Monday, September 30, 2013

Dear 25 year old... Love, Megan Burmester

To keep with my "Dear 25 year old" series I want to share a bit of what my friend Megan sent me for my 25th birthday. Megan and her husband Nigel are directors of the Chronological School of Biblical Studies at Youth With a Mission LA. Megan is best known for her wisdom, her leadership, and her (mostly inappropriate) sense of humor... which is just as essential to our lives as her wisdom and leadership! 
We are so grateful for Megan and her family. 

Dear 25 year old, 

So as I was thinking about what I would want to hear when I was 25...I really think that one thing that I am learning and have learned is to embrace my flaws, weaknesses and insecurities. If Jesus can love them in me, than I can too. I think that when we embrace them, then we can begin to work on them. But generally, when we "hate" them or "fight" them, they rear their ugly heads.

Also, I think that it is a spiritual discipline to take care of ourselves. I think in the church, it's looked at as selfish but I like this analogy I heard regarding parenting. It can apply in many other areas too--
When you fly and the oxygen masks pop down, they always tell you to get your oxygen mask on first, then you can help others. 
If we don't care for ourselves, we often can end up having nothing left for others. It's a must. And how do we take care of ourselves? I believe in finding things that bring us life and joy. For me, it is photography. I recharge doing this and I find joy in it. Also in being out in nature. I feel so close to Jesus in those moments. Making sure I am planning time like this every week. Not just giving and giving out because that drains you. And it is not what Jesus wants.
Finally, I would tell myself to relax and enjoy my relationship with Jesus. I was so consumed (stressed) with being perfect that I missed out on just being with him. He is perfect and that's enough for me. I can look honestly at myself and know that I am okay in Him. It enables me to enjoy Him. I still struggle at times and I am still really hard on myself but I usually just remind myself that I am His.
Love, Megan Burmester


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dear 25 year old... Love, Bonnie Kusel

Dear 25 year old,

I remember turning 25, sitting on my bed and journaling, which was mainly me writing letters to God. I remember specifically writing about, actually worrying about, when was I going to find my husband? I worried a lot about this, even though I knew I could trust Him to work it out - it's just a hard thing to wait for... I really wish I hadn't spent so much energy worrying about this. I put too much stock into thinking that once I got married, I would finally be fully loved and content. I wish I would have been able to hear from someone else, to let myself feel fully loved by others around me, and just have more fun with life. 

I also worried a lot about my weight and appearance - always thinking if I could just lose 5 pounds or 10 pounds, my life would be perfect. Even after I got engaged (to the perfect guy!), worked out all the time, had a decent body, I still avoided the camera - even on my honeymoon. What a waste! A few years later when i would see pictures of myself on my honeymoon, I realized I actually looked fine - how silly of me to wish no pictures were taken... 

So, all that to say: ENJOY your life, let yourself feel fully alive in every moment! Let yourself fully receive love from those around you, whether you're single or married; let yourself feel free and content, enjoy what you have, enjoy eating, being silly, carefree! Don't ever waste time thinking about those 5 or 10 extra pounds - it's just not worth it! God made you exactly how He wanted you to be, and the 20's should be the BEST time of your life! Believe you are SPECIAL!! Don't limit yourself to thinking, "IF ONLY," if only i was married, if only I had kids, if only I had money.... those thoughts steal from happiness and joy. 

God is always guiding us gently to a life fully lived each day, even when circumstances may not be exactly what we want... smile, breathe, enjoy!

Love, Bonnie Kusel

Conrad & Bonnie Kusel... not only are they ridiculously good looking,
they are also our treasured friends, trusted mentors & the Training Directors at YWAM Los Angeles. 

NYC Fashion Week according to my Iphone.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beauty Arise Video Devotional. "Trust Your Designer." (Paris edition.)

We made a video! Hooray! 
It's one that I had been meaning to make for months but never had someone able to do it for me. 
Until now!
My friend Kate Cook recently joined staff with Beauty Arise & Calling All Skaters. 
She is wonderful and happens to love making videos.  
I'm praying this one will be an encouragement to you! 

Trust Your Designer. (Paris edition.) 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dear 25 year old, Love Amy Jackson Halley

Hi friends! 

In my last post I introduced you to the "Dear 25 year old," series... and here we are!

I am kicking things off with some of the encouraging insights I received from my wonderful friend Amy Halley. 

I met Amy 6 years ago, back while her last name was still Jackson. She was a missionary on staff with YWAM LA and a staff member of my Discipleship Training School in 2007. Amy has since moved on from YWAM- she graduated from Fuller Seminary, and is freshly married to her amazing husband John. 

I do not say this lightly when I say that I have never known anyone quite like Amy. (& I am quite confident that all of her friends agree with me.) She is a beautiful red-haired "Georgia peach" and she is best known for being genuine, kind, prayerful, sweet, balanced, humble and faithful in ALL she does. 

As I am going about my daily life I frequently recount memories of Amy & different things I saw her do & say while she was on staff with me. It's a great privilege to have her as an example in my life and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share her thoughts with you.

(In parentheses you will see the questions I asked Amy-- Her response is in bold.)

PS. I'm posting from my phone so the fonts might get messed up... Just excuse it :)


[What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you were 25?]

Always keep your resume updated (even the little things); have a water bottle near by at all times (you will drink more); try yoga (you'll probably like it), you can't stay friends with everyone (seasons are a part of life) relationships ebb and flow.

[If you could go back and tell yourself something on your 25th birthday, what would you tell yourself?]

Relax and enjoy life. It is not meant to be a confusing mess...take one day at a time (as much as possible), get good sleep, and laugh as much as you can. Prayer works, keep doing it; God is working all the time- don't forget it. :)

[What are some important things to prioritize as a 25 year old?]

Be wise with your money. Don't spend frivolously, but do treat yourself to things here and there. Living on a budget can actually be very freeing, because when you track your money you can see what you are able to be generous with! You can give more.

Try to see your extended family. As you grow up, so will they; they will have changed, aged, etc...and for many of them they are only getting never know how much time you will have with's good to visit.

Use your energy wisely. There are very few other times in life that our bodies are as able to take on as much as when we are 25; use your time and strength in ways that are helpful.

Eat well, sleep well, relax well, and exercise well. You will feel so much better and be a better person all around.

[Anything else you would want to tell a room full of fresh 25 year olds?]

Everyone is different; you will have a "year 25" that is different than everyone else. While it is helpful to get perspective on what year 25 can look like, also remember it can be dangerous to compare your situation/life/being with another. Some at 25 are mothers, some are lonely, some are hard at work, some are students, some are engaged, some are broken-hearted, some are rich, some are very poor. Be kind to one another...everyone is trying to live in this, spread love, and just try to be the you that you were created to be...that is the most important thing. And, the amazing this is, God will help you do all this...just ask him.

Love, Amy Halley

Monday, September 2, 2013

25 at last.

It happened August 5th. I turned 25 years old.

It felt.... wonderful.... slightly intimidating... and also a lot like being 24....
but mostly it felt wonderful.

It's only been a few weeks, but so far, I really like being 25.

I like it because I feel extra aware that I know more about life than I did when I was 18 and 21.
I also like it because I feel a lot more comfortable being me.
I'm WAYYYY more comfortable being me than I was at 16, 18 and 21... and even 22 and 23.

I will tell you though, as I was approaching my 25th birthday I got a bit scared.
((This is not at all surprising considering I'm the girl that cried every Birthday-Eve until I was like 18 years old, because I was so afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the next year. Like on my last night of being 8 years old- I cried in bed because I was so afraid of being 9. The fear passed the morning 9 arrived... but the night before, I was one very teary-eyed 8 year old... and it happened like this for the next 10ish years. You get the picture.))

Anyway, back to my fear of 25. CLEARLY I had some.

In a moment of nervousness I decided to send a message out to some of my older lady-friends, that I both adore and look up to, asking if they could impart some of their wisdom to me about being 25. I compiled a list of questions and sent them out hoping that their answers would help me to approach my 25th year of life with excitement instead of fear. I also decided that whatever answers I received back I would repost here on my blog.

To my JOY- I received so many wonderful responses back that I actually can't fit them into one single blog post.

So instead I am going to do a series called "Dear 25 year-old,".

My hope is that even if you have been 25 before, or you have not yet rolled up on the quarter century mark, you can still be encouraged by the timeless wisdom shared through this blog series.

I pray that no matter what this year throws your way, you will be able to take these answers from my pals and face everything you encounter with more confidence in yourself and more faith to trust in the Lord.

I'll get things started by sharing just a little response from my friend Danielle Cason. She is a treasure.

I'm looking forward to taking the coming month to share the rest of these responses with you.

I asked Dani...

What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you were 25?

"Twenty-five was my last year of singleness, and I began the year on my birthday being freed from crippling anxiety, fear of the future, and with a quote from St. Augustine ringing through my newly liberated heart: 
"Love God and do whatever you please: 
for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved."  
I would tell myself that all over again."

photo by Shaun Hover 

photo by Kate Cook

photo by Shaun Hover 

photo by Kate Cook
photo by Shaun Hover