Treasures in Singleness II

Treasures in Singleness II

 Laura Lynn Callen 

Laura Lynn Callen 

 

This life is so beautiful and full of so many hidden treasures. God created us to enjoy life in community. Just as the Trinity has been living in community since before the beginning (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We’ve been created in the image of our God and that means to be in community. I’ve been living most of my life in a season of singleness, but in this season I’ve felt the closest to my community. A hidden gem I’ve discovered this season while seeking the Lord is the treasure of enjoying singleness. 

 

Part of understanding this hidden gem is having the lens to see God and his community with a heart of abundance. There are wonderful things that come from living with a significant other, but there also beautiful riches that come from living without a significant other. I don’t believe one is better than the other. But I have truly enjoyed this season of singleness. I see it less of a season of singleness and more as a life full of abundance as I embrace those around me with the love God has poured out to me. 

 

I’ve found such security in my identity as a daughter of the Most High King while enjoying the treasure of singleness. He finds me captivating, lavishes His love on me every single day, and speaks to me of things He’s dreamt of me doing before I was even born. This great discovery of contentment in what God thinks of me has overflowed to how I think of and see others. I can completely be content and satisfied in the Lord before I commit my life with another person for the rest of my life. Is this even possible? Yes! This is totally possible, because I’m doing it! And I believe it will be for the benefit of my future relationships as God calls me to different seasons.

 

This intimacy I’ve discovered with God is one that satisfies my soul more than anything this world could offer. I’d be lying if I told you I never desired to physically be held by a man who cares about things I care about, or dream of having a lifetime teammate to expand the Kingdom of God throughout the world with. It would be a treasure to have that, but I also know it’s a treasure to rely completely on God in all that I do and let community be my team. I’ve got so many opportunities to pour out and be filled by others. Being single has allowed me to have such availability to invest in relationships while embracing all that God has planned for me, where He’s placed me. I hope you can be encouraged and embrace each beautiful season God gives you no matter if you’re single or married. God is always good.

by Laura Lynn Callen

 

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 Radiates JOY  

Radiates JOY  

Treasure in Singleness <3

Treasures in Singleness

 dreaming with God &lt;3

dreaming with God <3

 

I remember, like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 2000 and I was praying to God, making a promise to save myself until that very special day: my wedding day. This became a dream of mine at twelve years old. It was at this age that I started to pray for my future husband and I have not stopped praying since, even though my prayers sound a lot different now than they did then.

FUN FACT:

I have only been in two relationships and have accepted a date with only five different guys. And when I say a date I mean ONE date, the exception being my two serious boyfriends (at different times, don’t worry ;) ). Can I also mention that I had my first boyfriend at the age of nineteen?! So yes I waited– well kind of waited. 

 

My relationships didn’t work out, and even though I am grateful that the second relationship ended at the time it did, I was devastated since I really believed it was going to end in marriage. For different reasons things didn’t work out. It didn’t go as planned. One of the reason why I mention all this is because during my last breakup I realized many things that are so crucial for you to know. Relationships had one goal to me: marriage– and it still does. The difference is that marriage had a completely different meaning for me back then. It meant finally being happy, finally being complete, finally being whole, finally being loved, finally feeling secure, finally pursuing my dreams, finally living in the fullness of life and finally being content. My thoughts were more like “Oh when I get married then I can do this or that, or be this or that.” My way of thinking was so wrong! I realized then that I had not been in a place where I was actually living single, meaning that despite that my relationship status was single my heart and mind were not.

After the end of the second relationship I had a conversation with God about not wanting to jump into liking another guy right away. From what I had experienced, I had the idea that it was impossible for me to be at a place where I did not like a guy in a romantic way. So I asked God if it was possible to not like anyone and to be completely single. I asked if He could show me and teach me how to live a content, satisfying, thankful, whole life in Him, being SINGLE in every aspect of the word. Well guess what?! He sure answered my prayer! God revealed so many things to me. He opened my spiritual eyes to see that I had a wrong idea of what marriage is and helped me see that the expectation I was putting on relationships and marriage were things that my future husband could never meet simply because those were expectations that only God could meet! God was so good, faithful, gentle and loving as He led me in this process. By God’s grace through this time of heartache, I was able to focus on the one who could meet all my expectations: JESUS CHRIST!

The treasures that I began to discover were treasures that no one could steal from me. These treasures were how God looked at me and what God thought of me. I found myself in Him. I found my identity in Him. I found my value in Him and I found my beauty in Him. I discovered the beauty of being romanced by God. All this happened in moments of constant surrender to God, in moments of intimacy with God, in moments of going deep into the word with God, searching for who He said that I am. It was in the moments of going on “dates” with God.

Slowly, God became my whole reason for living. He became my reason to smile and to look forward to live each day. He became my identity. I became aware that I belonged to Him and that I am called His. He became the reason and inspiration for my dreams. He became my purpose. He became the lover of my soul. His sweet love became sufficient to my needs. He became more than ENOUGH to me!

The outcome of discovering treasures in the process is that I was able to live in freedom to live out dreams I never dared to dream before. I became brave enough to walk in faith and chase God’s dreams for my life. I became bold enough to share with others about His love. I became secure enough in Him to obey in the midst of chaos. I became courageous enough to love out of the love I received from Him. I became whole enough in Him to accept people who might not be easy to accept in the sight of others. I became free enough to live in the will of my Heavenly Father and care about the growth of my character. Faith became my strength to hope for the best and trust God with my future.


I no longer desire to be married in order to be complete or whole. I desire to be married to be a gift to my husband. I want to do life together with him with the purpose of glorifying, honoring and loving God through our marriage. Yes, the desire is still present. It’s not gone, but it is no longer an obsession or a need to reach true happiness or contentment. I have discovered genuine contentment in my singleness and I am grateful. I no longer have the need of a guy to look at me or to tell me that I am beautiful, special or important because God constantly does. He constantly shows me love– unconditional love. His love has completely transformed the way I view myself, life, dating and marriage. Now I enjoy every moment I have in this single season. (don’t take me wrong I still do have moments when doubt creeps in but then I run again to the arms of God, my source of everything I need). I have become in a way jealous of my relationship with God. And though I am still in the process of learning and growing to have God as Lord of my life in every season and every area, my heart, mind and soul have been transformed by God’s passionate love for me.

Also I’d love to share with you is that there is a benefit to being single that I constantly observe and I treasure: I am free to go for any door God opens according to His perfect will for my life without any hesitation at all. My only responsibility right now is to hear God speak and then do what He says. I am available and flexible to His call. It is so easy to say yes to Him because together we are on an adventure.

My heart is filled with so much compassion and it hurts me to see girls and women stuck in singleness waiting to be married who are suffering and depressed at their relationship status instead of using every S I N G LE moment they have to live in God’s fullness and to discover the beauty in the single season. & I totally get it because I was there too, that is one of the main reasons why I can write this novel today ha ha and since I have discovered freedom in this area of my life I long for women to discover it too and dare to walk by faith in this area of life. It’s an adventure and I encourage you to wait on God for your significant other while celebrating the season that you are in, knowing that He knows and cares about the desires of your heart for His timing is perfect.


As I pray for my future husband I enjoy and treasure my single moments by being romanced by God. I work on my character. I am intentional about my growth in my relationship with God and I choose to love my future husband by staying faithful in the season God has entrusted me with today. I have faith that one day that amazing godly man, my husband, will walk into my life and will pursue me and romance me. I cannot wait for that day, but mean while I will continue to choose to have faith and trust that God wants only the best for both of us.

side note:

I am as cheesy as it can get, I am total romantic who strongly believes that God is the best match maker and writes the best love stories, SO girlfriend don’t be discourage trust God, the maker of Heaven and Earth, with your love story. You are not alone; I am with you in this.

hey, you are beautiful and you are a dream come true who was born in the heart of God.

my prayer is for you to be encouraged and that hope would rise within you.

Lizbeth <3

 a day in hong kong

a day in hong kong

 counting my blessing, living my dreams

counting my blessing, living my dreams

last week in San Jose, Costa Rica

Monday, we greeted the Transforma students and helped set up for their new “School of Life” that started today. After we got everything situated, a few of us worked on some video testimonies for the Transforma website. The testimonies were about what we have experienced here in Transforma and what it is like here for us.  The others that were not working on the videos played with the children of the Transforma students. The children were so sweet and it was awesome how they wanted to teach us Spanish and to learn a bit of English. After that we had worship and intercession as a team to end the night.

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Monday, we greeted the Transforma students and helped set up for their new “School of Life” that started today. After we got everything situated, a few of us worked on some video testimonies for the Transforma website. The testimonies were about what we have experienced here in Transforma and what it is like here for us.  The others that were not working on the videos played with the children of the Transforma students. The children were so sweet and it was awesome how they wanted to teach us Spanish and to learn a bit of English. After that we had worship and intercession as a team to end the night.

Over the weekend we bought a bible and journal to give to a son and grandson of transforma students who we visited and interceded for last week. Herberh was super excited to see us again and seemed to be very happy with the bible and journal we got him. It is incredible how open and willing he is to hearing God and receiving words and prophecies from us. I am so excited to see what God is going to do in his life and how God plays out his dreams.

After we helped with Transforma this morning we went to help at a children’s ministry called Metro. What happens there is a group of us who go into the community to get kids and ask around if they want to go to Metro this week. After we all get back we play games for a bit with them outside the church. After a while they call all of us inside to start sitting for the program to start. During the program time, we sing songs and dance, recite bible verses, listen to stories, play games and watch dramas. The kids seem to really enjoy it. It was fun for us too.

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This week has been really great! Tommorow, Thursday, we will have a day of packing for leaving for Guanacaste for two weeks. My time here volunteering in Transforma has been incredible. I have enjoyed praying for, assisting and talking with the women here. They have impacted all of our lives in very different ways. Till next time. Chao!

Aryn

Days in Costa Rica

April 09 – April 15 2018

Our second week with Transforma ministry has been just as eventful and exciting as week one. God keeps surprising us with divine appointments and in His grace, He keeps showing up wherever we go and with whatever we do. He is faithful and He never ceases to exceed our expectations. We’re in awe and thankful beyond measure for what God has been doing so far in and through us as a team.

At the beginning of this week we helped deep cleaning the house and reorganizing things. Since the house is split in a living area and the ministry space (class rooms, kids room, etc.) the house is always busy with people doing all kinds of things.

Usually Monday routine in Transforma starts with prayer, worship and bible study: the Transforma volunteers and leaders gather to start the week in prayer, worship and bible study.
Afterwards women come to attend Sewing Training, Massage Therapy training, Entrepreneurial Training and Manicure and Pedicure Training. After graduating these programs, some of the women even start their own businesses.
Transforma women do not only develop a profession, they actually go through the process of transformation: Transforma teaches women “Kingdom values”, based on God’s word; Values that define how to live everyday life, how to do work and how to build character. Many women have found a second home in Transforma: As they do life and work together they grow in their relationships and get disciple as they develop all kinds of skills and trades.

This week we had the opportunity to pray and intercede for the Transforma women and leaders: we asked God for encouraging words and wrote little notes for them. We got super excited to hear what God says about these beautiful women and how He sees them.

Another aspect of our Transforma ministry was taking photos for their Webpage. Some of our girls help designing the page.
 

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One of our highlights as a team this week was another community visit. We met a pastor woman who currently had a leg surgery, because of that she’s now going through a tough season, experiencing a lot of pain. It was so touching to see her enduring faith and trust in God in the midst of all the pain and hardship. We had the privilege to pray for healing, restoration, provision, peace and hope that we believe God has for her.

The second visit in this neighborhood blew our minds! God revealed Himself in such a beautiful way. First we got to meet Lucilla, another woman of great faith, who testified God’s provision with a new house.
During our visit we also got to meet one of her grandchildren, Herbert, who later turned out to be one of the main reasons God brought us to this place. God spoke to Herbert about his identity as a son of God and about the big dreams and the future He has prepared for Herbert. But the greatest testimony was to see how much God loves and pursues Herbert and how He calls him into intimate relationship with God the father.
Coming home after this powerful ministry time, we had a time of praise and thanksgiving. We were all so humbled that God let us be part of his dream.

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On Wednesday we helped a Children’s ministry, called “Metro Ministry”, based in the Sinai community.

Wednesday night we attended the Community Night of the San Jose YWAM Base. It was fun to see another Base and to get to know their people and ministry.

Friday night half our team went to San Jose’s streets to work with Face of Justice again.

On the weekend we attended church service in an international church downtown, we had brunch, drank coffee and played games as a team.

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FUN FACT:

These beauties not only are doing ministry in a different country of their own, they also go grocery shopping and make their own meals. We say these ladies are GOLD <3

Beauty Arise DTS, Outreach Team - CoRicas

It was clear from arrival to San Jose, that we have been covered by God´s grace. Surprisingly, we got our team bag checked for free, the immigration officials were friendly, and we didn't have to pay extra airport fees for entering the country. Thanking Jesus for good travel!

 Outreach Leaders: Natassia &amp; Isabella

Outreach Leaders: Natassia & Isabella

 

Here, the Transforma Ministry welcomed us into their home with warm food, and a history of the program/house. They also laid name cards out on our beds with a word for each girl written on it. During the first few days we were able to settle into the house, and also intercede for Transforma and Costa Rica´s presidential election (which took place on Easter Sunday.)

Easter was a sweet moment for the group. We ate milk rice at breakfast: which I learned is, interestingly, both German and Costa Rican. Later, on the back patio above tropical plants, we shared communion and worshiped together. Then afterwards Natassia and Isabella surprised us girls with . . .  an Easter candy hunt! They are sooo thoughtful. Plus, I was pretty happy to have some chocolate to go with my peanut butter!

 Written Letters to express JESUS' LOVE

Written Letters to express JESUS' LOVE

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With Transforma we've been helping with their various projects from Communications to sanding the furniture! Usually our group spends weekday mornings filling in where needed, or visiting the community with them.

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Two of the days last week, we visited some of the women who participate in ministry´s classes at their homes. They live in the slum across the street, a neighborhood called Sinai. They have all been blessed by Transforma, and even better, by Jesus! We interceded for the community and got encouraging words, which we then passed out as love letters during a prayer walk before one of the visits. It was amazing to experience our team unite in prayer at the homes. One house was particularly oppressive. But the Holy Spirit also shared a lot through us to that woman. And God also blessed us to break off any remaining darkness that evening in prayer as a team.

Now over the course of the week we discovered a little special something. You see, what we thought at first was a bird visiting us during dinner-time, turned out to be—a BAT! Every time screams followed. The brave girls wore card board boxes or plastic Tupperware to protect their heads when attempting to shoo it out. But last Saturday night was the climax. When this creature escaped the basement kitchen to our beds rooms, it was full panic. And it was with much commotion, and screaming, maybe some crying, that we were able to: first, protect ourselves, and second get a door open for it to fly out. Which it did, we´re pretty sure.

Also this past week was the lovely Natassia´s birthday!! Theresa and Aryn, who cooked this week, treated us to with chocolate cake and donuts from the yummy bakery up the street.

Back to ministry, our team had the opportunity to sit in on an introduction lecture for jail ministry, which we won´t be doing; but, some of the Transforma women will. Voz de Liberdad shared about actually how effective Godly values are in prisions too. How the inmates need responsibility and others who rebuild trust in them. When one chooses to follow Jesus, they become a voice in the prison, to their family, and the people on the streets. *Shout out to Michelle for translating*

The week ended partnering with Face of Justice. They do work here with victims of prostitution. Also the staff told us that with street ministry, they actually pray for men about 70% of the time because so many are transvestites. And they certainly can use the prayer. But the street level is only a part of Face of Justice. They also have prevention programs, a safe house for recovery, and are building legal help for better prosecution. Though, we will probably only partner in the street ministry. So late Friday night Natassia, Heaven, Michelle, Ally, Gloria, and Victoria (our sweet Transforma house mate) went to the streets and brothels with this ministry to pass out coffee & cookies and offer prayer. Meanwhile Isabella, Theresa, Aryn, and I stayed at the house and prayed them out. And the girls had fun and success, despite a down pour of rain! We will alternate next week who goes and who stays.

 La Terraza Coffee Shop

La Terraza Coffee Shop

Face of Justice also has a coffee shop where they employ some of the women through the restoration program. We were able to go there it on Saturday! They've only been open for a few weeks. And a DTS outreach team also from YWAM L.A.—Justice 180, actually helped paint and set up the shop a couple months ago. It was a fun treat. And thankfully we didn't get too lost before finding the location,ha!

 -Blog by Theresa (Beauty Arise DTS'18)

-Blog by Theresa (Beauty Arise DTS'18)

Quote of the week: ¨If your body is God´s temple, then the bigger the better!¨ -Theresa, after a filling meal.

Beauty Arise 

Beauty Arise Discipleship Training School

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We are so excited to announce that one of our teams that is overseas will be writing a blog every week about what they are doing and how life looks like for them. You won't want to miss it. Get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy. 

Also in just a couple of weeks more, our Beauty Arise International Director, Lizbeth Espinoza, will be doing pastoral visits to both teams and will be posting on our Instagram!! You don't want to miss that either. She will be visiting a team that will be in Thailand and another team that will be in Mexico. 

So many exciting things happening. JOIN US. @beautyarise

Hope your day is WONDERFUL. 

Beauty Arise 

 

Mistakes and Shame

Our wonderful DTS Staff Isabella on the lessons she learned while leading an outreach team to Spain and Switzerland.

 

“What makes you a great leader is not never making mistakes. It’s your willingness to clean up your mess” 

This is what I hear God speaking to me as I am finishing up finances for my school. I am thinking back on everything and of course I am reflecting on all the mistakes I made. 
I am thinking about the things I shouldn’t have done but did and the things I should’ve done but didn’t. 
Thinking about the times I wasn’t loving other people the way I should’ve or want to. 
The little things I left undone (like finances) that are now catching up to me.
And the times that I was running away from God because I was so scared of what he was going to tell me. 

And I realise that all he ever wanted to tell me was that he was so proud of me. Not because I did everything right but because he is my father and more than anything he sees my heart. 
He sees that I tried my best, that I poured out absolutely everything I had and that I never gave up. Man is he proud of me. 
And also I know that everytime I made a mistake he wanted to remind me of who I am: My identity is not in being a great leader. That doesn’t even come close to it. My identity is in the one who loves me and pursues me everyday. In the one who is faithul and kind, compassionate and forgiving. In my one first love: Jesus Christ. 

Making mistakes makes us human- not failures. 
And after we made the mistakes we have a choice: are we going to run away from it because it scares us too much to look it in the eye? 
Or are we secure enough in WHO WE ARE to take ownership and say: “Yes I made a mistake. I am sorry. Let’s clean up the mess”. 
What we do with our mistakes never says anything about who we truly are but it does say a bunch about who we THINK we are. 

Today I am choosing to act on who I know I am. I am choosing to ask God for forgiveness for the things I did and for the things I didn’t do. I am choosing to clean up the mess and I know God is doing it with me. And when I’m done with that I’m going to let it go, because none of us are supposed to carry the shame of our past mistakes- only learn from it. 

Love,

Isabella

Originally posted on beautyfromtheashes-life.tumblr.com

Views From The Backstage

by Abby Eastman

This weekend was incredible. As a self proclaimed pop culture junky, I think being able to be fully submerged in what makes the industry tick just for a weekend, was truly an unforgettable experience.

On June 10 - June 11, Moschino and Golf Wang (by Tyler The Creator) held fashion shows at the LA Live event deck and yours truly along with the beauty arise team had the opportunity to help work backstage. Racks of designer fashions, photographers' bulbs flashing (with the exception of Tyler's show; it had very limited media backstage coverage) and people running around placing final touches, it was a dreamy peak into a world we see only from our television screens.

It almost didn't feel real. Everywhere you went you were surrounded by beautiful people who were just as pretty in person as they were in the magazines. People that the world admired, as well as some that I personally had admiration for. I stared straight into the eyes of models and celebrities who I didn't know but admired for their work and the small bits of their character that I saw through the media's lens. It all felt so normal-- it was as if my television had deceived me. I think that's what God taught me and a bunch of other girls from our team this weekend: that it's normal because they are normal. Maybe I'm late with fully understanding the constant message we hear, that "celebrities are normal people just like us". It's like I knew but I didn't really understand it until I was surrounded by people who had both fame and fortune.

One thing I think I have always been good at is looking at everyone with equal worth. My heart has always broken when I could see and feel people placing others above themselves or beneath themselves. We are so the same at the core. We all feel heartbreak and sorrow and happiness and pain. We are all talented and creative and gifted. We all have our faults, we all say the wrong things. We all breathe the same air and gasp for it when we weep-- who are we to build a social hierarchy? This weekend I got to really put into practice what I have always known and believed: that we are all the same and created in God's image. What we do or what others say about us will never determine our worth.

I was also reminded this weekend that there is freedom to be ourselves. I have known about Tyler The Creator for awhile (my best friend is a huge fan) but seeing him in person and watching him work was such a privilege. He has these wacky ideas that he isn't afraid to share. He is exactly the same way he is portrayed in the media: high energy with a voice that isn't too scared to give opinions, no matter how taboo they are. He is far from fearful of being himself. I loved that so much. You can see it in a collected mentality amongst his crew (Odd Future plus friends were his models) he basically gave them a choice to wear what they wanted to wear during his show, which you don't normally see from a designer. It was fascinating. He wanted them to be themselves on the runway and encouraged them to goof around no matter how unconventional it was. 6 hours of watching Tyler work made me want to go home and pursue my own strange and wacky dreams. I ended up watching the recorded live stream of the show when I got home and was touched by his constant appreciation for his friends and their support of his dreams. Life seems a bit sweeter if you know yourself and encourage others to know themselves as well.

I am still exhausted and my eyes are fighting not to shut, but my heart is alive with this weekend's experience. Tired yet inspired, I will forever be thankful for my 2 days spent in real life tv land.

- Abby

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Style Arise: Joanne

by Abby Eastman

Joanne

To all the people who believe that life is dull and humorless, you real haven't had a conversation with Joanne Krahn. The constant gleam in her eye and her pretty but knowing  smile hint at the fact that she knows what happiness looks like and will live a life hoping everyone else can figure it out too. Born in Winkler, Manitoba, The 21 year old is currently doing her Discipleship Training School at YWAM LA. DTS is a time where you find freedom in various area of your life but I knew from our first meeting that freedom was something Joanne just naturally carried. The first time I spoke to Joanne I fell completely in love with her wit and the sense of freedom she carried in the way she spoke and dressed-- Joanne does what she wants, not in a rebellious way but in a way that screams she refuses to be put in a box. Dreaded hair and incredibly fresh faced, I knew Joanne had to be the next person featured on Style Arise.

AE: Describe your Style in one word?
JK: I feel like simple! It's the kind of person I am. I'm good with simple or chill. Hmm wait--  maybe chill?
AE: When did you get your dreads?
JK: A year ago! I got dreads because when I was younger I would always see them and I thought they looked so cool. As I got older some of my friends had dreads. and I thought "I want dreads so badly" but I also really liked my hair. Then I decided when I'm old and I'm telling my grand-kids stories, I want to be able to tell them I had dreads! Plus I just really like them and it's simpler than actually dealing with my natural hair.
AE: When did you decide that you didn't care about what people thought about the way you dressed or looked?
JK: Maybe like a year ago or two years ago. I worked at camp. and so there you don't really care what you look like anyway and then I think it just carried on. Sometimes with certain outfits I'll still ask "does this look okay?" but I try to put things together myself and be confident in that.
AE: Your fav clothing item at the moment?
JK: I really like my t-shirt dresses. They're so comfy!
AE: Fav place to shop?
JK: The thrift store because you get really good deals. Also I like that you can put outfits together and be really unique with it because you find some interesting things there. So when I shop there, I'll look at something and think "how can I change this?" or "what can I wear with this to make it a cute outfit?".
AE: Your personal style advise?
JK: Be confident, be yourself in what you wear, be you! Cliche I know. Also, be aware of what type of clothing you're wearing. You don't want to support sweat shops are child labor, so be aware of where the clothing is made.
AE: Are you aware?
JK: I'm becoming more aware. So I recently started either shopping at thrift stores or local stores so I know where my clothes are made and that my clothes aren't made in a sweatshop. A skate shop in my town opened around two years ago and they always promote shopping locally so that you're aware of what you're buying, which kind of inspired me.
AE:  What are you wearing now?
JK: Well the shorts are American Eagle brand. I believe my cardigan is Garage. And my tank top is from Giant Tiger. 
 

- Abby