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ANGEL
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: ANGEL

YOU ARE LOVED
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: CHRISTIAN

Faith is.......................
Category: Member Blogs

Faith Is......

Faith Is......reliance on the certainty that God has a pattern for my life
when everything else seems meaningless

Faith Is......remembering I am God's priceless treasure when I feel utterly
useless

Faith Is......depending on the fact that God is love - not on my ability to
figure out why, in the midst of smashed hopes, reversal and tragedy

Faith Is......keeping on when I'm dog tired, discouraged, disillusioned,
deserted, dusty, and dry and I cast on His strength alone

Faith Is......realizing that I am useful to God, not in spite of my scars,
but because of them

Faith Is......confidence that God is acting for my highest good when He
answers "No" to my prayers

Faith Is......accepting the truth that, in spite of the wreckage and grief
I've caused, God has wiped the slate clean and delights in me!

Faith Is......recognizing that God is the Lord of time when my idea of
timing doesn't agree with his

Faith Is......not a vague hope of a happy here after but an assurance of
heaven based on my trust in Christ's death as payment for my sins

Faith Is......remembering that, though my way is as dark as night to me,
God can see and guides me unerringly

Faith Is......doing the right thing regardless of the consequences knowing
God will turn the ultimate effect to good

Faith Is......the conviction the Promiser keeps His promises.

"Actions Boost Prayer Power" by Beth Brubaker
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: prayer grief Christian life Christian women Christian women online

Actions Boost Prayer Power

Prayer is an awesome thing. When people gather to pray, those prayers can heal, save, and protect us and those around us, But sometimes God wants us to do more.

In James 2:14-17 it says 'What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 

If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.'

Too many times I see Christians pray for one another through hardships, but offer nothing other than prayer. I've caught myself doing this- a lot! It's one thing if all you can do is pray for someone, but when you can act on those prayers and don't, that's where the seeds of trouble sprout.

Believe me, I have a lot of those weeds in my own spiritual garden! The finger I'm pointing points at myself.

I've prayed for those who have lost a loved one, but until I suffered the same, I never realized that I should've been praying not only for, but with those that had lost someone. I could've given them my ear to listen, spent time hearing their stories or let them vent. But I didn't.

I basically gave them a hug, said I would pray for them, and went on my merry Christian way. Only after I was in the privacy of my own prayer space did I pray for them. For all they knew, I'd forgotten all about them and their troubles.

Oh, but when I was hurting and someone came to me who prayed and then listened....

Prayers are powerful. but actions boost those prayers in a mighty way. It made me realize that if I can do more, I should- whether it's the hungry person on the street, a troubled neighbor, or my fellow Christians- actions speak louder than words (especially to unbelievers)- but actions also give prayers a huge power boost. 

Actions aren't the end-all be-all of the universe. Actions are powerful in of themselves, as is prayer. But put them together, and Wow! God loves it when we do both- it let's Him shine all the brighter!

Don't stop praying. Don't stop acting on those prayers if you can. Pull up those spiritual weeds and let the blessings blossom!

“Mess Monsters” by Beth Brubaker Tags: Family Homemaking mommy Christian Life Christian women

MESSY HOUSEMy house is a wreck.

The housework has waned since I started working odd jobs last year, and was nearly non-existent when my mom started getting worse. Two out of three funerals are done (my husband’s cousin also passed away two days after his mom, so that’s three in less than three weeks), and after coming home from the second funeral yesterday, I realized something.

I have mess monsters.

I’m not talking about my teenagers- though they’ve had a hand in it. I’m not talking about the cats either. I have little monsters in my house making messes when I sleep- it’s the only explanation for the condition of my home.

Dust Monsters collect all the cat hair and scatter it about, making ‘tumblefur’ balls that roll about the room like a bad western. Then they coat everything in dust, just like in The Munsters. I checked the vacuum- it’s not on reverse, but there’s not much in it either. I think this is where they get their dust stash.

MESSY HOUSE SIGN

The Paper Breeders come next to clutter up any flat surface with printouts, old mail, and candy wrappers. I could leave two sheets of paper on the table before bed, and when I come down the next morning, those suckers bred like crazy and now look like giant confetti all over my entire living room- including the couch.

The Crumb Monsters stuff my cushions with everything imaginable. I don’t even want to know what that stuff is, but when I vacuum it out, it sounds like fish tank gravel. On occasion I’ll find odd things like the TV remote, small children and the neighbors lost pets. I guess the monsters ran out of gravel on those days.

The Clutterbug digs into everything I have neatly stored and drags things out I haven’t seen in years. It must have squealed in delight when I brought home mementos from my mom’s apartment. I think it conspired with the Paper Breeder, because I don’t remember bringing this much stuff home.
Sigh.

Let’s not even mention the Laundry Monster. I swear that one switches my socks with several neighbors’ just to mess all of us up. Only after I toss the orphaned footwear in the trash a year later do the prodigal socks show up- then I have to toss them too. Ugh.

I wonder if the home improvement stores have monster repellent….I could use a gallon or two…

Or maybe some elbow grease?

Beth Brubaker Photo

Beth Brubaker is a member of the RUBY writers’ team and a regular contributor to the RUBY magazine with her “Footprints in the Mud” monthly column. You can read more of her humorous and inspirational posts on her blog at Footprints in the Mud.

“Some Lost Things We Need to Recover” by Sharon L. Patterson Tags: Daily Devotional Faith Hope Jesus Prayer Christian Life

Feather BackgroundIs it just me, or have you noticed we have lost some very significant things we desperately need to recover in our lives?

The first one on my list may seem to be ridiculously obvious…or not.  It is our mind….especially its ability to reason with rational thought.

Somewhere in the mire of trying to be inclusive of all thought, we have accepted the belief that there really are no absolutes except for one: absolute tolerance.

We worship knowledge over wisdom, tolerance over truth. We have decided that truth is no longer the time-tested pillar built from the basic tenants of Judeo-Christian law, but a piece of evolving architecture formed from a fluid, humanistic mindset that can be molded to fit the politically-correct topic of the moment.

How we need to recover a sound mind!

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 (NIV)

A second dire-loss in need of recovery is civility and the respect for one another as we bring the points on which we differ out into the public arena.

At one time, we could actually hear each other because we wanted to help improve our world, not just win arguments.  We could hammer out differences without hammering one other. Oh, that we would bless, rather than blast, our fellow man.

 “Love must be sincere.  “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12: 9-10 (NIV)

Thirdly, we need to recover our lost hope.  Despair is not a good substitute. It becomes a breeding ground for depression. What we view and what we hear actually matter.

If our media feed is only news that centers on the sensational (and that is generally negative), our hope diminishes.

Maybe we just need to hear the Good News more often coming unapologetically from the mouth of ministers of the gospel.

“We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

You know, I believe we can find and recover these lost things by doing something simple. It is not easy, but it is simple:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

If we seek the One who made our minds, the One who showed us how to speak the truth in love and the One who not only spoke good news but was Good News, then we can recover a sound mind, civility and respect, and hope will once again fill us with a renewed sense of life worth living.

 

sharon L. Patterson

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women’s ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Sharon is a member of the RUBY writers’ team and a regular contributor to the RUBY magazine.

“Meatloaf Mishap” by Christie Browning Tags: Christian Life Christian women Christian women bloggers Christian women online Christian Women Writers Christian Women's Magazine Homemaking

christieI believe it’s important to recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, I am completely comfortable in declaring that I am weak when it comes to cooking. No, this isn’t the type of bad cooking that produces dry chicken or overly bland potatoes. My bad cooking brings about burnt, charred, inedible dishes that make the stomach turn.

No, I cannot cook and, I am OK with that. However, every now and then I convince myself that there’s a certain dish or recipe I could indeed pull off. This happened recently and resulted in my attempt to make a meatloaf.

It was one of those weeks where my husband, who is a master chef and usually handles all things food related in our house, was working a lot of long hours. He had planned to make a meatloaf, but time just was not on his side. I sincerely tried to help when I pulled that helpless lump of meat out of the fridge and began trying to morph it into a meal. The end result was not as I had hoped.

With all the ingredients in place and the meat perfectly “loafed” in its pan, I shoved the dish into the oven and waited the appropriate amount of time. I must divulge that I used a recipe. Maybe that was where I went wrong, because the recipe called for the dish to cook for 40 minutes at 400 degrees — a temperature that now I’ve been told is too high.

When I pulled the pan out of the oven, my meatloaf was a rich brown color on top and the aroma was rather inviting. Feeling pretty pleased with myself, I cut into the middle to find…RAW HAMBURGER!! So raw it practically “mooed” at me!

I wasn’t quite sure how to handle this uneven state of affairs, so back in the oven it went, still at 400 degrees, until the middle was done. You can only imagine what the outside looked like: Charred to a crisp. The inside was dry as a bone.

When it comes to our hearts and our emotions, it’s easy to become calloused and hardened. When we’re hurt, betrayed, mistreated…. all of these are prime crimes to toughen our exterior.

Often times we wear that hardened shell as a barrier to protect us from being hurt again.

Or better yet, we let the love and affection from others bounce off, proud that we are tough enough.

The truth lies inside, though. We are raw. Left hurt and bleeding, we don’t heal. What we do is deny, push on and move forward. Raw in the middle — it makes for an unappetizing meal for a meatloaf and it also makes for a hostile heart for you, dear friend. Choosing to be calloused and chaffed by the world or those in it only conceals the pain left inside. It doesn’t allow you to properly “cook through.”

On the other hand, the opposite is equally damaging. If we choose to stew and overheat about a situation, we do nothing but dry out and become unappetizing to be around. We can lose our entire flavor and crumble under any amount of pressure.

God has a different plan for these wounds. He wants us to give them to Him. He wants to apply His love and grace in such a way that we do more than just move on from the pain. He wants us to be strengthened, empowered and inspired by it. Our flavor is amplified and we are able to share pieces of ourselves with others, offering our sweet aroma to those who need it most.

The New Testament declares believers are “salt of the earth.” That salt brings out the best in others and also heals where there is pain. It’s true! Salt is used to enhance the flavor of meats and vegetables. And you know the power of salt in a wound if you’ve ever experienced salt in a paper cut!

Salt, although it may sting at first, heals cures and preserves.

I don’t think my meatloaf needed more salt. What it needed was more time on a lower temperature with tin foil for protection.

In my own life, I need to cool my temper and my emotions, slow down to let myself deal and heal, and always keep God’s love and His word as a protection around my heart and mind.

 

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CLICK HERE or the banner to visit Christie’s website

 

christie browning

 

Christie Browning is a speaker and author with a passion to encourage, empower and inspire women to live as the amazing ladies God created them to be, instead of getting hung up on their pasts, mistakes, shortcomings and insecurities. Christie publishes a monthly women’s magazine read nation-wide and can be found on numerous blogs. She is a wife and step-mom with a healthy love of music, hiking and dogs.

“ENVY” by Cyndie Randall Tags: Faith Hope Jesus Prayer Gods Grace Christian Women

envyI am so envious.

 I’m envious of people with really good teeth. Especially when they’ve never seen an orthodontist and they drink liters of black coffee between donut-chewing and not flossing. They do all this while smiling, by the way.

I’m envious of women who OWN that two-piece swimsuit even after their bodies have sagged and settled.

Yes, I do jiggle and bounce up this beach. And?? 

This kind of bikini-wearer isn’t worried about containment because she is too busy with freedom.

When I find these women, I study them as I would aliens — my head tipped, brow furrowed curiously, mouth gaping. I like their kind. Teach me your ways, space creatures.  

And I’m envious of deep things, sacred things. I’m envious of joyful girls who have snuggly fathers and of patient mothers with healthy ovaries and of any human or non-human who rests well at night and is sure of the voice of Jesus.

SHE’S ANTI-LOVE

 My envy is a husky, red-dressed opera singer who will not get off the stage. When she pushes out from behind the curtain, I suddenly can’t hear any other singers: not Love, in that warm and encompassing bass; certainly not Hope, with her ethereal whisper.

And Faith seems to bail completely, diving headfirst into the orchestra pit.

Envy makes certain I will not enjoy myself or anybody else.

This bossy soprano gets stuck in a crescendo loop — her highest, strongest notes dominating the room — until I want to pop right out of my skin. I can jam fingers in my ears but her glass-shattering song still finds a way to pull all my triggers.

Envy’s vibrato is loyal, but she is a fierce and cunning devil, always stealing my life space, always proposing a clever promise.

I do ask God to escort her sassy-ass out the back door, remembering all of what He has warned about her — how anti-love she plays. But He usually says something like:

She’s here for a reason, you know. You can’t just ignore her or pray her away. Don’t invite her to sit for tea, but do pay attention. Why is she visiting so often, my love? Where is she poking you? What do you keep hoping she’ll offer? Answer these, and you’ll find something true about yourself and something true about me.

They are deeply personal questions, aren’t they? I don’t want to answer them for you. But I will answer them for myself, at least in part, and maybe you’ll find you can relate.

ENVY VISITS WHEN I FORGET WHO I AM

She stays when I refuse to live as one Beloved. Now. Just as I am.

Size four jeans (or six or eight) will never hold me; I could spend a lot of time shut up in my room, grunting and sweating and doing bad yoga moves trying to push myself into them. And nobody would ever see me again, as this would be an eternal effort, not to mention a fruitless one. Those clothes are lovely and fine, but they aren’t mine to wear.

Envy has been loud and proud in my ear lately, telling me I need to write more like THIS person and THAT person. The immediate problem is I’m not THIS person or THAT person; I don’t speak like THIS and I don’t live like THAT.

I cannot become the ambassador I’m uniquely fashioned to be if I’m too busy longing for and living someone else’s ________.

 ENVY DOESN’T POKE ME, GOD; SHE STABS ME.

She stabs me right in the center of my need, in the place where I am aching for something, for someone. She always uses a version of truth to pierce me and push the knife in, but then she twists it into a big, bloody mess.

“Don’t you want to be special?” she asks. 

Respected? Loved?

Yes, of course. I’m made by love, with love, for love. That’s exactly what I want, what we all want.

Sure you do. Well, anyway, THIS writer here and THAT writer over there? — They are special AND loved because of what they’re doing, because of what they have. If you say THIS and be THAT, you can be special and loved too. 

She may lie in the end, but do you see the hidden gift here? The reason I need to pay attention? My envy exposed two of the most vulnerable and beautiful truths about me: 1) I have needs, and 2) I cannot fulfill them.

I HOPE ENVY WILL OFFER ME PEACE

I keep hoping she’ll meet those good needs in me, or at least lead me to what or who can. I want her to soothe my pain, make me feel like enough, give me a purpose. But she won’t, because she can’t.

And even if Envy could satiate, she’d only offer the temporary, counterfeit goods. Remember? Cramming my thighs into size four jeans? — My gifts into somebody else’s life? That’s all just chasing wind.

Her forever job is to get me to believe my need can be met by the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Surely this is too many wrongs to lead to any kind of peace.

If it’s not the way to be who I am for the glory of the one who made me, it’s certainly not the way to fulfill my heart’s desire.

In short, this is Envy’s climactic high note: Her forever job is to get me to believe my need can be met by the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Surely this is too many wrongs to lead to any kind of peace.

THE SOMETHING TRUE

Envy blinds. She is a false protector, a distraction, and a sure way to escape vulnerability. I have used her a thousand times to avoid standing face to face with what I’m actually feeling and experiencing inside; a thousand more to carve out my own way, to build my golden calf.

When I envy others, I don’t have to get way down inside the painful desire I have to be special and loved for who I am; I’m too distracted trying to become someone else. I also won’t have to profess what I’ve perceived to be weakness: That I’ve had God-given need my entire life. Nor must I explore the moments that caused it to feel like an unmanageable, aching, raging dragon.

When I envy what is not mine, my own goodness, gratitude, grief – they all pile up in me and hold their breath. They become lost somewhere off the path of expression and healing and resurrection. When I’m off that path, I don’t have to explore my own dark and glorious heart or God’s mysterious and lavish one. This can feel like the safest way, but it’s never the one that leads to abundant life.

Envy has always been one of my most dependable routes to the disconnected and inauthentic. But I am made for so much more, and oh how I tire of her same old song.

Unless we’re talking about teeth, of course. I still want good teeth.

 

cyndierandall bannerClick HERE or click the banner to connect with Cyndie on her website, www.cyndierandall.com

 

cyndie randallCyndie Randall loves sifting life for good little stories to share. Being a woman-poet-therapist-wife-mother-Jesus-follower and song-maker helps that along. Click here or on Cyndie’s picture to link to her Facebook page.

“Tough Marshmallows” by Beth Brubaker Tags: Family God's Grace Prayer Ruby For Women

Footprints in the Mud

This has been a rough month.

My mom passed away on July 18th- just five days after her 78th birthday.
My husband’s mom passed away yesterday morning- exactly two weeks after my mom, give or take four hours.

With the drama of dealing with my mom’s funeral and subsequent cleaning out of her apartment on top of it all, I was on the verge of losing it.

I went to a friend’s house so my kids wouldn’t see me lose my Schmidt.

My friend’s name is Marlene. She’s God’s warrior. She’s a Tough Marshmallow.
This is a woman who will pray for you any time of the day or night, will hold your hands in hers so you don’t pull your own hair out, and assure you that God is with you, always.
But don’t mess with Marlene. Don’t tell her you don’t need help when your heart is hurting. She has an excellent BS detector and has no problem telling you your full of it.
Within five minutes she rallied the troops- she had me on the phone with a guy named Bob-someone I met at the writer’s conference who’s a fantastic speaker and brother of my heart, just to tell me I’m not entirely a deranged lunatic.
Then Marlene summoned two great spiritual warriors to her house just to listen to me talk myself hoarse for three hours straight and cry myself dry.
Another dear lady named Marjorie gave me a book to help revive my spirit- one she herself wrote- and had no problem swatting me when I asked her who the heck the author was.

These people rallied around me. Me. The one with the snarky Philly attitude when things go wrong. The one that wants to hide in her room when things go bad, and not help anyone when she’s feeling angry. Don’t these people know me? Don’t they know that I never open up to anyone because when I do, people tend to pat me on the head, tell me they’ll pray for me, then find better things to do?

Yet they listened. And stayed. They didn’t hang up until I was ready. they didn’t leave the room. They didn’t make me feel like I was wasting their valuable time.

But they did drop what they were doing to help someone they only knew from a distance. These are really busy people. Their time really is super valuable. Yet they all took time out for me.

Wow.

This has never happened to me before. Never.

I could see them doing this for my husband. You see, he’s the go-to guy. The help-anyone-in-a-crisis man of the hour. I’ve seen people flocking to him whenever he was in need. He does a lot of stuff for a lot of people and is well loved by all. Seriously. He has touched more lives than anyone I know. He’s awesome.

His wife is another matter. She’s a snarky, wit-cracking wise-arse who couldn’t quote a scripture if her life depended on it. She’s just not a rally-to-her-banner kind of gal.

I’m so grateful to those tough marshmallows that helped me stay sane yesterday. People willing to listen and give me a hug, but weren’t afraid to keep things real and swat me upside the head on occasion. Tough people gently nudging me towards God’s word, and doing more than just praying.

Don’t get me wrong- prayer is powerful stuff! But sometimes you need more than prayer. That’s what these people did for me. I pray that God heaps unexpected blessings all over them- so much so that the blessings are slopping over and soaking into the carpets!

Thank you Marlene, Bob, Rob and Stephanie, Marjorie, Ava, and Marti for the support, hugs, and swats. I love you all so very much!

Beth Brubaker Photo

Beth Brubaker is a member of the RUBY magazine writers’ team and a regular contributor to the RUBY magazine in her column, “Footprints in the Mud.” You can read more of her humorous and inspirational posts on her blog, Footprints in the Mud.

“Putting on Godliness” by Cassidy Burdge – ‘The Christian Prepster’ Tags: Faith Hope Jesus Prayer Youth

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.-Colossians 3:12 NLT

silouette

Wouldn’t that be great? Living a life clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I have yet to master this skill, but I try really hard to live up to it. God sent His Son for me, but I still live a stubborn and angered life as if that price was not enough. I need to swallow my pride and reflect Jesus throughout my days.

I believe if we want to live the life presented to us in Colossians 3:12, we need to do some deep dissection, people!

The word ‘clothe’ means to put on clothing. Daily, we all “put on clothing”. We don’t just wake up clothed and ready to face the day.

It takes time, effort, and some early mornings, it takes all the energy we have.

The same runs for our attitude. If we want to reflect Christ, it will take time, effort, and all the energy we have. When we become annoyed or frustrated, it will take all of our efforts. When we are tired, it will take all of our energy.

Colossians 3:12 is our ultimate goal when we interact with others. Our aim should be to show Christ’s love and joy to the faces of this world.

I want to be a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient person. I want people to be able to see Christ through me. I know those traits will take time and effort, but I believe they are totally worth it.

My prayer for you is that you will continue to seek Christ above all else, and strive to live a life in harmony with Colossians 3:12.

XOXO, The Christian Prepster

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The Christian Prepster BannerClick the banner or CLICK HERE to visit Cassidy’s blog-site: The Christian Prepster

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Cassidy Burdge

Hello! I am The Christian Prepster, a high school student living the
Christian lifestyle in a preppy state of mind. I have a deep love for
sharing Christ through writing and blogging, and am so excited to be
a part of the Ruby magazine. I blog about anything from Biblical teachings
to book reviews! I hope you enjoy what the Lord has placed on my
heart.  

“Solitude” by Kathy McCauley Tags: Christian Life Christian poets Christian women Christian women bloggers Christian women online Christian Women Writers Christian Women's Magazin

Fullscreen capture 7312016 80157 PMThe person called to solitude is a rare soul.

Identifying this hunger or need in one’s soul is difficult.

The hunger for solitude is sometimes disguised as restlessness — taking us the wrong direction.

The one who is called to solitude is purely content with their thoughts, prayers, and presence with God.

There is no fear of being with self or being alone; the relationship with God fills the mind, heart,  and imagination.

There is a fine line between isolating and seeking solitude – but how does one know the difference?….by its fruits.

Isolating comes from not wanting to see or interact with others.

Solitude is a desire to be still and alone with oneself and one’s God.

Isolating is usually a reaction to something or someone (usually moving away from something).

Solitude is an action to seek silence of mind, body and spirit (usually moving toward something).

In seeking silence one must purify the motives and be able to experience God’s voice and presence in a deeper way and at that moment.

While silence and solitude have lost their allure in today’s world, it is still there, beckoning the hungry heart to shake off the noise of this world and be still in the richness of a soul in solitude.

Seek solitude and the soul will soar!!

 

 

 

kathleen mccauley

Kathleen McCauley has been an active retreat leader for over 25 years.  She received her professional training as a Campus Minister and retreat leader at the University of Dayton.  Kathleen enjoys working with adults in their cultivation of spirituality and personal growth.  Prior to her work as a Career Counselor at Neumann University, Kathleen served as a Resident Minister for eight years at St. Joseph’s University and seven additional years giving retreats for local churches and community groups. You can contact Kathleen to learn more about her retreat work at kathleenmccauley1@msn.com  or at http://www.threadsofspirituality.com/

“Am I Beautiful?” by Mary Dolan Flaherty Tags: Christian authors Christian Life Christian women Christian Faith Family God's Grace

beyoutifully younique header

I recently saw an article on my town’s website advertising a new program for tween and teen girls. It’s designed to promote self-confidence in a young woman through public speaking and addressing self-esteem Issues such as peer pressure, body image, and carrying oneself with grace and dignity.

Mentors help each young woman reach her potential and recognize her inner beauty by emphasizing the need for self-respect. Girls are encouraged to do well in school and in their community. I assumed they would be taught how to take care of their body, mind, and emotions.

Sounds great, I thought. I decided to read on, not because I have a child of this age who would be interested; my children are grown. I was curious. Exactly how did they plan on achieving these lofty goals in only five weeks?

I was disappointed. The next paragraph told me that the girls are taught to discover what truly makes them happy—okay, that’s important. Not everyone fits into the same mold. Sports might work for one girl, and chemistry club for another. What bothered me was what came at the end.

quote

The influence was on fashion, hair, make-up, and photography. I figured we weren’t talking about “looking through the view-finder” photography.

I assumed the kind they spoke of was from the other end of the camera—the one that hair, make-up, and fashion can cover up to give the illusion of self-assurance.

After five weeks of discovery, these young and impressionable girls—who were supposedly being taught to realize their “inner beauty”—were to give a runway show! What?

I was truly saddened after reading this. While I realize that it’s unlikely for a town to approve a Christian-based “self-awareness” program, I had hoped that it would at least focus on positive self-image, regardless of outward beauty.

I felt like this runway show defeated the whole purpose of the program. If I had a daughter between the ages of 11 and 15, I certainly would be hesitant to sign her up.

Proverbs 31:30 (International Standard Version) tells us that charm is deceptive and beauty fades; but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

THIS is what we ought to be teaching our young and impressionable 11-15 year olds…and way before they reach that age.

Any girl can be taught to charm the camera, especially when she is armed with the false assurance of make-up, professionally coiffed hair, and sexy clothing.

But beauty fades. Eventually, it becomes less important, and we are left with who we are.

Where does that leave the woman whose focus has been on outward beauty her whole life?

However, a young woman who arms herself with the assurance of God’s love—a love that unconditionally accepts her, regardless of her outward appearance, inner turmoil, or past mistakes will never feel the need to charm the camera (or mirror-our everyday camera).

The woman who fears (reveres, respects) her God understands that she was beautifully and uniquely designed to be exactly who she sees in the mirror—with or without makeup.

She will never need to wear the mask of false beauty because she understands that it is simply who she is that makes her beautiful. Not what she puts on.

Whether you are 12, 42 or 82, I hope you know that you are beautiful. Celebrate that today. Be uniquely you. And just for kicks, go out without make-up. I think God might just find that rather charming.

Mary-Dolan-Flaherty-headshot-1-377x400

Mary Dolan Flaherty is a quirky gal who loves to encourage people and make them laugh.  She writes and speaks with self-deprecating humor and transparency, saying what most people think but won’t admit.   She lives in New Jersey with her husband, whom she affectionately calls Hubbles, and has two grown children and two grand-dogs.  Mary enjoys hiking, theatre, music, gardening, and traveling and can be found blogging at SonRiseInsights.blogspot.com.

 Sonrise Banner Mary Dolan FlahertyVisit Mary on her blog by clicking here or clicking on the above banner.

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