Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No Makeup March!!

One of these pictures is a photo of me without makeup. The other one not only has makeup, but is professionally touched up.
One of these pictures was taken this morning, in front of my bathroom mirror. The other was taken a couple of years ago in a photography studio.

Yet, they are both of me. Robbie Iobst, overweight and beautiful woman. Normal middle age gal with normal middle age gal insecurities.

A week ago, my sister-in-law Kasey told me about some young women at her high school. She is a teacher of philosophy and Bible. She told me that a group of these girls have taken a stand in declaring a NO MAKEUP MARCH.  They go to school each day this month with no makeup on their faces. They are simply saying, "I am beautiful just as I am, with or without makeup on my face." This is a huge feat for junior and senior girls. But in many ways, it would be just as big a feat for women my age.

Is it true that each of us are beautiful with or without makeup? Well, it depends on who you believe. If you believe society and what it seems to preach in the media, a woman without makeup is just not that attractive. If you believe God and His Word, a woman is beautiful  simply because God created her feminine and lovely.

But don't we have a part in showing the beauty that God gave us as women?

1 Peter 3: 3-4 says
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing 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."

Peter says that beauty comes from within not on the outside. I agree with that, but I also believe that taking care of oneself is a way to glorify God with your body. Like it says in Romans 12:1 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."

Taking care of yourself means eating right, exercising and making decisions that honor your body.

And for many women, taking the time to put on makeup honors the body and therefore, glorifies God. But in our society, putting on makeup can become a form of vanity and even a way to hide our true selves. I've met women who feel ashamed of their looks if they don't have makeup on. I don't agree with this. God made us, ladies. And if we receive His love, the light of Jesus will make our countenance gorgeous, lushious lashes or not.

It's probably easier for me to say this than many, since I am not a woman who wears makeup every day.
But the temptation to be insecure about my weight is just as strong as any women's insecurity about a face with no foundation or blush. What's at the heart of this? Simply put: Acceptance. Accepting who we are as God's lovely creations, made in His image, purposed to glorify Him in all we do.

So I salute those gals at Hope High School in Albuquerque and any other women who take this stand.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!  Believe this. Accept this. Thank God for this.

And then with or without Covergirl, He will cover You girl, with His presence and security!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Does Watching the Tragedy in Japan scare you? Here's the Answer:

The news brings the world into our living rooms and along with it, the tragedy that is going on in Japan. If you are like me, and some of you are, it is difficult to watch those poor people and not feel horrible. Compassion is part of it. But fear comes also. What if that happened to me and my family or my neighborhood? What would I do?

Let me offer today, not my wisdom, but God's! Look at the following passage from Proverbs 3, written by Solomon, the wisest of men.

"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,  for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared."  Proverbs 3: 21-25

Acquiring, cherishing and using the wisdom of God through His Word, the Bible, has immeasurabe benefits:

1) His Words, His Wisdom is LIFE! Like a gorgeous necklace that adds beauty to your outfit, the Word of God lived wisely gives your life the quality of pulchritude. It makes you more attractive, not because or your righteousness, but because of God's goodness.

2) His Wisdom keeps your foot from stumbling. Don't you hate it when you fall? I fell the other night coming down some steps in the dark. Ouch! The Word of God is like the light I needed coming down those steps. His Word illuminates every situation, guarding me from falling flat on my face.

3) His Words give you courage and sweet sleep. If you have insomnia, the reason could be medical, of course, but it could be spiritual. Set your mind on His Word before you lie down. Focus on His Wisdom and you will sleep better.

4) His Wisdom, His Words supply the security that we all need at times. Especially if we see other humans being overtaken by sudden disaster, like in Japan. We don't have to be afraid of earthquakes or tsunamis, simply because we are filled with the Words of the One who is in complete control of all. Is that a guarantee we'll never have to live through a sudden disaster? No. That means we need not fear it. So many of us are controlled by fear. If you soak yourself in God's Word, fear dissipates.

5) His Word and His Wisdom within us guarantees the Lord will always be with us. His Presence is the ultimate reward in following Christ. He will never leave us or betray us. Never.
Open your Bible today and ask God to fill you up!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stop Hurrying. Just stop.

A couple of months ago, a good friend gave me an honest obervation. "Robbie, every time anything out of the ordinary is coming up on your schedule, you get really stressed."

After I told her we would never be friends again, I thought about what she said.  :0)

She's right. Be it a speaking engagement, going on a trip or having relatives come over, I get near freaked out.

What to do?

This is not a new behavior but I have tried to quell my stress for a while now, and I've done a good job. But seeing a pattern in my life gave me an opportunity to address a specific scenario.

So, last week I had a speaking engagment on Saturday. On Tuesday, I started kind of watching myself, seeing if I could not get stressed. It worked and I was feeling fine. Until...

Friday night came and I felt my stomach tie itself into knots while my feet kept twitching. The stress arrived.

So now, what to do? I prayed specifically and asked God to give me peace and give me a strategy to combat the stress.

And this is what I heard. STOP HURRYING, ROBBIE. JUST STOP.

I took this seriously. I gave myself extra time the next morning to get ready. I purposefully breathed slowly. As I drove to the event, I made a conscious choice to not exceed the speed limit. (With me, this must be a conscious choice.)

When I walked into a ladies brunch of about 150, I noticed that I wasn't "freaked out." I didn't know anyone, but as I met the leader I felt comfortable. Many times when I go somewhere to speak, I will sit down but not be able to engage in conversation freely, because I am thinking about my talk and feeling my level of nervousness rise until I either have to leave or speak. :0)

Saturday, I talked to the ladies around me and laughed with them as if I was just hanging with some friends dressed in our sweats chatting about life. It was wonderful! So when the leader introduced me, the peace, HIS peace that passes understanding filled me up.

Are you like me? When we get nervous, the natural step to take is to hurry up. They go hand in hand.

So why not try this? Watch yourself when stress attacks. Purposefully slow down. Walk slower. Take extra time to get ready. How about choose the longest line in the grocery store?

Why not? Why not stop the hurry and enjoy those tiny little moments inbetween the tasks?

If you do this or do something else, share with me. How do you deal with stress?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Beauty of Reconciliation

(The following is the devotion I wrote this week called a "Joyvotion."
If you want to receive Joyvotions in your email, just let me know at robbieiobst at hotmail dot com.)

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Last weekend John and Noah and I flew to California for my stepdaughter’s wedding. What an incredible time we had. I love weddings anyway, but this one was so special. And gorgeous. We went to a park right beside a beach on a 72 degrees day. Sarah, the bride, looked stunning as did my other stepdaughters, Marriah and Hannah. John and Noah wore matching ties and socks and as they each said, repeatedly, “I make this look good.”

But the real joy of the weekend was in the feeling of reconciliation. John has had a rocky relationship with his daughters and I have prayed for total reconciliation with them for years. Two years ago when John had a horrible motorcycle accident, healing began. The three girls came to see John in the hospital and beginning steps were made.

In the last few months, because of God’s grace, John’s ex-wife, Annie, and I have become friends. This has not always been the case. But God can change things. He can reconcile us to each other, just as He reconciled all of us to Him through Jesus on the cross.

The culmination of years of prayer, God’s grace, His power of reconciliation and the choice to forgive each other and yield to His way was evident in the way we all related to each other. The words Step and Ex had no power. We were just family.

I am so grateful to God for what has happened and what will continue to happen. I hope this encourages you to not stop hoping for reconciliation where it just hasn’t happened. In Los Angeles this past weekend, the work of God was evident in my heart and what I saw. There were a couple of times I almost burst with gratitude to Him.

I think God got even bigger for me this weekend. I love Him so, but I will never comprehend just how powerful and loving He is. Before I left Colorado, I emailed a few friends and asked them to pray. During my time there, I got a text from one of those ladies saying “I pray your breath will be taken away by the beauty of God’s redemption.”

It was.

The beauty of His redemption through reconciliation is a painting with colorful strokes of grace and joy and possibility. If you are praying for someone’s reconciliation with God or with another person, don’t stop. It CAN happen. Anything is possible with Him.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Top Ten Moments from our Trip to California!

This past weekend we flew to Redondo Beach, California to celebrate the wedding of my stepdaughter Sarah and her now husband Erik. It was beautiful and joyful and lovely and meaningful. I'm truly at a loss for words, believe it or not.

I'm a firm believer in the fact that moments make up life and cherishing those moments make life more meaningful. Too many times we race past those instances in which something precious has happened. With this in mind, I've made a list of the top ten moments that made this past weekend one of total joy.

10) Standing in the airport in Los Angeles with John and Noah spotting celebrities.

Are these the girls from Jersey Shore?

Justin Bieber, right?
Who are these guys?

9) The welcome hug I received from John's ex-wife Annie, my friend and "sister wife."

8) I got to spend several hours with my stepdaughters, running errands for the wedding. The conversations were priceless! I've never felt closer to Marriah, my oldest.

Hannah, Noah, Sarah and Marriah

7) I drove to Party City with Annie and once again, our talk meant so much to me.

6) At the rehearsal dinner, several folks shared stories about Sarah and Erik. It was a moving display of love.

5) The next morning, Noah and I spent quite a while in the hotel pool and jacuzzi. In March. Outside. We can't do this in Colorada. Playing with my boy in one of our favorite places ( a pool) was wonderful.

4) Watching John walk Sarah down the sidewalk made my heart sing. Beautiful.

3) The vows and the prayer over Sarah and Erik are both so special to me. As John said, "We're witnessing one of God's miracles. Two become one."

2) Visiting and dancing and visiting and dancing at the reception. I will never forget John cutting loose on the dance floor. Of course, the next morning, John and I groaned and said to each other, "You get up and get the Ibuprofen." "No, YOU get up and get the Ibuprofen."

And the number one moment of the weekend:

1) This weekend brought a kind of "culmination of bonding" with my stepdaughters and their mom that has been in the works since John's accident, a couple of years ago. The words "step" and "ex" had no power. We were all family. You have no idea how much this blessed me. At the airport, John and Noah said goodbye to Annie. Then she and I hugged. Tight. I whispered to her, "Thank you, sister wife. This has been wonderful." And she said to me, "This is how family should be."

Sarah's family or as Annie calls them "Circus People." :0) 
We're part of the circus! :0)  

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Tomorrow, the three of us are hopping on a plane and flying out to California. For some reason, I feel a little like a Clampett except we haven’t found any bubbling crude, black gold or Texas tea. The occasion is one of tremendous joy – my middle stepdaughter, Sarah, is getting married! I love weddings and this one, of course, will be especially beautiful.

Sarah’s mom, Annie, told me that she and the mom of the groom are wearing black dresses and I should wear one, too. Sweet! A reason to shop. I went to Dress Barn and I found one on clearance AND I had a coupon. My dress cost…drum roll…$15! If you are a shopper, you are probably experiencing something visceral just reading that. :0)

Sarah’s color is lapis, which is like a dark purple. I decided to find a purple brooch to put on my black dress. Dress Barn didn’t have one. Walmart didn’t have one. Target didn’t have one. So this morning I went to JC Penney. For twenty minutes, I scoured every table and every stand of jewelry looking for a purple brooch. Nothing.

But then…

I saw a little box in the center of a table underneath a shelf with a box on top of it. I crouched down, reached back and grabbed the box. I opened it and Voila! A purple brooch! And to boot, a purple brooch on sale!

Persistence won. Sure, this is a tiny example of not quitting. If I didn’t find a purple brooch, it would not be drastically consequential. At all. But that little feeling of “YES, I found it” was wonderful.

Every day you and I are faced with questions of persistence.

Do I really need to clean all the dishes before I go to bed?

Should I give that little extra at work today?

Do I really want to exercise this morning?

Should I spend another fifteen minutes trying to find a purple brooch?

Sometimes we say no. We’re tired. It’s just not important enough. But when we say yes, the reward is always worth the trouble. A clean kitchen when we wake up. The feeling of doing our best. A healthier body and better self image.

And that sweet moment when you crouch down, reach back and grab the exact brooch you wanted.

Today, when the question arises, go for it! Persist!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Confession Time: I Can't Seem to Change!

I cannot seem to Kindle a desire to read a book without an actual book in my hands. I sit in my Nook and I turn pages instead of punching buttons. I smell fresh paper or old paper, not cold metal. In order to read tomorrow, I just have to put my book down and pick it up again when I wake up. I don’t have to search for an outlet and plug in a charger.

However…change is coming. Change is here.

I rarely feel old. I have a young heart and a disposition that looks for the bright side of life. But as I read about the bankruptcy of Borders and as I listen to friends debate Kindle vs. Nook, I feel old.

Not long ago, I watched a BBC show set in England in the early 1900s. The master of a huge mansion explains to his butler that they will have a telephone soon. The butler tells the rest of the servants. Many of them are aghast. Why? We are fine without a telephone! What about the noise of it? It will kill our nerves.

Change was huge news in those times. Resistance to change was a natural reaction. We live in a time where change is the norm. It’s constant. The folks who make the eReaders and eBooks are the Borgs of our society. “Resistance is futile.”

I hope not. But I am a writer and my second home is the library and my third home, the book stores. What’s next? Will libraries have e-readers to check out, complete with e-books?

I don’t think books will ever be extinct. They are too ingrained in who we are as a culture. But as someone told me last week, “I think in the future books will be like plays. We watch TV and movies constantly because they are at our fingertips. Easy access. To watch a play takes effort and a conscious choice. So in the future we’ll have eBooks at our fingertips, but if we want the pure enjoyment of a book, we will have to make a conscious choice.”

Yikes. Am I 70 yet? That’s how I feel.

This past Christmas, my mother-in-law gave my son a Nook. I sit here on my couch and I glance at it, sitting on an end table, hooked up for more power. To resent this doodad is silly, but it is honestly how I feel. Maybe because I am a writer, I see this device as an encroachment on the world I’ve loved so much. To sit in the middle of tall bookshelves, filled with adventure and mystery and romance, is an integral part of what I believe childhood should be. Noah wanted a couple of books last week. He could have ordered them on the Nook. Easily and less expensive than the book store. But I told him I’d go and get him the books. I did and felt as if I’d won a tiny battle against this black and white device that sits beside me.

I don’t feel badly about ITunes or Netflix. I welcome the convenience of getting music or a movie off the web. I enjoy it. But books? Books are magical. I know that in reality, the same stories show up on the e-reader. The same experience is conveyed. Yet I resist it. I resist the change that seems to be all around me.

This is a real battle for me. I am my mother when we got her a microwave oven. She stared at it for a while and used it only after months of owning it. I mean, can you really cook something without a good ole stove? Really?

Sigh. I am a work in progress. A rebel on a beach, standing against a tidal wave of change. I’m going to get wet. Maybe I’ll order an eBook soon and try out Noah’s Nook.

Maybe not.