Front porches are great places to catch up with ol’ friends. Today that is exactly what I get to do…I get to share a chair and a cup of coffee on the porch with an ol’ friend and I get the honor of introducing her to you! I know you are just going to love her as much as I do. Because here is the deal, this front porch is big enough for many! It is not a small place of comparison but a bigger place of community. When I envisioned Aprons to Iron, it was not just a place for my voice to be heard but a place for other women of strength to share their stories of struggle, their hope, their passions; a platform to celebrate that we are more alike than different, and our differences are not to be hi-lighted as faults or color us “green with envy”, but those differences help us be better together. Because have you ever reached any place of success on your own? I sure haven’t. God has used many others in my path to inspire me, cheer me on, to teach me, to bless me, to humble me, to show me what is possible, and remind me I am not alone and I cannot do this life alone…it is not all about me! So from time to time we will have a special friend join us on the front porch to share with us some “apron” lessons of their own. I hope their words will bless and refresh you like a cool breeze, and maybe through their words God will speak strength to your soul.
Here is what is so cool about reconnecting with my friend: I knew I wanted to name my blog Aprons to Iron but I was still putting together the vision. I was having a hard time finding some pictures of aprons to “spice” up my blog. One day I was scrolling thorough my FB feed and I came across a picture of my friend in an apron she had made for herself! It was like a God wink, confirmation of the name and the purpose of this blog. The radiance and joy she expresses fits perfectly what I want for each woman who spends time on this virtual “front porch”. Maybe you come to the porch feeling a little duller than radiant today, maybe you come a little battle wearied today, like I do and you are ready to throw in the apron; like you just can’t seem to keep “it” all together and you don’t even know what the “it” is you are supposed to have all together. Maybe you are discouraged, disappointed and the “mountain” you are facing seems insurmountable and you can’t find the energy to even consider taking a step upwards…Listen, we all have those moments, days or even seasons. That is why we need a place of rest among each other, to remind us we all have battles, we get wounded and wearied and perfect is not the aim or even possible but progress is. A place where we can learn and receive strength from others that have girded up their apron strings and by faith have pressed into Jesus and pressed on, and if they can we can too! We need each other’s stories of hope and reminders that God is faithful! That is what is so interesting about the picture of my friend. If you didn’t know about her struggle you may be tempted to be envious or think she is one of those gals that “has it all together”. We are often so hard on outward appearances, not only our own but that of others’. Praise God for His tender eye that looks at our hearts and in His mercy and grace sees something worthy of shaping into His likeness. We would see so much better if we would choose to see as He does. Having it all together is a myth and one of the age old taunting lies of the enemy. There ain’t anyone that has it all together sisters, yet the devil tries so hard to hold a “mirror” up to us that constantly shows how we don’t measure up and we believe the lie. Shatter that mirror and look to the One who created you! He holds up truth! NO where in the Bible will you find the commandment, “Thou shalt have it all together…” We were not created to have it all together, we were created to know God, love Him with our all and to bring Him glory. If we try to have it all together, it becomes all about us, about our glory and not His! Can I just share with you one of my favorite soul wearied, lie shattering words of hope from the Word:
Those who look to Him are radiant with joy, their faces will never be ashamed(Psalm 34:5, HCSB).
Sister, look to Him, look to Him! The One who sees and knows you completely. He has never asked you to be perfect or to have it all together. He never looks away from our messiness, He sees past our pretenses and He loves us anyways. When we receive His unconditional, faithful love we can radiate with joy. In Christ, we never have to be ashamed no matter how frazzled and stained our aprons may be today and no matter how we “feel”. His love and truth are life-giving, life-changing and powerful and His Words of truth are the only mirror you need to look to everyday. Is it not amazing He chose us to reflect back to Him His radiant beauty and joy?! Mind boggling isn’t it, but we do not have to understand it to believe it or receive it!
I know my dear friend would not want you to perceive her as a “has it all together” girl; she would not ever want to be one to trigger insecurity in another for she has battled that “beast” herself on many days just like we all do. She is a for-you-kind-of-friend, in your corner kind of gal, fighting along with you, saying, “Let’s share this victory together!” This picture, and her beautiful words she will share today, reflect how she is learning to put on her brave; learning right along with us how to step into strength, not of her own, but a confidence that comes from embracing who God created her to be. She is cheering for you to do the same that is why she has so graciously allowed me to share her “apron” lesson today with you on the porch! So welcome with me my sweet sister friend Angela! Isn’t she lovely and fun!
Here is what my friend Angela has to say about what it means to be a woman of strength:
“This is what strength means to me: Life is a little like hair. You fight and fight what God gave you. You fight how he created you. You fight how he made you unique and different and beautiful and special. You fight your “curls”. Then one day you take God’s hand and embrace who he created you to be. You embrace how he lovingly made you. You stop swimming upstream, you stand up, turn around, and start swimming in the stream he made just of you. You stop fighting your “curls” and start following your heart. And then you learn to love yourself and that is a beautiful thing. Because once you love yourself you can truly love others.”
From a girl who often has fought my “curls”, I just love these words of strength! Thank you Angela for helping us see we all have a beautiful to embrace in ourselves and each other, and how freeing it is to rest in the hand of our all wise Creator God! He knew exactly what He was doing when He knit us together and He is not finished with us yet! It is in His perfect love for us we can love ourselves and love others well! That is how we look to Him and radiate with joy!
By the way, my radiant friend has got some mad sewing and creative skills. I believe in sharing good things and she would be so honored if you guys would visit her on over at www.angelastatzerdesigns.com and check out some of her brilliant creations.
Thanks for being here today! Please feel free to say “howdy” with a comment and share how this may have encouraged you. All kind comments and feedback are welcomed. Also like and share the encouragement with others. Come back and visit again soon! I will have a chair waiting for you.
With much love from my apron to yours,