enormous difference in someone’s life with nothing but a few simple words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

-Clara ❤

the shepherd’s peace

​”The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalms 23

Today, in my weekly homeschool group, my class read Psalm 23 aloud for devotions. I, personally, feel like the circumstance couldn’t have been better, considering the fact that today we started our final exams. I had no idea the encouragement was needed so badly until it was given.

I know most people don’t have their finals this early, but I think we can all agree on how much of a struggle they can be. They require so much more perseverance, patience, and diligence than most can handle, which just leaves everybody feeling extremely stressed and nervous. After all, this is our future we’re talking about, and some teachers aren’t as generous as others when grading. Peer pressure alone can be enough to set someone on edge, much less the intense projects and tests themselves.

It was amazing this morning, though, because as we were reading and discussing David’s psalm, I felt a huge part of that load lift off my shoulders. Here’s a little of what I mean:

“The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.”

Just that first part itself already fills me with a sense of peace. The Lord is our shepherd, and just like any other sort of shepherd in the days this psalm was written, He cares for His sheep. God protects us from any sort of dangers and struggles we might encounter. Not only that, but the extremely serene picture David talks about shows us how our Shepherd can calm us.

“He restores my soul;

He guides me in the paths if the righteous

For His name’s sake.”

Just as God wants us to feel calm and peaceful from His protection, He also wants us to feel influenced positively by those who surround us. He specifically leads each of us to those who will impact us the most by how they act, causing us to strive to do the same for His glory. Amazing, right? And that isn’t even all of it.

“Even though I walk throught the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Back in those days, shepherds and their sheep sometimes had to travel to get to the good pastures. And there were instances where they had to travel through rough and rocky valleys that contained all sorts of hidden predators, but that’s a big reason of why the shepherd kept a staff with them. To fight off the predators and protect the sheep.  So we have simply nothing to fear then, as our Protector knows exactly how hard to push you before you reach your limit. Whether that’s with a literal test you’re currently stressing about or a life-changing trial that you can’t escape from is up to Him.

This specific Psalm is pretty popular, and sometimes is too easily dismissed, because lots of Christian kids learn it at a young age in an Awana program. However, that is exactly why it’s so important. There is nothing out of our Lord’s control, nothing He can’t protect you from, and nothing that can stop Him from filling you with irreplaceable peacefulness.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

What can’t you do with your Shepherd watching over you?