“You stay sweet.”

Do you feel pressure to find a boyfriend so you can have that fairy tale wedding you planned on Pinterest? 

Are you single while all of your friends are blissfully coupled up with their boyfriends/fiances?

Is your mom desperately trying to find your husband for you?

Have your friends made it their business to find your guy? Do they go to ridiculous lengths?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, click here

I don’t know if I have ever talked about my grandmother on beautyforherashes, but she is one of the COOLEST ladies that I know. She turned 92 this past summer, but is still in great health! I think one thing that has kept her going is her love for the Lord. She must have really lived out Proverbs 10:27 (“The fear of the LORD prolongeth days ;but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”)

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Whenever I see Grandmother, she is spouting wisdom and quick to testify about the goodness of the Lord. It is really very inspiring and I’m proud to be apart of her legacy! She always tells us grandkids, “You stay sweet.” When I was younger, I didn’t pay much attention. I thought it was just Grandmother being Grandmother.

The older I get, the more I realize that she says that as an encouragement. She has lived a long time and realized awhile ago that “staying sweet” is one of the keys to living life as a believer. Have you ever heard that expression “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”?

I have found that to be completely 100% TRUE. This past week, I had an encounter with someone who had a nasty attitude and foul spirit. Because of their own unhappiness, they took it out on everyone else!

Rather than being kind and speaking words of life and love, they took the opposite route and acted very ugly. The situation was one that was very uncomfortable for me, because it just happened to be a leader who was behaving poorly. I was always taught to honor and respect my elders and leaders, so I had no choice but to do so.

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After I left that person’s presence, I couldn’t stop thinking about how important it is for us as Christians to “stay sweet”. We are called to be the salt and light of the earth and to be good examples for non believers. Call me crazy, but when I think of adjectives to describe Jesus, “sweet” is one of them. He did not speak any kind of way to people. Even when he needed to correct someone and reprimand them, he spoke out of love.

There is a lot that we have to learn about Jesus, and being even tempered is one of them! ;)

I have noticed lately that girls in our generation speak very crassly to one another and use words that women would not even think in their minds twenty years ago! Because our society and culture is one where “anything goes”, any and everything has become acceptable! I charge you today, however, to speak KIND words and be a positive influence in someone’s life. Let them think of you as someone who is always sweet no matter the circumstances. Let us be ladies in every sense of the word, and really start to embody being a P31!

I will be the first to tell that “staying sweet” can be tough sometimes, especially when everyone around you is acting like they’ve lost their ever loving mind! BE encouraged that you make God proud when you remember who you belong to and who you represent!

It is my prayer that you will grow a little closer to the Father today than you did yesterday!

Xo,

A

Me and Grandmother this summer! Love this lady! :)

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BIG news!

1st blog anniversary

Happy Birthday beautyforherashes!!

This blog began one year ago! Time truly does fly! I remember writing “Are You a Worry Wart?” like it was yesterday and now there are over 20 posts on here! In the words of one of my big sisters, “Yay Jesus!” :)

I know that I haven’t posted very much lately and I wanted to take a moment to share why. Since I started this blog last September, a lot has changed in my spiritual life. I am learning to be patient, to trust God, and most importantly believe that He is who He says is in His word.

Stepping away from social media was my way of getting rid of some noise and clutter in my life. I’m focused on growing closer to God in this season of my life. Twitter, instagram, etc. were becoming quite the distraction!

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Today, I want to remind you to BE ENCOURAGED! God is for you and He will not let you down. He is faithful and has your BEST interest at heart. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Please take time and meditate on your word today. Whenever we spend time reading the Bible we receive nourishment. You may not necessarily remember what verse you read three weeks ago, but that word strengthened you at that time. That is why we must strive to be consistent in our prayer/study time with God.

If you’re not sure what to read in your bible, check out Proverbs 3 and 4! The book of Proverbs has wisdom for days. Let me know on the “Have Something to Say?” page which is your favorite verse in Proverbs!

I’ll leave you with one of mine:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

We will experience hurt and troubles in life, but take heart beauties! Christ has already overcome the world! (John 16:33)

It is my prayer that you will grow a little closer to the Father today than you did yesterday.

Xo

A

A Special Letter…

Hi Beauties!

I want to share a special letter with you today. Lately, I’ve really been in my feelings, and by that I mean my focus has shifted slightly and I’ve been a little more emotional than usual. This letter quickly got me back on track and as I read the words I couldn’t help but tear up. There is a lot that I don’t know in this thing called life, but one thing I know and will never forget is how much God loves me. He loves you too! To find out just how much, read on…

My Daughter,

You are right where you are supposed to be. So many people have theories and insights on how couples are to come together and the truth is that many miss it by interpreting what they want rather than what I choose. A man pursuing…a girl refusing, these are not necessarily the optimal conditions for mate selection. Adam did not “pursue” the Woman, nor did she spend her time creating ways to make it challenging for him to do so. Just like one’s purpose or date of birth and death, it is I who determines the “who, when, and where” of authentic and spirit-led matrimony and intimacy. It is the responsibility of both parties to follow as I, and I only lead.

 You are not waiting on some man to “get his act together” or “see you for who you really are”, and no matter how it may appear to you in the physical realm, in the spiritual sense, “he” is right on schedule; my schedule. You are not to be listening to what man says, no matter what form the voice may reveal itself (media, tradition, statistics, naysayers, etc.). Remember, I decided when it was time for Adam to receive the miracle of female assistance and so if you have an issue with physical time, don’t take that up with anyone other than me; even then, know that I have your best interest at heart. Far too many of my daughters are consuming themselves with fear and anxiety about things that are really none of their concern. My ways are not your ways and until I unite you with the one you are purposed to benefit, his whereabouts and activities are not to be a priority to you. If you have not been joined to him yet, it’s simply because it’s not the right moment. He is not ready and neither are you. There are finishing touches that must be placed on you both and no matter how you may feel or what you might think, I am a God of order. I will not be pressured to move outside of my plan.

I know it must be hard. Flesh never likes to submit to my will. But please let me continue to mold you. Before you ever existed, you were hand-selected for someone and that has not changed. As the Creator, I am excited about my handiwork. Don’t go looking for answers to questions you are not able to conceptualize or present in a way that will intimidate me to react or respond. As I did with your parents, let me have the pleasure of presenting you as a gift to your mate. Ask your mother and father if they will ever forget the first time they saw your face. I want “him” to experience a similar thrill. If you want to channel out your energies, get excited about how excited I am about you; about how blessed I know he will be to have you!

Again, don’t concern yourself about the time. I am timeless. Concern yourself instead with remaining in my hands so that I can perfect you to be all that he needs— so that when it’s the right moment, there will be no fear, no hesitation, no question that you are indeed the one that he is meant to live out the rest of his days on the earth with. Far too many women are not praised on their wedding day by their husbands in the way I would’ve liked because they did not allow me the opportunity to complete them to be what was required, and the man was not discerning enough to know the true purpose that his companion was meant to serve in his life.

I want more for you. Love me enough to let me give it to you. Just as you are to be a blessing to him, he is to be provider and protector for you; he is to bless you as well in ways even your prayers have yet to articulate, but in my infinite wisdom, I know you deserve.

Remember, above all else that, like faith, marriage is a spiritual union. This is the time to remove yourself from your senses, from what the physical is telling you and tap into your spirit. This is when you can please me most by standing and believing that I am true to my Word even when you don’t see, feel or hear evidence of its manifestation. The Spirit always moves at what you all call “light years” ahead of the flesh. It takes it some time to catch up. (Hebrews 11:6) Be patient. (I Corinthians 13:4)

Stay in my will and I will show you the way—a way that leads to love, bliss and happiness. A place where you will feel naked and not ashamed…until death parts you. A place where your future husband will restfully await you.

I love you. Be still and know. Really know. I do.

Your Heavenly Father 

©Shellie R. Warren/2008

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In the past couple of months…

Hi Beauties!

I hope you enjoyed my last post, which was another installment in the Jezebel vs. the Proverbs 31 woman series! That series is truly a labor of love and one I am very proud of. I believe that as young women it is time we start to take a look at who God says we are! The media has really done a number on us and has us believing that what we see on Love & Hip Hop or Real Housewives is the standard we should follow.

I look around often times and my heart is grieved by what young women of our generation think is acceptable! I am currently reading an amazing book by a woman named Emonne Markland. The book is titled “Break Every Chain”. Even though I haven’t finished reading it, I strongly suggest that you check it out! It has been such an eye-opener for me and I know that it will bless you. You can purchase it here and find out more about Emonne and her amazing ministry here!

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Welllllllll with all of that being said, I would like to share what I have been up to the past couple of months! I was on a conference planning committee for an event that is very near and dear to my heart! :) You may or may not know that I am heavily involved in a girls ministry by the name of SHINE, but long before that I was involved in Pre-Teen/Teen Ministry at Dayspring Family Church in Irving, TX! P3 is a conference for young people ages 12-18 and has been touching my life since 2006!

The 2013 conference was held this past week and planning and preparing for it took up much of my time. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to serve though and I’m so grateful for the opportunity and privilege of working with young people who are so on fire for Christ! You can visit the website to find out more about Dayspring’s youth conferences here.

Basically, Thursday & Friday night there were awesome services for both guys and girls together. Then on Saturday, the guys went to their conference by the name of BOLD (Believe. Obey. Lead. Disciple) while the ladies hung out at SHINE (Serve Him In Everything). I was of course at SHINE and got to be a community group leader for about 10-12 of the sweetest 14 & 15 year olds. We had real discussions and a lot of fun! I wish I could share all of the pictures with you, but here are a few from the whole week:

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(This was taken after SHINE on Saturday! That’s my sister’s two friends, my BFF Cherese, my sis, and me on the far right!)

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(Here is just a snippet of P&W Saturday AM led by my anointed friend Chelsye and some of her friends!)

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(At the beginning of SHINE, all of the girls do ‘prayer triangles’ where they pray in groups of three!)

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(I hate that I didn’t take more pics during the week of P3, but here is the fantastic set! The whole theme of the conference was the True Worship experience! Our set is a reminder that church is not the only place where worship should take place. It can literally happen anywhere!!!! Like on a street corner or at the post office lol)

Overall it was an incredible week! Youth had meaningful encounters with God and I know that some will never be the same after this week. God is good!! The BEST IS YET TO COME!

For more updates, follow me on twitter & instagram: @ohxandrea  :)

Xx,

A

Jezebel vs. The Proverbs 31 Woman (3)

This is the third installment in the Jezebel vs. the Proverbs 31 Woman series!

If you’re new here at beautyforherashes and haven’t read the first Jezebel post, the one that started it all, click here!

There are a few new words introduced in this post that you may or may not be familiar with! Those words/names/terms will be marked in blue :)

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In prior posts, we examined Jezebels from the Old Testament (the original Jez and Lady Potiphar). We’re going to switch gears a bit and focus on the Proverbs 31 woman this time around!!

Our highlighted P31 in this post is named Ruth! This girl is so cool that she has her very own book in the Bible that tells her story and is named after her! It’s only four chapters; you can give it a read here!

Ruth was a young woman who lived in Moab. The text doesn’t tell us much else about her background, but we do know that she married a Hebrew (Jewish) man named Mahlon .He and his family had moved to Moab to avoid famine in their homeland. Ruth’s father and mother in law were named Elimelech and Naomi and her sister in law’s name was Orpah. After some time, Elimelech died, making Naomi a widow. Within a few more years, Mahlon and his brother Kilion (sometimes spelled Chilion) passed away as well.

I can only imagine how crushed Ruth was at the passing of her husband. The text does not say exactly what happened to the men, maybe because the specifics aren’t important. It is interesting, however, that the name “Mahlon” means “sickness” in Hebrew. Perhaps he died from some sort of illness or disease? I found several conflicting meanings for Kilion’s name and its derivatives, such as: “failing, pining, extermination, and leaving”.

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Ruth’s mother in law, Naomi, was even more devastated than Ruth at the loss of her husband and sons. During this time period, it was very important that women had males in their lives to protect them. No longer wanting to stay in Moab, Naomi set our on the road with her daughters in law to travel back to her homeland Bethlehem. She had heard that the famine was over and she wished to return to her people. After traveling a short ways, Naomi said to Ruth and Orpah, “Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!” (Ruth 1:8-9 MSG)

This is the first place that we see evidence of Ruth’s P31 qualities. Naomi basically thanked her for being a faithful wife to her son (Orpah included of course). We know from previous readings, that the Proverbs 31woman is a good wife and carries out her duties faithfully. Even though Naomi gave both Ruth and Orpah a chance to return home to their families, they both refused to leave their mother in law, saying, “No, we’re going on with you to your people.” (Ruth 1:10 MSG)

 After reminding the girls that she was too old to have any more sons for them to marry, Orpah finally relented and headed back home. Ruth, however, was very adamant about staying at Naomi’s side. She told her,”….where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NIV)

I can only imagine how much faith and courage it took for Ruth to leave her own family and homeland and travel to an unknown place. Yet, she was willing to do so out of love and respect for Naomi. I’m sure that Naomi was a great example of a wife and mother to Ruth, and they must have grown quite attached to one another. It’s important that when striving to be a P31, you have godly women around you who will build you up, push you to be better, and hold you accountable (meaning they will tell you when you’re wrong and encourage you).

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Now, Ruth was not a lazy person by any stretch of the imagination. In true P31 fashion, she decided that she would get a job to help support herself and Naomi. With her mother in law’s blessing, Ruth headed to the fields to “glean among the sheaves”.

Gleaning is the process of collecting/gathering grain left behind by reapers.

During harvest time in biblical days, farmers were required to drop some of their grains and intentionally leave them behind for the poor to come and collect. Many women did this and often times it was unsafe for them as some men would take advantage of these widowers.

Women who were widows and had no male relatives were seen as having no real legal protection. Often times they also had no financial support. Fortunately for Ruth, Naomi had a relative named Boaz (pronounced Bow-Azz), who was seen as the family’s “redeemer”. A redeemer was a male relative who had the privilege/responsibility of acting on behalf of a family member when they were in trouble or in need.

It just so happened that Ruth ended up working in Boaz’ fields! I can imagine her showing up prepared for her first day on the job, ready to get to work and not even realizing that her life was about to change forever! As Ruth gleaned, Boaz came and greeted his workers in the fields. She must have caught his eye because he asked his foreman, “Who is this young woman? Where did she come from? (Ruth 2:5 MSG) The foreman told Boaz all about Ruth, how she and Naomi had just recently gotten into town, how she was helping her mother in law, and how she had asked if she could glean from the leftovers earlier that day.

The foreman also told his boss about  how hard and how diligently Ruth had been working. Like a true P31, Ruth’s reputation preceded her. She wasn’t sashaying in front of Boaz or trying to catch any of the eyes of the men there. She went in focused on her task and didn’t get distracted! ;)

Boaz must have been impressed with Ruth’s willingness to help/serve Naomi as well as her work ethic. He approached her and said, “Listen, my daughter. From now on don’t go to any other field to glean—stay right here in this one. And stay close to my young women. Watch where they are harvesting and follow them. And don’t worry about a thing; I’ve given orders to my servants not to harass you. When you get thirsty, feel free to go and drink from the water buckets that the servants have filled.” (Ruth 2:8-9 MSG)

Ruth was of course very thankful. She didn’t understand why Boaz was being so kind to her, since she was a foreigner after all. He assured her, saying, “I’ve heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you’ve done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you’ve come seeking protection under his wings.” (Ruth 2:11-12 MSG)

Again, Ruth was overcome with gratitude. “Oh sir, such grace, such kindness—I don’t deserve it. You’ve touched my heart, treated me like one of your own. And I don’t even belong here!” (Ruth 2:13 MSG)

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At lunchtime, Boaz invited her to join he and a few others. He shared some of his food with her and made sure she got her fill. After she returned to her work, Boaz instructed his servants to give Ruth special treatment by intentionally leaving more grain for her to gather! Whoa! He wanted to be a blessing to her because he saw how much of a blessing she was to Naomi!

Ruth worked all evening and when she finally made it home she was overjoyed as she told her mother in law about how wonderful her day was. She told Naomi about Boaz and his kindness and the older woman revealed that Boaz was the family redeemer. She came up with a plan for her daughter in law that would signify her availability for marriage.

You can read all the details of that exchange here: Ruth 3:1-18 !

Boaz then set up a business meeting with the town elders and another man who had superiority over him. This guy was the family’s first redeemer, meaning he had some rank over Boaz and technically could take Ruth’s hand in marriage.

Boaz informed the men gathered that Naomi was selling her late husband’s land and that whoever bought it would in turn be responsible of taking Ruth as their wife and having children with her to continue the family name.

The first redeemer encouraged Boaz to buy the land and marry Ruth because he didn’t want to jeopardize his own family’s inheritance. The two men sealed the deal when Boaz removed his sandal from his foot.

Boaz then announced in the town square that he was going to take Ruth’s hand in marriage and buy everything that had belonged to Elimelech, Mahlon and Kilion. The townspeople in turn blessed Boaz!

Ruth and Boaz then got married! They also had a baby boy named Obed.

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 In biblical times, it was very important to be related to the right people and be from the right family. That’s why so often in the bible you will see lineages listed! In this case,

Boaz had Obed,

Obed had Jesse,

and Jesse had David.

King David is apart of the lineage of Jesus Christ, which means that Ruth is too! How cool is that!? I can’t help but think about how differently Ruth’s life could have turned out if she had stayed in Moab and gotten remarried there. She would have never met and married Boaz and she wouldn’t be one of Jesus’ ancestors! Wow!

As a P31, it is important to remember that being a servant and help to others is a priority. Let this scripture be one of your guides:

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:44-45 ESV) 

Since we call ourselves “Christians”, which means “followers of Christ”, it is vital that we apply his teachings to our lives. If Christ himself came to this earth to help others, how can we expect not to and be pleasing in God’s sight?

Let us all strive to be women of great faith and character, who are supportive of our loved ones and our husbands and who above all else serve others.

That is the mission statement of a Proverbs 31 woman in a nutshell! :)

I know this particular post has been a long time coming, so I’m glad that I was able to finally share it with you today.

It is my prayer that you will grow a little closer to the Father today than you did yesterday. I also pray that the message of servant leadership resonates with you.

Be Blessed Beauties!!

Xo

ps Curious as to what I’ve been up to the past couple of months? Stay tuned! ;)

pps Anxious to hear about another P31 from biblical days!? Let me know who on the “Have Something to Say?” page!

ppps Writing this post made me think about Godly men of the Bible! Would you beauties be interested in hearing about some others like Boaz? Let me know that on the “Have Something to Say?” page as well!