Saturday and Sunday, April 18th and 19th, 2009

Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
By: Teresa Criswell

"...But I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,"
~ Philippians 3:13 ~

The excitement of the 'Accessory Exchange Party' was beyond what I could have imagined. Last night I got to be a part of a new trend that truly brings encouragement to other women, especially in the midst of this unstable economy.

My new found friend and neighbor Rachel, a few doors down, invited me and some women from her church to experience this new trend. We brought our purses, belts, jewelry, scarves that we don't wear anymore and we placed it on the tables. All organized by the same type of accessories (i.e. sunglasses, belts, purses, watches, earrings, scarves, rings, bracelets, etc.).

The concept? You don't spend any money and the amount of accessories you bring is the amount you get to exchange. The "buzz" in the atmoshphere was pure joy, and laughter during the whole process. We fellowshipped, acted like little girls trying on our mom's accessories.

Can you see the picture of a little girl with her mom's hat on her head, fur boa draped around her neck, clip earrings adorning her ears, clothes draped over her body, scarves hanging out from wherever she pleases and her feet in those high heels? Can you see her about to topple over in pure joy as she looks into the mirror and sees beauty like she has never captured before? Well, picture that with adult women ranging in ages from mid twenties to fifties. It was so awesome and hilarious to be a part of.

When we found our purse, or other accessory, you should have seen us. There was no way that we were going to put it back down. It was claimed and we wearing it, no matter what we looked like. I wish I would have had pictures of all us. It was as though all of us became little girls again. We had the purses we each grabbed draped on our arms as though our arm became a 'purse hanger'. We had our necklaces on, even if they didn't match our outfit. Fingers accessorized with rings. Some of the women had belts around their waste and one lady brought brand new bras as some of her accessories to trade (Still had tags). The lady who picked it up as her new 'accessory' had the bra on the outside of her was a hilarious sight and she even allowed her photo taken.

As I think back on this party. It was free, there was no money involved and the pressures of the economy were the last of our thoughts. Hilariously thinking back of last night and remembering that each of us did not put that new accessory down. We held it close to us so that no one could take it from us. That brings me to when I truly surrendered my life to Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

I remember holding everything that I learned from the Lord so dear to my heart. No discouragement was going to hinder my walk. No condemnation from my past was going to hinder me. My faith in the Lord was unbelievable, something I had not experienced before. My life filled with joy. It wasn't just happiness, it was pure joy.

When those discouraging times come, which they will, it is guaranteed; how will each of us handle it? Will we allow the hope in Christ become like an old accessory and trade it for something that will only hinder our walk with Christ? Will we remain stedfast in not letting go of our hope in Christ, no matter what other people think of us or what our circumstances say.

As I have that vivid picture in my mind of all of us grown women with accessories on practically every limb of our bodies, we didn't care how 'peculiar' we looked; no one was taking those things we found from us. More than anything, we rejoiced in one another.

A testimony of one of the women I met last night showed God's faithfulness and His handiwork. An adorable wife and mom of a 3 year old, a wedding photographer full of spunk and style. Looking at her you would never have thought that the economy had effected her. As she is telling us with tears in her eyes, her new 'Nine West' sunglasses on her head, her new watch on her wrist, her 'D & G' inspired bag on her shoulder she realized that everything she had on was something that she either needed or wanted, but because finances are tight she didn't want to irresponsibly buy things she knew were not a 'need'. Yet look how God provided for her. I was reminded of His great faithfulness, even at an 'Accessory Exchange Party'. I know it seems insignificant, yet to see how significant it was to her was something that declared the glory of the Lord over her life.

More than anything, I must remember that Christ is not an 'accessory' to my life. He is the reason why we live beyond this life. He is to be my everything not just my 'something'.


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