The month of June has been FULL. It has been filled with a trip to Honduras with a team from my church and with work. Last night was my last shift at Starbucks! What a relief. I knew it was time to take my leave earlier this month and it was good to have a great send off at work this past week. I am really blessed to see how my regular customers and my co-workers have been affected by my presence there. God really was with me through this experience. He showed me that He had me right where I was needed even on the days I felt weak, tired, and sad. I am so thankful for how He used Starbucks to challenge my self-confidence and to grow me in ways I never anticipated. I am a missionary every moment of my life and I am privileged to share His love wherever I am.
Now onto what you are looking for! Here are photos from my first roll of film from my trip to Honduras. I shot two rolls of black and white and three of color. These first black and white photos were taken on Kodak Professional B&W 35mm film (C-41).
I will explain a bit more about our trip in upcoming posts. This post is already very long, so I will spare you much more description.
It always amazes me how much a moment in time can affect you. That moment can be a revelation, a word from someone, a sight or sound. I can think of many moments in my life that were a turning point in how I choose to live my life and how I see myself. It is true that our self-perception and our perception of others develops over time through a series of events and smaller daily choices. There have been times when someone’s words have made me cry for days and there have been times when someone’s words made me smile for days as well. How I changed from those experiences came through many smaller daily choices of whether or not I would give the comments weight and presence in my heart.
Let me get to my point. We have a great impact on our own lives and the lives of those around us, whether we realize it or not. The words we choose can make or break not only others, but ourselves as well. As a girl, I have faced all sorts of expectations regarding my gender and all sorts of comments regarding my appearance. It is a constant struggle to see myself according to God’s standards and not the world’s. The world is really good at tearing you down and instilling this notion that beauty is superficial and that impulsiveness is perfectly okay. On my recent trip to Honduras, I was around many, many girls, both Honduran and on my team, and I could see how many of them saw themselves and were affected by others. It weighs on my heart to see younger girls struggling through school and with peers that say hurtful things, so I wrote a message to my team members. Here is what I wrote:
This is something I can speak to, because I am affected by the media and my peer’s comments. Our culture constantly hurts the self-esteem of girls. It thrives and profits from telling girls they are ugly unless they buy makeup or otherwise change their appearance. Whole advertisements are geared to make us believe that imperfections are ugly and unwanted. Our own dissatisfaction can fuel mean comments towards others and ourselves.
This past week, I was on a missions trip with fifteen individuals and not once did it ever cross my mind that one of them was ugly, that their beauty was hindered by pimples, a stray hair, or their weight. Not once. Beauty is a smile, a burst of laughter, a kind word, a joyful heart. When we find our worth in Christ and his peace, our beauty is made complete. We shine like the stars in the night sky.
But to feel beautiful is and will always be a constant struggle for girls while the world stands watch and criticizes us. How many times this week did I hear a girl express dissatisfaction over her appearance? More times than the number of fingers on my hands. We look in the mirror and see the pimples, the flyaway hairs, the color of our skin, the size of our waist, and we think, “If I could change this, I would be okay. I would be pretty.” Stop. Stop right there. We will never see ourselves correctly as long as we think like this.
There are two Bible passages that I have particularly tried to internalize over my years as a Christian. I have clung to them when I have been bullied and hurt by other’s comments. I recognize them as the true standard for beauty. Take a moment and realize that God measures beauty by our hearts, our redemption in Christ, and by our love for others.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
“Your beauty should not come from the outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Through working more so on my inner self, my choices and my heart, God continues to affirm me and repair my self-esteem. He continues to put back the pieces that were broken by cruel comments I have heard over the years. And I have found out something incredible along the way. When God restores your confidence and changes your perspective, you will find that people will begin to see you differently. They will begin to see the beauty that God knew you had all along.
When I was younger, I could never see beyond what I saw in myself as imperfections and ugly. This continues to be a struggle. But as my confidence grows and my heart changes and matures, I have found that people of all backgrounds and appearance accept me as I am when I accept myself. Any comment that is cruel and hurtful loses its power and its foothold in my mind. I can begin to see myself as beautiful and I can begin to internalize that I can be beautiful without makeup, long hair, and tan skin. God made me a certain way and He makes no mistakes.
Our beauty is found in a life filled with Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The evil in this world will continue to attack us, but we can find our strength and peace in the One who is greater than the world. Listen to Him, seek Him, and love HIm. There you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. There you will learn that you are beautiful, every day, despite what you think you see in the mirror. I fully believe that every girl on my team is beautiful in her own way. A beautiful spirit and heart that is living in the presence of God will outshine everything. Be confident in how God made you. He does not make mistakes.
“The LORD does not look at the thing man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Thank you very much for stopping by today! I hope you will return when I share more Honduras photos.