Dear Skillet – Thank You

Dear Skillet,

I know you more than likely not see this but just in case you happen to find yourselves in this corner of the inter webs, I wanted to say thank you. You have no idea how much your music has carried me through some of my darkest moments. Your music keeps me dancing, your lyrics keep me fighting, and your message keeps my heart focused on the reality that I am never alone. As dark as it feels at times, I have a Savior and Hero that has created me with a plan and a purpose that surpasses all understanding.

I have struggled with chronic illness for over ten years. I was a panhead before my first diagnosis but as time passed and the diagnoses started piling up, it has taken my appreciation for your music to a deeper level. It would be nearly impossible to pick out favorites but I thought I would share how three songs in particular that have carried me when I needed it most.

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Luke 8:43-48. So many times I feel like that woman going doctor to doctor looking for help. When you spend years hearing “we know you are sick but there is nothing we can do to treat it,” it is easy to become discouraged and wonder if life is worth living if every day is spent in pain. It can be easy to allow your faith to be swallowed up in your grief. I think this is why Come My Way is so close to my heart. I have learned that sometimes healing doesn’t come in the form we expect or want. While I still yearn for physical healing and believe that God has the power to do so, I have learned that true healing comes from the inside out. God has healed my heart and has overcome my life with a power that goes beyond anything physical.

In this journey of healing, I have had to redefine my understand my relationship and my understand of who God is. I grew up in a church where you didn’t ask questions. The hand you got dealt was the one you got dealt and if you are sick, then God must have wanted you to be sick. I could not understand how that made sense. It just did not align with what I knew in my heart. So as time passed and the diagnoses started to pile up and my husband and I were knee-deep in our battle with infertility, I had to wrestle. For the first time, I began asking questions and sought to find out for myself what faith meant on a deeply personal level.

I wanted to understand not only what I believe but why I believed it. I learned many of the answers I was looking for but I also learned that there would be times where there were no answers. I learned to put my trust and hope into something much bigger. When I didn’t understand the why’s of life, I could understand the Who. I learned that I would have times that I wouldn’t know why things were happening or what lied ahead but I could trust in the One who writes my days. It is that trust that would carry me. Even when the path seemed dark, God would put reminders in my path to remind me that I am not alone. Whispers In The Dark was one of those reminders. I cannot put into words how much this song has meant to me. God has used the words to help me understand that God still has a plan for my life even when I cannot see it just yet. Every day I must make a choice. I can allow my illness to make me bitter of I can choose to honor Him in spite of it. He can give purpose to my pain.

The last year has been the hardest. Treatments that once worked have failed. Despite second, third, and fourth opinions, the conclusion is the same. My daughter is old enough to recognize that I am sick and asks why the doctors can’t make me feel better. My husband has had to take on the role of caregiver much too soon. Even though God has brought me on a beautiful journey of a deeper understanding of who He is and what faith really means, I wish I could say that the struggle was over. I wish I could say that I never had moments of wondering if things would be better off without me.

I really wish I could but that would be a lie.

Thankfully, my journey doesn’t end here. I serve a God much bigger than anything the Enemy tries to dish out. It is not my strength that gets me through each day but His. Christ came to break my chains and set my heart free. Not Gonna Die has served as a reminder to keep fighting. It would be easy to give up but God does not always call us on a journey that is easy. He does, however, promise that we do not have to go on this journey alone. Not only is He with me but He has placed so many amazing people in my life to fight alongside of me. God has surrounded me with reminders of His love and His power and God has opened so many doors that have allowed me to share my testimony of faith and triumph with so many people that I would not have otherwise been able to share it with had I not been diagnosed with my illnesses. Through the roller coaster of infertility and adoption, I have been able to have a deeper understanding of what it means to be adopted through Christ. By watching my daughter’s birthmother love her and be selfless enough to place her in our arms has given me such a deeper understanding of God’s grace and love.

While life has been full of trials, God has blessed me so deeply and I know I would not have the relationship I have with Him without those challenges. I would not have compassion without the suffering and while I would never have signed up for this life, I would not change anything because of what God has allowed me to be a part of through it.

Again, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your message. Thank you for your music. God has used you in an amazing way to change my life. To save my life. I could not be more grateful.

P.S. We definitely have a little Pinhead in our household. Her favorite song is “Monster” and she wanted to be “Skillet Girl” (her reference to Jen) for Halloween so thank you for sharing music that not only teaches the message but that we can also rock for Jesus!

Dear Skillet: Thank You

November Ipsy Glam Bag Review

November Ipsy Glam Bag

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, the last several months have been kind of “meh” for me on the Ipsy front. Out of the fifteen items I received in my August-October glam bags, there were maybe two (three tops) items that caught my attention. I absolutely fell in love with the Urban Decay Perversion mascara I received in my August bag but that is about the only thing that stands out. November’s bag would decide whether or not I stuck with it.

I am happy to report that November’s bag was awesome and I will definitely be sticking with it a little while longer!

November’s theme was Girl Meets Glitter (you can’t go wrong with glitter!) and these are the goodies I found in this month’s adorable silver bag:

November Ipsy Glam Bag

Left to Right:

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray: I’m always up for trying out new hairsprays and was excited to try this one out as in addition to styling your hair, it is also nourishing. Since I put my hair through the wringer with bleaching and coloring and since I am trying to grow it out, I try to do whatever I can to keep it as healthy as possible. This hairspray provided flexible hold and shine so I would definitely purchase this in the full size.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid: I have really enjoyed this eye pencil! The pencil is very creamy and can be used as a liner or an eye base. The color is beautiful and has micro-glitter for just the right amount of sparkle. At the retail price of $17, the price would definitely keep me from repurchasing but if I could find it on sale, I would definitely like to add other colors to my collection.

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base in Submissive: I love using cream shadows to build intensity and this color is gorgeous. It is a bronze shade with a gold shimmer and is perfect for the holidays. It can be worn alone or as a base under powder eyeshadow for more intense looks. I would definitely like to check out the other shades!
November Ipsy Glam Bag

 

J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in Red Potion: I cannot describe how much I love this lip paint! I have always wanted to try the OCC Lip Tars but they have always been out of my price range so I was really excited to discover this product! I received mine in the shade Red Potion which is a dark, vampy red which is right up my alley for fall and winter! These lip paints are now being sold at Ulta so I am definitely going to be ordering other shades!

TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Heart: I have definitely become obsessed with highlighters but have not tried that many liquid/cream products. This color is very pretty, a little goes a long way, and applies well with a stipple brush! I think I still prefer powders but this is a nice product and will definitely get a lot of use out of!

SWATCHES (from left to right): Eye Pencil in Ultra Orchid, Eye Base in Submissive, Lip Paint in Red Potion, and Highlighter in Pink Heart

 

There is my quick my November Ipsy Glam Bag review! From looking at all of the difference products for the month, it looks like there were a lot of great options across the board! I would have loved to have received the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye, Tarte Deluxe Maracuja Oil, or Laura Gellar Invisible Loose Setting Powder to try but all-in-all, I was very pleased with my bag this month! Hopefully next month’s bag will be just as exciting!

Do you subscribe to Ipsy or any other subscription bag? What kind of goodies have you received lately?