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.
There 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?
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!