All posts in “Interviews”

Interview with author, singer & encourager Livy Jarmusch

Today I’m going to do something a little different – an interview with a very inspiring young woman, Livy Jarmusch. Livy is a nineteen year old author, singer, songwriter, and creator of an online magazine for girls, Crown of Beauty Magazine. I met Livy in early August, when she emailed me about Ashes to Beauty being one of the stops on her virtual book tour. A week ago, I reviewed her eBook, When Life Feels Like a Taylor Swift Song: A Girl’s Guide to Boys. I was so impressed that someone her age had so much Godly wisdom and entrepreneurship, so I decided to do an interview as well! So as promised, here it is…

Livy, how long have you been a follower of Jesus? Also, you seem to know a lot about the bible, and you have a lot of wisdom and spiritual authority for someone so young. How did you learn all of these things that you write about and teach?

LJ: That’s a great question! Well, I got to know the Lord at a really young age. I grew up in a Christian family and my Mom introduced me to Jesus when I was about three of four. Some might say that preschool age is too young to understand things like sin and forgiveness. I can’t say that I totally “got it” it at that age, but all I knew was that the Lord was drawing me to Him. I felt attracted to His presence, His peace, and His stories. I spent so much time flipping through my picture Bible, wanting to know more about God and life. I can’t explain why the Lord made it so “easy” for me to find Him, when so many others have to go through a lifetime of regrets before finding their home in His love. All I can say is that it was His grace! You asked how I learned about the things that I am now writing and sharing about…here is the answer! 🙂

“But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie..”
1 John 2:27

I was so blessed to be homeschooled and had a lot of free time to spend in God’s presence and in the Word! I wish I could say that this all came easily to me, and in a way it did, but the calling always has a cost. I had to sacrifice some fun, normal, “teenage” stuff like going to football games with a boyfriend on Friday nights, or getting all glammed up for prom. There were many times I wished for a “normal” teenage life, but now I am thankful that God has a different path chosen for me.

How did you get started with all the wonderful things you’re doing – your website, e-books, videos and everything else?

LJ: When I was fourteen, one of my close friends struggled with an eating disorder because she didn’t believe she was beautiful. It broke my heart in half to know that she, and so many others daily struggle with these things. So many girls attempt to measure up to the lofty standard of “beauty” that is daily shoved into our faces. But who can compare with glossy magazine covers, and images that have been photo shopped and altered from reality? The pressure to be perfect is slamming into our lives and hearts now more then ever. Yet no matter how hard we try to please our friends, the guy we have a crush on, or the girl in the mirror…the heartbreaking realization is that we will never be enough.

Livy JarmuschThere is a fierce battle for this generation of girls. The enemy wants them to believe they are ugly and worthless, yet God desires for them to see who they truly are…priceless treasures, and beautiful princesses.

Isaiah 62:3 says, “You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” As God’s girls, we don’t have to try to be beautiful…we already are. I am only one voice, but if I can encourage and inspire one girl to draw closer to God and believe in the person God made her to be…the goal is accomplished! Then that one girl can then reach out and touch another who will touch two, who will touch four, then six, and so on…

I launched Crown of Beauty Magazine in January of this year, writing every article with my “little sisters” in Christ in mind. I try to offer advice and share Godly council to any girl who needs a Godly big sis around! While it’s true that Crown of Beauty Magazine had an official birthday, I can’t say exactly when the whole nature of this ministry was birthed. The unfolding of God’s heart, the pain that He feels for the broken, and the radical dreams He has for this generation, was all revealed by spending time with Him.

This whole thing started with a friendship, I talked to Him about things that mattered to me, and He talked to me about stuff that mattered to Him! God has simply used everything that I love to do, writing, singing, encouraging my friends, web designing, etc…and had a special place for it in His Kingdom!

It’s quite fun actually…I just get to be me! It’s like that with all our gifts. When we’re born, we arrive pre-packed with what we were created to do. So be encouraged! All you need to make a difference in this world is a relationship with the One who made you! Just say, “Here’s my gifts…use me. Here’s my heart…change it. Here’s my life…make it yours.” Obedience opens doors. Ask God to show you what your gifts are. They are given to us so that we can do amazing things alongside Him!

That is so awesome, and true! What would you say is your biggest passion… the thing that makes you come alive?

LJ: I come alive when I sing. I can be having the worst day ever, and if just pull out my guitar and start singing, before I know it, I feel like I’ve entered another world. Music has always been a really huge part of my life. I loved singing and dancing along with Barney as a little girl, and totally enjoyed being on stage in my drama group. I always knew that I wanted to play guitar, and when I go to concerts I feel like I share a special secret with the stage. My friends think it’s funny when I say this, but the stage knows I am supposed to be there and so do I!

 

Another huge passion is encouraging my sisters in Christ. Ahh, I just love it! Maybe because my love language is encouragement, I don’t know, I’ve always adored babysitting my little girl cousins, and I love hanging out and talking with younger girls. They’re so full of life, and they want to wear tiaras and they love pink…I just really connect with them. 😉

It must be difficult for someone your age to publicly stand for things like purity and living for Jesus. How do you stay strong and true to your values?

LJ: I think the hardest thing for me has been my lack of “normal.” My life hasn’t looked anything like the average teenage girl life is “supposed to be.” For a long time I was very hard on myself during high school and had to ask, “What is wrong with me?” Recently, as the Lord has been opening doors and letting me connect with others who are encouraging me in this I find myself saying, “Phew! I guess I’m not as strange as I thought!”

Today, the hardest challenge is facing the adult world and not doing the “norm” of going to college full time, working an eight to six job, and working on chasing down a boyfriend. I have a lot of really encouraging people around me, including my family, who remind me that it’s okay to be “strange for Jesus.”

I’ve always looked at Tricia from Superchick and the Barlow Girls, and said “If they can do it, so can I!” Their music has carried me through a lot of hard days. I recently met Paige Omartian who has an amazing story, and greatly encouraged me with her story about how she did a hard thing in obedience to follow the calling on her life. God has richly rewarded her! I am so inspired by her happily ever after. 🙂

What advice can you give to young girls out there who are hearing a completely different message from society, and are thinking about going down those paths?

LJ: It doesn’t matter how sparkly and pretty the world looks, God has always got a better offer! If you’re feeling bogged down by all these messages that say, “Don’t date! Dress modestly! Don’t drink, don’t go to wild parties!” you might be feeling like God doesn’t want you to have any fun, and desires that you have a dull, miserable life. The enemy of your soul wants you to think this. He is really good at what he does…deception and lies. But the best thing about lies is that they’re NOT true. The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. (James 1:17.)

God desires to give His girls good gifts, and He truly wants you to have an amazing life! Making the choice to follow God and be obedient to His Kingdom ways might seem hard and even a lil’ crazy at first…but He absolutely wants you to have an epic life. What this world has to offer might feel good for ten seconds, but there is a worm waiting in the glossy apple. God’s ways might feel uncomfortable and even painful at first, but the eternal rewards FAR outweigh the sacrifice. 🙂 His gifts always trump the enemy because He wants the absolute best for you.

Excellent and encouraging words! I haven’t asked you yet, what’s the story behind your eBook? How did it come about? And what was the most challenging aspect of writing this eBook?

Free e-book download

LJ: Last summer I babysat a few of my little girl cousins several times. I love spending time with them, but this time after hanging out with them, I started thinking about what life would be like for them as they grew up. I thought about where they’ll be getting their boy and relationship advice, and the options frightened me. Who would tell them how to have good relationships? Music, movies, magazines? I shuddered, and then started writing this book!

The most challenging aspect of writing this, was worrying about what people were going to think. How would the readers respond? Would parents think I was young and immature because I didn’t have much “life experience”? Would they say I was too naive to blindly trust in God and encourage other girls to do so? What would the girls my age think…would they think the advice I offered was cool and relevant, or would I sound like an old lady preaching at them? Haha, these are the questions that crossed my mind, and every time I would doubt I had to surrender my worries and fears to God. He was leading me…therefore I had to trust that this book would make a difference in someone’s life!

It’s so cool that you have a heart for helping girls. With the opposing messages they hear from society, I’m so glad that God is using you to encourage and inspire girls and young women. Is there anything else you want to say to the readers?

LJ: Yes! Come on over to Crown of Beauty Magazine and check us out. We want to encourage you, no matter how young or old you are. You’re a princess. You shine with something heavenly, something outta this world. You sparkle with splendor. You might feel awkward and clumsy like you don’t fit into this world (kinda like Mia in Princess Diaries! Hahaha) but just like Mia, it’s because you were created for a DIVINE purpose…you are called to be royalty! You were created to rule and reign with Christ. You have an extravagant purpose that far surpasses your widest dreams. God made you so that He could fulfill you. He won’t leave you broken hearted and empty forever…HE is the King of restoration!

You are beautiful, loved, and there is a place for you in His Kingdom. Your seat is on His lap.

Amen! Thank you so much, Livy, for sharing with us, and for saying “yes” to God and allowing Him to use you to reach so many others!  I’m really glad I met you through the blogging world!  God bless you!

To download a free copy of Livy’s eBook, When Life Feels Like a Taylor Swift Song:
A Girl’s Guide To Boys
, click here. Enjoy!

Monarchies? Part 2 – An Interview with Geoff Sadler

A few days ago, I asked the question, “Why do Monarchies Still Exist?” and got a very interesting response from my English friend, Geoff. Since not everyone read those comments, I felt that the topic needed a follow-up post, so I decided to do that in the form of an interview.

Lily: Hi Geoff, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Geoff: I’m originally from the U.K and have been a Christian for about 25 years. I’m an author and have written a book called “The Amazing Grace Tour” about a reconciliation journey that I did.

Lily: Awesome, thanks! Ok, let’s start from the beginning, for people who didn’t read that previous post. Why do you believe monarchies still exist? In countries where kings or queens are mere figureheads, what is the point of continuing an institution that many people feel is antiquated at best…. or elitist and unjust at worst?

Geoff: I can’t really speak for other countries as I’ve never really studied their Monarchies in depth, but in Britain it is still very much a part of the Government. As well as being head of the Church of England, she is also Head of State, not only of the UK, but also Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some smaller Commonwealth countries, and so instead of the Prime Minister having to attend and entertain foreign dignitaries, or the President in your country, she does.  This frees up the Prime Minister and is a good thing I think, in that sense. She also still has the power to veto an elected official, although she has never done so.

queen-arrives-5_1897745bLily: Ah, ok, that’s pretty much what I thought. Her duties are mostly diplomatic, but that is a job. In fact, it’s not too different than our spokespersons presidents here in the US, if you ask me, but that’s another topic entirely! I do find it very interesting that she’s the head of the church of England. That brings up all sorts of other questions. But let’s get back to the main question here.

So, monarchies do serve a purpose, but for some reason, the existence of monarchies in this day and age still doesn’t sit right with me. We already have ambassadors, why not abandon monarchies if (at least in England) their main role is something that can be filled by others – people who actually apply for the job and are selected based on their merits, not their bloodline?

Geoff: Because England was meant to be a “Christian nation” and so its whole set up on earth is meant to mirror the Kingdom of God, i.e. a King and not someone who is elected as such based on merit. God wasn’t elected as God and we as Christians aren’t elected as sons, co-heirs etc. based on our merit, it’s based on bloodline. Jesus’ bloodline.

The beauty of it is, it’s all free and anyone can receive it as a free gift. Indeed, it’s why we were created in the first place. If the fall of man hadn’t happened, we would all be Royalty and are again when redeemed through Christ. The Bible teaches that we are “A Royal Priesthood” etc. So it is true that we are all created equal, but it’s so much more than that. If the highest thing you can hope for is to become President some day, then that’s pretty sad. So basically, Monarchies give a picture of the way things are in heaven more than a secular Government does I think.

Lily: Wow! Let’s back up here a bit. For the people who didn’t read the previous post, you’re saying that the monarchy in England is a representation of God’s kingdom – in the sense that we don’t become royals based on merit, but solely on what family we belong to. Right?

Geoff: Yes, we become Christians when we receive it by faith as a free gift and we inherit a Kingdom because of this. If the fall hadn’t happened in the first place, we would have been living in our inheritance already.

Lily: Yes, I fully agree, of course. But for those who might be scratching their heads out there, about how this relates to the earthly monarchies… you believe that we shouldn’t abolish earthly monarchies because they serve as a representation of the true kingdom. When you brought that up on the previous post, I thought that was fascinating. But I did have a couple objections. One of them is, are earthly monarchies doing a good job in serving as a physical representation of the true kingdom? I don’t think so.

Also, unlike God’s kingdom, you can’t be adopted into the “royal family”, you either won the genetic lottery, or you didn’t. So how does that fact go along with your view that earthly kingdoms serve as symbols for God’s kingdom?

Geoff: I think the present monarchy has done a good job, not a perfect one but a good one. Ones in previously years certainly haven’t but that goes for lot of leaders, whether they were monarch or not. You can’t be adopted into the Royal Family no, but that’s not the point. I think they’re there as a symbol that represents Christ’s kingdom. I know what you’re saying and as I said recently, I grew up thinking that they were a waste of time and money. Remember that we still also have a secular Government too and anyone can become Prime Minister. We are just as secular as any other country in that sense, but when you see state ceremonies in England, it’s all centered around God and The Bible. Look at the last Royal wedding. World leaders from all over the globe were there sitting in a cathedral, watching something that was a representation of a wedding that will take place in heaven between Jesus and His bride. Where else would that happen?

Lily: I see what you’re saying, and it is true that – at least on the surface, and in theory – England is a “Christian nation.” But that doesn’t actually make it so. I can bring up lots of examples, but then we’d be opening up a whole new can of worms. I don’t think the U.S is either, although there are many Christians in the US, at least cultural Christians.

Maybe I’m being too critical here, but I just feel that if something is supposed to be representing God, then that thing – or person – needs to actually represent God in a true, compelling way, or not at all. There are many times when I don’t feel worthy to call myself a Christian, because I don’t want to mislead others who look to me as a representative of Christ. I disagree with England’s foreign policy (as well our current US foreign policy) and with many things about their government. I also don’t like how the royal family treated Princess Diana, who I liked a lot. I’m sorry, but I’m just not a fan of the royal family. But I digress.

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I would really love to hear from other people… and it would be especially interesting to hear from some atheists or non-christians. Is there anything else you want to add for now?

Geoff: This adds to the the last point. I think it was deliberate that they set things up like that, so that people could always be reminded of heavenly rather than earthly things.

Now to your final point. You’re probably right and I think that’s what the head of the church of England’s job is more. In reality, they are all human beings and so are imperfect at the end of the day. Prince William seems like a decent humble chap though (son of Di). I think they did treat Diana badly, but then again I wasn’t there and the staid, snobbish part of being English is not something I subscribe to at all.

I guess the one thing I would add is this. Imagine if England didn’t have this representation of Christianity at the heart of its foundation. It’s secular and socialist enough as it is. At least as Christians, we have this to call people back to and explain about God’s kingdom because of it. That in itself is value enough in my view.

Lily: That is true, it is definitely a good conversation starter, and a way to bring up the Gospel and explain what you just said – that human kings are imperfect, but God isn’t.

Thank you so much for talking about this! I really like hearing your point of view on this, and you have caused me to look at the monarchy in a whole different way now. I appreciate your insight!