August 31, 2014

Are You Beautiful?

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Are you beautiful?

Just the other day I was wrestling with this very question.  And even though I do not consider myself ugly, and even though I know what God thinks of me I still wondered. I could see beauty everywhere around me.  I could appreciate the beauty of others and the beauty of nature but I could not see it in myself.

Have you ever been there?  Have you ever wondered if there was anything truly beautiful about you?

As the years go by and friends and relatives marry, do you wonder about your dream of building a family ever coming true?

Do you wonder about your true beauty if your career doesn't pan out or you can't find a job?

If you have ever been abused do you perhaps wonder if it was because there isn't anything beautiful about you?  

For me I was having a normal day.  It was a good day. I felt happy and then, out of nowhere I suddenly felt very sad.  I can't remember if it was a song on the radio or a happy couple I passed by on the street but something shifted my perspective in a moment.  Suddenly I was uncertain.  Suddenly I felt tears stinging my eyes.

I was hyper aware of my single status and every dream and hope, every prayer that has yet been unanswered.  It was so sudden and unexpected, like getting hit in the head by a cement block.

" What is this?"  I wondered.  " I was happy!  What just happened?"  My thoughts recalled Psalm 43:5
" Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?..."

And I remember wishing in those moments that I had a husband I could turn to who would hold me and tell me that I was beautiful to him and that I was cherished.  I so desperately needed to hear those words.  

And then I remembered the rest of the verse:  "... I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again- my savior and my God." I started to pray and cried to God, sharing my sudden heart-ache and desire.  

God understands our sufferings and searches our hearts. I heard His words in my head and felt them in my heart:  

 " The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
~ Psalm 34:18

I  can't explain what triggered such a powerful mix of emotions that day.  All I can say is that He was with me and heard my cries.  Perhaps He knew someone reading this post would need to know that they are not alone.   

God knows the incredible worth and beauty each of us possess. He doesn't see us as we see ourselves.  Married or not, successful or not, abused or not abused our beauty does not lie in our flesh and all the things that weigh it down.  

No dear friends, our beauty comes from the new life, the new creatures we have already become through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.  Are you beautiful?  Yes!  You are beautiful even when you don't feel so.  Our beauty rivals the stars!  We shine with a glory that is hidden from this world.  But one day we will know ourselves as He knows us; perfect, whole, and beautiful.

" For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son,
that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
~John 3:16

" Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord."
~Psalm 45:11

" You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."
~Song of Songs 4:7

July 10, 2014

Purpose In The Ordinary Every Day

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The other day I was doing my laundry and hung it outside to dry.  And as I commenced in the action I was suddenly hit by the realization of how ordinary that experience was to me.  There is truly nothing very exciting about hanging one's laundry.  And yet I was struck by how profoundly human I felt while doing that.

" How many people hang their laundry in the world today?" I thought to myself because I didn't know.  But it must be a lot.  " And how many people hung their laundry in generations past?" Lots and lots I imagined.  

And as I hung laundry I wondered about all the other mundane acts I did every day that were also shared experiences with the collective human race.  It made me wonder about all the private, normal every day moments of Christians in the Bible.  Did Mary, Jesus mother, hang laundry too?  Did Jesus maybe even help her?  Did Joseph, Jacob's son, learn how to cook meals and clean when he was a servant in Egypt?  Did David feed the horses and sheer the sheep?

I began to wonder of all the moments the Bible never tells us about.  And I was deeply moved by the thought that God saw every single one of those moments.  Every single one.  From birth.  Can you imagine?  And even more profound to me was that He chose to keep those moments hidden from us.  He respected their privacy and only shared the things that would help us grow.  God cherished each life mentioned in His Word.  

That thought got me thinking about what He cherishes about my ordinariness.  I am, in many ways, quite simple.  And I like who I am.  But to think that the God of all creation watches my every moment of every day... that's so amazing to me.  Why does He bother?  

And its not just me He watches.  God sees every moment of every life in this world.  I cannot fathom that fact.  But its true.  And I think if we all could see those moments of each other, the moments of complete vulnerability and humanness, it would help us understand how terribly our sins hurt others.

God loves you and me and every person, He always has.  And I sometimes wrestle with that thought because there are some truly horrible acts committed by people towards others (animals and nature included.)  And I think... how can God care about them?  Does He not see what they do?  Does He not care?  But I believe that He cares so much more profoundly than any of us can ever know.  

And I wonder, after all this pondering, if ordinary days have a purpose beyond the now.  Could it be that the long days, weeks, months, and even years when nothing profound happens in our lives... could it be that we exist just so that God can love us?

" What are mere mortals that you should think about them, 
human beings that you should care for them?"
~ Psalm 8:4