Avon Beautiful's Blog

July 9, 2012

Will you stand in the ugly usher dress?

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Sunday fashion ranges from the modest to the ostentatious. Somewhere in between is where most people probably fall. Nonetheless, there is a segment of Sunday fashion that is not meant to draw attention, but to serve as an uniform for a particular role within the Body of Christ. Choirs have their robes, nurses have their lab coats, and ushers have their usher dresses.

Usher-wear ranges, but there is a good segment of ushers who are suited up in very plain white cotton dresses that are typically to or over the knee. Again, the dresses are not the most fashionable, but it is meant to allow the congregation to identify the doorkeepers in the house of God. Ushers literally open the doors for those entering in the church, they give out fans, and guide the offering lines. In some churches the ushers take up the collection, tidy up the sanctuary, and they are always there to serve the congregation’s needs.

In my church, all the ushers are in uniform on Communion Sunday. We wear our uniforms for the Communion service and keep it on for the evening service as well. This past Communion Sunday, I had the opportunity to hang out with two of my favorite Christian teens, who happen to be on the usher board. I remember when they joined the usher board. They were about seven years old and so cute. The white dresses were a source of pride for them. They were finally big enough to serve the Lord as an usher. Fast forward about nine years and everything has grown and evolved, including their thoughts on the usher dress.

After church, their mother decided that we would go get ice cream by the mall. Sounds like a plan, right? It’s been a steamy July and ice cream sure would hit the spot. Now, I did mention that these are teen-agers, right? I did mention that the dresses are not the most fashionable, right? I did mention that the ice cream we were getting was by the mall, right? Do you see the dilemma? Yes they are “Christian,” but they are also teens-a key component in this tale of fashion meets fate.

My two young Christian friends are sisters and teen sister #1 is A-okay with being in her uniform. She’s a fashionista, but she seems to be handling the “ice cream by the mall in my usher dress” experience with a cool exterior. Teen sister #2 . . . not so much. That’s a bit of a different story. Her take on the experience is more like “OMG! People are going to see me.” Her mother, sister and I try to calm her down and play down the significance of being in the usher uniform.

“You just came from church!”

“Who care’s nobody’s looking at you.”

“Don’t be ashamed of being an usher.  Are you ashamed of God!”

As you may imagine, the last comment didn’t go over so well.

“I’m not ashamed of God, but I like to look good.

I don’t look good in this usher uniform. It’s ugly.”

I’m admittedly paraphrasing the conversation, but this is pretty much the gist. The funny thing about this whole experience is that God really does have unique, hand-crafted tests, just for us, at every level. For better or worse, He lets us know what is in us. When I tell you that this experience was hand-crafted, it couldn’t have fit my young embarrassed teen friend’s situation any tighter than Serena Williams infamous black catsuit at the U. S. Open.

During the course of our excursion, which first took us to the bookstore and then to the ice cream shop, these sisters saw four people they knew while wearing “the ugly usher dress.” One had a “Whatever!” attitude and the other was, dare I say, “freaking out.” It seemed like the more she freaked out, the more people she saw that she knew. She kept saying things like “Lord help me. . .” but I don’t know if she realized that He was. He was helping her to learn how to get over herself and stand as a representative for Him.

Every last one of us as Christians will have some kind of situation to experience to stamp out shame. We can’t be ashamed of who we are in Christ. We are Christians in church and because we don’t live in church, we are also Christians outside of the church. This young sister is a remarkably strong young person in Christ. God is using her now and be the Lord’s will, He will use her tremdously in the future, but God is such a marksman that He knows what areas need work.

It’s nice to get dressed up and represent the Lord, but every experience isn’t going to be a pretty experience. What if God wants us to roll up our sleeves and get dirty? Are we going to be worried about the way we look and who sees us? That’s a distraction and a hindrance to the work of Christ. So we all have to learn how to get over ourselves through our relationship with Christ. He will enable us to stand in that ugly usher dress (or insert your issue here) because bigger challenges are ahead.

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May 21, 2012

Is that a crow in your mouth? Try wisdom!

Filed under: Uncategorized — avonbeautiful @ 3:12 pm

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But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17).” It’s funny how God works. I was put in a situation where I was asked to work on a Sunday. My first thoughts: “Are you kidding me?” I don’t play that, and my employers know that I don’t work Sundays. However, since there was no one else available to work, since everybody who would normally work is going to a former associate’s graduation,  I was put on the schedule. What?!!! How can I be put on a schedule if that is my scheduled day off? Please help me understand.

At this point I’m irritated. No, I’m furious. I’m wrangling and trying to get this misunderstanding understood. Somebody’s going to have to miss this graduation because this is my scheduled day off. I’m talking with one of the assistant managers and I’m telling her “I’m not coming in.” She’s sick of me, there’s nothing she can do. She’s not the one who did it, but she can get a message to the manager who did, so she’s going to have to take this chewing off of the ear and pass it on. Don’t they know I have to usher? Don’t they know I need to worship?  Don’t they know that I have to hear God’s word. It’s Sunday you heathens!

So, I”m troubled as I sit in choir rehearsal, the Saturday before the Sunday that I’m scheduled for work. “Pastor, I was asked to work tomorrow because yada yada yada yada and everybody is going to this graduation.” Pastor says, “Go.” I say in myself “Huh?” I say to my pastor, “That’s not what I thought you were going to say.” Pastor laughs and shares with me    to let them know this would not be a regular thing, but I am still stunned by the “Go.” Then you know what scripture comes immediately to my mind? “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” I couldn’t remember the whole scripture, but God blessed me to remember that is easily intreated. That means it’s not stubborn it will just say yes to whatever needs to be done. Is that crow that I’m tasting. I believe I have a phone call to make.

So I call back to the job to get it right with the assistant manager. I hand her back the ear that I previously chewed off and I try to place it back in place as sweetly as I can. I was wrong for being on some self-righteous, legalistic wave-length when wisdom said, “Be a blessing.” I have to admit, I was trying to get myself together because I felt I had been wronged, so pray for me saints. I didn’t like how it went down, but things aren’t always going to be so pretty and tidy. That’s where humility on the saint’s part comes in.

This was a good experience for me because I needed to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath like the word of God says (James 1:19). I was quick to hear, quick to speak and quick to wrath. There’s a big “F” on that test, but knowing the Lord, he will bring it around again, and prayerfully I’ll allow the Holy Spirit to be my guide the next time. God wants His children not to just “go to church,” He wants us to “be the church.” We reflect His image shouldn’t we be pure, peacable, gentle, easily intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and hypocrisy?

May 3, 2012

The Dress Code of LIfe’s Moments

Filed under: Uncategorized — avonbeautiful @ 9:51 am
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Over the years, I have had various part-time retail jobs in clothing stores and in serving customers you realize that fashion represents certain moments in our lives. A woman entered the boutique and I told her what the deals of the day were. She seemed appreciative enough. She circled the store and other sales associates approached her to help her and she kept looking for her outfit quietly. All of a sudden she made a bee-line for me and next thing I knew she was whispering softly saying, “My daughter died and I need you to help me buy an outfit for her funeral so I can get out of here quickly.

In my shock, I managed to move my feet as my heart fell, thinking of the despair this woman was feeling. She said “You’re going to be my angel to get me through this.” Now I’m nobody’s angel, just a woman of God who desires to show God’s glory. So that qualifies me as a servant. That’s enough of a title for me.

I didn’t know the woman’s faith but I did know she needed an outfit and she needed to get out of the store fast. So I whizzed around the store showing her different options. This woman was a very simple dresser, she shared that she hadn’t bought clothes in years. Thankfully, God blessed me to find something very comfortableappropriate and pretty.

It’s funny…not haha funny but weird. A mother never really counts on finding an outfit for their child’s funeral. What does that outfit look like? Something else that struck me is the plague of body self-consciousness still seems to affect people in the midst of mourning. We found an outfit that hid what it needed to hide and allowed the grieving mom to feel confident in her outfit choice and we did it all in  record time.

One of my coworkers who was not privy to the conversation wanted to add accessories, but the woman quickly cut off that conversation because she was ready to go. I could tell my coworker thought she was being nasty, but she was being abrupt because of the circumstance.

We finished ringing up her purchase when she realized she needed an outfit for the wake as well. I quickly found another top she could wear with the same skirt and she was overjoyed to be done. As she left we had a gift we were giving away. It was a charm bracelet. She gave it to me and thanked me profusely then gave a good word to my manager.

I cannot tell you how that whole experience made me look at how important it is to look at people and make no assumptions. You never know what people are going through and sometimes all they need is a little help and a prayer on their behalf. It also showed me the importance fashion plays in the different moments of one’s life, providing some small sense of comfort, confidence, and a sense of togetherness, even when one’s world appears to be falling apart.

Finally, the last thing I would say about this incident is the importance of knowing your role. There is no shame  in being a servant, especially when it helps others to make it through difficulties we can’t imagine. However, if this woman never came up to me and shared with me all that she shared, my attitude should have been exactly the same because a consistent, unwavering, non-flickering light of Jesus Christ is what the world needs to see at all times.

March 23, 2012

‘October Baby’ tells the unlikely story of being an abortion survivor

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October Baby hits movie theaters on Friday, March 23rd, bringing up a topic that is rarely talked about — the survivors of abortions. It’s probably hard to picture that there could be survivors of abortion when the word baby is swapped for the less offensive word “fetus.” Nonetheless, thousands of babies survive attempted abortions. Unfortunately after surviving the abortion some babies are left to die, others are put up for adoption, while others survive the abortion procedure and are born at a later date (as was the case with real-life abortion survivor Carrie Fischer*). There is a consequence in many cases; some who survive are disfigured or suffer health concerns throughout their lives.

October Baby, which was directed by award winning duo, John and Andrew Erwin, and produced by Provident Films, the makers of Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants, revolves around a young woman named Hannah, played by newcomer Rachel Hendrix. After collapsing, Hannah finds out a very difficult and life-changing truth; the results of many medical tests concluded that the reason for her collapse was because of her difficult birth—the result of a failed abortion attempt by her mother.

Continue reading on Examiner.com ‘October Baby’ tells the unlikely story of being an abortion survivor – Baltimore evangelical | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/evangelical-in-baltimore/october-baby-tells-the-unlikely-story-of-being-an-abortion-survivor#ixzz1ptpJBVxg

March 13, 2012

Burst of Beauty

Filed under: Uncategorized — avonbeautiful @ 7:46 pm

Burst of Beauty

Over 5,000 views of this blog is such a blessing and since all blessing come from the Lord, I thought I would share a burst of beauty with you. Enjoy!

March 12, 2012

Stepping into Your Calling

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Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of seeing God bring a very young woman, in her twenties, into a calling that is even older than Methuselah. It’s not a light thing because her life will forever be changed. Nonetheless, realizing that your life  doesn’t belong to you is the first step in the road to  your callinImageg.

God tells us “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you;” however, if you know anything about being an adult in your twenties, thirties, forties, and so on…you also know that we have our own thoughts and plans for ourselves. We  also  do not take kindly to anyone changing them. See, but the rest of the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 tells what the Lord says His thoughts are: “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  That doesn’t mean the road of life is going to be padded with rose petals and marshmallows (I like marshmallows a lot), but it does mean that God will be with us all the days of our lives, when we put our trust and faith in Him. We couldn’t be in better hands.

Not everybody will be called to be a minister or a pastor, but like John the Baptist, will we be able to decrease and direct the focus of our lives to the True Light, Jesus Christ? We were created for Him, By Him, and  for His purpose, so it’s just makes sense that He would know how to direct us best.

The road is narrow. Jesus tells us that. He also tells us there will be persecutions. Of course, because the servant is not greater than the Master. However, we have an expected end that is filled with joy, and the blessed assurance that we will be able to see our Lord and Savior and Loving Father face to face.

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March 10, 2012

Kirk Cameron’s new documentary ‘Monumental’ traces America’s Christian roots

Is America a Christian country? It seems today that the prevailing opinions and beliefs are not Christian. Even though, there are many who describe themselves as Christian, most do not heed to God’s word, without subjectivity. That kind of belief cannot be considered real Christianity. Real Christianity is based upon God’s word given to us through the scriptures, and His word is final. So, given that for the most part, we as Americans, no longer accept God’s word from the Bible as the final authority . . . at this point we really cannot be a considered a Christian country. However, inquiring minds may want to know: “Upon what ideals, ideas and principles were the United States of America originally founded?” The answer to this question seems to be what Christian actor Kirk Cameron is searching for in his upcoming documentary Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasures.

Continue reading this article on Examiner.com 

January 23, 2012

Single—are your eyes and heart single?

“You are married to the Lord.” Most likely, every Christian single has heard that at one time or another, and it is true. Jesus is our husband, He died for His church, “the bride,” and it is an honor to be part of the church. It is also an honor to know that Christ prayed for me, specifically. He doesn’t just look at me as one of the many Christians—He loves me, specifically; He died for me, specifically; He was raised for me, specifically, and He calls me “His bride,” specifically.

That being true, many singles do have a desire to be married, have children, and have that one person on earth who they are one with in the eyes of the Lord. That’s real talk—not the so heavenly-minded conversation that you’re no earthly good jibber jabber that singles hear so often. Single Christians can acknowledge that they have desires; marriage is a holy desire that requires no shame. (Read the rest of this article on Examiner.com)

January 18, 2012

You’re still trying to hand me that?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — avonbeautiful @ 11:19 pm
Tags: , ,

Forbidden fruit!

What is the enemy trying to hand you?

It’s amazing. You still do it.

You still try to slink your way into my life with your ideals and aspirations and impositions.

You still try to convince me that your way is the right way even when you made a wrong turn way back when.

You still try to tell me that up is down

and back is forth

and this is that

and wrong is right

and evil is good.

GIVE UP!!!

You’ve run into a brick wall and it’s immovable.

It’s steadfast.

It’s always abounding.

Not because of me. . .because it’s the work of the Lord.

Because of Him, I know that blue is blue.

Black is black.

White is white.

Right is right.

Wrong is wrong.

Sin is sin—no matter how you try to dress it.

You’re not wanted here.

You have no stake here.

The Light has come and it’s time for you to flee.

Flee with your deceptions.

Flee with your unlawful laws.

Flee with your lies.

Flee because the Light of Christ overcomes your power.

Written by Monica Johnson

December 5, 2011

The little drummer boy gave his best – What will you give to Christ this Christmas?

An excited little boy standing in front of drums.

The Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the child Jesus (Matthew 2:11). These were costly gifts, but they were coming to see a King. These gifts were not just random, they were spiritual gifts recognizing the  Kingship of Jesus (gold), His priesthood (frankincense) and His eventual death (myrrh). God can show you just what you need to give, even if you don’t know exactly why you’re giving it. That’s why we should always seek God and prepare to give Him our very best.

One can learn a lot from the Christmas carol “Little Drummer Boy.” If you listen to the words, it lets you know that the little boy didn’t have the means to give a gift fit for a king, let alone the King of kings; however, that wasn’t an excuse for him. He came to see the new born King anyway, and he gave what he had. He had a drum and as the song says, “He played his best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum. (Continue reading the rest of this article on Examiner.com by clicking this link: The little drummer boy gave his best – What will you give to Christ this Christmas?.)

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