Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing an inspiring young woman named Livy Jarmusch, the founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine. I have been reading the blog and magazine for a while now, and it has been such a blessing to me. I’m always thrilled to find new sisters in Christ uniting together with the same purpose across the web. It’s a constant reminder that we are never alone. There is hope yet for our generation! Enjoy the interview, and may the Lord bless you all. 🙂
Why did you start COBM, and what is the mission of the ministry?
It doesn’t take much looking around to see that we are living in the middle of a completely broken generation. So many young women struggle to believe that they are beautiful and loved, and I hate the fact that my sisters in Christ are being lied to by the enemy. I had several close friends struggle with these issues, self-image, and eating disorders, and it just ripped my heart apart. I started Crown of Beauty with the purpose of just that: returning to the Cross of Christ and reminding girls to find their value in the sacrifice that Jesus made for them. God has really given me a compassion and desire to bring the truth about our royal identity in Christ, and our mission is to encourage and uplift our sisters to know and embrace these truths!
What is the best part of running one of the most popular Christian e-magazines for teen girls? What is the most difficult?
The best part, I would have to say, is just all the amazing friendships and heart-to-heart connections formed with Sisters in Christ all across the world! I have met some of my closest friends through Crown of Beauty, and even if it’s just something small like a DM on Instagram, or an email from a sister in India…it’s amazing to see how the Lord is bringing His daughters together to encourage and uplift one another. I love that we can all spur one another on to keep fighting the good fight, and remember that we’re not alone!
I would have to say, the most difficult part has been, the process. I’ve been running this website/magazine for four years now, and God has taught me so much through it all. But at the beginning, I was really wanting things to happen quickly. I’ve always been a huge dreamer, and there were different milestones and accomplishments that I thought I could reach like, overnight. Even though waiting, being patient, and trusting the Lord in the midst of the unknown isn’t very fun for our flesh, our Spirits grow SO much through experiences like that. In the Kingdom of God we cannot despise the day of small beginnings, because everything starts as a tiny little seed! When we are faithful in the small, and focus on just touching one person at a time, and being faithful right where we’re at, God begins to expand our influence and our reach.
Can you tell us your salvation testimony?
My salvation testimony isn’t your traditional, “I was saved on this date, at this time, in this year” kind of a testimony. I grew up in a Christian home, and God drew me to Himself at a very young age. As a three-year-old, I remember flipping through my Beginners Bible picture book, and just feeling drawn to this amazing God. I was wonder struck by the fact that the same God who made everything, sent His son Jesus to die for my sin, and then rose again, and now wanted to live inside me and do life with me! Some might say that a preschooler is too young to understand these things, but God can call anyone to Himself, at any time, at any age! So, I started walking with God when I was little, and I haven’t stopped since!
What is your favorite verse and why?
It is so hard to choose a favorite Bible verse, because I feel like it changes all the time! God’s Word is living and active, and He is always revealing new truths to use through the Scriptures! But, my favorite verse, for a while now, has been Romans 12:-2.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
The call to renew our minds in His Word is amazing. Memorizing scripture, reading His Word each day, talking with God, praying about, and writing down the things He shows us in His word is life changing. We are transformed by His Word and His presence, going from glory to glory and grace to grace with each new day, being transformed into the image of Christ, and that is just SO exciting to me! I love that we don’t have to listen to the lies of the enemy, and once we decide to stop conforming to the patterns of the world, and commit our hearts and our ways to His Word, the truth changes us. Getting God’s perspective on each and every situation we encounter, transforms who we are, and gives us the power to walk in His “good, pleasing and perfect will.” And seriously, what could be more exciting than that?! Knowing the truth really does set us free!
When did you start writing? What drew you to it?
As soon as I learned how to properly scribble the alphabet, I was writing! Haha. In Kindergarten I told my teacher that I wanted to be an author. I was always making up stories in my mind and acting them out with my Barbie dolls. I had a very active imagination as a child, and I guess I never grew out of it! I think it’s so cool how when God gives us hobbies, and dreams, and desires, and things that we enjoy doing as young children, oftentimes end up being those very things we were called and created to do as adults.
Secrets of Royalty looks like an amazing book! Can you give us a brief description of it? What inspired you to write it?
Secrets of Royalty is about a young woman who is captive in an enemy camp, called the Worthlessness Camp. It’s a place that nobody would ever want to live, but she is trapped there. In her most desperate hour, the Hero rides onto the scene and delivers her from the enemy’s hand. Jesus is the mighty Prince who rescues her from her terrible fate, and brings her into the Kingdom of God. There, she must undergo trials and experiences that will help shape her heart and understand who she truly is: a Princess. This story is a picture of each young woman’s relationship with Christ, when God rescues us from the pit of Hell, and transfers us into His Kingdom. The experience of this pauper turned Princess is something every girl can relate with, as we’re each on our own journeys of abandoning the enemies lies and coming into the fullness of the truth of what God says about us.
The inspiration for Secrets of Royalty actually came from a dream I had as a teenager, (which I talk about in the book) about rescuing this generation from that place of worthlessness. The enemy has such a wicked plot going on right now, and I believe this book helps expose any lies that you might be believing about yourself, and help bring you into that place of truth. The second half of Secrets of Royalty, is actually a 31 Day Devotional which digs deeper into these topics. In the same way that Esther had to undergo beauty treatments before she was brought to the king, God wants to transform our hearts through the power of His Word, and help us walk in the fullness of who He has created us to be. I believe that Secrets of Royalty helps young women do just that, and I love to think about the devotional part of this book as daily, inner beauty treatments!
What advice would you give to a newbie writer with the dream of becoming an author?
I would say a few things, actually. The first being, write as much as you possibly can! Write every day, write about what you love, and if you’re struggling with writers block, just throw away all the rules and return to the simple joy of having fun with your stories and ideas! Turn off the inner critic. Something I have to do, is make sure that I’m not in “editing mode”, while I’m writing the first draft. The whole point of the first draft, is to have a blast. Bringing in the critical side too soon can quench your creative spirit and make the project seem like a chore and a burden rather than a blessing.
Also, don’t be afraid to share your work. I know that’s one of the biggest fears authors face, letting others read your words. It can be terrifying. Like, you just poured your heart and SOUL onto the paper, and if someone has a critical response, it can feel like they’re directly attacking you and rejecting you as a person. But as an author, it’s really important to remember that your identity does NOT come from the words that you write. Your identity is in Christ, and you write because you love Him. If others don’t embrace what you right, or if you get negative feedback, or even just suggestions for growth…don’t take it personal! Writing and releasing can feel really vulnerable, but it’s a risk with taking. Your pen can encourage and liberate so many people, so don’t be afraid to share the gift God has given you!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own ministry, blog, or e-magazine?
My advice? Do it. Just go for it, girly! There are so many excuses, fear, busy-ness, question-marks, insecurity…but starting a blog, or any other kind of online ministry is an amazing journey to embark on with Jesus. If you don’t know where to start, pray! Ask the Lord for His direction and ideas. Another great idea, is to ask those who are doing what you would love to do, for advice. I’ve had multiple young women email me, asking loads of questions about how to start a blog/website/or magazine, and several of them have actually stepped out and done an amazing job with it! So don’t be afraid to start right where you are, with where you’re at. And if you don’t know what to do, don’t be afraid to ask! I love sharing things that God has taught me through the process, and I (as well as many others on a similar path) are only just an email away.
What lie do you believe Satan uses the most in attacking teen girls in today’s society? What advice would you give to someone who was struggling in that area?
Wow, that’s a really broad question, I feel like I could preach a whole message on that topic! Haha. But for the sake of trying to be brief, one area that I really see being attacked is our beauty. The world is constantly showing us false images of beauty, paper-thin supermodels and air-brushed faces on magazine covers…we all know that those images are not real, yet the temptation to compare ourselves or conform to this world’s standard of beauty is really intense. We know that these things don’t matter. God says that He looks at the heart, and that things that are seen are temporary but things that are unseen are eternal…yet we still all struggle with this desire to be truly beautiful, accepted, and loved. The answer to this battle can only be found in one place: at the foot of the Cross. The sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and the blood He poured out, tells us just how precious and priceless we are in His sight. The truth is, every woman is absolutely gorgeous, because she has been made by a glorious God! Whenever we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, we’re telling God that He messed up. That His masterpiece isn’t enough. He wants us to know just how valuable we are to Him. There was no price that He wasn’t willing to pay in order to redeem our souls and bring us to where He is. He loves us THAT much. He doesn’t want to be separated for us, not even for a moment! For the JOY set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. What kind of joy was Jesus looking forward to? The joy of being with you! His love for you outweighed all the pain, suffering, and torture He endured. In His heart, He believed you were worth it. And He still believes that you’re worth it. If you’re struggling to embrace every part of who God has created you to be, ask Him to reveal just how much He loves you. Because once you truly understand that you’re adored by the King of Kings, everything changes.
If all the girls in the world could hear you for one minute, what would you tell them?
This is what I would say…
Your uniqueness is a direct expression of a Magnificent Creator who has poured His glory and His grace into you. If you doubt that you are loved, look to the Cross. If you doubt that you are beautiful, look to the Cross. Jesus wouldn’t have wasted His time redeeming you, if you were not valuable to Him. Can you hear the song He is singing over you? Can you hear the words He is whispering to your heart? “My dove, my beautiful one is unique, and she looks just like she’s supposed to look like. Her voice, her personality, her mind, her laugh…I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s how I want her to be!” Sister, God is crazy about you. He is always with you. He is always paying attention. You don’t have to strive to impress him, or struggle your way into His love. His grace is enough. His love is enough. You are His beloved Princess daughter. All you have to do, is crawl into His lap, allow Him to wrap His arms around you, and rest in His perfect love.
And just out of curiosity and because I know how much you love Disney, who is your favorite princess? ;D
I’m SO happy you asked me this question! Haha. My favorite Disney Princess is Cinderella! I love her story, because she had a heart of gold, and despite the cruel mistreatment, justice prevailed and all of her terrible circumstances worked out for good. I feel like it’s an amazing example of Romans 8:28…God turning your pumpkins into carriages, and your curses into blessings, and everything the enemy ever meant against you for harm, for good! Cinderella’s story is such a fun celebration of happily ever after, which we will experience in eternal life from our relationship with Jesus, if we endure ‘til the end! ❤
Image credit via Livy Jarmusch and Crown of Beauty Magazine