WALK WITH ME
“But those who obey God’s Word truly show how completely they love Him. That is how we know we are living in Him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” ~ 1 John 2:5-6 (NLT)
When Jesus said, “Come follow [walk with] Me,” He was challenging us to travel outside of our comfort zones and live a life dedicated to Him. It’s not easy and He knew it never would be. Still, we must choose to carry our own crosses and die to ourselves (sometimes daily!) so we don’t journey too far into the deep end.
Walking with Jesus means to walk like Jesus. Side by side, in sync. He is the ultimate role model, will never leave our side and is always there to lift us up. His teachings are perfect and our lives should reflect His.
But the reality is, while Jesus was always with us, He wasn’t always a part of our life. Whether we grew up in a God-centered home or had to stumble off course and hit rock bottom, we all have a moment where we accepted that Jesus is our Lord and Savior and we have our own stories to tell. The amazing thing about becoming a Christ-follower is our story is continually unfolding as our walk with Jesus travels down a long and narrow path toward eternity.
We may stumble, but with Jesus we will never fall. You are invited to walk with SG&G and be encouraged by these stories.
“God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won’t follow sinners or join in sneering at God. Instead, they find happiness in the Teaching of the Lord, and they think about it day and night. They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do.”
~ Psalms 1:1-3 (CEV)
Finding Beautiful – Discovering Authentic Beauty Around the World
By Rebecca Friedlander
The quest for beauty and the fountain of youth is an age-old expedition that often yields temporary results.
The definition of what is beautiful is repeatedly defined by culture’s influence and outward appearance. Even the phrase “beauty shines from within” is fleetly for most people when the world is constantly flashing filtered images that display flawless skin, tight and toned bodies, thick and silky hair, and other visuals of perfection.
I had a really difficult time focusing on inward beauty as well as God’s physical creation of my humanly body while residing in Scottsdale, AZ. It seemed nearly everywhere I looked women were nipped and tucked and botoxed so smoothly a smile nor a frown could not escape a woman’s face. Likewise, the trend of false eyelashes and hair extensions was simply part of a normal beauty routine and breast implants…let’s just say it was harder to spot those that were from God’s original design rather than from human manufacture.
Now, I certainly don’t judge those who seek outward beauty because I seek it myself when I use anti-aging creams, wear make-up, put on shapewear, and hit the gym. However, I do question their motives because I question mine. For me, my main motivation for seeking outward beauty is habitually linked to the many insecurities I have about my body as well as the mental/emotional/spiritual traits God assigned me to have. I find that all of the energy I waste zoning in on those insecurities leads me to become too distracted with everything I am not so I cannot appreciate all that I have. In my mind, I wonder as to why I should waste so much time and energy on external beauty when it will eventually fade away and rot in the earth when my time expires? The beauty God has placed in my heart and in my spiritual soul is eternal and will live on forever. Isn’t that what I (and we) should be focusing on?
All of that to say, I found so much value in Rebecca Friedlander’s Finding Beautiful – Discovering Authentic Beauty Around the World.
First off, Rebecca is a woman after God’s own heart and girlfriend, she is quite the creative personality and purposeful storyteller! This book was my first encounter with her ministry and I was instantly impressed with her love of God and her love of all things that are God’s creation.
Based on her television series called Radical Makeovers, Rebecca focuses on 12 of the 30 women she interviewed from around the world. Each of the 12 women have their own unique story while sharing a common battle against image-related issues. Each chapter concentrates on one woman’s journey by describing where they came from and then leading into where they are now in their journey of following Christ. Using her artistic flair, Rebecca includes dramatic before-and-after photography to further drive home the redeeming power found when one chooses to accept Jesus as their Savior and live their life for Him. Following each of the women’s testimonies, Rebecca shares her own personal reflections on whatever theme is tied to the specific woman’s journey and concludes each chapter with biblical truth and thought-provoking questions to stir the reader’s heart.
Friends, this book is absolutely beautiful in every way imaginable! From the physical look of the book (hardcover on the outside, thick glossy pages with high-res photography in the inside) to the words written on each page, you will be encouraged to dig deeper into your soul as you seek God’s wisdom to reveal more about who He created you to be.
Throughout this book I felt very connected to each story (again, Rebecca is a phenomenal storyteller!) while also being able to relate to each woman as well as Rebecca’s perspective. God’s story told through the Bible and displayed at the end of each chapter was the perfect bow tying everything together.
Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is the Creator of the universe. Finding Beautiful is a captivating book full of encouragement for the reader to identify their own personal struggles and insecurities while celebrating their God-given uniqueness and beautiful soul. If you are like me and enjoy being inspired by hearing powerful real-life testimonies of faith, then you will certainly have a wonderful time reading Finding Beautiful.
* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.