Where Beauty Hides

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Oh, this crazy world and its crazy standards. This world is ugly and messed up. And despite its ugliness, it has an incredibly loud voice. It tells us that beauty hides in size 1 clothes, that it hides behind makeup and being the center of attention and photoshopped images.

But that’s not where beauty hides.

Beauty hides in joy. Beauty hides in brokenness made new. Beauty shines through the woman who faced her fears. Beauty radiates in the soul of those who are brave. Beauty lives in those who choose to not believe the lies the world tells them. Beauty hides in a servant’s heart. Beauty lives in the heart of those who confront their insecurities. Beauty shines through those who believe the truth about themselves. Beauty lives in you.

“You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

[1 Peter 3:4 NLT]

P.S.: Here’s a little poem I wrote as a reminder for you 🙂

beauty does not come
in lipstick tubes,
in concealer,
in eyeshadow
and liquid eyeliner.

beauty isn’t
perfection,
beauty isn’t
fashion,
beauty isn’t
grabbing everyone’s attention.

beauty hides in
the soul of she who faced her fears
beauty hides in
the heart of he who is brave
beauty hides in
a joyful heart
beauty hides in
brokenness made new.

P.P.S: You are beautiful- not because of your looks- but because of your heart.

It is Well

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Today was not my best day. It was sad, and full of tears and frustration and uncertainty.

I felt small. Unbelievably small and insignificant and inconsequential to God. My heart felt like it was going to break in tiny pieces. I didn’t know how today would end. I couldn’t understand why God let some things happen. I still don’t. But having my hope and faith in God reminded my soul that it is well.

My soul, it is well. O my soul, faint not. Trust in Him, my soul. It is well.
The wind and waves know Who he is. Mountains bow at his feet. My soul, it is well.
Faint not, my soul. He doesn’t miss a thing. He feels your pain. He has not forgotten you. He knows what’s happening in your heart. It is well. Whatever happens, faint not, my soul. My soul, I don’t know what tomorrow brings. But He does, and he says “it is well”.

It is well.

My friend, it is well.

Free To Be Me

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Lately, I’ve been trying to get God to speak to me. To tell me what He wants me to do. I wanted Him to answer me clearly. I wanted Him to make his will really obvious to me. I prayed to Him so hard about college, about staying home or studying abroad. I wanted Him to tell me what I was supposed to do with my life. I wanted Him to tell me how He wanted me to serve Him. I wanted his answer to be crystal clear. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.

And He was silent.

I talked to my friend Jennie about this. She’s smart. And talented with words. And she told me this:

“Freedom can be scary but it’s also beautiful. And if we always knew the answers and what steps to take, we’d have no need for faith and trust. So remember this: Seek Him first. Don’t get frustrated when He isn’t making it black and white because He’s given you beautiful colors in your rainbow of choices. Seek Him, acknowledge Him. Talk to wise counsel. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead you. Remember too, this is your choice, this is your life.”

And then, lightbulb moment! I guess the reason God was silent is because He has given me freedom. He wants me to glorify Him freely. I am free to worship him in the way my heart desires. I am free to live out my art.

Writing poetry. Making gabydoodles. Singing. Going to college here in Santo Domingo. Going to college in the United States.

God doesn’t really care about what I choose to do as long as it gives Him glory. As long as it points back to Him, I am free to be me.

And that is awesome. And scary. But mainly awesome.

Little Balloon

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“Always how my story ends
Feels like I’m slipping from your hand.
Try and try, time and time again,
I want to hold on; hope I can.

No one is able to steal what is in Your hands.
No one is able to steal what is in Your hands.
No one is able to steal what is in Your hands.
No one is able to steal what is in Your hands.”

-Jenny & Tyler, Little Balloon

Listen to the song “Little Balloon” and you will know exactly how I’ve been feeling lately.

I’m always trying to make my relationship with Jesus work. I try to read my Bible daily, encourage others, do the right thing- but somehow, I mess up. That balloon slips away from my hands. And I’ll try to catch it again, and for one second I have it. But my story ends the same way every time. I end up weary and tired from chasing that balloon. I give up. The balloon slips away from my hand. I feel like I’m slipping from God’s hand.

But truth is, I am not.

I am not slipping from God’s hand and I never will. I was trying to hold on to me and my abilities, instead of holding on to God. I forgot about what God did for me and the fact that no one is able to steal what is in His hands. Nothing and no one can steal me from God’s hands. Even when things slip from my hands, I will never slip from God’s hands.

And neither will you.

Write Your Story

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Lately, I’ve felt worn. Spiritually tired. Overwhelmed. Doubtful. Unsure. Confused. Those feelings were coursing through me until five minutes ago. I opened up my iTunes and listened to Francesca Battistelli’s “Write Your Story”. Such an appropriate song for this time in my life. It reminded me that He is my king and my hope. It reminded me that I am His. That my life isn’t mine to write. I am done with trying to write my life. I’m giving up and letting God write His story. I’m letting him take over, so that at the end I can show the world what He’s done in me. I’ll let him leave his mark in my life. I want my life to be all about Him.

But…

Trusting is scary. Giving up your life to someone else is not easy. You don’t know what that person is going to do with it. What if your life is completely turned around? What if you don’t know what to do? What if you’re uncomfortable with change? What if it’s hard? What if…

Good thing God knows what He’s doing, right?

Don’t be afraid. He’s with you every step of the way. Surrender. Give it all up. Let go. Let him work in you. Let Him make you his work of art. He is hope. He is safe.

Let God write his story.

But now, God ’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.” (Isaiah 43:1-5 MSG)

Who Could Love You?

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You are loved.

Maybe you don’t believe me because you’ve stopped believing in others.
Maybe your heart’s been broken too many times.
Maybe you live in a broken home.
Maybe your mother’s told you that you’re ugly.
Maybe you’ve lost all hope.
Maybe no one listens to you.
Maybe people have told you you’re useless and ugly and unlovable.
Maybe you feel like you’re not worth it.
Maybe you think you’re not worth loving.
Because you think you’ve sinned too much.
Because you think you’re not pretty enough.
Because you’re overweight.
Because he dumped you.
Because you’re bullied.
Because you’ve messed up.

Who could love you?

I’ll tell you.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
-John 3:16

About 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus died on a cross for you and me. He died for you out of love. He didn’t have to do it. He chose to. Do you understand that? He chose to! He was beaten and bruised for you. He bled for you. He carried your guilt, your pain and shame and he put it on his shoulders so you could live.

He loves you with a love like no other. He loves you more than anyone ever could. He made you. The same Being that made the beautiful heavens and earth made the beautiful you. And you belong to him.

There is nothing you could do that could make him love you less. He loves you in every season of your life and He always will.

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
-Isaiah 54:10

Even when you’ve done the unthinkable. Even when you’ve made mistakes. Even when you’ve messed up.

You are precious and honored in God’s sight because He loves you.
You don’t have to try to be lovable.
You don’t have to do anything to be worthy of love.
You are lovable.

Your worth doesn’t come from you- your successes, your failures, the heads you turn and the heads you don’t turn when you walk by, your sin, your weight, your beauty- your worth comes from God. You’re worthy because of his love for you.

And no one can take that away from you.

Who could love you?

Jesus does.

2014: Letting Go

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I’m scared. So scared that it’s really hard to write this right now. So many things are happening, so many decisions need to be made. College applications, for instance. I’m terrified of them. I know that I’ll get into college, but the whole process of applying and waiting is a little overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that I haven’t applied yet and I have 15 days to do it.

2014 is going to require so much of me. And a lot of faith. And stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things I want to do but I’m too shy and my shyness is apparently bigger than my faith right now I don’t feel comfortable doing. Like leading worship. I’ve always had a heart for singing but along with that heart for singing I have this inexplicable fear of speaking in front of people. I hate public speaking. It terrifies me. Last year I had to present a book project on the Hunger Games and I forgot the word district. If you’ve read the books, you know how important that word is. Also, my throat was dry and I was so hot and I got back pains because of how nervous I was. Not to mention that after I finished presenting my legs started to shake uncontrollably. I think it’s pretty clear how much I hate being in the spotlight.

A few days ago my friend Kayla sent me a devotional she wrote as well as a letter. In the letter she said that she had prayed to God and asked him what she should tell me. He’d told her that I had some musical talent and that I needed to lead worship. My exact thoughts when I read that part? “Ohmygosh. Seriously, God?” I put the letter aside for a minute and tried to breathe before I kept reading. I mean, seriously? Could that get any more hello-this-is-God-calling-you-to-do-something?

Today my brother, out of the blue, asked me: “Hey Gaby, if you were able to sing at camp, and when you came home you said that you weren’t so afraid of singing in public anymore, why don’t you do it at church?” Dude, you’re eleven. Where is this wisdom coming from? My stupid answer was: “It was easier to sing there because I’m probably never going to see those people again.” He replied, “Yeah, but isn’t singing to God more important?”
I literally told him to shut up because I didn’t want to face what God’s been telling me to do.

And I know now this is the year in which I’ll step out of my comfort zone and I’ll walk on the water. But I’m scared. Maybe I should’ve chosen Joshua 1:9 to be my #Verse2014 instead of Psalm 119:11.

“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)

Oh, I’m gonna read that Scripture so much this year. He knows I’m gonna need it.

I’m letting go. I’m letting go of my dreams and my fears. I will listen to God’s calling even though I’m terrified. I know He’s gonna keep doing what He’s doing, sending me people to tell me what He wants me to hear. I won’t be like Moses and give excuses because we know how that one ended [Exodus 4]. He kept giving God excuses and God gave a solution to those excuses. Moses had no other choice but to accept the calling God gave him. I’m letting go. I’m terrified of letting go. But I’m letting go. I don’t know how I’m letting go. But I’m letting go. I’m handing my fears over to God. I will pray to Him, I will find strength in Him, and hopefully soon I’ll do what He wants me to do. Pray for me, I’ll need those prayers.

I’m also praying for you. I pray that if there’s anything you need to let go of, that God can help you let go. Maybe you need to let go of your insecurities. Maybe you need to let go of control. Maybe you’re like me and you need to let go of your fears and accept your calling. Maybe you need to let go of pain. Of regret. Of grudges.

Whatever you need to let go, let go of it. Hand it over to God. He knows what’s best. When you give Him the power over your life it becomes His responsibility to guide you along the right path. It’s a giant leap of faith. But it’s worth it.

I’m still scared. But I’m letting go.

“This is a giant leap of faith
Trusting and trying to embrace
The fear of the unknown
Beyond my comfort zone

I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
Losing control
Of my destiny
Feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go”

-Francesca Battistelli, I’m Letting Go

This post is also in Spanish. Click here!

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