I have a suspicion that we could all use a little soul renovation. Like every reno project ever, you must know up front, it will come with some unexpected costs, a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears. But you never know, maybe some unexpected treasures as well! This last season has exposed areas in our lives, our thinking, and our emotions that might need a little refining and renovation. Maybe like me, it seems easier to procrastinate and put it off for a better time; a more convenient moment to address the unhealthy, or even toxic, condition of our souls. But if we don’t face these things, they most likely will trouble us later. That leaky sink is a pain, but it really isn’t hurting anybody. Until it does. And the water damage leads to dry rot and mold in areas that otherwise would have been fine! Our soul is made up of our mind, our will (the choices we make), and emotions. Addressing these areas will get straight into our business. It gets messy and it can be quite painful at times. Plain and simple, it's hard work! It's difficult and exhausting to live in a house while the work is being done. I get it. But my challenge to all of us is to take the time and address those areas in our lives that need attention, so we can be the very healthiest version of ourselves, and be all that God has called us to be. As our team began to prepare and work on this year's Beautiful Magazine, we knew it was time to go deeper. It’s time to hit some real and authentic issues that ALL of us face, but don’t necessarily want to talk about, though we need to. In this last season, a global storm came through and ripped the roof off of humanity, revealing the raw truth inside. It was all there before. The depression. The hurt. The pain. The political and racial division. The confusion. The selfishness and self-preservation. The pride. Oh, the pride that has been exposed in all of us. It was all there before, but now it's out there for the world to see. We all have a little junk in the trunk (if you know what I mean), and it is time to go there and let the Lord fully renovate those places in our soul that we might prefer to keep hidden.
YOU ARE Magnificent, Beautiful, inside And Out
Our magazine is for women. For you. For all of us. It would be tempting for me to gravitate toward easier topics, and ignore the things we really need to talk about. I am right there with you. Do we really have to talk about hard and uncomfortable things? Yep. We sure do. If we as Christian leaders don’t address the current struggles and issues that women face, we have left it to the world to define them and shape our thinking about them. It’s time for us as believers to talk about our sexuality, depression, mental and emotional health, racism, and other deeper areas IN THE CHURCH. Pastoring women these past 10 years has shown me how much these areas impact us all.
Some of these topics will be sensitive in nature. I want to encourage parents to read the feature section before your teenager. We are hoping that our feature section opens up meaningful, important conversations with your daughters; conversations that may shape how they view themselves and their future relationships. Some of these topics may not be appropriate for all ages.
I will say from the very beginning of this magazine, we don’t have all the answers. We don’t know it all, and will never claim to, but we feel compelled to open up these conversations and normalize them in a way that leads us to bring God into the conversation. We need to bring God into our real world, and the things that we are facing behind closed doors. God’s Word is filled with thoughts about how to live, how to thrive, grow, and be healthy in our souls. After all, He created us and knows us best!
Jesus is asking today for the keys to your heart and soul. Will you hand them over and let Him in? I promise you this, you can trust Him. He is the very best designer. No matter what you are struggling with, He will never shame you for your mistakes, or condemn you. His hands are gentle, but firm. Here is what God wants to do in you:
“As for those who grieve over Zion, God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, to anoint
them with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap them in victory, joy and praise instead of depression and sadness. People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees standing for what is right. They stand to the glory of the Eternal who planted them” (Isaiah 61:3, VOICE).
You are magnificent, BEAUTIFUL, inside and out. There is beauty in these ashes. There is JOY on the other side of the tears. So much JOY.
Well, friend, are you ready? We have been putting it off for long enough. It’s time to go there. To roll up our sleeves and do the work. Let’s rip out the old wallpaper that is peeling, and get that sledge hammer ready. Let the renovation begin. I cannot wait for the big reveal, as God “moves that bus” and shows us all the work He has done in us.