Tuesday, October 30, 2012

project beauty.

I don't really know what it is yet... but I know that I am doing it.
 PROJECT BEAUTY. I'm all in.

What do I mean?

Well... this week for some silly reason I have been struggling big time with the way I see myself.

Feeling all kinds of madness... too big... too old... too tall (to be a Disney princess)... too short (to model)... unorganized... disproportionate (small chest but bigger butt and thighs)... bumpy skin... yellow teeth ... strange nose...

I may sound like a big bundle of issues... but I'm okay with that. Because the truth is I do have issues, and so do you. I just feel especially burdened to put my issues on display in hopes that as I overcome mine, you will be able to learn from me and overcome yours too.

After laying in bed crying two nights ago because of my stupid insecurities, I feel like God is challenging to learn to love myself in an even deeper way.

See, I have been learning to love myself for the last 5 years. And trust me... I have come FAR. So I don't feel discouraged now, or surprised that I am struggling again.. because I see that life is a process and I am facing different things now than I did when I was 18.

But I'm ready to go deeper with God and experience a new understanding of His love for me. I'm ready, AGAIN, to conquer these insecurities and embrace who I am. I know that my appearance is a gift. I also know that my Creator loves how I look... HE delights in my features. I need to learn to love this body I'm in because I'm going to have it for the rest of my life.

Soooooo..... project beauty is happening in Jessica's life. I'm not copyrighting the name... and I don't need anyone else to join the project either. (Though if you want to join me please do!) Project beauty is just me getting buckwild about pursuing the truth of who I am in Christ.

It's day one of the project and here is where I am at....  
I am choosing today to encourage myself. The same way I would encourage a struggling friend.

Everytime I look in the mirror I will think of at least one thing I love about myself, and I will thank God for that thing.
And when I lay down for bed I will thank God for 5 things I like about myself.
I did it last night... and again this morning when I woke up.
That's all. Day one of project beauty is encouragement. Simple.

The Bible says in Genesis 50:20--
"But as for you, you meant evil against me; 
but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, 
to save many people alive." 

Satan wants to destroy us through our insecurities and perversions of beauty. He wants to convince us that we will never be good enough. But here is what I have decided... the more the enemy lies to me... the more I will pursue truth... and the more truth I find ... the more truth I will share... which means more freedom for both myself and others.

What the enemy means for evil against me, God will use it for good, to save many.
This is a sunset we saw in Tijuanna last week. There is really no better artist than the Creator of the universe. If He can bring forth this much beauty from an evening sky... imagine the beauty He wants to unveil in you and me...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fashion Week LA. A story.

            The lights were dimmed and the music bumping. Models were lined up backstage waiting for their cue to start walking. It was day 5 of fashion week and the final show was about to begin. Our expectations were high for God to move in these last few hours… but my brain felt fried from all that I coordinated backstage, and my body was exhausted from our twelve-hour shifts.
This was my third season dressing the models at Fashion Week in Los Angeles, and miraculously I had been promoted to “Dressing Team Supervisor”- which meant I worked closely with the backstage director to ensure that every model was dressed perfectly before hitting the runway. By God’s grace, my assistant- Anna Bishop, and I were able to fulfill the responsibilities of this role with excellence, despite having literally NO training at all.
As the last show was about to begin, I started to fear that my fatigue would hinder me from opportunities where God may have wanted to use me in. So I prayed, “Jesus, please don’t let me miss what You are doing. Please use me tonight. Help me to see how I can be a blessing to these people.”
Minutes after praying, I glanced up onto the dark stage at the lineup of girls and noticed that one of the models appeared ill.  I quickly went to her and offered my help. Very weak and barely able to ask for water, she collapsed into my arms, if I had been any later she would have fallen down the stairs. I called for help and within moments we had a team of YWAMers tending to her needs. One girl fanned her, another brought water, another offered juice, one had turkey and bread, another wiped her perspiration, one knelt to pray with her and finally one fixed her lipstick.
She recovered quickly.
Before she went onto the runway I shared with her about the prayer I had prayed right before I caught her. She said, “You know… it’s so crazy. Because I am a Christian too and just before you came over I had prayed, ‘Lord strengthen me because something is really wrong.’… Then you caught me, and all of your friends came to take care of me.”
I was blown away. Not only was she the answer to my prayer... but I was the answer to hers...
“Wow… God really loves His daughters.”
“Yeah,” she paused to think about it, “He really does.”
Praying with one of the models backstage Friday night.
"Those who look to Him are radiant..."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fashion Week LA. A jumble of stories.

You might remember that last year I stumbled upon an opportunity to dress backstage for Fashion Week in NYC. Which then led to an opportunity to dress backstage for Style Fashion Week Los Angeles.

Well... Fast forward to this week when I found myself in charge of all of the dressers backstage for Fashion Week Los Angeles!!!

How did it happen???

He died. Rose again. Gave me new life. Filled me with His Spirit.
Then plopped me backstage to show other people the power of His love.

And oh man did His power show.

Like on Wednesday. When my friend Anna and I were organizing which of our dressers would be dressing each specific model. We literally sat their with our clipboards trying to make sense of things that we truly had no idea how to do.

I'll try to explain our dilemma. 4 designers. 1 show. Each with like 12 models. 1 designer would show their stuff at a time. Then the lights would dim. Music would change. And a new designer's line would start immediately. But they shared models. So a
model would walk the runway, then have like 1 minute to change her outfit into a different designer's look, 1 more minute to get her hair changed to fit that show and to get her makeup fixed, and then she was back out on the runway again.

But some models were shared between designers 1 and 2. Others between 1 and 3. Others 3 and 4.

And we had to figure out how to get our 20 dressers where they needed to be so that not a single detail was missed in and of the shows.

If you don't get it...
That's the point...
I didn't get it either.

But somehow, by the grace an power of God, we did it!

Our friends were praying like mad while we choreographed the evening on paper.

We texted our guys back at the skate house to pray for us and they texted us encouragements like, "God will guide your hands."

And He did!

We not only figured it all out, but we did everything backstage with excellence! God totally took care of everything!

He even gave me words to say when people would ask me questions that I had no idea how to answer!

The whole thing was amazing!

Before the show we gathered backstage to pray as a small group of my Christian friends. But as word got out that we were praying, more and more people joined us! Eventually our circle of prayer filled the courtyard!

During the show a girl came to me and said, "It feels so peaceful tonight! We should pray before every show!"

During the show we had girls who were able to pray with designers, models, and even the DJ for the after party wanted prayer!

My friend Nova, prayed for two models and saw them get physically healed.

My friend Katlyn led two girls in praying to receive Jesus as their Savior!

One designer asked what was different about our "energy"... Pointing out that they had never seen anything like it!

Each day God outdid Himself. Each new show brought new signs and wonders of His faithfulness!

As I prayed for Him to move each day it almost felt silly, as if He was smiling and saying,

"Jess I have always been faithful to meet you, why would I stop now?"

It's beautiful to me that the same God who moved through me with the refugees in the Himalayas of India, and with the prostitutes in the Red Light District of Thailand, and with the gangs in the ghetto of Chile... Is delighted to reveal Himself through me backstage at a fashion show.

Same God.
Same love.
Same mission- to make Himself known.
The only difference is the mission field.
But Jesus is just as passionate about models and designers, as He was about the refugees, prostitutes, and gangsters.
He is passionate about ALL of His children.

It is His desire for us to know Him, receive His forgiveness, and walk in new life, according to His great power at work in us.

What an awesome God.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LA Style Fashion Week...

Has been amazing so far.

Day 2 has finished. My legs ache, I need a shower, and I'm pretty sure I smell like my husband does after he finishes a skate sesh.

But my heart is full.

The Bible says that we were created in God's image-- meaning we resemble Him.

These fashion people are reminders to me of how incredibly creative our God is. All of the unique colors, shapes, and designs... The God we resemble certainly is not boring.

Today I was also reminded, once again, that there is more to life than simply being beautiful.

The other night at MFC a model asked the group,"What do you want to be remembered for? Do you just want to be a beautiful girl? Because there are millions of beautiful girls. What legacy do you really want to leave behind?"

Well today I was working with male models. They were all good looking. And quite talented. But do you know what separated a few of them from the rest?


Most of them were charming.
Some were confident. (Borderline arrogant.)

But the memorable ones?
They were humble. & Thankful. & Genuine.

They stood out from the crowd because of their hearts.

No question.

After the show all of the girls in my car talked about their favorite models and we agreed that our favorite models were the ones that were kind and grateful.

Those qualities make a world of difference.

...So if it goes like that with a day full of mostly men- that the most memorable ones are the humble ones.

Then same must go for the ladies. There are plenty of physically beautiful girls in this world. But it is our hearts, not our waistlines, that will determine whether or not we are memorable.

The legacy we leave behind will be based on things like humility, kindness, and love. All the external stuff fades away in comparison to those things.

I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep now... And praying that God will continue to purify this heart of mine... So that the legacy I leave will always point to Heaven.

I just want to look like my Creator.
The Designer of all things beautiful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebration. Not comparison.

That's something I'm learning.

Celebrating a person means that when someone else achieves something great or receives something wonderful... I get excited with them. If they look particularly good, or happen to be gifted with a certain strength then my job is to encourage them in it.

If they sing well then I promote them. If they cook well, then I tell them.
If they have an awesome body, I can affirm them in that.

It's so common to feel insecure about someone else's successes... But that is comparison... And it's rooted in lies.

The success of another person is NOT a mark of our failure, and it doesn't have to make us feel bad.

I read this cute story recently:

3 caterpillars were crawling through a field. Seeing a butterfly pass over them, the first said, "Look at that smart aleck up there, flitting around, making us feel stupid." The second caterpillar said, "You know, some days I wish I could fly." The third caterpillar said excitedly, "I know that guy! He used to be one of us! If he can fly then I know I can fly too!"

Where do we fit in the story? How do we respond when we see strengths in other people?

God designed us so that when we walk in our gifts & strengths, with confidence and humility, it will actually inspire other people to embrace their own gifts & strengths too.

God's word says in 1 Peter 4:10, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."

Meaning our focus isn't on whether or not we are better than the people around us. Our focus is on using what we have been given to bless, serve, encourage, inspire, and LOVE the people around us.

Comparison is a thief.

Celebration is a love-filled-life-giving party!
So.... Let's party! :)

(these are some of the beautiful friends that I have been trying to celebrate lately.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How they see me...

Should be irrelevant shouldn't it?

Who are they to decide whether I'm smart or beautiful or talented or successful? When did they get permission to be the ones determining whether my body is the right shape, or my hair is the right length? Why am I okay with letting their opinion of me being THE opinion of me?

Isn't it strange? So often we allowing others to tell us who we are... And we change ourselves in order to be what we think they are looking for.

This week I submitted my picture for a potential modeling job. I was extra nervous. In my email to the company I asked what kind of look they were going for. They responded- "preferably a brunette or redhead with a unique, strong, interesting face".

That's what I thought to myself.

A strong face? Interesting? What does that even mean?
Surely I don't have it.
People have said I have an American face...
And a smiley face...
But never strong and never interesting.
And I know I'm not a red-head... but am I even a brunette?
I don't know... I think so... but my ends are lighter than my roots...

So guess what happened next? Anxiety happened.

I quietly allowed thoughts of despair to take over... Leading me into a whirlwind of negativity.

It didn't last too long, because by Gods grace I am a lot stronger now than I used to be. It's easier to separate truth from lies. But still... For those few hours I spent in the "pit"... It wasn't pretty.

I ran through all the reasons I wasn't good enough to model. It became bigger than this one job... It became about my identity.

I questioned EVERYTHING about myself.

Yes... Drama queen Jessica worked herself into a tear-filled mess.

I decided that I was tired of my own thoughts and ready to ask God for His.

Turns out, while I was being dramatic about my un-interesting face, God wasn't even phased. In fact, He was still on the throne, still taking care of the details of my life, and still totally content with the way He made me. Actually He reminded me that He really loves my face and He didn't make any mistakes on it.

It's so easy to believe the lies telling us that we are only as good as someone else thinks we are... But truth is... Our opinion of ourself should come from the Creator... Not from our fellow creation. God delights in His children... We resemble Him. He is the artist and we are the masterpieces.

The only way to have true peace in this crazy world is to have intimacy with Jesus, who is called "the Prince of Peace".

So about that modeling job... I didn't take it. Not because my face wasn't interesting enough, but just because I actually wasn't available on the day they wanted to shoot photos.

All that anxiety was for nothing.

Its always like that.
Anxiety does nothing.
Trusting Jesus is the only way to live securely in our identities.

Praying you find rest in His opinion of you today.

(( to carry with the theme of "how they see me", I decided to post photos I found of me that other people posted on instagram recently. Just for fun... This is literally how they saw me... :) ))