Tag Archives: beautifully made

an imitation


an ImitationOur imitation of the Father shows a dying world hope….

….and love….

….and eternal peace.


It is His command.

Soli Deo Gloria!

The New Girl


Dear Vanessa,aug 29 pic

My teenage daughter is having difficulty as we are transitioning to a new community.   My husband was recently promoted, but with the promotion came a move…  My daughter looks sad, and we are one month into the move now.  She has confided in me that she doesn’t feel accepted in her new school.    I want to support her in every way I can, but I feel the same way as her – I miss my old friends and it has been difficult.


Concerned Mother.

Dearest Concerned Mother,

As a mother sometimes you just wish you could control the circumstances surrounding your children.   Just to wrap them in a bubble of protection, or keep them innocent….  Sometimes I wonder, what can’t children see how much they are loved and accepted through their parent’s eyes?

And for them to know that they are loved unconditionally. 

God wants this for us.  He wants us to know we are loved and beautifully made.    

As a young girl I too struggled with these same issues, my father moved around a lot.  With every move came its challenges in relationships.   But if I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self a few things:

“You are beautifully made; there is only one of you in this world.”

“You are unconditionally loved, always – it does not matter what you do, you will always be loved the same by parents (including God)”

“Don’t look to others to feel good about yourself.  Believe in yourself, look at your abilities and talents  - believe in YOU!!”

“Go to God, rely on Him for help.  He will lead you where you need to be.”

“You cannot control what happens in this life, the one thing you can control is how you respond.  Chose a response that is positive in all situations J ”

I don’t know the “why” things have happened the way they have in my life but I do know He works everything for good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Moving is tough, changes in people, places and things…   But at the same time, it opens a new door to possibility.    You both will get through this together and will come out shining!

You know your daughter well, and can identify with her experiences.   What a glorious opportunity to navigate through the issues together!  Just take some baby steps together.  One suggestion I would have for you is working through this AMAZING book together, it helps with self-discovery and growing love for your own self within.


Dear Lord God,

When one door closes, we know another one opens.   I pray for You to guide this mother and all parents that are trying to guide their children through changes in this life.   I pray for You to infiltrate the minds your children so that they are full of hope, abundance, and clarity.   I pray for You to give them confidence and reassurance during the challenges in this life.  I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.

May you be bless beautiful lady,


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

Dear Vanessa ~ Being Broken and Looking For Help



Dear Vanessa,

I am broken.   I feel like I cannot connect on an emotional or physical level with males.   I was raped as a teenager.   I have built up walls to protect myself and just don’t feel comfortable taking them down.


Broken One


Dearest Broken One,

I am so sorry for your pain.   Thank-you so much for sharing this, it has taken great courage.    

I share in your pain, this is something I have not shared for years and feel it is time.   As a teenager, I was raped and assaulted physically by a group of men.    There was a time where I felt empty, I hated my existence…. I wanted to leave this world.   I will share with you what has worked for me, and maybe in some small way it will help you too.

One of the quotes that really speaks to me is

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
Viktor E. Frankl

 This statement is the essence of our life.   Much of this life is beyond our control, it is how we respond to each situation that makes all the difference.  

Viktor Frankl was held captive in a concentration camp, and in his book “Man’s search for meaning” details his view in a time where most of us could not comprehend.

Back when I was a teenager, I had no concept of reliance in God.   I was raised in a Catholic home, and was exposed to Religion but conceptually did not know the power of God and reliance until later in my life.  Most of my late teens and early 20s was full of anger, barriers/walls.  I really believed that in order to survive, I needed to push those who loved me away from me.  Part of this was because I didn’t fully love myself.   I remember friends wanting to give me a hug, and I would cower away because I just did not know how to hug back.

Thankfully, God brought a man into my life that loved me for me and he was so pure and good.   I tried to push him away in the first few years of our relationship, but he stuck it through and 17 years later we are still together.   I thank God every day for His hand in my life this way.

Some of the things I have learnt through the process of healing myself, involve trying to figure out who I am (first and foremost).

Realizing that I am unconditionally loved by God, and that I was made perfect in His eyes.   This was very hard for me to do.  Honestly, I didn’t completely love myself until maybe 3 years ago.   There were pieces of myself that I loved, but other pieces I would look to others for validation.

External validation is instant gratification and is not lasting.   I had to come to realize that although there are things that others may not like about me, that I was made perfectly in God’s eyes.  Some of these characteristics include: my outspoken nature, my personalization of every relationship, and the ability to want to control the things around me.

I started fostering love in myself, and would let the “good in” and the “bad out”.    By this, I mean that I would only let the good comments in, and positive self-talk and start getting rid of the lies that were inhibiting me to fully being myself and loving myself inside out.   

The last aspect of my characteristics I had to let go, was the control.    Realizing that I could not control what was happening in this life, the only thing I had control over was my response.   The response I began to choose was to turn the cheek, to love others fully, to open myself to relationships without fear of getting hurt.   

The wonderful thing that began to happen once I incorporated these characteristics was that I felt physically that the tension in my shoulders began to be relieved…..

Then one night, I was at home alone, and I began to pray.   I prayed that God would help me to forgive.   I prayed for forgiveness of the people who hurt me so deeply.  I didn’t realize how long I had been carrying the burden, because the emotions just came flooding out.   I cried…..  And then after praying, I realized I had to forgive myself, love myself, and forgive the people who hurt me; and rely on God for the strength.

 “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself … But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:8b, 9b (NIV)

That night, through Facebook I found one of the individuals that orchestrated the physical/sexual assault.  I emailed him a forgiveness letter.  I said the following, “You may not remember me, but I remember you, and the night all of you hurt me.   The night you forced me to do things I did not want to.  I want to let you know I forgive you.  I expect no response from you.”

Within minutes of sending it, I got a Facebook friend request from him.  No note of “I am sorry” -  a friend request.

I sat back and thought, this is not my burden to carry anymore.  I forgive this person, but they will never be my friend.   Instantly I felt all of the tension leave my shoulders.  I felt relieved, and peace overflowed me, I then cried again.

It took me 17 years to forgive.    And maybe this was the perfect timing, I cannot say for sure.  But I can tell you this much, I could not be fully me until I let go……  Don’t get me wrong, I had already gone through the process of beginning to love myself and had a wonderful relationship with friends, family and my husband…. But not with myself.

Forgiveness is sometimes very hard to do, but the more we keep stuffed in, the more we inhibit ourselves from becoming all that God wants for us.   I wish I would have realized this much sooner….. I did not realize how heavy the burden had become.  But everything happens in His perfect time. 

Perhaps this happened over the past three years so that I could finally share with no tears.  I don’t know for sure.

So dear Broken One, you can be full again….. Bring it to Him, He will help you through.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

 And the truth is my friend,

 “The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me” (Psalm 138:8).

He has amazing plans for you…..   Trust and rest in Him, and go to Him to heal.

Dear Lord God,

I pray for the broken one, and all of those people in this world who feel broken from what they have been through.   Lord God please help them heal, help them discover the love You have for them.  Help them to realize they are beautifully made and are perfect in your eyes.  Help them to forgive.  I pray for this in Jesus’ Name Amen.

 Blessings to you beautiful lady.   May you be blessed (and thank-you so much for sharing you pain and allowing me to respond),


If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

Dear Vanessa ~ A Resilient Child (You’re “In” now you’re “Out)


Dear Vanessa,

I have an elementary school age daughter and lately my heart has been breaking for her. She has seems to have so many issues with her close girlfriends. One day they are friends the next they have broken up. It is so hard for me to see this rollercoaster of emotion she seems to be on. How can I help her without fighting her battles for her and letting her again confidence in resolution on her own?


Concerned mother   

Dearest Concerned Mother,

This is a tough one because as mothers we want to protect our children from everything.  

When they get their first major cut we are all over it….

When they cry their first tear our heart breaks with them….

When they get their first cold, we want to fix it now!


I would say with my first son I was a helicopter parent, and to some extent I still am.   As mothers we feel the pain our children feel, and we deep down wish that we could protect them from such pain.   But we need to give them independence, and we need to equip them with the tools necessary to deal with situations on their own.

Sitting back and thinking about this, is this not how God is with us as His children?

We have independent choice, and many times we will slip up or make mistakes… God hurts for us when these things happen, but he weaves the good out of it.

 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance”. (James 1:2-3)

 When you look back on your childhood, do you remember these times when one day the group would be your friend and the next day they were not?  Hot and cold right?

Looking back on my childhood, this was a common thing – I was the odd one out….   Reflecting, deep down I don’t think those girls were good friends to me.  But it did provide a learning opportunity for me, I learnt how it felt to be isolated and swore I would never do that to anyone in my life.  Out of the bad comes the good.

What does God teach us?

He teaches us to love others as we would love ourselves.

He teaches us to rise above and lead by example in all things, and He teaches us perseverance in the pain.

That through Him we will feel alive and light.





Easier said than done right for a young child?

You have the power to influence here, your daughter and her perspective in responding to the situation.  Children are like sponges….

Resiliency and the ability to respond positively to these situations is what you need to equip her with.

Research shows that resilient children will bounce back from situations, and there are a few key areas that are critical:

1)     Ensure that your child has a true sense of positive self, that she/he knows that they are uniquely made and loved.   Strong sense of self and positive self-esteem is very important.  For instance, a child that can say “I am good” “I can do that” “I can get past this” indicates a strong self-esteem.  However, it can be developed if it is not there yet, and that would be through dialogue with your child to help her see her uniqueness through your eyes, and then helping her navigate or learn to respond to the situation.

  • 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. (Psalm 139:13-14)


2)     Help your child learn problem solving skills independently from you.   Ask  he/she how they would deal with a situation where a child is being left out, equip them with the necessary skills to adapt and not follow or participate.

  • Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)


3)     If she/he has the ability to describe their feelings about a situation to you, then they are demonstrating resiliency.  This is a great indicator, and also shows that they can explain how they feel.

  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9


4)     Resiliency starts at home:  A caring, warm environment where trust, love and positive attitudes and skills are demonstrated will foster this trait naturally.

  • Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)


5)     One of the main things that I could not conceptualize growing up was that God was always there.   Teach your children to rely on God in all things.  When they are struggling, or need help to engage prayer.   This is a powerful tool that will help them through many of these times in life.

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

As parents we need to teach forgiveness, but also need to teach our children healthy boundaries.    Boundaries help us navigate through how we would like to be treated which would translate into how we treat others.

We lead the example for our children.

Also remember, forgiveness relieves, but to forgive does not mean that one will forget or welcome the individual back with open arms.  This is where the boundary part comes into play.  (A good book that speaks about this is “Boundaries with Kids” by Henry Cloud.)

Finally, sometimes we make something out of  nothing.

What I mean by this is that although it is a big deal to a child at a moment in time, the next day things may be fine…. So sometimes not focusing on the situation allows the situation to resolve itself.

It is a fine balance.  Ultimately you know your child best and know what she needs.

Show her through your eyes what you see in her -  how she is uniquely made. 

Show her what you and God see.


“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character and hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

Dear Lord God,

We need You, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  I pray for this concerned mothers, and all other parents that need help in navigating through relationships and situations that their children are exposed to.  Help them to lead their children in Your ways.  Help us to reveal forgiveness, patience, and discernment in all things so that we can lead by example for our children.  I pray for all of us Lord.  We want to train our children up in Your ways.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.


Blessings to you beautiful lady,



If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also read Vanessa’s personal blog and journey at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

dear Vanessa ~ Blurred Boundaries



Dear Vanessa,

I was hoping you could help me out with an issue I have created. My life is so jam-packed with commitments, some that can’t be avoided and some that could be. I just don’t know how to say no! This problem gets worse though, more often than not I say “yes” because of how being a pleaser makes me look to others. Everyone loves a pleaser, right? Unfortunately saying “yes” even when I don’t want to has left me feeling very inauthentic and empty. If you had any advice I would gladly welcome it.


Inauthentic friend

Dearest Authentic Friend,

Be rest assured that many of us can relate to this.  Over extending ourselves for others is often deep-rooted in the one’s sense of self.

There are two issues here; one is the chaos in busy life and then not being able to say “no”.   The crazy busy life is jammed pack with things to do, checking each one-off the list upon completion.   But as we check these lists, and take a step back to reflect on what the lists consist of, do we actually focus on a task completely and whole heartedly?  If we are not then perhaps the task should be avoided.   The list should have meaning.

The first step for you is defining healthy boundaries.  Boundaries help us define healthy limits in our lives.  To keep the good in and the bad out. 

Galatians 6:5 “ For Each one should carry his own load.”

There is a balance with our boundaries because we are called to serve and love others.

Philippians 2:1-4
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

It is important to note that we do not serve others at the expense of our health and vitality.    The people pleasing tendency is something that is often driven by fear.    This tendency also is the root of blurred boundaries.    Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you worry when you say no to someone?
  • Have you avoided people because you are fearful they request something of you?
  • Is most of your time filled up with requests of others?
  • Are you influenced by what others think of you?
  • Are you fearful of disappointing others?

If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you are a people pleaser.  

Often the people pleasing tendencies come from insecurities.    Self-worth that is defined from external influences can be a major barrier in life and a heavy burden to bear.  

Psalm 38:4-6 (GW) My guilt has overwhelmed me. Like a heavy load, it is more than I can bear.  My wounds smell rotten. They fester because of my stupidity. I am bent over and bowed down very low.  All day I walk around in mourning.

When we look to others to fill our needs and gratify ourselves, we will never feel full.

God promises us, that through Him we will feel full.  Through Him we are beautifully made, and are loved.

1 Peter 5:6-7  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

He cares for us.

We are loved.

Let Him plan for us.

My dear friend, you have an authentic self, it is deep-rooted in your soul.   God made you, you are perfectly made and loves you for exactly who you are.  Do you believe this?  If you do not, then you need to start with yourself, and start nurturing and loving yourself when you look in the mirror.  You are not made to be caged and defined by what others think of you.  You were meant to fly.

There are a number of other things you can do to start making some healthy steps in setting boundaries and nurturing yourself:

  1. Listen to your “gut” – if your instincts are saying, I don’t have time for this or this is going to impact your family life, then it is time to gently say “no”.  Ask God to help you set healthy boundaries in this area so that you prioritize your time based on your family/unit needs and then His direction for you.
  2. Have authentic conversations with otherspractice saying “yes” and “no” (and really meaning it).   Explain your feelings to others and the reasons why you made the decision and you will begin to feel better about it.  This is empowering!
  3. Do not make decisions on what others want for you – this will help you to set boundaries in your relationships.  While you want to live in peace with others, their wants should not drive your decision-making.
  4. We were not made to please others -  When we look at the meaning for “please” it means to satisfy or gratify.  Interesting that the definition is what people pleasers look for every day -  instant gratification.  God does not call us to gratify, rather He asks that we love one another, keep peace, and to help others in a respectful and honorable way.
  5. This is the most important of all: Pray for discernment in all things – Set some time aside every day with God.   Ask Him to lead you and pray for discernment in all things.  If you slow down and listen - He will lead.

Finally my friend, you have the power to take this step.  Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but life was not meant to be easy, we were meant to learn and grow.    See this as a growing opportunity for spirit, mind and soul.

 You are beautifully and authentically made.

My prayer for you and all of the others going through this same situation:

Dear Lord God,   

I ask that you rest the spirit, mind and soul of all those that seek external gratification to define who they are.  I ask that you pour into their souls Your love and Your words.   I ask that you help them discern where they should spend their time and that You lead them in their activities in their lives.   

You tell us to:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

May we trust in You in all things Lord.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

Blessings to you beautiful lady,


PS.  For all of you reading this, if you have a strategy that has worked in these situations, please share it here with our readers.  We are meant to share in order to grow. Blessings and thanks!!

If you have a question for Vanessa please email her at [email protected]

You can also visit her personal blog page at www.nesschesters.wordpress.com

The Power of Prayer


Today, instead of a lesson or a statement from God, I have a request…a call for prayer. 

Over the weekend, I joined my family in what I now consider to be a young person’s sport….skiing. Although I hadn’t been on a slope with sleds strapped to my feet in like 20 years, I was optimistic. How hard could it be? Like riding a bike…yes?  No – I’ve come to the conclusion that if God wanted me to go down an icy hill at 80 miles an hour, I would have been born a penguin!

Seriously, I know that I wasn’t going nearly that fast…it just seemed like it! actually, I had a fantastic time right up until the last 3 hours of the trip. It had been snowing and was getting colder as day turned into night. I was going down one of the beginner hills (still), and I seemed to be going faster than I had all day and the day before. I attempted to slow the pace as I approached the bottom of the hill and the ski on my right foot caught in the fresh snow and pulled upward…. Crash and burn! Except that the binding on that ski did not do its job and let go of the boot. Needless to say, the ski stuck in the snow and whipped my leg around, stressing it at the knee. I think I heard….maybe felt….a pop, and the rest is a ski patrol story. I wish that I could say that I had been skiing down a black diamond hill at the time, but that is not the case. My son thinks it’s hilarious that his mom did this much damage on the bunny hill….I’ll let him laugh ….for a little while anyway! 


I was brave…..I stood and skied down the rest of the hill, snow plowing the whole way. A bottle of ibuprophen, an immobilizer and two ice packs later…

Well, let’s just say that I may end up with twin surgeries in the future (about 10 years ago I popped the ACL on my left knee –not skiing! and had an acl reconstruction) although it could just be a meniscus tear….gonna let the doctors tell me. 

Just call me gimpy!

So, here is the call for prayer ~ please….PLEASE….if everyone could pray for my poor, sore knee … that this is only a bad sprain….maybe God will have mercy on me and make it so!!  The power of prayer can be incredible, and I could seriously use it right now! Don’t have time for knee surgery or hobbling around the house….don’t like to take pills either so am in need of some complete healing.

Speaking of the power of prayer, a good friend of mine – Barb from “Beautifully Made” is doing an online Friday review of portions of the bible study “Prayers for a Woman’s Soul” by Julie Gillies. If you would like to see what that is all about you can get the book here: http://www.juliegillies.com/p/julies-book.html    or participate in Julies 5-days of Extravagant prayer” that is sent directly to your email box here: http://www.juliegillies.com/p/julies-book.html     of follow Barbs thoughts on the study here:  http://www.beautifully-made.org/2013/02/18/prayers-for-my-soul-series/      . Prayer is what God wants, it is one of the ways that we develop a deeper relationship with Him, and can soothe even the most distressed soul. Check it out!

BTW- How is everyone doing on their fasting project?  Another step in the right direction to that deeper relationship.  If you haven’t downloaded it yet but want to check it out….here is the free download link:fasting journal 2013  Thanks, in advance, for all of your prayers!!

My Prayer:

Lord, please heal me, inside and out. I know of your healing powers and I pray that your mercy and grace will be extended to me today. I will await your healing for me in your perfect time. In Jesus’ name!

Reflect His Light!

Lisa (Gimpy!)