Browsing Category

Uncategorized

Your invitation from Calvary Chapel Beaumont to RightNow Media

February 1, 2017

Wonderfully Made would like to pass on the message and gift from Calvary Chapel Beaumont! You are receiving free access to a huge, streaming, online, access-on-any-device library of over 10,000 video Bible studies, leadership videos and kids shows.

To sum it up — it’s like the Netflix of Bible study videos. You will have FREE access to thousands of video resources to help you with parenting, marriage, discipleship and more.

With content for all ages and stages of life, additional family members can set up their own accounts as well.

Just click this link to start watching right away!

Thanks from all of us at Calvary Chapel Beaumont.

What Christmas Means to Me

December 24, 2016

By: Rachel Brown

Merry Christmas, faithful readers! From all of us at Wonderfully Made, thank you for your support this year. We are so grateful for your readership, your comments, and, ultimately, for the special online community you’ve created here in this space.

As we reflect upon 2016, we took time to consider what Christmas means to us. All of us here at Wonderfully Made practice gratitude for this time of year, this special season where we pause, more than ever, to think about Jesus’ birth, His life, and the ultimate sacrifice He made in order to give us redemption, the second chances we never deserve. I was honored to be asked to share some things that Christmas means to me personally. We would love to hear what Christmas means to you, too!

Christmas Means Remembrance

 Of course, in the ultimate sense, Christmas means remembering Jesus’ arrival on earth. The Christmas story is a beautiful one, one that we celebrate year round but especially now. We are reminded of the humble beginnings of Christ, and we practice gratitude for the gift God gave us when He sent His son to dwell among us.

But in another sense, I find that Christmas is the perfect time to reflect upon and remember other facets of our lives, too, including all of the ups and downs that we’ve faced throughout the year. I love taking time to seek out silence during Christmas to journal, look through photos, and have conversations with loved ones about the things that brought us joy, the challenges we overcame, and the darkness that we’re still working to get through. At this time of year especially, I’m inspired to contemplate the goodness in my life, the things I want to do better, and the hopes I have for the New Year. I remember all that I’ve been given, and I aspire to do more.

Christmas Means Togetherness

 At Christmastime I love making memories with the people I adore. I fill my schedule with weekend travel and dinner parties and coffee dates, all of which are experiences that bring me so much joy, but I ensure that I don’t cause my days to become too overwhelmed. I leave blank spaces in my calendar, allowing for impromptu snuggle sessions by the fireplace, afternoons spent baking cookies, long naps, and walks with my dog in the crisp wintery air. But for me the thread that connects all of this goodness is the people I get to savor the season with, the family members and friends who bring me so much joy all year round but especially at Christmastime. Spending quality time with the people I love (bonus points for engaging in fun holiday activities together!) fills me with so much Christmas cheer.

I won’t pretend to assume that Christmas is a happy time for everyone. Family dynamics can be difficult for many. Others are mourning the loss of loved ones, or they’re grieving over broken relationships or difficult seasons of life. Often times the holidays can highlight these losses and hurts, meaning that the giddy feeling of togetherness that I anticipate during Christmas isn’t a universal experience. I know I’m not immune to loss either, so while I’m so grateful for the gifts God has blessed me with through my relationships, I don’t take them for granted. I know that every day is a treasure, one that I practice gratitude for on an hourly basis.

Christmas Means Tradition

 I love traditions. I revel in celebrating old traditions and instilling new ones. My husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world in July, and the art of creating traditions has resounded with me even more deeply since her arrival. I want to build memories and experiences that transcend time, ones that transport our little family back to the special moments we shared together.

Christmas especially reminds me of the importance and beauty of traditions. I love the Christmas traditions from my childhood, many which paid homage to our Swedish heritage, like practicing Santa Lucia Day in early December and enjoying tasty Swedish pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning. I can still remember my Dad loading my brother and me up in the car on Christmas Eve, equipped with hot chocolate and cozy blankets, to see the Christmas lights in our neighborhood. I love that we always eat pasta shells stuffed with spinach and ricotta on Christmas Eve, and I love that in recent years we’ve started a new tradition of receiving pajamas the night before Christmas. And now that our family is growing, there are so many beautiful traditions to share—and so many fun ones that are waiting to be created.

 

Photo Cred: Jennifer Pallian

Rachel  is the Director of Development for Touch A Life, an organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of children who have been exploited and trafficked in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Though she loves working in the non-profit world, Rachel has always been passionate about writing, pursuing opportunities to put pen to paper outside of her day job. Aside from writing for Darling Magazine, she maintains a personal blog, Coffee & Tacos, where she connects with others through food, travel, faith & community. Rachel lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband, their adorably large English mastiff, and a new baby girl, Ruby.

Short Poem, Timeless Celebration

December 12, 2016

By: Juliandra Durkin

 

What a wonder, what a sight

The Son of God was born tonight

And to a woman so young and poor

Her name, sweet Mary,

Remembered forevermore.

 

Chosen before time to carry a King

He who came so selflessly

A life that started in a barn

Animals and shepherds

Witnessed the Savior’s first sounds.

 

Who would have known,

Who could have guessed,

That the Most High,

Just a child, would come like this?

Hail the Son, the Prince of Peace

Hail the Son of Righteousness

Hark, dear angels, come and see

Look in the manger at our newborn King.

 

He came tonight from His throne above

To live like us, to show His love

Reach out your hand and embrace Him now

For the King, this Babe is forever around.

 

Photo Cred: Steve Halama

Juliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

Inspired Shopping

December 7, 2016

By: Juliandra Durkin

Looking for a cute gift for your mom, sister, girlfriend, or really anyone special in your life? What if you could give a gift and know that where you buy it from is ethical and gives back to the world around us? Wonderfully Made has pulled together a list of places that you can buy from that really capture the art of giving this Christmas season!

 

Haiti Design Co-op is a Haitian based company in Port Au Prince established in 2014. They empower the community around them by creating artisan products -leather, jewelry, and sewing -as a way to sustain families through job creation. Workers are given training, lunch, health care, saving accounts and more. Through training and collaborating between workers in Haiti and the US, Haiti Design Co-op is able to share their products through meaningful, slow fashion ideals and sustainable jobs. Check out their unique collections of bags, clothing, and leather. They even have designs for men!

Exodus Cry is a film production company whose goal and mission is to share the stories of people who have been caught in the sex trafficking industry. Documentary film production, changing laws, and helping women caught in sex trafficking are all under the umbrella of Exodus Cry. One source of funding is their very own online store where you can purchase gifts like clothing, jewelry, books, and even home decor. How great would it be knowing you are shopping with a cause when you purchase a cozy shirt or beaded earrings?

 

Prosperity Candle allows women who have been displaced as refugees to provide for their families in simple, beautiful work of candle making. They promote entrepreneurial opportunities for women from around the world. Based in Massachusetts, the women at Prosperity Candle are refugees from other countries and have found renewed lives through their work. The candles come in a variety of scents and collections to make a personalized selection for your friends and family as you shop!

 

*Media Cred: All media is property of the businesses listed.

Juliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

Be Brave, Little One

November 18, 2016

By: Erin Weidemann

Whether you’re a mom or not, you know this struggle: the struggle of “Am I Beautiful?” and “Am I Enough?” Chances are you that during your early years you spent a little time crying alone in your room, wondering whether or not you mattered. It’s not much different for today’s girls. In fact, it’s much, much worse.

Girls are at war: with each other, with themselves, with a world that constantly tells them what they need to be to be beautiful.
“Love is reserved for people who are well-liked,” the world declares. “Love is something to be acquired, secured by being the most popular one in the room. Is that you? It’s not? Well, you’ve got to be something special, a real “somebody,” if you want love. And that “somebody” is drastically different than the person God created.
 bible-belles-2
The real trouble is that the world doesn’t whisper. It doesn’t coo gently the lies that creep, that slither into the cracks of our girls’ hearts, lying in wait for moments when they’ll be tested and too afraid to do the right thing. The world is loud, and it expertly expels these lies: a roaring and constant noise, a booming resound that echoes over and over and over again.
Well, no more. It’s time we, the grown-up girls, do something about it. It’s time for the next generation to live, rooted in the truth that real love is offered to them by their Savior. He gives it freely and completely, for nothing in return, and they are equipped and called to love others like He did: without reservation, hesitation, or fear.
It’s time to fill this world with a new noise. It’s time to teach our girls to be brave.
bible-belles-3

Where can we find a beautiful example of real bravery? Someone who chose love and kindness over doing what was easy? Someone whose example can drive out the lies the world tells our girls – that there are rules for how they should love people? We find her in 1 Samuel 25. She’s Abigail: The Belle of Bravery.

bible-belles-4

The key to Abigail’s bravery lies in her choice: her decision to go, to ride out to meet danger, to do the right thing despite the circumstances. She discerned quickly that the solution was love and stepped out of her comfort zone to love heroically.

bible-belles-7

And because she was brave, God used her for a mighty purpose. He bent down and whispered into her life, revealing more of who He is through the choice that she made.

And the more our girls can understand His true character, the more they choose bravery over fear – the closer they’ll get to becoming His definition of beautiful.

The world. Our girls are not of it. It’s time to start helping them understand that they are heirs to a different kingdom than the one they occupy in the here and now. Let’s help them to rise up, to reach, to stretch for something better: a chance to change the narrative of a broken world to one that looks and sounds a whole lot more like Jesus.

Let’s teach them to make A Different Kind Of Noise.

about the author

Erin Weidemann is a teacher turned professional author. A former college athlete, Erin is also a five-time cancer survivor. She lives in Encinitas, California with her husband Brent and their daughter Rooney. Alongside her husband, she is the co-founder and CEO of Bible Belles, an organization committed to inspiring girls to discover real beauty through the female heroes of the Bible. She is also the host of the award-winning Heroes For Her podcast, available on iTunes.

Flying Beyond the Hardship

November 14, 2016

By: Tekoa Manning

Gratitude. Thankfulness. Usually, neither of those exist without first experiencing heartache, loss, and hard times. You have to go through one, to embrace the other in a manner worthy of noticing. Sometimes we miss the gratitude and turn bitter like lemons. This is the month of thankfulness. We try and become more aware of the simple things like our eyes opening in the morning and our very breath. Life. A gift. A treasure upon treasures–often spent in loathing, complaining, or wishing it looked different.

There is a thorn in the rose bush for a reason, but I’ll get to that later. There is always going to be hard fallow ground, sharks, buzzards, and yes, thorns, but how do we have gratitude in the midst of suffering, depression, and feeling like an empty shell? We cry out in prayer and our prayers feel like they hit the ceiling. We wallow in our self-pity and miss out on the joys of life.

One of my favorite books is The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemmingway. In the book, Santiago is a very unfortunate seasoned fisherman who after eighty-four days without a fish inherits the nickname unlucky. Even a young lad who has faith in him is not allowed to go out on his boat anymore due to his parents, along with the locals’ belief that he is under a curse. Ah, haven’t we all felt that way? The job ended, we got the terrible news about our health or child, failed our exam, flunked out of nursing school, was cheated on by who we thought would be our future spouse or can’t seem to even get a date. The ongoing question is, how can we find things to thank the Father of Heaven for in the midst of our storms?

Finally, after three days at sea with a fish so determined to live, it drags his boat farther and farther out to sea. The fish is fighting hard to stay alive and the old man respects the fish but tells him that he is going to die and finally catches the biggest Marlin ever. In fact, it is so large when he ties it to the side of his boat, it seems bigger than the boat itself. Soon the fish is bleeding in the waters and a group of sharks begins to circle the boat. He fights them with all he has losing his harpoon and rope on one and stabbing the rest with a makeshift knife and finally a club. They eventually eat his catch that he worked so hard for. He is left with the bones of the marlin.

Life can be just like this. We can fight and claw our way through college or our career, waiting for the big fish that never comes and not even notice the one we were given. Not even taste it. Not even wake-up with excitement that we are NOT working or breathing for men, but for the Father who created the stars. We need thankfulness and expectancy.

If we try and make something happen before Our Abba Father wants it to happen, it will not happen. Fruit picked off the vine too early is sour, bitter and tough. When we take a cake out of the oven too early it sinks. When we remove a cast the doctor put on to heal broken bones, we can stop the process, but what about you and I? Where are we at in our own process? Try and think about what you would enjoy doing every day even if you had to do it for free– were never noticed– and no one even tasted the fruit on your tree?

Once the old man in the story comes back from his three-day fishing journey, battered and bleeding with a fish skeleton tied to the side of his boat, many, including his daughter tell him he needs to retire, stop fishing, give up, and that he is laden with a curse of bad luck. Of course, as all good stories go, luck would have it that the young boy in the area has great faith. Childlike faith–the faith that says we can go fishing again. We can catch a bigger fish. We can beat the sharks– outwit the nay Sayers and return with a prize winning catch!

One creature I want you to picture is the butterfly. Its beginning is not so beautiful and will require four stages before it is able to fly. If I asked you a personal question right now, could you answer me with all honesty? Do you feel like you are flying or doing what it is you were created to do? Are you thankful for the process?

Do you think Joseph knew he was going through a process to become a great leader over all of Egypt while he was sitting in the prison? He went through the cycles. First, he was given the dreams and the picture of what he was to become. He was given the special coat. He got confirmation from His heavenly Father and his earthly father that he had a calling. Afterward, he was scorned by the ones he loved. This may have already happened to you? His own family members throw him in a pit and proclaim to his father that he is dead. Then he is sold into slavery. He is given a good position as a servant for a prominent man but later is wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. Just when you think things in his life couldn’t get any worse, he is thrown in prison and in chains. This journey is one that took a long time. Thirteen years later he becomes second in command of all Egypt and is reunited with his family. His process was a long time coming. Many of our biblical heroes were.

Psalms says, “He sent a man before them,

           Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

     They afflicted his feet with fetters,

           He himself was laid in irons;

     Until the time that his word came to pass,

           The word of the LORD tested him.” 105:17-19.

All the testing molds us, but can we thank Him for it? Most the time the things we desire and pray to have are not part of the plan. Often, in order for Him to give us what we ask for, we have to be humbled enough to carry it out. Going through the hard times with gratefulness knowing that it is changing us from a caterpillar into a butterfly helps.

Before a butterfly can flap its wings, it starts out as something completely different and transforms itself through four stages. First as an egg, then as a caterpillar, on to a pupa in its chrysalis, and finally, it emerges as a glorious butterfly. . . As I was researching these eggs that the Monarch butterflies lay, I was surprised that out of 500 eggs the size of a pinhead, only about twenty will make it, but what really threw me for a loop was where she lays her eggs.

“After the egg is laid, the caterpillar hatches four days later. It’s pretty hungry so it eats its own eggshell and then the leaf the egg was on. The first bite of milkweed is a dangerous one because milkweed latex can act like glue. Some caterpillars die from that first meal because their mouths gum up. If it survives, the caterpillar then takes a break to shed (or molt) its skin.”

The first bite is dangerous. The very thing that can kill it, it needs to survive. Oh, you will get that in a minute. Its mouth can become glued shut from the milkweed latex. But the stronger ones eat what was meant to destroy them and continue to grow and shed their skin. Life is a process and we are being changed daily by what we allow in our spirits and what we remove. Metamorphism is a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.

We all go through this process but what happens if we try and go through it too soon? What happens if we are complaining and ungrateful for the manna that we are being provided within the desert and start murmuring and requesting meat? What happens if you try and skip the stages? If a caterpillar skips some of its 4-week changes and tries to become a butterfly right off the bat it will never make it. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted and tried by the adversary and he could no more skip that event any more than he could skip the cross.

A rose bush is beautiful but also has thorns. Is the rose thankful for the thorns? These prickles are actually hooks that aid the rose in hanging over other vegetation while growing over it. Some of the thorns are densely packed and keep animals from browsing or eating of it. Possibly, the thorns trap windblown sand and reduce erosion, protecting the roots. The Apostle Paul was given a thorn. We often look at the thorns life has given us without an ounce of thanks, when in all actuality they are protecting us from something or someone.

I recently finished writing an inspiring devotional that will be ready to purchase in the next few weeks. At the end of the book, I thanked my enemies for the gifts they have given me. I want to share that here and I pray it causes you to be thankful for many things and many people you never knew were giving you a gift.

Devotional Closing: The Blast of the Shofar.

“In humility, I would like to thank every enemy sent from Abba Father to buffet me. Paul said it best. “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting myself!” 2nd Corinthians 12:7 NASB.

I want to bless (not curse) every person who proclaimed I was a Jezebel or worse because it caused me to search my heart more carefully. I want to thank every adversary that caused me to hide in caves and rocks from fear and trepidation because it was there that I grabbed ahold of The Rock, The Chief Corner Stone. I want to thank the Father for every sickness and disease sent to humble me and cause me to go through a fiery furnace like Job, in which I will come forth as gold tried in the fire if I do not faint. I want to thank every person who was silent at the time of birth, for it was in their silence that I was able to make it all about Him and not me.

I want to bless every person who proclaimed they cringed when I spoke or wrote a devotion and tried to shut my mouth, for if it wasn’t for them I would have never ROARED.

I want to bless my enemies because after all they are what made me who I am today and that is a servant and a Bride who is lovesick for her Beloved. I encourage each of you at this moment to thank the Father for every Judas kiss upon your brow and every Saul who chased you over the hills right into your loving Father’s arms.

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NASB.

 

Sources:

http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com/life-cycle/

Photo Cred: Dan Darell

about the authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com

Fall Fun!

November 2, 2016

By: Rachel Brown

There are things to adore about every season, especially autumn. We have been reveling in pumpkin spice treats, Sunday night football, and, even though the weather isn’t cooperating in most of the country quite yet, dreams of scarves and sweaters and boots. There are so many fun things to do this fall, but in the midst of our busy schedules and mile-high to-do lists, it’s easy to get bogged down in our routines and let the season simply fly by without enjoying it. We hope this post serves as an inspiration to add some fun fall activities to your calendar; after all, before we know it, it will be Christmastime!

Get Outdoors

 There are so many enjoyable ways to spend time outside during the cool, gorgeous autumn months. We are in the throes of football season, so head out to a fun tailgate for your university or alma mater, or snag tickets to a professional game in your city. Treat yourself to an afternoon of apple picking, pumpkin patching, or corn mazing (bonus points: bring along a darling niece, nephew, or neighbor). Go camping (or glamping!) somewhere where you can witness the leaves change, soaking in some fresh air, hiking while exploring your surroundings, and cozying up around a fire.

 Cook a Fall-Inspired Dish

 Pinterest and the blogosphere are abuzz with drool-worthy ideas of fall-themed meals to cook and pumpkin-flavored treats to bake. Jump outside of your cooking comfort zone to tackle a recipe you’ve never tried before. Right now we’ve got these caramel apples, this pumpkin spice latte, this apple crumb cake, and this roasted acorn squash and sweet potato soup on our to-make list.

 Decorate Your House (or Apartment or Dorm Room)

 Get into the autumn (or Halloween!) spirit with a few easy upgrades to your living space. Throw pillows in seasonal colors (think mustard yellow or pale orange) on your couch or for an easy upgrade. Change the linens on your beds to something a little more fall-like by transitioning to flannel sheets, perhaps, or layering a cozy blanket on top of your fluffy duvet. Use mini pumpkins and interesting gourds to create fun centerpieces and unique accents to your bookshelves, coffee tables, and mantles. Bouquets of seasonal flowers serve as gorgeous statement pieces, too!

Photo Cred: http://www.mrcoffee.com

 

about the authorRachel  is the Director of Development for Touch A Life, an organization committed to the rescue and rehabilitation of children who have been exploited and trafficked in West Africa and Southeast Asia. Though she loves working in the non-profit world, Rachel has always been passionate about writing, pursuing opportunities to put pen to paper outside of her day job. Aside from writing for Darling Magazine, she maintains a personal blog, Coffee & Tacos, where she connects with others through food, travel, faith & community. Rachel lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband, their adorably large English mastiff, and a new baby girl, Ruby.

Changed by an Unchanging God

October 4, 2016

By: Bri Deutsch

It’s 2 a.m. The silence of night allows my tormenting thoughts to appear more daunting than they would in the vibrancy of day. Thoughts about a future that looks murky – a future no longer filled with the people I once knew to be my confident, where my “home” of three years would soon be in the distant past and a future where purpose seemed bleak.

I had grown away from my church.

Change is a normal part of life. People grow to the point where they no longer fit in certain places or the current status quo. For me, I knew it was a time to move on when I felt purpose leave the caverns of my heart one Sunday service.

I remember the first day of attending the church as though it was a memory from the previous day before. I was in pain, another toxic relationship ended by my tainted hands in the form of malicious words. I decided to reach out to a friend. I had noticed a shift in her life – her once dim disposition littered with self inflicted pain and abusive relationships, had shifted to a life brimming with hope and meaning. It was a feeling I had yearned for since I was a child. After sharing with her my confusion and delusions, she suggested we attend a support group for addicts at her local church. Despite the shouting thoughts coming in the form of demeaning lies, I calmly replied, “Let’s go.”

It was mid-summer, and the sun was setting causing a mirage of pleasant colors melting together across the horizon, I felt the warmth of the bristling sun penetrate my calloused heart. A heart attached to multiple lovers, a vicious eating disorders and bouts of anxiety, scathed with periods of self-harm. I walked into the congregation jittery, then sighed a breath of relief the moment the large, daunting, glass doors opened — I was home.

My friend and I entered the support room. The metal chairs were strewn in a mishap of a circle. It reminded me of a group counseling session, where people pour out their hearts and wait… wait for an answer, wait for the counselor to provide a solution that can seem too complex and most importantly, wait for healing. That’s what I needed – healing. Not in the temporal, superficial sense, but a cure that would be transformative to a burned and broken core yearning for fresh perspective.

As people slowly began to enter the room I noticed the warm welcomes, yet dismissed them as cliché.  This was a church after all, and churches “had” to be welcoming. It was 7:00 p.m. and one of the members, a young male with a tanned, carefree disposition opened up with a poignant prayer and a song that highlighted facets about an unfamiliar, unknown God. The topic that night was on waiting on the Lord. Questions began to formulate in my brain: How do I wait on something that seems so distant, so intangible? How do I wait, when my heart is anxiously telling me to continue to keep busy? How do I trust in something- someone- when the answers are left unknown? Have you ever become so tired, trying to logically figure out something that can only be explained when you enter the rest that comes from God? I have, and in that moment, I was there. I hit my wall. In my plea of utter desperation, I asked God to give me rest and allow me the grace to trust Him. God knew I was a woman who felt that if I could control the situation by manipulating, pleading, coercing, begging, and baiting the people and situations in my vicinity, then my world would be at peace. The issue was, that it was never my world to begin with — it was always God’s. That outlook shifted everything.

That’s the beauty of a changed attitude. And the exquisite fact of an altered demeanor is that it doesn’t come from changing the behavior first, but by allowing God into the depths of our hearts. By exposing our secrets, our shame, our fears and our even our unmet dreams to the One who longs to be in communion with us, we become free from any hidden guilt or condemnation. Then, when God touches the areas of our soul that long to be noticed and seen, there comes a radical, lasting shift — not just internally, but externally as well. It’s through this change of posture that we are able to grasp a new concept of complete healing. We are able to stand firm in a identity not given by this world, but by a God that calls us strong, victorious, able, chosen, and deeply and lavishly loved.

Years after attending that particular congregation, I can easily say it’s because of the wise counsel I found there that my view on life changed. Yet, on the same pendulum I can still admit it’s my time to leave. Even though my body wants to stay, my spirit and heart are calling me elsewhere. It’s from this wrestle that I find a deeper intimacy with God emerging. Through my honesty with Him, I find the foundation for healing and the restoration that requires radical and transparent surrender to God, who is unseen, but is still perfect in love (1 John 4:18) and has promises that stand firm. Whether in the stillness of the night, or the busyness of a bristling day, I know that He is forever faithful and never changes (Hebrews 13:8) .

 

Photo Cred: Chelsea Steller

about the authorBrianna Deutsch is a woman of persistent faith, compassion and coffee drinker. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC where she is studying business leadership and psychology. You can connect with her on her blog at:

For the Love of Shoes

September 7, 2016

This piece is written by Tekoa Manning and edited for Wonderfully Made. Ladies, if you’re like us, you loveeee shoe shopping!! Maybe you have a closet full of high heels, tennis shoes for the gym, sandals for hot days, flats for work, and boots for the cool fall months… May this piece about shoes and Jesus speak to your heart! Love, Wonderfully Made.

By: Tekoa Manning

We enter rooms and we wear different shoes. For instance, if we are conversing with our professors, our pastor, affluent business owner, or doctor we may act differently than when we are around some of our High School friends or peers. We may act even more different around our siblings and our parents. We take a pair of shoes out of the rack and put them on depending on the circumstance and who we are with. At least some people do. But what about Jesus/Yeshua… What kind of shoes did He wear? Did he change his shoes for anyone? Did he act differently in front of the elite Teachers and preachers of his day?

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.
One of the experts in the law answered him, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.'” (Luke 11:43-45 NIV)

Jesus still had on His sandals of Truth. He was still busy “insulting” people by telling them the Truth. He wasn’t worried about whether the Truth of His Father would go down smoothly or if those standing around would accept Him. And people scoffed him saying:

…“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” (Mark 3:22 ESV)

How did Jesus answer those who didn’t believe in Him? Did He back down and remove His work boots and slip on some loafers?

No, doesn’t look that way.

What sort of shoes did He wear around his family? We all like to let our hair down in front of our families and friends, but… should we ignore and sit quietly while sometimes those close to us have been persuaded by false doctrine and proceed to sit under those teaching such messages? Would Jesus have compromised His Fathers instructions simply to fit in and become someone His family, friends, and peers approved of?

“When His family heard this, they set out to restrain Him, because they said, ‘He’s out of His mind.’ They said, ‘He has gone mad!'” (Mark 3:21 HCS)

Let’s look at more verses about His family.

“Someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.’ But Jesus answered, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:47-50).

What about His best men and those He taught?

“After this, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’ (John 6:66-67 ESV).

Jesus wore the same shoes whether He was around family, friends, and the elite. He wore the same shoes when He was talking to the demon-possessed, the prostitute, and the blind. He even wore the same shoes when He bent down to wash the feet of those He called his disciples.

Yet still the public scoffed when the Pharisees grumbled about Him saying, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'” (Luke 7:34).

Jesus didn’t take His shoes off and act like someone else in front of the religious people of His day. He had no time for fake appearances and polished shoes. He talked to the people most deemed sinners. The ones the Pharisees pointed fingers at, whispered about in their circles, and isolated because “those people” just weren’t as perfect as them.

The Son of God healed, listened to, and touched “those people.” And He didn’t change into some loafers for it. He kept the truth right there with the love. Balance.

This man named Jesus was a Jew from the tribe of Judah. He did not need validation. With His mouth closed like a Lamb going to slaughter, He knew his time was coming. HIS MOMENT! He knew that very soon he would be sitting at the right hand of His Father.

So, now I ask you- Are you wearing Torah shoes; shoes that are shod with peace but also with love, obedience, and truth?

If you are, like Jesus in many circumstances, you may be hated. You may be ignored. You may not be popular or even taken seriously. Many in your circle may leave because your word is too hard to swallow. But that’s okay, as you can see even Jesus experienced that.

Ladies, for the love of shoes, I encourage you to change your shoes if you must. Put on some bright green Peter Pan slippers when you get down to the floor with a child to play. Put on some soft furry house shoes when you watch a movie with your friends. Wrap a pair of red sassy heels around your ankle when you go out, or a pair of flip-flops for the beach on vacation. But continue to be who you are in Christ and announce it without shame. And more importantly, take off your shoes when you see a man who has none.

 

Photo Cred: Abigail Keenan

about the authorTekoa Manning is the author of two fiction works, Polishing Jade & Walter the Homeless Man. After a neurological illness left her disabled and eventually homeless, Tekoa began to channel her creativity into writing and devouring the Word of Yahweh. She is the wife of a retired police chief and the mother of three sons. Tekoa and her husband reside in a small town in KY. The pen name Tekoa means Trumpet, the instrument that unites people at a sudden impulse.

You can find out more about Tekoa and her writing endeavors at tekoamanning.com

{NEW PODCAST EPISODES} Arielle Estoria and Lauren Cone

August 23, 2016

Wonderfully Made Podcast_Arielle Estoria

{EPISODE 3} Arielle Estoria: The Life of a Creative

Allie Marie Smith interviews Arielle Estoria, a spoken word artist, blogger and motivational speaker. Arielle is diligent in instilling “worthy” back into an insecure generation. They talk about turning your daydream into a day job, what it means to live a life of manna, and Arielle’s advice for those who aren’t yet sure what their passion or calling is.

Wonderfully Made Podcast_Lauren Cone

 

{EPISODE 4} Lauren Cone: Creating a Cause-Driven Business
Running a Cause-Driven Business || Rachel Brown interviews Lauren Cone, owner of the Else Agency, a wholesale fashion showroom that provides ethically and consciously made clothing and accessories to stores in the southern United States. Lauren works with giveback brands including 31 Bits, Sseko Designs and Krochet Kids. They talk social entrepreneurship and the ins and outs of running your own business. Lauren also shares inspiring stories behind some of the brands she represents.