it doesn't always feel beautiful.

I don't always see the beauty in the messiness.

I present to others the person I believe others want to see. The got-it-all-together, always confident, say-the-right-thing, always-wear-a-smile, accomplished, busy, popular, always in a good mood, type of woman. The perfect woman.   I say and do what that perfect woman I have created in my head would say and do. I hide the baggage, the mess, the hurts, the very things that God has used in huge ways to shape me. The very things I get on here and talk to you about. Sometimes those same things I see beauty in one day become very ugly the next day. 

Baggage makes trust hard and insecurity easy and that can feel really ugly. That can make me feel really vulnerable, undesirable, un-eqipped, and ashamed. It comes down to basically this: I have taken my eyes off of Christ and the gospel. I lose sight of the fact that God uses regrets, uses mistakes, uses sin to magnify Himself. He uses our very real weakness to magnify His very strong strength. That even though we often wish we could take back whatever it is we have done to get us here, God has us here, whatever that "here" may be for you, for a purpose.

When we turn our eyes on ourselves or others for answers, we're losing sight of Jesus and we will find no satisfying answer. We won't find any comfort or healing. We won't see purpose. We won't see good. We won't see beauty.  We will only see the person that we wish we could be.

Because yes, it hurts, it's hard, but it's being used. It's being used by our Father to shape us and mold us to the person He has called us to be and in that, there is much beauty. Beauty we don't want to hide. 
As we look at the gospel, you and I grow even more confident that our struggles are for a purpose and there is the beauty of the gospel in our messes. Instead of cowering in shame, wishing it to be hidden, we realize that it's meant to drive us to the cross, to Christ. 

You and I have made mistakes, often big ones, but God doesn't make mistakes. He allows sin, hard to understand as it is, for bigger and better purposes than we can imagine.

So, let's learn to walk forward in faith, knowing that we are exactly the people God has made us to be, struggles and all. When we use our struggles, our baggage, our pasts, to boast of the gospel, there is much beauty in that.

- jennifer