Bible Verses to Remind You of God's Covenant

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 25, 2016
cov-e-nant (kuhv-uh-nuh-nt) noun an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified

After the flood in Genesis, God made a promise to Noah to never wipe out the earth with another flood. God bound this promise with a symbol: the rainbow. Each time a rainbow would appear above the clouds, His people would be reminded of the covenant He made with the earth. The beauty of rainbows captures the beauty of this promise. They showcase the different colors of the world and the creativity that God so abundantly has.

In the New Testament, we were granted another covenant, this one promising new life. When Jesus died on the cross in order to save us, his blood became the sign of the new covenant. We will forever be saved through grace and Jesus' sacrifice. Although we don't have Jesus' blood to look at and remind us like we have the rainbow, we have other things, like God's Word and the symbol of the cross.

Throughout life's struggles, we can sometimes forget about God's promises to us. It can be easy to see a rainbow and be reminded of God or think of Jesus' sacrifice without truly soaking it in. Meditate on God's love each time you're reminded of a promise He's made. You'll be amazed to see how much closer your relationship with God will become when you can look to rainbows and the cross and see the multitude of ways God has blessed and cared for you.

Below are verses to help you meditate on God's perfect, loving, saving covenant with us.

Genesis 9:6 "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Genesis 17:7 "I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you."

Exodus 19:5-6 "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation..."

1 Kings 8:23 "And he prayed, 'O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.'"

Nehemiah 1:5 "Then I said: 'Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments."

Psalm 89:34 "I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered."

Psalm 105:8 "He always stands by his covenant - the commitment he made to a thousand generations."

Psalm 106:45 "He remembered his covenant with them and relented because of his unfailing love."

Isaiah 54:10 "'For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,' says the Lord, who has mercy on you."

Isaiah 55:3 "Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David."

Matthew 26:28 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

2 Corinthians 3:6 "He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life."

For other alphabet word studies, click here.

A Letter to my Dad

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 19, 2016
Titus 2:7 "And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good words of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching."

Dearest Dad,

I am so blessed to be able to call you "Dad."

Bible Verses to Remind You that You're Beautiful

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 13, 2016
beau-ty (byoo-tee) noun the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind

word study: beautiful

This week, I read something on She is Captivating's Instagram that put beauty into perspective. I read, "You see, we have no problem at all looking at nature and God's creation and calling it good, perfect, and beautiful. We look at the mountains and call them 'stunning.' We look at the way the leaves of the trees lightly move with the breeze and call them 'majestic.' We look at the roses and the lilies and the daisies and we put them in pretty vases on display for the world to see and we call them 'good.' Why then, do we have such a hard time calling God's best creation (us) good, perfect, holy, flawless, majestic?"

It got me thinking: God's creation is full of beauty and we are His most perfect creation, so why do we struggle to feel beautiful? I know I struggle with it. After praying about feeling confident in my own beauty, the beauty that God himself bestowed upon me, I decided to share with you five things that make me feel beautiful.

1. Being surrounded by my girlfriends, laughing and sharing.
2. Having my nails painted.
3. Getting dressed up for work.
4. Wearing my boyfriend jeans with my favorite tank top.
5. Listening to and singing worship music.
What five things make you feel most beautiful?
Below are ten verses to remind you that, in the most important One's eyes, you are beautiful.

Song of Solomon 4:7

1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Job 40:10 "Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty."

Psalm 45:11 "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord."

Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the the Lord is to be praised."

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

Song of Solomon 2:10 "My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.'"

Song of Solomon 4:7 "You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."

Ezekiel 16:14 "And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord."

Romans 10:15 "And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.'"

1 Peter 3:3-4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the waring of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, 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."

For other alphabet word studies, click here.

Introduction Thursday

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 09, 2016
As I'm entering deeper into The Light that Carries Me, I decided to join in on Jenna Kutcher's Instagram Lab workshop. Today's challenge was to share a bit about myself on Instagram (which you can find here), but I decided that I also wanted to share on my blog, as this is my main form of communication.

My name is Ainsley and I'm a Christian blogger seeking to not only connect others to God, but to grow in my own relationship with Him. This blog started as a way to share my story about dealing with chronic illnesses and how it influenced my walk with God, but turned into a place for me to grow deeper in my current walk. I am constantly learning, challenging myself, and finding new ways to explore God's beauty.

I have two chronic illnesses that I've been battling for the past eleven years. I became sick when I was 13 and was officially diagnosed with a rare thyroid condition when I was 16. Due to the volatility of my thyroid, they decided to remove it when I was 17. Despite it being removed, I still have substantial problems with my hormone levels, causing me to be nauseous 24/7, experience weight fluctuations, and so many other symptoms. When I was 19, I became sick again, but with different symptoms (I felt like I had the stomach flu for months), and at 20, was diagnosed with gastroparesis, or paralysis of the stomach. I can no longer contract my food on my own without the help of a pill. Thankfully, I've learned how to properly deal with both illnesses and am constantly surprising myself with what I can accomplish. These illnesses rock my world daily, but they've also transformed me into a strong, persistent, woman of God.

In October, I made the move from Northern California to Central Illinois and I am loving it! I settled in with a church family that has been the greatest blessing I could have asked for. Living with my younger sister has been a huge plus, too! She's my best friend and moving in with her was the best decision I could have made.

Most days you can find me watching way too much TV (can I hear it for Criminal Minds fans!?), laughing with my sister, eating at Einstein Bagels far too often, and drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee. I love to travel and explore new parts of the world. Seeing new cultures and places is the perfect way to expand my horizons, while simultaneously seeing God’s creation up close and personal.

My passion lies in planning and organizing. I will forever be known by my friends as the planner of the group, and I love that! I also love to surprise people with little gifts to let them know I’m thinking of them. And really, who doesn’t love little gifts?

I cannot wait to show you more of God's goodness and grace as this blog continues! I'm so glad you stopped by!

A Guide to Bridal Veil Styles

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 06, 2016
bridal veil styles

Putting on a veil can add to that true "bridal moment." It's a symbol of a bride walking down the aisle to meet her groom. But what style should you get? There's cathedral, blusher, juliet, etc - all beautiful, but all very different. Below is a style guide to help you navigate your way to your own "bridal moment."

Birdcage: A birdcage veil is the smallest veil a bride can wear, as it only covers the eyes. It is often made out of a netted material, adding to the vintage vibe it creates.
birdcave veil

Blusher: A blusher veil comes forward to cover the face. Traditionally, a groom pulls the veil over the bride's face, which is where this style comes from. Once the groom reveals the bride's face, the blusher creates a small veil for the bride.
blusher veil

Flyaway: Flyaway veils are short, often going to the bride's shoulders. They are typically voluminous, with layers of tulle.
Flyaway Veils

Elbow: An elbow veil sits right at the elbows.
elbow length veils

Finger-Length: A finger-length veil goes to the tips of the bride's fingers.
fingerlength bid

Ballet: A ballet veil, sometimes called a waltz veil, falls between the knees and ankles.
ballet veils

Chapel: A chapel veil is long, ending at the hem of the bride's gown.
chapel veils

Cathedral: A cathedral veil is dramatic, extending past the train of the gown.
cathedral veils

Juliet: A juliet veil covers the head, like a cap, creating a vintage look.
juliet cap veils

Mantilla: A mantilla veil is a circular piece of fabric, often with lace edges, that falls over the bride's head in a romantic, loose fashion.
mantilla veils

What kind of veil did you wear, or are planning to wear, to your wedding?

Photography Sources (left to right):
Birdcage 1 2* 3 | Blusher 1 2 3 | Flyway 1 2 3 | Elbow 1 2 3 | Finger Length 1 2 3 | Ballet 1 2 3 | Chapel 1 2 3 | Cathedral 1 2 3 | Juliet 1 2 3 | Mantilla 1 2 3 | *unknown

Bible Verses For When You're Feeling Afraid

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 05, 2016
a-fraid (uh-freyd) adjective feeling fear; filled with apprehension

word study: afraid

I knew from the beginning that I wanted my "A" word to be "afraid," and yet, couldn't remember a time I'd ever been truly afraid. Yes, I had been fearful of things, like starting university or that feeling in your stomach right before you go on a rollercoaster, but never that true "oh my goodness, I am terrified" feeling.

But then last week, the Lord gently reminded me that I'm experiencing a time right now where I am extremely afraid. The kind of afraid that paralyzes you and makes you cry all at the same time. For the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling like my thyroid levels may be off. I've been nauseous, losing my hair, feeling antsy; just off. I asked my Bible Study girls to pray for my body, and out came the word "afraid." I'm afraid that my levels are off and that I'm in for months of adjustment; months of nausea; months of not being my true self. After the words came out, I said to God, "I am so afraid of what's in store for my future." He reminded me in that moment that though I may be afraid, I have no need to be if I put my trust wholly in him.

If you, too, need some encouragement during a time of feeling afraid, below are reminders that God will forever protect you and cast away your fears.

Joshua 1:9

Deuteronomy 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Psalm 27:1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 56:3-4 "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise - in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"

Isaiah 12:2 "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation."

Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

Mark 5:36 "Overhearing what they said, Jesus told them, 'Don't be afraid; just believe.'"

Luke 12:6-7 "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

John 6:20 "But he said to them, 'It is I; don't be afraid.'"

Hebrews 13:6 "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'"

For an introduction into this "Alphabet Word Study" - click here.

Alphabet Word Study

by Lavender Elizabeth, June 03, 2016
Isaiah 40:8 "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."

This summer, I'm giving myself a challenge: do a word study for each letter of the alphabet. Being in the Word is a huge part of learning about God and his characteristics, so what better way to dive in than to look up 26 words throughout the summer?

How will my word study work? For me, I'm not going to do the typical word study. I'm not going to look into the original Hebrew of the word and learn its meaning that way. Rather, I'm going to see how God uses certain words throughout his Story. This will allow me to create a database of verses that I can look back on when I'm in need of some heavenly comfort.

Each word that I look into has a special meaning for me. As I share the verses with you, I'll also share stories about my faith and what it looks like to know God's Word as a form of comfort, healing, and love.

Each time I share, I will add that letter to this post. This way, you can have a central spot to access your Alphabet Database.

I can't wait to begin my journey into reconnecting with God's Word - I hope you'll join me!

Alphabet Word Study List:
Fearing God
I Am