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Everybody Hurts….Sometimes (Plus a Giveaway)

first aidI apologize. I really do. If this song is stuck in your head all day, I give you permission to to cyber smack me. 

But there is truth to the lyrics, isn’t there?

So many of us are walking around wounded.

And what makes things tricky is that the wounds are rarely visible.

So here we all are, living this thing called life with invisible wounds that cause very real pain and what happens is…..

We get stuck in it. 

For me, so much of my pain is tied up in our adoption. Our sweet girl has our hearts, but she is half a world away in a country where chaos is king.  When we first saw her face, we thought she’d be home last summer. Now here we are. It’s almost April and nobody adopting from Congo has any clue when, or even if our children will come home. It’s financially stressful to the nth degree, but worse than that – it’s emotionally exhausting.

And in the midst of my stress and exhaustion, it is so easy for me to get stuck on myself.

Somebody is harsh or unkind and I think, “How can they be this way to me? They have no idea what I am going through.”

Oh, how Satan must rejoice.

How gleeful and victorious he must be when self-focus rules the day. When we let our hurts blind us from the hurts of others.  

Maybe the person who was harsh or unkind isn’t a harsh or unkind person. Maybe they are swimming through an ocean of hurt, too. And instead of our judgment and our wrath, maybe they need some first aid in the form of love and encouragement. 

What if we looked out?

What if we said, “Stand back, Satan. You want me to soak in my misery. But I’m not going to soak here. I’m going to soak in God’s truth and then I’m going to offer that truth to the hurting world around me.”

In my upcoming release, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, the main character is one who looks far from wounded. She’s a successful fashion model in New York City. The world would look at her and covet what she has. Oh, but Ivy is wounded. She is wounded to the core. And those wounds are influencing her behavior. Those wounds have her self-destructing.

But thankfully, God puts some people in her life–who are wounded too–but in the midst of their own hurt, they refuse to soak. They see the pain beneath Ivy’s facade.

And redemption unfolds….

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Giveaway Time!

Every Monday, from now until its release on April 15, I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful. Congratulations to last week’s winner, Lynn R. from California! This week’s giveaway will end at midnight on Saturday and the winner will be emailed on Sunday, so please keep an eye on your inbox. Be sure to click Already Follow or Already Like to maximize your entries . To keep shipping costs down, I can only ship within the United States. Thanks for understanding!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
 
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 
 
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

To pre-order A Broken Kind of Beautiful, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Katie
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You are Intricately Made (Plus a Giveaway)

needleworkIn the book of Genesis, we are given an account of creation.

In this account, God speaks creation into being.

In a matter of six days, the universe and all its complexities became.

According to Genesis, it wasn’t a slow process. Or even an intricate one. 

He said, “Let there be light.”

And BAM! Just like that, there was light.

He said, “Let there be land and animals and birds and fish.”

And BAM! Just like there, there was land and animals and birds and fish.

It speaks of God’s power and His might and His absolute authority.

Creation does not have to be a process. Not for Him.

But sometimes it is…..

The other day I had out my Bible, the amplified version. This is what I get out when I’m feeling discouraged or lost, and need that extra something-something to open my eyes and help me see. The amplified version doesn’t just translate a Hebrew or Greek word into one English word, it uses multiple. If the Hebrew word connotes joy AND peace, the amplified version doesn’t choose between the two. It uses both.

I don’t remember where I started, but I do remember where I ended.

Psalm 139.

And what I found filled my heart to overflowing.

psalm 139My name was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret and intricately and curiously wrought…..

Wait for it.

AS IF EMBROIDERED WITH VARIOUS COLORS.

Okay, so I don’t know a whole lot about embroidery, but I do know that the process is not a quick one.

Embroidery is intricate work that takes time and immense attention to detail.

How amazing, that the God who SPOKE the world into existence, the God who could create us quicker than it would take to snap a finger, chose to embroider us instead.

And as if that’s not enough, we have verse 16.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book, ALL the days of my life were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. 

God literally took my breath with this vision of Him, the creator of the universe, watching every moment of my life unfold as He embroidered me with care. Every mountain top moment and every valley. The long seasons of drought and the seasons of abundant rain. The college I would go to and the man I would marry and the books I would write and the children I would call mine. ALL the days were written BEFORE any of them came to be. Nothing that comes my way is a surprise to Him. There is no twist or turn that catches Him off guard.

He already saw it all, when He was embroidering me.

It reminded me of Ephesians 2:10.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. 

Let those words sink in for a minute. Let them fill you with awe.

Good things.

Before the beginning of time, He gave us good things to accomplish. 

How easy it is to lose track of those things when we let the world call worthless what He has already declared BEAUTIFUL.

How easy it is to fall into discouragement, or even despair, when we forget that we are not just seen, but loved by an Almighty God.

After all, if not one sparrow falls without Him knowing, how much more does He see and love us—the bearers of His image?

Let’s Talk: What helps you remember your worth and value when you’re feeling worthless and devalued?

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Giveaway Time!

Every Monday, from now until its release on April 15, I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful. Congratulations to last week’s winner, Diane from up north! Be sure to click Already Follow or Already Like to maximize your entries . To keep shipping costs down, I can only ship within the United States. Thanks for understanding!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
 
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 
 
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

To pre-order A Broken Kind of Beautiful, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Also, don’t miss the Spring into Romance Giveaway, hosted by me, Becky Wade, Dani Pettrey, Rachel Hauck, Ronie Kendig, and Lynette Eason! Hop on over and enter to win one of SIX prizes.

Katie
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Breaking Free (Plus a Giveaway)

Every Monday, from now until its release on April 15, I’m giving away an autographed copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful. Congratulations to last week’s winner, Cynthia from Pennsylvania! 

Before we get into the details of this week’s giveaway, I have the immense pleasure of introducing to you former model and a wonderful friend, Liv Ryan. She sincerely hopes her story will serve as an inspirational tale to anyone who beats herself up over numbers on the scale or battles with negative self-image, to anyone who counts calories or lives for the approval of another human being, and to anyone who thinks there’s anything glamorous about being a model.

modeling 2

By Liv Ryan

When I was a junior in high school I got scouted at Woodfield Mall in Chicago by a pair of model scouts. They spewed compliments and painted a picture of a future in Milan and Paris, a future so promising that I was practically foaming at the mouth. So when they invited me to New York City for an audition with some of the world’s top modeling agencies, to say I was excited was the understatement of the century.

To make a very long story short, I didn’t get signed in the Big Apple because my hips were too big. A few agencies promised a contract if I could come back with 34” hips.

34” Hips?

Seriously?!

Thirty four inches: the unrealistic standard I would spend the next two years of my life trying to measure up to.

Thirty four inches: the number that my measuring tape couldn’t read no matter how hard I would squeeze it.

Thirty four inches: the number that drove me into a dark place.

As it turns out, thirty four inches for me is simply impossible.

But goodness knows I tried. Working out became an obsession…which soon became an eating disorder. Running, lunges, salads, drinking water like a crazy person….you name it, I did it.

Two months later I signed a contract with Elite in Chicago, and the whirlwind began. Immediately I was booked for a hair company’s photo shoot. They sent me home with a new hair style:

hair

Through print jobs, runway shows and pro-bono projects, I spent roughly the next two years of my life balancing school with a modeling career…all the while chasing a standard I could never achieve: PERFECTION.

I think we can all agree the self image of most teenage girls is about as fragile as a porcelain doll, but place her in an industry OBSESSED with perfection and she is sure to break.

And break I did. At my skinniest weight, I was the most depressed and furthest from Christ I had been since I became a Christian. Maybe I was beautiful on the outside, but I was desperate, hurting and broken inside.

Do you want to know a secret? Shhhh, because the industry never wants you to know what I’m about to tell you. Ready?

The models you see and compare yourselves to DON’T EXIST. It’s all an illusion. Please watch this video of a model’s before and after.. You will be blown away.

Enhancement is the standard, and natural beauty, “uniquicity” as I call it, is all but present. I know their dirty little secret now, but at the time, the mirror was nothing but a painful reminder that I wasn’t perfect.

God orchestrated a rescue mission during my freshman year of college that led to my modeling demise, and I couldn’t be more grateful for his intervention.

He led me to attend Wheaton College where the Christian community was authentic and strong. Slowly but surely, God was pulling me back to Himself. He was using any and all means possible.

Wheaton’s cafeteria didn’t suck, and I put on about 10 pounds over the course of the year. At one of my agency “check-ins” near the end of that school year, my agent pulled out an old friend of mine…drumroll please…the dreaded measuring tape. 

At that moment, I knew and they definitely knew that our professional relationship was over. I didn’t fit the bill and would soon be replaced. After all, girls were lining up at the door for weekly open auditions. 

Looking back, I see God’s hand ACTIVELY protecting me and pursuing me throughout every step of my journey. He is the reason I didn’t fall deeper into my eating disorder. He is the reason sexual abuse never touched me (and you better believe it goes on in that industry).

God didn’t passively sit by while I “did my own thing.” That’s not the kind of Father God is. He never stops fighting for or tugging on the hearts of His children.

He. Never. Gives. Up. On. Us.

I have come so far in my image journey that I sometimes forget how intense that stormy season was. I can say with complete confidence that because of God’s healing hand, I am free from an eating disorder and enslavement to body image!

Am I perfect? That’s clearly rhetorical people! Of course there have still been trials and mistakes along the way. But I couldn’t be more thankful that God rescued me from a career path that explicitly robbed me of passion, freedom and joy.

Eight years later, almost to the day of my modeling career going up in smoke, I have never been more fulfilled. The Lord has renewed my mind and given me a passion and purpose for His kingdom that permeates far deeper than beautiful photos and long-skinny-runway legs ever could.

I am crafted in the image of God Almighty. He looks at all 39” of my child bearing hips, every wrinkle and every randomly sprouting gray hair…

and calls me BEAUTIFUL.

I’m not a model. “I’m a daughter of the King. And he is enthralled with my beauty. I will honor him, for He is my Lord.” (Psalm 45:11)

head shot

Liv is a wife of one and a mommy of two who currently resides in Bettendorf, IA. She is a passionate writer, runner, holy yoga instructor and musical theater girl who is still learning what “slow down” means. She thinks every body type is beautiful, and loves seeing women embrace who they are in Christ. She is so thankful that God has brought their son Coleton into their family through adoption, and that He has also blessed them with a miracle baby girl. Liv and her hubby Kevin also have lots of children in heaven, as a result of recurrent miscarriages. She’s currently writing a book series entitled: Bearing Hope: Your Inspirational Companions through the Darkness of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Failed Adoption. Her personal blog is www.livryan.com.

  

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Giveaway Time!

Be sure to click Already Follow or Already Like if you follow an author. Otherwise you will not be entered.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
 
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong.

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 
 
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

To pre-order A Broken Kind of Beautiful, scroll down to the buy links at the bottom of this page.

Katie
Comment Link 25 Comments

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