My response to the Bachelor Fantasy Suites February 2020…

Image result for madison peter

I have been watching the Bachelor since 2006 when I was a single girl in my apartment dreaming of my own love story. I used to get captivated in the romantic settings, dates, and of course those long dramatic stares into the Bachelor’s eyes…

Now 14 years later I am still captivated by this “reality” TV show because I am a sucker for watching shows about people and how they live. I love watching  and studying their personalities, stories, and their characters.

This season has been less than thrilling, even though Chris Harrison has promised it will be the “most dramatic season yet.” Same old drama between the girls, same internal conflict with the Bachelor who is in love with more than one girl…. nothing new…. or is there?!

Last night we saw Madison, one of the finalists, who has been vocal about her faith through her actions and then last night through her words as well. Madison has not allowed herself to get caught up in the other girls drama and has carried herself through this process with dignity and class. She has also been very strong expressing her convictions to wait to have sex until her wedding night. Since this was the fantasy suite week where the finalists are allowed an overnight date (which allows for a more physical relationship to form – usually sex), Madison had pulled Peter aside and had expressed to him that she wasn’t sure she could continue in this process if he was going to become physically intimate with the other two girls. She didn’t want to give him an ultimatum but wanted him to know where her heart was. Ultimately, Peter chose to spend the night with these other two women in their fantasy suite during their overnight dates and then was upfront with Madison on the evening of their fantasy suite date. She handled herself with grace and poise, even though her heart was breaking because he hadn’t put value on her words a few nights before about her ultimatum. After watching a heartbreaking conversation where she stood very strong in her convictions and didn’t allow her standards to lessen, she eliminated herself from the show.

As I was processing through what just happened on national television, I kept thinking of this verse that has always been a big part of my life (especially through my teenage years). Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Madison just showed Christian girls everywhere that you should value yourself enough to not hold yourself to the world’s standards, but to hold yourself to the standards laid out in the Bible. She also told young women everywhere to value themselves enough to not settle for something less than what you want. She knows her value and wants her future spouse to value her in the same regard.

She didn’t portray it as being an easy choice, because let’s be honest, making the right choice isn’t always the easiest option. She was heart-broken and disappointed. But she knew that Jesus has a plan for her and is trusting in that instead of trusting in her feelings for Peter alone.

As I watched this unfold and processed through it, it gave me hope for my own daughter. I pray that Lucy will someday hold herself to a high standard because she is worth it. Her value shouldn’t just be in what the world (or even her future husband) thinks of her. It should be the value that Jesus places on her. He loved her enough to die on cross for her. He calls her beautiful and His princess. He says in Proverbs 3:5 “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” My prayer is that Lucy will always know that worth and continue to follow God’s standards, not the world’s.

CHALLENGE: This week let’s pray for our daughters and sons. Pray that they will come to know their worth to God and continue to hold themselves to a high standard. Pray that they will go against the grain in this world and shine their lights for Jesus.

Up on a pedestal

For as long as I can remember I have been star struck by celebrities! Not just the celebrities from TV and movies…. but the celebrities that came to our school from the local news station or the lead singer from a local band at a festival. I have always held them in high regard and would find myself star struck when then came to speak to our class or would sing directly to me. Disclaimer: This is my first grade self that was star struck by these personalities. 

Even in my early 30’s I am still occasionally star struck by various people such as TV stars, famous authors, etc. I can remember it like it was yesterday… It was 2013. After becoming a mom to 2 babies over the past year I could FINALLY go to the Hearts at Home conference in Bloomington, IL. I had waited a long time for this opportunity. Several of my friends and mentors over the years had attended and always gushed about how amazing the weekend was. It was definitely an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of. A weekend away from my screaming colicky 4 month old daughter, my extremely needy 16 month old son, and time to just be me again while I worshiped and learned about God. It had to be the best thing ever right?! 

The morning of the conference I woke up to my alarm at 5:45, showered, and started second guessing if I should go. However I talked myself back into it and hopped into the car with 3 other girlfriends. When we arrived in the theater for the morning main session I was amazed to see all of the women who were attending this event. I didn’t realize it was this big! The first session began and it featured author and speaker Jill Savage who was talking on the topic of her new book No More Perfect Moms. As soon as she began speaking on this subject the tears were unleashed. The message was so freeing for this new mom who was striving to be perfect and was failing miserably (or at least felt like she was). Throughout the day I was blessed with several workshops by many talented and knowledgable speakers/authors. Each speaker was speaking directly to my heart and soul, leaving an imprint that would change my experience as a mom forever. All of a sudden I was surrounded by new “celebrities” who I was now star struck by. Then the last speaker for the afternoon session came out –Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner from Full House). Talk about a celebrity who I was totally star struck by— I grew up on Full House and wanted to be like DJ. Now here she was in front of me speaking about Jesus!!! What an amazing opportunity! After she was done speaking I bee lined out of the session early to get in line to meet her. And then it happened…. I MET HER!!!! I don’t remember what I said but I’m sure it wasn’t coherent.

Meeting Candace Cameron Bure!!!

 After the conference while I was reflecting on all of the pearls of wisdom I had taken in over the day I realized while Candace Cameron Bure was the biggest celebrity there she wasn’t who had the biggest impact on me. Jill Savage who I was familiar with from her brief radio spots on WCIC became the person I was most “star struck” with that day. She was a mom like me who had been through it all it seemed like. She also realized that it was ok not to be perfect – exactly what I needed to hear that day. 

I attended Hearts at Home the next year and continued to grow my list of authors I would officially be a “fangirl” of. Dr. Kathy Koch, Sara Horn, Arlene Pellicane, Julie Barnhill, Dr. Juli Slattery, Kathi Lipp, etc just to name a few. The best part of these conferences were the opportunities to talk to them. The conversations weren’t long but meaningful. Each of their stories and topics were meaningful to my life and we shared the most important thing in the world in common — Jesus Christ was King of our lives. 

Arlene Pellicane and I – North Central 2015

Sara Horn and I – North Central 2015

Julie Barnhill and I – National 2016
Kathi Lipp and I – National 2016

Fast forward to February 2015 — I had been looking at the job opportunities at Hearts at Home for several months in case of an opening that fit with my strengths. One day I decided to fill out the application and send my resume for the Director of Staffing Position. After finishing my master’s degree in Educational Administration and being a stay at home mom for a few years now I was ready to dip my toes back into the workplace. This position was appox. 10 hours a week and that sounded perfect. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would get the job!!!!! 

Talk about star struck……. I remember walking in the office for my interview ever so slightly looking around because at any moment Jill Savage may walk through (although she wasn’t in the office that day). But on my first day Jill walked by my desk and said “I don’t think I’ve met you yet… I’m Jill!” With a somewhat shaky voice I said “Hi I’m Emily and I KNOW who YOU are.” I couldn’t believe I was going to be working with Jill Savage – a woman who had spoken so much truth into my life. How was I going to deal with this kind of celebrity sighting on a daily basis?

Jill Savage and I at a HAH staff event

I had started working for Hearts at Home only a few weeks before their National conference. The day before leaving for conference I made my family some lemon cupcakes and posted the picture on Facebook. A few hours later Dr. Kathy Koch commented on how delicious they looked and she would like the recipe! Dr. Kathy Koch…. on my Facebook….up close and personal!!!! What was this?! I was freaking out like it was 1990 and the New Kids in the Block were in town. My husband definitely was laughing at how “fan girl” I was acting. 

Dr. Kathy Koch and I – National 2016

I was reflecting on all of this and asking myself “why do I get so giddy when I am around these people??” After pondering this question for a while I determined it was because of one reason…. the impact they made on my life has been a great one! Their truth has penetrated to deep places in my heart and their words have helped me change for the good. Someone who is open enough to deliver that message fearlessly like these women have are stamped with a “Celebrity status” in my world. They are changing the world one heart at a time through Jesus Christ’s love and words. I admire the work they do and the way they do their work with such grace and love. 

Needless to say it has gotten more normal to work with Jill Savage. She is just a normal human being like the rest of us, but she has a divine purpose of writing and speaking. Dr. Kathy Koch is also human…..with an amazing gift of insight to our kids and the powerful gift of inspiring us to bring out the best in them. Do I still have an occasional fan girl moment? Yes. But I have come to realize the only person we should have on a pedestal is Jesus Christ! 

Can you imagine what kind of fan girl moment I will have when I get to meet Jesus in Heaven! He is the ultimate celebrity! The best part is we get to worship Him for eternity celebrating His awesome authority, power, and love. Jesus is someone the whole world will know someday… hopefully sooner than later. The best part is He knows my name and my heart better than any of my “celebrity” friends will! He came to die for me,  loves me regardless of my imperfections, and always has the time to listen to me. He is the PERFECT celebrity! Amen!