The Beautiful Brand of You


A few days ago, my friends and I met for lunch at an internationally known golf course that’s just a few miles away from our town to celebrate our dear friend Katie who’s moving to a different state. It was the perfect place to escape and enjoy the rustic scenery, rolling chop hills, and tranquility in Northeast Colorado.

It’d rained that morning, but as we were seated at the long wooden table the sun started to peek through the clouds and before we knew it, the sky was bright blue. Glass jars of iced water with lemon sat at each placemat. As we sat down with hungry bellies, my heart filled with gratitude.

We’d journeyed together in Tuesday morning Bible study for the last two and a half years. We’d dug into God’s word together but also shared our very lives – struggles and joys, tears too. We’d come to understand what “better together” truly meant.

As I looked at each of my friends I was reminded about how we’re all different in our gifting, talents, and abilities. In our group of moms we have some that are hospitable, organizers, introverts, extroverts, creative, sensitive, exercise enthusiasts, counselors, teachers, coaches, crafters, behind-the-scenes women, and more.

We’re unique in how we raise our kids, manage our homes, the sports and activities our kids do, our husbands’ line of work, and more.

I found myself being so grateful that God had used each of them in my life to show me more about his sovereignty in creating us. I thanked God for how he’s provided for me through their life in tangible ways. Because you know there’s always the temptation to wish you had your friend’s gifting.

Lysa Terkeurst once said, “There’s an abundant need in this world for your exact brand of beautiful.” And I just love her words. I believe as women we beat ourselves up too much with the wrong kind of thinking: “If only I were a better organizer, skinnier, prettier, smarter, multi-tasker” and the list goes on. We focus so much on what we’re not instead of what God has given us right at our fingertips.

We wallow in self pity as we spend unhealthy amounts of time comparing ourselves to each other’s Facebook and Instagram feeds frustrated with how we don’t measure up. All the while, God is trying to get our attention in letting us know that He has made us just the way we are for His purposes. He is saying to us,

You are the exact brand of beautiful that I’ve created you to be. You have gifts and talents and abilities that I long to use through you. Yes, even in your failures and disappointments, I have plans for you. You are my masterpiece, created to do good works for me. Do you trust my love for you and my plan for your life?

Are we convinced of this, though? That the gifts we’ve been entrusted with are enough? Am I convinced? I want to be. Through a process, I’m beginning to see that how God wired me is just what He wanted and to actually trust that He will use me to the fullest in the way He desires. Yes, even in all my brokenness.

I don’t need to doubt His ways in creating me. I don’t need to dwell on past hurts in regards to my gifting and abilities that can sometimes feel like fresh, open wounds. I need to believe that what He says of me is true:

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10

And I’m determined to believe Him at his word.

At the end of our lunch, we took a photo with Katie in front of the green. We checked the phone to make sure we looked okay. Our various styles shined through in the picture: cardigans, jean jackets, sandals, cowgirl boots, floral tops, brown hair, blond hair, long hair, short hair, blue eyes, brown eyes, jeans, and flip flops.

Everyone smiled brightly – an exact brand of beautiful with hearts and minds created to serve our Creator. Together – just the way it was meant to be.

** This article originally appeared on TheCourage.com

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife and mom to 4. Through personal stories and scripture, she is passionate about helping women live out their faith in real life. She is the author of  Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. 

 

 

 

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Get out Your Gifts

tightropeWhat would be the one thing you would do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I was challenged with this question in college and for some reason I was reminded about it yesterday.

I think this question ties in with the gifts God has given us and how we choose to use them. So maybe it would better read, “What gifts that God has given you would you use, if you knew you wouldn’t fail?”

I’ve seen different gifts really shine in my community  group for example. There are five of us girls including me.

Ashley T.- She works as an Admin. Asst. for Josh McDowell and she’s gifted in administrative work. Yet she also has another side of her that explodes with creativity. She loves photography and has an eye for capturing life and beauty. She’s humble when she relates to people and easily makes friends.

Jen- is highly hospitable- she brightens days with home-made desserts and dishes. She put on a home-made spa night for us once with edible (yes!) spa treatments. She’s gifted in organization and at performing tasks. She works as a children’s nurse and has a heart for kids. She’s truly one of a kind.

Julia- You would never guess by meeting her that she makes six figures! She’s a Physician’s Assistant who spends a lot of solitude time in serious heart surgeries, yet she’s bubbly and loves meeting people. She’s an amazing artist, painter, and is skilled in crafts. She has a way of putting “life” into people with her contagious joy.

Ashley C.- She’s our world traveler as a flight-attendant for Southwest Airlines. She frequents Italy and other amazing places around the world. With the resources God has given her, she’s blessed our group with a free Time Share together, gifts from her travels, and free plane tickets. Ashley has the sweetest heart and is just plain fun to be around.

I’m so humbled to see my friend’s gifts at work and how they’re  being used for God’s glory. So my question to you and that I’m asking myself is, How are you using your gifts now to further God’s kingdom and what gift would you start using if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

SmallGroupExchange.com: The Place for Small Group lovers

PrintIt’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Scott (our Director of Operations) and I got on the phones and started calling small group pastors and leaders across the country to see how they might contribute to SmallGroupExchange.com.

I like to say that SmallGroupExchange.com is the place for small group lovers. It’s our desire for small group leaders, pastors, volunteers, and more to exchange their ideas about small groups and to share from their own wisdom and experience. My role in the site is communicating with all the contributors and collecting their articles and editing them. I love my role because I too, am passionate about the life-change that occurs within the small group setting.

I was immediately plugged into a small group of 6 women at Liberty as a freshman on the dorms. My leader, Kristie, had a tremendous impact in my life (still today). Her love and devotion to our group made me want to become a leader. So I did the next year and the next. Jeremiah and I were leaders earlier in our marriage. And today, we’re involved in one focused on young married couples. Our leaders John and Pam mentor us and take us through key issues in marriage like communication, finances, sex, past/present baggage, and more. We just love getting together with them. I think all of us in our group can say our marriages are stronger because of the haven it provides to reveal life struggles and the accountability to help overcome them.

If your church presently does not have a small group model, I would encourage you to be the catalyst to help usher them in. If you have them, are a leader, or interested in becoming one, please check out our site’s plethora of free video training, resources, reviews, and articles. You’ll also find that this is an unbiased resource so we have quite a variety when it comes to the teachers, authors, and writers you’ll see.

You can also become a fan on facebook.

John Samuel’s Shower

On Saturday, Sept. 13, my dear friends in Dallas (including my Mom and Sister who flew in) threw me a baby shower. One of my best friends here, Julia surprised me with having the shower at a clubhouse in her community called the Village. It was the perfect location and so homey. She made home-made chocolates and decorations. My mom made her incredible punch and my sister was the main host. Around 30 of my closest friends celebrated with me. One of my best friends from college, Bethany, even came all the way from Florida.

We played some incredibly creative games like guessing what’s in the bag (each item in the bag started with the initials in John Samuel) and the crazy fun game where you crush up chocolate candy bars and put them in a diaper to guess what candy bar it is. My sister and Bethany read a toast/tribute written for both Jeremiah and I. Then a few others went around the room and gave me words of encouragement. It was so meaningful and really added an extra touch to the shower.

I’m so thankful for the friends and family God has given me. A time like this can feel overwhelming but when I know I have community around me- it makes everything so much better. Yesterday marked one month until baby John arrives and my and Jeremiah’s 2 year and 9 month anniversary of being married. We have this “17” thing going on. We can’t wait to see his little face and to learn even more about selflessness. As Bethany’s mom’s advice was that marriage strips away a layer of selfishness and having a child strips away the rest.

It’s coming…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s home-made chocolates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

an amazing cake from a Mexican bakery in Midland.

 

 

 

 

 

Nautical theme (like John’s nursery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

getting ready to open gifts

 

 

Sis, me, and Mom

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