Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Princess Lessons: When the Princess Encounters a Witch

Every princess encounters a witch on her travels.  Witch?  A bit harsh, no?  It does sound so, but this is simply a qualifier for a woman who exhibits certain characteristics that show she is in the state of being that is that of a witch.  Before the princess assumes a very unbecoming air of superiority because she presumes that clearly she is more worthy than this woman in her wretched state, she must remember that it is only through the grace bestowed upon her by the King that her circumstances differ from those of the witch.  The witch is a fallen daughter of the King's and every bit as worthy as her.  The difference is that the witch is not claiming her inheritance - a sad occurrence indeed.

As it is written no one is righteous. - Romans 3:11

For by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 28:10

How does a princess survive an encounter with a witch?  Do not get too close.  Trust your gut. Friendship with the witch is impossible.  She has been laid captive by the lies of the Enemy, and a friendship with her provides a perfect opportunity for the Enemy to ensnare you too.  This may be difficult, for the Enemy will do his best to play with your weaknesses through the witch.  There may be an appeal to your sympathies (poor girl, how can I help her?), but most likely the Enemy will use one of his favorite tactics:  jealousy.

Don't you desire her confidence? How she can get the attention of any guy?  
She's actually really nice, and just confused, don't be so intolerant.
Maybe if you becomes friends with her, he'll pay attention to you too.
Maybe the way she views her life and what the King teaches isn't so wrong... and it's not fair that I have to be patient and sweet - when will I get what I want????

(Did you notice how the lies of the Enemy very rapidly went from suggestions to thoughts that flowed from within?)

The witch is principally a witch because she has surrendered in full to Eve's sin, the sin that bespeaks distrust in the Lord.  She no longer puts up a resistance, for she has found that it is more convenient to accept this lie as true.  She lacks patience.  She is a taker. She has always gotten what she wants and has no control over her selfish whims.  Manipulative and controlling, she has used philosophy and rationalization to take matters into her own hands rewrite the King's law in such a way that suits her own convenience.

Claiming to be wise they became fools. - Romans 1:22

No longer does she ponder the beauty of the world for it serves her no purpose - she is strictly utilitarian and beauty is not worth her time. The confidence she exudes may appear to be admired by the world, but Princess, was it ever to be done for the world to begin with?

The one who speaks on his own seeks his own praise. But the one who seeks the praise of him who sent him is genuine, and there’s nothing false in him. - John 7:18

Princess, to survive an encounter with a witch is to survive an encounter with a woman of the world, one who jars the foundation upon which you base your life, because of the happiness and desirability she appears to posses.  It is to look her right in the face and survive the desire to abandon submissiveness to God, as she has - to begin reaching for the apple in order to become a god oneself.

Hold firm in your convictions, Princess, and weather the storm of emotions that you may be facing. Return to beauty and goodness and savor the delight that living joyfully and authentically at the service of others gives you.  Pray for the witch, pray for her to be richly blessed, despite the ill will you may feel towards her.
It won't be easy.  It won't be fun.  But it must be done.

Monday, February 16, 2015

An Unexpected Start to the Princess Lessons: The Princess and the Wounded Knight

There comes a time in the life of every princess when she encounters a wounded knight. A young man whose life circumstances have left his soul wounded.  It is important to note that spiritual wounds are part of the human condition, but this case is special for the princess because the young man has captured the her affections and sympathies in a particular way.  A way she doesn't quite understand, because she has been moved by compassion regarding his condition.  That is to say, her heart has gotten involved to some degree.  In her other relationships, this wouldn't negative at all, for the most part - as women, we have a good desire to nurture and encourage.  This situation differs, however, in that he has also touched a wound within her heart.  He has stirred up something that needs to be healed.

Two broken people. Two deep-seated wounds.  Two potential minefields, each one a trigger for the other. This is where it is important to proceed with caution.

Now, of course, in any circumstance it is the royal duty of every princess, as a Child of the Light, to radiate the love of the king and offer words of encouragement and guidance to friends in need. The key here is to remember that any guidance offered, any thoughts that are shared, and any actions that are taken must be Spirit led.  Her eyes must always be on the King, because if she glances away just once, her own fallen desires will take control.

And with the wounded knight, this advice must be heeded even more.  Must I explain why?

As women we are nurtures that want to feel needed. We're naturally mothers.  Some of us gifted with the spiritual gift of mercy really want to heal.  We are attracted to the wounded.  We literally feel their pain and imagine their potential.  To see them in their suffering hurts because we feel powerless. The wound this knight has exposed brings more dangers, because his presence has caused our wound to resurface.  Pain has emerged on both sides.

Consequently, we find it easier to look away from the King and to distrust in Him.  We don't believe that he cares about him and me and us, because if He did, would we have been abandoned?  We want to take matters into our own hands.  What's worse is this selfless intention, to help, to heal?  It's not that selfless - we end up just wanting to heal them so that they love us, not the King.  When we fall into that trap, it gets dangerous.  A wounded person has control over our heart and life direction, and we cannot succeed then in rightfully loving them.

Here we have fallen into the two basic traps of the Enemy, the Ruler of Darkness.  He has twisted our good desire to care for others and has fed us the lies that a) the King is either not sovereign or that he doesn't care and (on a related note) that b) the King's love does not suffice.

But I can help him, I wanna help him, I care about him...  God, if you want him healed, then why hasn't it happened yet, Lord, why is it that this relationship hurts so much????

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. - Isaiah 40:28

Oh, Princess, don't you know?  The Lord God is on this.  He has heard your prayers and cries.  He will look down upon your circumstances with compassion.  But He will also allow you to pass through suffering for growth.  He has put the wounded knight in your life for a reason.  This knight is an opportunity for you to heal

So when your mind is filled with thoughts that are fueled by an aching heart, what's a girl to do?  

Go to the King in prayer.  Spend time with Jesus and remember that He is your lone true love.  Talk to the Queen Mother - she'll listen to your girl talk with sympathetic ears.  She's talk to her Son.  
Surrender the pain in your heart.  Surrender control.  Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your wounds.  Pray for your knight and ask the same for him, but remember, Princess, you are NOT to save him - you cannot, for it isn't in your power.  God willing, one day he will have the strength and the decision to rise up above his circumstances (as you are too called to do) and become the man the King desires him to be.  But, DON'T wait around for him.  The world needs your holiness now - and trust that by pursuing the King, you can be a light for the wounded knight.

Ultimately, remember who you serve.  Love all others with His love, and let go of the wounded knight.  Trust in the Lord and wait on Him.

Friday, January 30, 2015

When Middle School Girl Syndrome Strikes

I have a confession.

You know that girl from middle school, never really seemed to be quite "with it" (especially when it came to following directions - um... what did the teacher say???), who may have had a few (ok, quite a few) phrases like "I love Lime Soda" and "Lime Soda is so sweet" coupled with hearts and flowers doodled all over her notebook?

Yep, that was me.
(And don't tell me you don't still come up with nicknames for crushes).

Ohh, the days of Middle School Girl Syndrome (MSGS - yes, I will trademark this one day) when I yearned for that magical moment when Lime Soda would realize that we were just meant to be! He would realize how smart, funny, pretty, etc, etc I was and ditch the plastics, *gasp* breaking the middle school hierarchy!

Time has (thankfully) put nearly 10 years between me and those days and while I can say my tastes have progressed from liking boys for their wavy blonde locks, winning smiles, and jock statuses, MSGS still likes to rear its ugly head.

So what is a girl to do???
Let's analyze this scientifically, shall we?

There are two components to MSGS, which we shall call the self-worth component and the romantic component.

Coming from a girl who had her first crush at the ripe ol' age of 4, boys, well, they've always been kind of a big deal.  Fun, goofy, confusing...
And, not having been raised a Christian, I quickly bought into the lie that I was only beautiful, or smart, or good if a boy saw that in me.  So I spent my days daydreaming about the day when I would be noticed and seen as lovely.  Imagine! The entire self-worth of a girl riding on the shoulders of a middle school boy! Thank God I was too shy to muster even a word around Lime Soda, because had he been a clever and malicious guy, the whole thing could have gone south really quickly.

Encountering God's truth has allowed me to experience freedom from the lie "I will only be good enough when he thinks I'm beautiful, when I'm complimented, when..."
Knowing that you're worth dying for and infinitely loved by the Creator of the universe has a way of changing your perspective on things - so when I feel tempted to believe that my worth is only a function of how appealing or attractive I am to guys, I return to this Truth.

It goes without saying that I am a romantic. Under my list of favorite things I have sunrises, sunsets, starry skies, and flowers. Love is the best thing in the world.  (I mean, God is Love, so this statement is 100% true, 100% of the time)  I am also a very imaginative girl, and while I am grateful for this gift that God has given me, it isn't without its trials.
Often times, doing my homework turns into daydreaming about that cute guy I'm crushing on now, and the following thoughts invade my brain:
What did he really mean when he said....?   He's just so great, I wish I could get to know him more... Do our personality types work? Hmm... what does the internet say about our Myerrs Brigg?  Does his sanguine balance out my melancholic?  What will happen next?  There are so many ways this could play out! Lemme imagine all of them!
Next thing I know, it's been an hour and I still don't know the difference between DNA Polymerase I and DNA Polymerase III.

This is where trust in God comes into play - majorly.  The desire for a boyfriend (or husband) is only natural, and God given.  The opposite sex is so different, and personally I am soooo grateful for this. But obsessing and feeding this desire for a relationship with one of them with our imaginations is counterproductive to the purpose to which God has called us.  It feeds idolatry and can lead to emotionally objectifying guys (not cool). It is SOOOO important to remember that God is calling us to trust Him with our entire lives, and this includes our hearts, minds, and imaginations.  Surrendering these to God is so scary because we hear the echo of Eve's question in the Garden of Eden - will God hold out on me? Can I really trust Him?

In times when I find myself becoming too focused on a particular guy (or really with anything else I want) I've begun to pray for mercy and to say to myself Jesus, Lover of my soul, I trust in You.

Truly, God wants to fulfill those desires we have in our hearts - He gave them to us, but He also knows us wayyyy better than we know ourselves!  He's our Creator!

So wait on the Lord, take delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
(After He's done a little molding).

Keep fighting the good fight! :)
<3 Aina

UPDATE:  I now know the difference between DNA Polymerase I and DNA Polymerase III - it involves reverse the exonuclease function of Polymerase I that aids in DNA repair! HA! Take THAT MSGS!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Defense of Princesses

In 2001, a movie (perhaps you've heard of it?) called The Princess Diaries became a commercial success, grossing $165,335,153 worldwide. More than 10 years later, Frozen became a worldwide hit that was the staple of 2014. The common factor? Yes, Disney, but also princesses.

The popularity of these princess centered movies isn't singular, though. Tangled and The Princess Bride have become staples in our culture, and even in America, we're fascinated by figures like Princess Diana and Kate Middleton (in particular, her fairy tale story).  Seriously, how many of the best princess movies are the ones where an average girl discovers she's royalty?

So what gives? Sure, maybe it makes sense for imaginative little girls to want to be princesses, but the rest of us? Maybe it's time we just grow up...

Or not.

Our fascination with royalty reveals a deeply entrenched desire that points us to the Truth. Through Christ we have inherited the Kingdom. Our true identities lie in the fact that we are sons and daughters of the one true King.


We are princesses (and princes ;) ).

At this point you'll probably have one of two reactions.

Reaction A:
Awwww!!! I'm a princess??? That is SO cool, I knew it, deep down it had to be true! *proceeds to sing first Disney song that comes to mind*

Reaction B:
Cute analogy, I see where you got that, but let's be practical here. How does that affect my daily life? I don't really see myself parading around in a tiara.

No, no tiara is necessary.

But there are TOTALLY practical ramification to this!!

Stick around for a post coming soon where I (do my best) to show that this romantic view of life can be just sooo good for your personal growth and adjusting your attitude towards life.

Peace & joy,
<3 Aina

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Body Image - How the Search for Beauty has Changed through Time

Unless you've been living under a rock, or perhaps in one, you're well aware that one of society's favorite things to talk about is women's bodies.  And while this interest is one that has followed us through the ages, this article shows that, well, standards of beauty?  They've never really maintained a single standard.

For some perspective and a kinda cool brief history lesson:
Check it out!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

After an 18 month sabbatical...

I return to the blogosphere!

A little older.
A little wiser (?)
A little less angsty (?!?)

And I totally have life figured out this time round...

or not.

It has been wonderful to be able to return to this lil blog o' mine - like a time capsule and testimony of how the Lord has been working in my life.  And to be able to see the blessings that He has showered on me since I last wrote.  And the trials He has allowed.

I'm looking forward to sharing what He has been doing in my life!!  Watch out for more posts in the coming days!

In the meantime, enjoy some Aaron Shust! :)