Blooming Together

It's one thing to know someone. 

But it's a whole another story to know another through doing life together.

When you love them, and begin to really know who they are - what they have conquered and what they are headed to - you pick on up on their lingos, quirks, and guilty pleasures.

Fostering a relationship with another awakens your awareness to the little yet significant things that make up who they are. You see what they wear, how they see, what they enjoy, and what they would do in a given situation. 

There is nothing more original and refreshing like stepping into God's unique design of an individual. You tap into the unique tapestry of another's life and participate in the weaving of tapestry bigger than your own together

That's why my heart is so encouraged when I see God-centered couples. I see how God uses two God-loving, but differently-wired people through their mutual goal of His glory. The shared embodiment of Jesus and unity of unique God-DNAs begin to create something that would have been impossible if they had been alone. They discover not only the beauty within themselves, but also in their partnership with each other with Jesus in the middle.

As a single woman, I'm learning this through friendships. While seasons pass and time flies, there are those in your life who affirm your journey and walk with you through it all.

Doing something together is often more fun than doing it alone. And you don’t always have to get the pudding
— Amy Pohler

A true friendship is not weighed down by competition or comparison. Its value is never in who gets the "pudding," but how both parties learn to celebrate and mourn together in their intersecting lives.     

A sister who affirms your destiny and beauty, and walks with you through the ugly and messy.

When someone sees your brokenness and weakness in its overwhelming reality - and still gives you a hug, looks you in the eye, and tells you: "I'm so proud of you!"

My heart melts to pieces, and courage discovers my wandering soul.

A reason to continue to hope for healing. A motivation to smile even when it hurts.

This has been my adventure and process with my friend Lydia.

Check out our journey of walking through the ups and downs of life together.

The life transitions, spontaneous travels, hair transformations, and everything in between!

Taken on December 31, 2014 in Berkeley, CA.

I sported my beloved plaid jacket and ombre hair while Lydia rocked her rose pattern cardigan and snapback.

Taken on December 2014 and March 2015 in Berkeley, CA.

Doing womanhood with another is full of adventure and surprises! 

Beautified

Last month, a sweet friend of mine bought me flowers. 

Just because. 

I recall I didn't feel my best that day and frowned at the flaring acne on my face.

But those flowers made me feel so beautiful and loved for simply who I am.

It didn't matter how crappy or unattractive I felt because she saw me as I am.

 

That has been my personal conviction and challenge. 

To see and affirm my Beauty in the state of naked and pure.

 

If you are without your talents, makeup, clothes, relationships, and values, can you still love yourself as much as you do?

"When do you feel most beautiful?" 

For me, the revelation pays a visit in unexpected and unconscious moments. 

I've discovered that I feel most beautiful when I'm fully myself. 

When I'm fully immersed in the present moment - absorbed in whoever I'm with or whatever I'm doing - but not how I look or sound.

Then, in a split second, my heart briefly wanders to the subject of myself. The air is perfect, I feel joy radiating out of me, my heart pounds from the exhilaration of life - and boyyyyyy, I feel beautiful.

In Captivating: Unveiling The Mystery Of A Woman's Soul, John & Stasi Eldredge shares how a woman "possesses a beauty all her own to unveil… and the heart of a woman longs to unveil beauty."

I constantly remind myself that it's not a sin to feel beautiful.

"I am beautiful."

The beauty is already in me.

The emotional response to beauty cannot be sinful, but only natural.

Unfortunately, the media-defined beauty perverts this pure desire in the woman's heart.

I'm so inspired by women like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, whose expressions are results of artistry with integrity. Their journey may have taken trial and error, but their voice and image now stands as its own brand, hailed worldwide as one-of-a-kind. But instead of their talent or artistry, the spotlight is usually on their faces and bodies.

I recently discovered an article with side-by-side images of women celebrities as their recent and younger selves. The results? Slimmer noses, flawless skin, and skinnier figures. 

Their media-filtered "beauty" produces more harm than good. It distorts the eyes of men to cultivate unrealistic standards while it deceives the women that she is not good enough.

The constant internal battle for the woman is not just against other women, but the rest of the world. 

Because her value is often in her image. 

Her conformity chains and enslaves her to the impossible standards of perfection.

As Beyond famously sings in her song "Pretty Hurts," perfection is a disease of a nation. 

Perfection is the "new thing." The efforts to make parts of our physical appearance look smaller or bigger for the sake of "better" is a constant struggle, and even a lifestyle for many women. 

These "beautified" perfect faces and figures are neither natural nor realistic. They reflect a man-created beauty, and not the Beauty already in them.

The human-achieved "perfect" looks lack the true essence of beauty that shines through one's imperfections. 

We each carry a fragrance, a presence, a quirk, and a voice so unique to how we are made. But it's our choice to let it express and manifest into the sight of others. 

It's more than a hobby or interest, but the entity of who you are. It's not just your strengths or victories, but also your imperfections and wounds.

Without the inclusion of both good and bad, you are only an empty shell with a mask of "beauty" missing the true Beauty.

 

Your true beauty just waits for the right time to shine.

Not only to shine on its own, but shine into others and inspire them to discover their unique beauty.

 

You stare at a masterpiece and are so drawn to it. You try to figure out what it is - the elements, the style, the colors - and maybe you end up finding it, but what truly captivated you from the beginning is not how it looked, but how it made you feel. 

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Maya Angelou

 

True beauty exceeds physical attributes. It stands tall, with a beaming smile, and a confidence that illuminates into the world to mesmerize those who behold it.

True beauty is vulnerable and courageous. It's an inside-out expression. There is no masking or hiding, but is a full-on glorious exposure of who you are. It never condemns or judges the others, but embraces and encourages them.

True beauty is owning up to the essence that only you carry - and letting it shine fully.

 

True beauty never looks like something, but definitely feels like something.

It's breathtaking and refreshing and inspiring all at the same time.

You lack the words to describe, but all you are sure of is that you want more.