My husband, Jason, has encouraged me to do this for a long time, so I’m going to give it a shot and see how it goes!

This blog is a book that I have been working on for about 2 years. Each post will be a chapter. This is a written for teenage girls with the hope that it will help them break the bonds they have to the world’s definition of value, and discover God’s value for them. As you’ll read, my past is filled with self-esteem and self worth issues that I am still learning to overcome, and it has fueled my heart for girls, wanting them to experience freedom from these things. According to the world, we are never pretty enough, skinny enough, or loved enough. But those are lies! So, with much prayer this book will help girls see themselves through the eyes of their maker.

Dedication: To all of my First Christian, Eastside, and Venture girls that have touched my heart and taught me more then they could have ever imagined! The Lord has used you to inspire me to write!

Thank you: To my husband, Jason, for all of your support, encouragement, and constant reminder that God is “just that into me”! I love you Jason and I love sharing this journey with you!

Chapter 1 - He’s Just that Into Me? My Testimony

“Elizabeth, you are so fat and so ugly and no boy is ever going to like you.”

The words pierced my heart as Michael, the most popular boy in school, stood looking at me in my 8th grade classroom surrounded by all of my friends and classmates. I remember feeling extremely hurt and embarrassed. As the tears stung in the corners of my eyes, I looked Michael in the eye and said, “You just wait, Michael, someday you are going to want me and I am going to laugh in your face!” I haven’t seen Michael since 8th grade graduation, but those hurtful words that he said to me have stuck with me for the last 15 years.

Maybe those words would not have stung so badly if I hadn’t already hated who I was from the inside out, but I did.

I am the middle of five children. I have an older sister and brother and a younger sister and brother. There is quite an age gap so I was not very close to my older sister, Julie, growing up. By the time I was old enough to hold any kind of “mature” conversation Julie was in college. I really looked up to my older brother, David. He was four years older than me so in my eyes he was the coolest person on the face of the planet. We would play with Lego’s, have stuffed animal wars, and build forts. We even put our money together and bought the original Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. I did whatever it was that he liked to do just so that I could spend time with him.

As we got older, the age gap felt wider. All of a sudden it became un-cool for him to be with his little sister. I didn’t understand this because I was still young. One day, I knew something was wrong when I went through a list of things that we would always do together and he didn’t want to do any of it anymore. He would just yell at me and tell me to get out of the room. I was eight. I didn’t understand. I just felt rejection from my hero.

From about 8 years to 16 years David and I could not be left in the same room without a referee. We fought over anything and everything. I just wanted things to be like they used to be. But, when I was 16, David and I rekindled our affection for each other. We finally got to hang out more. We went to church together, movies together, and anything else that there was to do in our small town. We even had the same group of friends! But in those eight years of separation and hurtful words, damage was done.

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From as early as I can remember, I always felt like I was too fat and too ugly. I also got in trouble a lot because my mouth never learned to stop to let my brain filter the words before they left my tongue. So not only did I hate what was on the outside, but I hated what was on the inside as well. I could never keep a secret for my friends and I would always talk back to my parents. I remember looking in the mirror wondering what my purpose was on this earth.

Going into junior high, I wore x-large t-shirts, flannels, and baggy jeans with a pair of tennis shoes. I didn’t own a dress. I didn’t fix my hair. I did, however, wear the brightest red lipstick I could find. For my 13th birthday my parents got me a caboodle filled with make-up, I was finally old enough! For those of you that don’t know what a caboodle is, it was at the time the coolest thing a girl could own. Mine was plastic colored with different pastels. It was a make up case that was bigger than my body. But let me tell you, it was cool! So, you have a girl who wore bright red lipstick, was drowning in her clothes, and it looked like a rat lived in her hair. I obviously didn’t have a high opinion of myself…I put no time into my appearance.

In 7th grade, my church went on a 10 day trip to Fresno, CA to dry peaches and then to San Diego to learn about missions. It was on this trip that I got a big crush on my youth leader, Steve. I told my friend, and she then told my leader, which freaked me out, but half way through the trip, Steve came up to me and told me that he was flattered.

“WHAT!?” I thought, “A boy is flattered by me?! Boys don’t like me, especially not boys that I like!” I couldn’t believe that Steve was flattered by the fact that I had a crush on him. Unfortunately, this was a radically unhealthy situation. Steve was 20 years old. And that was the beginning of a two year relationship.

Steve was not only the Jr. High intern at my church; he was also my P.E. teacher at school. I remember I would tell my teachers that I had to go to the bathroom so that I could go and find him and talk to him. My heart was completely spoken for! I didn’t see that it was wrong or unhealthy. In my head I was mature and could handle it. I just knew that we had to keep it a secret because people would not understand our love. We went two years with hours of secret phone conversations, several paged letters, gifts, and wearing his ring from when he was in high school. He would give me his flannels to wear because he would say that he liked the way they smelled after I had been wearing them.

Steve promised me that when I turned 18 he was going to marry me. He was going to wait for me. We always said that we would work together at church. He would be the youth pastor and I would be the Children’s pastor. We had our futures planned out…

Around that time, my dad broke the news to our family that he was taking us to Costa Rica for a year to learn Spanish as part of an effort to eventually reach the Spanish community in our city. The words broke me! I couldn’t believe that he was taking me away from all of my friends my first year of high school, and STEVE! I couldn’t leave. These were the only people I ever knew! The night before my family moved, Steve sang to me “I will never say good-bye” by Boys II Men. I am really aging myself here! Then he hugged me and promised me that he would be waiting.

It was about eight months into our year being away from home when I got the news. Steve was getting married. It was the worse form of rejection that I believe I had ever felt. “How could he break his promise?” kept replaying over and over again in my head. With this news, and already being bitter about being taken away from my hometown, my heart grew very hard towards my family, God, and especially towards myself. I just kept thinking, “I am too fat. I am too ugly. No boys are ever going to like me.”

In the midst of my anger towards God and my dad I was partially molested by an older Hispanic man. This situation obviously did not help matters. I then started dating a man behind my parents back. By this time I was 15 years old and my boyfriend was 21 years old. I hated God. I told him that I would never be a Christian and that I was over “church life”. About a couple months into this new relationship, my parents found out about my secret boyfriend and sent me home to live with my youth pastor and his family. The hurt that I caused my parents by lying to them about my boyfriend and my hard heart tore me apart. Once again another reason to hate myself, “Who would hurt their family like I did? I’m a horrible person.” It took several months for me to begin to receive from Jesus. I really had to be broken before I could even begin to see His face again in my life.

After the series of these significant events, I entered into high school with a very low self-esteem. Instead of pressing into the Lord and getting his view of me, I searched out guys to tell me of my worth. I would kiss any boy that told me I was pretty. I had a huge hole inside of me that I could not fill. I just needed to hear a boy tell me that he loved me and that I was pretty. Other than Steve, no one knew how to love me. He was who I was supposed to marry and I apparently wasn’t good enough for him! So, why would I be good enough for anyone? I was so eager to give my heart away. I just wanted to love and be loved. I was completely oblivious to the fact that God loved me and desired my love. Sad to say, I don’t think that that would have been enough for me.

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At 19 years old I decided to do a five month mission trip with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). The best decision of my life! In these five months I relinquished my hurt and rejection with Steve, my brother, and my dad. For the first time in my life I was overwhelmed with God’s heart for me. It was at a Friday night worship event and we were singing, “You are My Shepherd” by the Vineyard. We were singing the words, “You know who I am, you made who I am, and you love who I am.” I had to stop singing because I didn’t believe the words. Through tears I wrestled with God over his feelings for me. It was a battle of me not understanding His love for me, and Him trying to communicate that His feelings were true and real. All of the sudden, it slapped me in the face, “God, you know who I am, you made who I am, and you LOVE who I am!” Ever since that realization, I have never been the same. I had a God that loved me in the way that I always searched out for love. Not only did he love me, but he knew me! I met my first love that night.

I am not going to say that the battle was over there. There are still mornings I wake up and struggle with liking myself and I have to remind myself of the truth. But this time I have a hope to turn to whereas before, I would just wallow and be depressed at who I thought I was. It was also during my time with YWAM that the Lord revealed to me that He had a purpose and a plan for me. He put me on this earth to show the broken-hearted, the “Father-heart” of God. As time went on, my calling became more specific to me. It was to show the broken-hearted teen girls the “Father-heart” of God. God could use all that I went through so that I could relate and understand the girls that I would later minister to and love.

When I got home from doing my mission’s trip, I was a new woman! I glowed with God’s love for me. I remember people telling me that I looked different. They would tell me that it wasn’t my physical appearance but something inside of me had been changed. There was a confidence about me! Thank you, Jesus!

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In the fall of 2001 I started my college experience at Hope International University majoring in Youth Ministry. I wish that I could say that I dated no one until my husband and that my self-esteem was forever not an issue. Somehow, I let that piece of life steal my joy. I was working two jobs and taking 18 units in college. I didn’t have any time for fun or friends. That is not a good situation for someone like me, such a social person. I did make time however for a few different boys that I now look back on and see Satan’s sneaky little way of distracting me from what mattered, which was, getting good grades, paying my bills and my on-going relationship with the Lord.

I remember it was the summer before my last semester of college. I had a hurtful ending from a job I had really enjoyed, I lost a friend who died in a car accident, and my grandpa who I was close to passed away due to cancer. I was filled with so much pain. I didn’t want to go to church. I started drinking. Boys came around and I did not guard myself, I kissed any boy that was interested. I remember this time as a deep depression.

During my last semester of college, I kissed more boys than I would like to share, slipped in my grades, and lived off of my credit cards accruing debt that took me years to pay off. I also grew very bitter towards the church. I was never mad at God, though. For some reason I knew that He was there with me the whole time, but I felt I was wronged by the church that I had been employed at, so it made me bitter at the church in general. I refused to go. I think that because of my mom’s faithful prayers, I finally got to a point where God asked me if He or I were going to be Lord of my life, and I knew that I couldn’t do life on my own so I chose Him. Ever since I made that decision, I have been pressing into Jesus never once regretting my decision to choose him and serve him.

During the course of my “stupid time” as I like to call it. I had a friend that was constant. Jason was always looking me in the eye and asking me what the heck I was doing. He was constantly reminding me of who I was in Christ and telling me how disappointed he was in me because he knew that I was capable of so much more. Jason was my hard truth for the six months of straying. It got to the point where I would avoid him because I didn’t want to hear about how I was messing up because I already knew that I was not living a life that I was called to live. Little did I know that about a year and a half later that man was going to be my husband!

During my time with YWAM I was challenged to make a list of non-negotiables for what qualities I want in my future husband. I made a list of 35 things along with 3 bonuses. Jason and I had been dating for a few months and I found my list in my parent’s garage. My eyes almost popped out of my head when I read and realized that Jason had all 35 non-negotiable characters ALONG with the three bonuses! I knew for sure at that point how important it truly is to not settle.

God knew from when He knit me together in my mother’s womb that He had great plans for me. God knows us better then anyone on this planet; he wants what’s best for us. I have not always known or felt it, but God from the moment I was born has been pursuing me for a relationship. Boys may not have been that into me, but God from the get-go has been JUST THAT INTO ME!!

Chapter 2 - Who Do You Think You Are???

Sometimes we forget to stop and smell the flowers. That may mean literally or maybe just figuratively. But, really, what makes you happy? Is it when you get to go shopping at the mall with your friends? Getting a manicure/pedicure? A day at your favorite amusement park? When that cute boy likes you back? Maybe you’re like me and nothing makes your heart smile bigger then when you have some Wendy’s French fries to dip into your Wendy’s frosty? There are so many things/people/places that make us happy. In this chapter we are going to be discussing what “makes us tick”. What is getting us up in the morning? My prayer is that you will finish this chapter with a honest glimpse of who you are and what excites you.

If money, time, age, other’s opinions, or perhaps you didn’t get in the way, what would be your greatest hope and dream? Is it to be a doctor, a cosmetologist, an actor, a teacher, a dancer, a mom, or maybe the next American Idol? Have you thought about the fact that you are the most powerful person in that thought process? You are the one that can execute what may be your greatest desires for yourself on this earth, whether that be reaching for the stars or just settling with a life less desirable. My all time favorite speaker is Louie Giglio. He once said a prayer that has forever stuck with me. He prayed, “God cause us to dream dreams as big as you are, and pray prayers as big as you are. Do not let us belittle you in anyway”. That is out of control convicting to me. I don’t know about you, but I know that I tend to pray prayers and dream dreams that I could see happening on my own doing. It is rare that I pray prayers that can only come to be with the help and doing of God’s work in my life. That prayer is actually one of the reasons that I finally started writing this book. In my personal life when I think about that prayer I ask myself, what is my deepest longing? If I answer that question honestly, it’s to write books to the lives that inspire me most, and to travel and meet those girls all over the world that have so much to offer but have not yet realized it. We are definitely on this journey together.

So, let me ask you again. What makes you happy? What are your greatest dreams? Think about those questions as though there are no obstacles. When you come to terms with the answers to those questions, start praying those prayers that are AS BIG AS God and start dreaming those dreams that are AS BIG AS God., and please remember DO NOT BELITTLE GOD, remember who you’re talking to!

Now comes the hard question, if you had a adequate view of God’s heart for you would your answers have been different? What if I told you that God knew you before you were born, or that He knows the number of hairs on your

head? What if I told you that the creator of this universe is on a constant pursuit of you? Well, it is all true! You have a God who is so in love with you that the idea of you settling breaks his heart. He knows you, He loves you, and He calls you by name! What amazing news!! The creator of the universe, the most famous since the beginning of time wants a relationship with you! I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited! It makes me realize that life is too short to dream dreams that don’t involve my creator. If you don’t believe me, let’s check out Psalm 139 and see what Our creator has to say about us.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar, you discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

Do you see that He KNOWS you? That may be scary to a lot of you because you don’t want him to know your secret thoughts, longings, or actions. But what is so awesome is that He does and yet, this is His opinion of you.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

How amazing is that! He sees it all. He sees our lying, our gossip, our drinking, our smoking, our cutting, our selfishness, our eating disorders, our disobedience, and our sex lives and still says we are fearfully and wonderfully made! There is hope, girls! Don’t let Satan come in and lie to you and tell you that there isn’t. God sees all our junk and pain and still chooses to love us and have a relationship with us. Show me a guy that even compares! I will save you the time, there isn’t one! You will never find a boyfriend or even a husband that even comes close to the unconditional love, grace, and forgiveness that Christ offers us.

I challenge you to go back and think about at the beginning of this chapter when you were thinking about what makes you happy and what your hopes are for the future, and really ask yourself if you have God’s view of yourself or maybe your view of yourself. Depending on how you answer that will make a very huge impact on how you live your life. Try to put a little bit more trust in God and a little bit less trust in yourself and see what happens.

I always get lost! I am so bad that I literally get lost in malls, lose my car in parking lots, and I don’t fully understand which directions are East, West, North, and South. My brain just doesn’t get it. Mapquest and the GPS on my phone are my best friends. If you have never used Mapquest, basically you put in your address that you are leaving from and then the address that you are going to and than you get directions. Well, I used to have the horrible habit of printing out the directions and then not following them and ended up still getting lost. The trip ended up taking 3X as long as it would have if I would have just stuck with Mapquest. What I do is I think I know better. For some reason a turn wont make sense to me so Ill go the opposite way cause I think that I know better. Right in the middle of driving around aimlessly I say to myself, “Elizabeth when are you going to learn? If you would have just stuck with the map you would be there by now”. Eventually I get to where I set out to go, but by the time I get there I am tired and frustrated. I think that so many times this is how we live our lives. We think we know what we need when we need it. What we forget is that there is the Bible that has been written to guide us and help us in life. The human in us has to learn it the hard way. If I would just learn to fully trust God and trust myself a lot less, this journey called life would be a lot easier. I’m not saying that life will always be easier, but doing what we know to be right will help us avoid a lot of wasted time and obstacles cause God knows what we need, when we need it.

God loves us. He is not some fun-sucker that wants our lives to be miserable. He wants good for us. He wants joy for us. He wants us to live to our fullest potential. In Jeremiah 29 He talks about having plans for us. His plans are to harm us, but to give us so much hope and an amazing future. It then goes on to say that the only way we are going to know what that future is for us, is to seek God with ALL of our heart. It will be revealed but we have to ask Him and seek Him.

Chapter 3 -Who Does God Say that You Are???

When I had just graduated from high school I was introduced to a book that really challenged my way of thinking about me. It is called Passion for Jesus, written by Mike Bickle. I want to share my favorite quote that Mike states towards the beginning of the book.

“My heavenly father was a kind God who loved me. He enjoyed my friendship and wanted me to be happy with Him. A God who enjoyed me even in my failure and immaturity. A God I did not have to strive to make happy, because he was already happy with me. He was a father who cheered me on and enthusiastically called me His son. God was not focused on my failures; He saw the value of my sincere, yet failed, desire to please Him. He was delighting in me. I was only beginning to understand His affection for me, even in the midst of my spiritual failure and immaturity. The fathers enjoys us each step in our journey of spiritual growth. He enjoys us not only after we grow up, but also while we are in our immature stage. My Heavenly Father was enjoying me while I was yet in the process of maturing, not sighing in disgust as I thought He was. He loved and longed for me; He enjoyed my fellowship with Him, even while I was falling short.”

I don’t know if that impacts you like it impacted me and continues to impact me every time I read it. God is excited about us, even when we are thinking that no one can be excited about us. That’s encouraging!

I know first hand how it will negatively affect us if we live life out of our insecurities. Just so you know all females of all ages are insecure to some degree. It is hard for us to see ourselves like God sees us because we see us compared to the standard of society and the media. Have you ever heard of airbrush? I promise you, even Lauren Conrad has insecurities. No one is above or beyond not liking something about themselves. This is why it is so essential to be in constant communication with God. I guarantee you if you could fully grasp Gods opinion of you, your life will be radically different! It would never be the same again, in a good way of course! My prayer is that you would begin see yourself the way that God sees you.

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but the more absorbed with yourself you are, the less you notice those around you. This is a bad thing. I know for me when I am having a “fat day” all I can think about is how fat I look. Instead of being concerned with those around me and how they are doing, I don’t care because I look fat. I am missing out on maybe being a friend to someone. It also hard with Jason because he will tell me I look pretty and I will literally say, “No I don’t, I look fat”. What that is communicating to Jason is that he is lying and doesn’t know what he is talking about. That in turn makes him not want to compliment me. A little inside scoop about guys, they like a confident girl. It’s not attractive to a guy when a girl is constantly talking about how fat, skinny, ugly, black, white, short, or tall she is. He wants to be with someone that likes themself. My mom would always tell me in high school, “Elizabeth, stop putting yourself down! You wonder why boys don’t like you, it’s like you are going around saying ‘Who wants some rotten pizza?’ Who wants rotten pizza?” I pass this idea onto you, you will carry yourself the way you view yourself. If you think you are fat, ugly, broken out, or nerdy that is how you are going to look to the people around you. You have to be able to walk with your shoulders back and your head held high. The only way you are going to get to this point is by having an accurate view of who God created you to be.

Let’s say you decide to live life with low opinions of yourself. Here is a glimpse into your life. You date a guy that beats you emotionally/physically/sexually and can’t get out of the destructive relationship because you think you don’t deserve anything better. You are scum anyway, so who would want you. Then you go to your dead beat job because you think you can’t get anything better because after all you aren’t that smart any way. You walk with your head down and your shoulders shrugged because you think you have nothing to show off. Now tell me, is this a life that you want? Is this your highest hopes for your life? Do you see that the foundation for a healthy life is a healthy view of yourself?

Now let’s say you decide to live a life with a view of yourself that God has for you. You are so consumed by God’s love for you that really it’s hard to even see a guy that deserves you. Being popular could be fun, but because you already know who you are in Christ, the other peoples' opinions of you don’t really matter cause you already know who created you. His opinion is that you are beautiful, talented, loved, and smart. You go through Jr. High and High school totally focused on being an honest person, a good friend, and an example of confidence that others envy. By the time you get into your career and get married you can look back with few regrets because you have always had your shoulders back and your head held up high because you are in an amazing and loving relationship with your creator who thinks the world of you.

Which life do you prefer, a long, happy and fulfilled life or a dark, long, and depressing life? I will once more say it, you are the most powerful person in this decision making process. It is up to you to pursue the life that you want. I can tell you that the latter is definitely a life that God dreams for us.

No matter who you are, where you’ve been, or the direction you are currently going, God’s love for you does not waiver. He is so excited about his beautiful daughter that his thoughts outnumber the grains of sand on the beach. That’s a lot of thoughts! He knows that it is hard. He knows that you don’t understand why your parents had to get that divorce, or why that guy raped you, or why the kids make fun of you, or why that guy that you are crushing on never crushes on you back. He wants to love on you and hold you and show himself to you, but you have to open up to him in order to let that happen. He can’t make you choose to love Him; He can just ask you and hope that you will return the love. Nothing brings Him more joy then when His gorgeous daughter comes to His feet in brokenness asking Him to pick her up and just hold her. I challenge you. Ask Him to pick you up and to reveal His heart for you. You will be blown away by the response! Life is too short to sit back and live a Plan B life. You deserve a Plan A life, and God wants to give it to you!

Chapter 4 -Are You Seriously Going to Wear That???

Do you remember when I talked about how I dressed growing up? Baggy jeans and extra large t-shirts….That’s how I dealt with my physical insecurities. I hid my body behind the baggy clothes. When in all reality, I was looking fatter than if I wore clothes that fit me. I believe that the way we dress reveals a lot about how we feel about ourselves.

I worked with a youth group where there was a beautiful girl that was quite the opposite in her dress style than I was at her age. She was GORGEOUS! I mean, I was a bit jealous of her. She looked like Barbie with the body and all. I remember the first time I saw her, I thought to myself, that girl is so pretty, long beautiful blond hair, perfect features, and the cute clothes. Although she was pretty, she was lacking something. She thought I wouldn’t notice, but when a 14 year old girl is coming to church in a midriff tight tank top and a jean skirt that barely covered her behind, I can see right through it. Over time I found that my assumptions were right on. She had a different boyfriend every week, she was extremely disrespectful and disobedient to her parents, and could never look me in the eye. She hated herself. She was raised with a dad that spent more time at work than with her and a mom that was more interested in being her best friend than her mom. She was so aimless that it broke my heart. I tried to meet with her and talk with her, but she was so stone cold to anything that had to do with God. She was hiding behind her pretty face and body. She was going for attention from the guys by flaunting her body. What she didn’t know is that guys were with her only for her body. They didn’t care about her as a person; they would get what they wanted and leave her. I know she was not fulfilled. She was hurting and trying to numb the pain with guys, partying, and sex.

I am going to try and be as honest as I can. First off, I need you to understand that I’m not saying guys are all jerks. I just want to give you a little insight into the male. God created guys very visual. I remember that a 14 year old girl came up to me at youth group one night and told me about a great guy she met at a party. She told me about how this 18 year old guy, after just one week of knowing her, he really liked her. I looked at her and bluntly told her, “He just wants to touch your chest”. She argued with me so I told her to go and tell Jason about her new found love, so she went to Jason and I hear him respond with, “He just wants to touch your chest”. When I heard it I told her that Jason knows, he’s a man, and she giggled and walked away. Later she found that we weren’t lying. If you flaunt it, guys want it. Even if you don’t flaunt it, they want it. I honestly believe that we need to take responsibility of how we clothe our bodies and help our guys out. There really is no purpose for a low cut shirt, short shorts, or showing off our stomachs. All it does is scream, “Hey guys look at me! I’m a piece of meat! Come and use me and then drop me because all I have to offer you is my body!” Why would you want to scream that? Instead be the kind of woman that points our brothers to Christ. Cover yourself and be a friend to them. Give them a chance to get to know you for you, and not your body.

If you want to represent Christ in all you do, this includes the way in which you dress. It is possible to dress cute and still be modest. My little sister is the prime example of this. Jamie is 5’10”, gorgeous blue eyes, amazing smile, and an incredible personality. Jamie is also the most modest person I have ever met. At the same time she is the trendiest person I have ever met. Her style is awesome! I have never seen her wear anything above her mid-thigh or anything that shows her stomach. And yet, guess what girls? She has an amazing soon to be fiancĂ© that is quality and loves her. She could have flaunted what the Good Lord gave her, but she chose not to! She is so beautiful from the inside and out that she doesn’t have to wear skimpy clothes to prove it.

The underlying fact is that we dress the way we feel about ourselves. It all can boil out of our insecurities. Be confident in who you are and focus on your heart and the kind of person you are. This body is going to sag, but your heart will be what people remember. Quality guys want quality girls. This includes the way you dress!

Chapter 5 - Are you Date-able????

I once heard something that forever changed my view of the way that I approached finding the kind of guy I wanted to be with. “You need to be the type of person that you want to be with”. If you could fully capture this and live by it, I promise your dating life will be revolutionized! Like everything else we have talked about so far, it all starts with your self-esteem. Who are you? How much time do you spend making you a better person, a more giving and selfless person? It is so attractive to a guy when he sees a girl that is vibrant, kind, loving, considerate, and confidant. Are you that kind of girl? Don’t you want a guy that is considerate, kind, protective, respectful, and in love with Jesus? Don’t you want a solid guy? How solid are you? How loving are you? How giving are you? How considerate are you? Only you and God know your heart. I bet if you spent some significant time focusing on how wonderfully created you are, you would get lost in time and before you know it, your knight in shining armor is in front of your face! It would be a quality man because you are quality.

I see girls all the time complaining about how they always find the “losers” or the “jerks” and how they want a man that will treat them right and love the Lord. I ask where they met them and the answer is usually at a party or at a bar. They usually didn’t know them very well before they started dating and then jumped into a relationship. How can you find a good and solid relationship this way? I am not saying that it never works, but for the most part I believe that the failure rate is higher this way. Who are you as a person? How often do you spend time in prayer and the Bible? How often do you spend more time focusing on your relationship with your loving creator and less time on the relationship you don’t have or long to have with a guy? I was just thinking the other day about how the girls that aren’t searching for a guy their entire life are usually the ones that get married first. One of my best friends in high school never talked about marriage or finding “the one” and she was the first of us to get married. Same with my little sister Jamie, she never wanted a boyfriend. Every time she would get a crush on someone in high school she would “pray her crush away.” She would always say that there was no point because she wasn’t going to marry them anyway. She got engaged at 20! She wasn’t looking and it smacked her right in the face. I think its because both these girls were just focused on life and living it to its fullest so they weren’t distracted by the opposite sex. I on the other hand never talked about anything else but getting married since I could talk. I bet my first word was husband! My older sister, Julie, used to always tease me and say when I got married I would have nothing else to talk about. I really missed out on a lot in high school and college because I was so consumed with finding “the one”. I always said that I would be 25 years old with three kids. I will be 29 in two months and I do not have even a baby in my tummy. I am so thankful that the Lords will is stronger than mineJ I would have missed out on so much life and opportunity if I got married when I wanted and had kids when I wanted. I also would have married a very wrong person for me. Jason was worth the wait!!

I believe that some of you readers are really pressing in to finding who you are in Christ. You are lonely and you are wondering where that special guy is. He is there! Remember that the timing is all about the Lord knowing exactly what we need and when we need it. Do you really want something/someone that is wrong or off just to have that person??? I promise you, you don’t! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there were several guys that I prayed would be my husband-THANK YOU JESUS for your protection!! Jason is incredible. Like earlier on when I wrote about my non-negotiable list and how Jason had everything even the bonuses! Don’t settle!!! Jesus knows what you desire and He knows what you need and He will bring it to you, all in good time. Trust me, I know it’s hard. I did not get married until I was 26 years old. That felt like 99 since I wanted it since I was out of the womb! It was so challenging to just rest in Jesus and know that He had my mate out there, the timing was just wrong. I have now been married for over two years and it has flown by! I have the majority of my life to share with Jason. I just wish I had enjoyed my time without Jason more. Marriage is amazing, but my memories of my single life are that I was always looking and longing for a man. That is no way to live! Live in the present and live it to its fullest! You will never get today back!! I will leave you with this thought on the subject: God created you, knows you, and loves you. He will take care of you, please don’t get impatient and settle. There is no greater disservice to yourself, your spouse, or your kids. Hold out!

Before I end this chapter, while we are on the subject of dating I want to take a few minutes to discuss the importance of purity. Now please trust me, I know how fun it is to make out. I know how fun it is to do things that we know that we are not supposed to do. I just want you to think about whether or not you want your future husband to be doing the things you are doing with other girls that are not you? How much more special is it to say to your spouse that you saved yourself for them?? It is such an amazing and beautiful thing that the world has tainted and distorted. The main thing that I learned from not being the most pure girl ever in my dating life is that it gives you false preconceived ideas of how it is going to be when you get married. I gave so much of myself away to the wrong guys just to fulfill a longing or because they told me they loved me, or they told me I was pretty. I lost pieces of me that could belong to just Jason because I did not value purity and self control. I challenge you, no matter how difficult it seems or how much he says he loves you, HOLD OUT! If he really loves you, he will value you and respect God-given boundaries. I promise it will make your wedding bed so much more special. Once you get physically intimate it really takes the relationship to the next level. You will grow more attached which isn’t always a good thing, you will be prone to get way more hurt when things don’t work out because you gave so much of yourself to him. The heart is fragile and it is your responsibility to take care of it. Don’t give your heart out on a golden platter. Guard it and make that God-honoring man work for it. And then your first night married you can hand it over and trust him to take care of it. Not only does it jack us girls up when we are impure, but emotionally there is also physical consequences that can take place. I doubt any of you want an STD or that any of you want to be a single mother. I think you would be surprised to find out how often these things happen. We are fortunate to have a God that loves us and is full of grace, mercy, and redemption, but it is still a process of healing to get to the other side of these consequences.

Chapter 6 - He's Just that Into You!!!

What a journey this has been!! It has brought me so much joy to spend this time writing about the things that are so close to my heart. I am a life that has been radically changed by the women and girls in the churches that I have been raised in and served at. It is my greatest prayer and desire to pay it forward. Life is too short to focus on the things that do not matter.

I want to spend our last little bit of time together reminding you of God’s loving pursuit of you. We all have a huge hole inside of us that we try to fill with random things. The problem is that God can only fill it. Which is only a problem when you try to fill it with other things. He has created us with a gap that only He can fill. This is why popularity, varsity teams, boyfriends, starring roles, best friends, family, money, cute clothes, or etc. are going to leave us disappointed.

Who you are was carefully knit together before the world knew you. God was not messing around when he made you. You are nothing short of a miracle that He delights in. It doesn’t matter where you have been or what you have done, he has arms outstretched for you. He wants to bring love into your life like you have never experienced before! I don’t know if you have ever heard of the parable of “The Prodigal Son” in the book of Luke in the Bible. There is a son who decides to take all of his inheritance and go out and live up life. He spends all his money and finds himself at a place of complete discontentment. Long story short, he goes home to find his father waiting for him with a nice robe and a huge party. God is just like that with us. He is not looking at us shaking his head hoping for the worse. He is looking at us with anticipation and love for the day we will return to his arms. God pursues us like we girls long for a guy to pursue us, but for some reason He is not enough. It is sad, but true. He comes to us with His love to offer and we look him in the eye and tell him that He is not good enough. You may not know that you are doing that, but every time we try to fill that gap with anything other than Him, that is exactly what we are doing. We are telling him, “Thanks, but no thanks”.

Think about a crush that you have had and how much you thought about him, how much you waited by the phone for him to call, how much you couldn’t think about anything else but him…Multiply that by lets just say, for kicks and giggles, 1,000- you are not even close to how in love Jesus is with you! He doesn’t want to hurt you, He won't cheat on you, He won't hit you, He won't take advantage of you, He won't break your heart, He won't make fun of you, He won't gossip about you, He won't tell his friends things that aren’t true about you, and He will NEVER leave you. Who doesn’t want Him to be their first love? Everyone, no matter who it is, they are going to let you down at some point. No one is perfect, so at some point they will all hurt you and let you down. This cannot be said about your creator!!

There is a book that was written awhile back and now a movie coming out in a couple weeks that is called, “He’s just not into you”. If you didn’t guess it already, the title of my book is a spin off of that title. Nothing hurts more than a broken heart. I would rather have every bone in my body broken than a broken heart. I hate seeing girls with a hurting heart that was broken by a guy that they trusted. Almost every time it was broken by a guy who said one thing but then his actions said another. They said what they needed to say to get what they wanted to get. But the fact of the matter is that he’s just not that into you. The good news is that God is more than you could ever ask or imagine for your life and He is just that into you!

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