23 February 2017

Loving the Girl in the Mirror

"Love the skin you're in." People tell us to love the person we see in the mirror on a daily basis, but if you're like me, they're words that go in one ear and out the other.

The world bombards us with lies. We're not worthy enough, thin enough, fit enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. We're just not enough. And all too often, it's the voice you listen to because it's the loudest. It's the images we see on the make-up commercials, the magazine covers we skim in the check-out line, and the words we hear/read when we're on the internet.

I've struggled with adult acne that came out of nowhere this past year and it's been the biggest internal/external battle I've faced yet. The world tells me that I need to cover up and hide. It tells me that I'm not good enough and no one will ever find me attractive. The world tells me I need to try harder or give up all together.

I listened to the world for some time, too. I didn't leave the house without make-up. I hid underneath scarves and hoodies with collars. I wore my hair down to detract attention to the imperfections on my cheeks.

But to be honest, trying to be "good enough" wasn't doing anything for me. My skin wasn't any clearer and I was finding an unhealthy dependence on make-up to feel confident in my own skin. And that's when I realized that the world will always tell us we're not enough and that we need to try harder. We need to try harder so we can find success, acceptance, and beauty.

But we have two voices to listen to. We can listen to the world or we can listen to Jesus. And it all comes down to choice--we've got to choose the One that will feed us, sustain us, and truly fulfill our longing hearts. The world says we're not enough but God tells us the exact opposite. He tells us that it doesn't matter that we have scars on our bodies or in our hearts. He tells us that we're beautiful. Made in His image and loved beyond measure. He tells us we're

The voice may not be the loudest in our lives, but it's the Truth and it's the voice I'm tuning my ear to listen for. 

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Thank you all for returning to our last week of Beautiful You. It's been quite the journey and we hope you were encouraged & empowered. Never forget what you've read the past few weeks & never forget your worth. Also, If you would like to read more from today's beautiful guest, Kiki, click here!

16 February 2017

When Love Kills

One of the most beautiful gifts that God has given us is the gift of relationships with friends, parents, boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses...etc. We all have dreamed of the day we would meet “the one” and we expect that relationship to be nothing short of love and happiness but, in reality, that expectation can deaden the relationship. No thing, no person can ever fulfill all of your expectations. No matter how wonderful your friendship/relationship is, you will still struggle. We are all human.  Sometimes we’re too tired to love after a hard day at work, sometimes we’re too grumpy to hold a normal conversation, sometimes we give and give all day that when we come home to our families we lash out. That “missing piece” that holds us all together can only come from our relationship with Jesus that overflows into that relationship and makes it satisfying.

When I first got married I had so many expectations, not intentionally but I still had them, and I learned the hard way my husband couldn’t fulfill my every desire. We were both coming together from two different worlds; I grew up in the “ideal” family with two loving parents where divorce was never even a thought. On the other hand, my husband came from a place where his mother had left them as young kids to seek her own desires of drugs and sin, they grew up with a hard-working single dad and grandparents who kept them on a church pew every Sunday. Talk about two different worlds coming together. We both learned, with a ton of heartache, that only Jesus could complete us.
If I'm being honest, some days it's too easy for me to be mean or to get angry about something I feel like he should have remembered. Some days I choose to be frustrated the rest of the night about something that happened at work. What's that saying they always tell you about work and home? "Leave your personal life at home and don't bring it to work with you." The same can be said when you come home, leave all your work frustrations at work. I feel like we forget about that. It's easy to leave your frustrations at home when you go to work because you have people to "please" yet, when we go home, Oh it's just our family. It doesn't matter. But it does matter. 

Having a healthy and fulfilling relationship stems first with our relationship with our Savior. It is in Him that we discover who he is, who we are and our purpose. Once we are complete in Him it begins to overflow into all of our relationships in our lives. If we do not make Jesus “enough”, if He does not become our everything then that dissatisfaction and discontentment begins to seep into other areas of our life. I'm sure you're tired of hearing this but it all starts at the mirror. That person staring back at you is the only one who gets to decide what you will do with your love, your words, your time. Will your love be authentic or fleeting? Will your words be fruitful or deadening? How will you create a healthier relationship?

Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walking in love, as Christ loved us...

I'm still learning every day. I'm still trying to heed Paul's advice to die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). I'm still working on being a better friend, a better wife, a better daughter. Truth is, it's all about remembering that He is more than enough for us. When we allow Him to see our broken pieces, every flaw, every scar, He begins to heal, He begins to piece us back together. That is the key to maintaining healthy relationships, it begins by loving God, loving yourself and letting the overflow run into your surroundings. 

If you're just joining us, we're so glad you're here. We are in week 3 of the 4 part series, Beautiful You.  You can click here to read last week's post and be sure to join us next week as we end our series!

09 February 2017

An Empty Well

If you're just joining us, we're so glad you're here. We are now in week 2 of the 4 part series, Beautiful You. Each week we want to dig deeper and encourage and empower every young woman who has ever experienced heartbreak, moments of feeling “not so beautiful”, and those who are still trying to figure out their role in this thing called “life”. Embrace this experience with us, all we ask is that you come with an open heart, an open mind and let Jesus do the rest. You can click here to read last week's post and be sure to join us next week!


Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

I am currently reading a book, Grace Not Perfection by Emily Ley, I am asking you, begging you to please get it. In chapter two, she talks about us being an empty well. We want to give and help others but we have obligations and life calls us to responsibilities. We live in a time where we often compete on who can have the most on their plate and still maintain composure. Sit back and look at your plate, all the things you want to do and need to do, and answer these questions:

Who is taking care of you?
This question hit me square in the face! I am a mom of two little boys, I moved twice in one month, and built a house. I had piled my plate and was crashing. I was cranky, I was trying to be perfect and was failing miserably As I read this book at work, I wanted to cry, I wanted to give it all up and start all over.

How do you take care of yourself?
Well, there is the obvious, you are human, correct? I don’t have a “confirm you are not a robot” button but I will assume you need the basics such as water, sleep, good food and exercise. You also need care, love and a healthy heart. You need to be inspired and motivated to grow. If you don’t care for yourself, how can you care for those around you?

In Galatians 5:13-14 it says, You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve on another humble in love. For the entire aw is fulfilled in keeping one command; Love your neighbor as yourself. Look at that last line, Love your neighbor as yourself. While you are running and caring for everyone and leaving yourself in the dust, you are not able to give those you love your best. You are loving them as you love yourself but you are on the back burner. 

I challenge you to make a list of what you can give up, what is not necessary in life, what is just adding stress to your life. Once you make that list, make a list of what makes you happy, what you would like to do more, something that would be considered taking time to love you. I know this sounds very selfish and “all about me” but if we can’t take of ourselves there will be nothing left to care for others.

Love yourself. Take time for you. Your love will shine through to others when you are full of joy, love and are glowing with God’s grace.

Hello Fellow Readers!

My name is Aleisha. I am a 20 something old, a wife to my best friend, a mom of the cutest two little boys, a lover of music, piano and singing whatever comes to mind, a receptionist and a dedicated reader of Refining the Wild Grapes.

02 February 2017

If You Don't Have Something Nice to Say

I’m so excited that you’re here joining me in week 1 of the 4 part series, Beautiful You. Each week we want to dig deeper and encourage and empower every young woman who has ever experienced heartbreak, moments of feeling “not so beautiful”, and those who are still trying to figure out their role in this thing called “life”. Embrace this experience with us, all we ask is that you come with an open heart, an open mind and let Jesus do the rest.

How many times have you found yourself thinking or even whispering to the friend next to you, How could she possibly contribute to ministry with an attitude like that? or How can she act like that and still call herself a Christian? I’m guilty. It sounds terrible as I write this but it is so much easier to see the faults in others. I once read, you can see in others only what you have tasted yourself. Let that sink in. We are so quick to condemn what we are guilty of ourselves. Amos 3:3 states Can two walk together, except they be agreed? We share a common direction, a common purpose that is greater than all of us. It is so easy to dehumanize each other, pick apart all the good and bad and categorize them where we think they belong. I wonder though, if we can so easily do this to others, what do we say about ourselves? We are our own worst critic (once again, I’m guilty). What we think and say to that woman in the mirror can easily destroy us in a split second.

Remember that old saying as a child, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Usually that was meant so that we would be nice to our friends and stay out of trouble. But rarely do we see that used in the same context of the things we say about ourselves. How many times have you looked in the mirror and listed all the things you wish you could change?

Beauty is more than just superficial. No matter how cliché it sounds, it truly stems from the heart, it begins with having a Godly character. Although someone could be perceived as “beautiful” that could all change as soon as they open their mouth. If you’re filled with negativity, impatience, hurt, depression, anger, anxiety... it eventually makes its appearance. But what if we filled ourselves with more things like kindness, understanding, selflessness, love, forgiveness, etc. It’s not about being the perfect person but it’s more about mirroring who He is. How do we do this? By spending time in his Word, studying scripture, praying even if it’s just a little each day. No, it won’t make you perfect, but it will make loving yourself and others that much easier.

1 Corinthians 16:14 
Let all that you do be done in love.

Next time you’re about to let something roll off your tongue, whether about yourself or others, think about this:
  •       What are your intentions? Are they to uplift or to destroy?
  •      What if that thought you had or that comment you just made was directed toward someone you care about?
  •       Are you speaking out of anger or love?
  •       Did you take a second to pray for the individual?
Refuse to spend one more second magnifying the enemy’s plans; they are always aimed to destroy.  No matter what your thought or response is, let it be carried out in love. Remember, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Click here for a free download to keep as a daily reminder & join us next week for part 2 of the Beautiful You series!