Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ashley Caudill from Soul Sparkle

Hey Friends! I am very excited to introduce to you one of my college BFFs. Ashley Caudill was at Crown College for a short time, but during that time, she blessed my soul. Yes, Ashley and I were partners in crime and, no, you may not ask her for any crazy stories. She is a sweetheart and I dearly miss her. Love ya girl!

I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of Joy’s awesome blog with a guest post today. My name is Ashley Caudill and I am married to my best friend, Jimmy; we have two beautiful daughters Grace (3) and Lily (6 weeks). Jimmy and I travel and minister to churches through music and we are so excited about serving Him.

 I have always had a burden for teen girls so I decided to begin a blog called “Soul Sparkle”. It’s a work in progress but I eventually hope to make it a well-rounded blog with a little bit of everything for young wives and mothers. But, for now, you’ll mostly find a devotional on my blog. Thank you for taking time to read.  A huge thanks to Joy again!

I know you have all heard the phrase “Diamonds are a girl's best friend”. Now, I wouldn’t know because I am not someone who is dripping in them, but if someone wanted to give me a nice diamond ring, I wouldn’t protest. Let men keep dogs as their best friends; I will take a diamond any day.
I’m sure if I had a beautiful gemstone, I would treasure it. Perhaps some of you might have an heirloom piece of jewelry you like to wear on special occasions. I know that you probably take great care with it. You probably have a certain spot for it in your jewelry box and ensure it’s kept safe so it won’t become scratched or damaged. I think as Christian women, our lives can be compared to that of a diamond. Christ treasures us because we are something very special that He “bought with a price”. Because we are His prized possessions, He is going to put time and effort into refining us and shining us up for Him. He wants to make us an adornment in His crown jewels so we will shine brightly for Him.

 I did a little research and found out that, in the world of mining, there are companies whose sole job is the grading and certifying of diamonds based on the four Cs. Once they have been graded, they are traded on the market based on the value of each C.

 Let’s look at these four C’s and how they are applicable to our lives as “His jewels”:

The first C stands for Carat - The carat is the measurement used to determine the weight and mass of a diamond. I don’t know about you but I want to have some weight in this world…and I don’t mean body weight. I want to make an impact for Him. I want to be a diamond in the tools of the Lord and I desire that He use me for His work.

 The second C is Color - The diamonds that have the finest quality in regards to color grading are totally colorless, meaning it is absolutely free from any color. When I see this I think of the lesson taught in John 3:30 “He must increase, I must decrease". I have to often ask the Lord to look into my heart and point out the places where He isn’t preeminent. Too often, I can allow “things” to come in and take over. They aren’t necessarily bad in and of themselves, but when they become more important than Christ, they become a hindrance.

 Thirdly, we have Cut - The cut of a diamond describes the manner in which a diamond has been “shaped and polished from its beginning form as a rough stone to its final gem proportions”. An uncut diamond does not show its “prized optical properties”. First, Christ saved me, but after all that sin and dirt was washed away, I still needed some work, so Christ began to cut. He has to cut away to fashion our lives so they reflect the most optimal light for Him. Sometimes, we go through hard times and we wonder “why”. Sometimes, it is the Lord using His chisel on our lives. Let’s be honest, sometimes the polishing is uncomfortable, sometimes His tools hurt. But when we go through those times of polishing and shaping and cutting, the Master is working on us because He wants to use us. When the Lord starts cutting in your life, rejoice! Why he wants to use me, I couldn’t tell you but I’m so thankful He does.

 Which leads me to the last C: Clarity - Clarity is a measure of internal defects of a diamond called inclusions. In my life, there are a lot of inclusions. There are a lot of internal defects that He has to continue to laser out.  What’s awesome is that the more clarity a diamond has to it, the more it will shine and give off a brilliant luster once the light shines through it.

 Let me ask you this:  When is a diamond most valuable? When does it have the most beauty? If I held a diamond in a dark room, you couldn’t see it. What has to take place to make it sparkle? Light must pass through it!

 The Lord has to cut away that rough stone exterior; He has to continue to clarify so that when His light passes through us, others won’t see us, they will see the Light of the Lord. Even the jewels that adorn Heaven would be useless without the light of Jesus.

 What pattern does God use when he is cutting and polishing away at our lives? When I was reading about diamonds I found out that one of largest diamonds in the world is without flaw and inclusions. It is said to be whiter than white. It is known as a paragon. I looked up what that word meant and here is the definition: A paragon is a perfect diamond — flawless and without inclusions. Paragon -  noun; a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence: a paragon of virtue.

God uses His own Son as the pattern! Jesus is the Paragon that our life is being fashioned after. Even though we will never be perfect in this life, one day, the Master will lay down His tools and bring home His jewels to forever reflect the light of that perfect, flawless One.

 So, in closing, keep letting your light shine for Him. Let Christ use your life and light to reflect God’s Son! You are His prized possession and He loves to see “Soul Sparklers”!


Thanks again Ashley! You're a blessing. Check out her blog, Soul Sparkle.

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