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Through his eyes

In my job with students during the weekday, I get to spend my time supporting them in various activities. I have had the pleasure of learning how to play the saxophone. I have sat through many an assembly. Gone on a number of field trips, and completed a number of art projects. This was no different.

The assignment was 20 things. Each student had to turn to a page in their book and list 20 things that described themselves.

I noticed something. So many were struggling with those 20. Needed help even coming up with one. Looked around the room for a word. Even asked their peers to describe them, wrote what their peers said, or some word they over heard. “Oh yes, that’s me.”

It bothered me enough that I sat in the lunch room the next day and did the same thing. I wanted to make sure I was just as distracted. To see if this was the reason it was so hard. If I could come up with my own list of 20, or if I would need help along the way. If I would get stuck. Need to look around for validation. Seek the faces of the people around me for support.

‘Cause you stood right there, And then you broke apart the lies. You told me I had something beautiful inside. You brought to life the part of me I thought had died. ‘Cause you stood right there until I saw me; I saw me through your eyes  -Brit Nicole, Through Your Eyes

And I realized why it wouldn’t take me long. And, after seeing my list, why mine was so different than the lists of those preteens in that art class. Because words like forgiven and redeemed would not be on their lists. They were seeing themselves through the eyes of the world. Placing value on themselves based on the opinions of those around them.

I knew in the moment I wrote my 20 things who gave me my value: God. I see myself how He sees me.

But I didn’t always feel this way. I am pretty sure my preteen self looked to the world for approval. I didn’t seek God. I know for sure I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him now. My friends were much “cooler.” Or so I thought.

If I only knew what I know now. No one will love you like He will. No one will accept you in your brokenness like He will. No one will forgive you in the way He will. No one will see all your wretchedness, and look at you with tender love the way He will. No one can  see you the way He does. So stop looking at yourself through the lenses of everyone else, and start looking at yourself through His eyes.

https://youtu.be/WJzaQP1GmEc

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Posted by on January 10, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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Take me as I am

Those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. John 6:37

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When I was a teen, I hated country music. I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. It was not the era of Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Keith Urban. Instead their was Joe Diffie, Dwight Yoakam, and Wynonna. And the songs were really all about what country music jokes were made of.

However, when my parents moved closer to my grandparents, and my brother and I spent many a summer afternoon walking to their house, the twang of the songs grew on me.

And I grew to love the no nonsense words of Miss Shania.

She taught me that any man of mine had to be proud of me. That certain things should not impress me much. I could color my hair. Do what I dare. And after a long day I needed someone to rub my feet, and give me something to eat.

Then there was ole Faith…who taught me this: All I really need is honesty, From someone with a strong heart, and gentle hand. To take me as I am. 

So, I had a standard.

However, as faulty humans. We don’t always live up to that, do we?

We expect a little too much from each other.

We expect that prior to any relationship we need to have all our junk together first. We rarely take anyone just as they are. Or, we take them. Then try to mold them into what we want them to be.

This is exactly how Charlotte Elliot came to know Christ. Who is she, you ask? She is the writer of the hymn “Just As I Am.”

Bound by depression in her 30’s, her minister paid her a visit and spoke to her about God. She dismissed him. Dead set on needing to “have her junk together” before she could accept this God in her life.

Her mentor and minister’s words: “Come just as you are,” were just the words she needed. She became a Christ follower that day.

It was 14 years later when she would write “Just As I Am.”

These words from that hymn are enough to make me thankful that He accepts me in all my messiness, in all my chaos, with all my junk.

“Just as I am, tho’ tossed about, With many a conflict, Many a doubt, Fightings within, and fears without, O lamb of God I come! I come!”

There are days I am crippled by worry and anxiety. If I didn’t have a God who accepted me in my tangled doubts and fears, I would not make it through.

I am thankful He sees past my twisted thoughts to the person I am outside my head. That He sees past my wretched faults, and accepts me just as I am.

He is and always will be someone with a strong heart, a gentle hand, to take me as I am.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2018 in Broken, Yet Beautiful, Grace

 

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In Another’s Eyes We Are Beautiful

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Song of Songs 4:7

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Some days just start out bad, and yesterday just happened to be one of those days. Besides the fact that it was Monday, I was exhausted, I couldn’t do anything with my hair, and since it is summer, my kids can’t seem to get motivated to get out the door, making me late for work, AGAIN! I didn’t feel like putting much effort into anything else, so I reached for the first and easiest article to put on, a dress in my least favorite color-yellow! Bad hair day, cranky kids, even crankier Mommy, and yellow? Yep, today was going to be NO good!

But, then that same dress, in that color I hate became the subject of a random and unexpected compliment: “I just had to stop and tell you how fabulous you look in yellow!” What? You mean despite the fact that my hair is an unruly, curly mess? That I have under eye circles that would put a raccoon to shame, and I absolutely hate yellow? Someone still saw beyond all the other things I have criticized myself for this morning?

I was reminded of a Sunday School lesson I did several months ago. One that resulted in the portrait above, along with self-portraits of several very self-critical 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade boys and girls.

As I asked a group of 8 to 11 year olds how many had something about themselves that they didn’t like, I was amazed at how many hands were raised in response to the question. Nearly every hand shot up, along with a few comments about skinny knees, big noses, and crooked teeth.

“Do you realize all those things about yourself that you do no like, God loves? And, that he wants us to show how much we love Him, by loving how He has made us?”

And, so began a lesson on self-love for a group of 8 to 11 year olds. Which made me start wondering where exactly our distorted view of beauty and self-worth comes from. Why would a young child be so quick to raise their hand to point out their flaws, and not what makes them wonderful? And, why do we, the adults, do the same?

We can start placing blame on media. On fashion magazines that continue to glorify pin thin (and airbrushed, mind you!) models. We can blame this on the 50 plus years that Barbie has been around, had babies, grown older, and still managed to stay unrealistically skinny. We can blame it on a history that has scorned and ridiculed people who dared to look different, or be different.

Or, we can recognize the problem that lays before us and teach each other how to love once again.

How to love God. How to love ourselves. How to love each other. Despite our differences. Despite our flaws. Despite our size. Despite our cellulite. Despite our unruly hair, raccoon eyes, skinny knees, big nose, and crooked teeth.

For we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

The truth about our image does not lie in the pages of fashion magazines or swimsuit catalogs. It doesn’t reveal itself in the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us.

It reveals itself in the Word of the One who created us. Who created us as His masterpieces.

“Now, write three things you like about yourself. Your classmates will then do the same with each portrait.”

Recognizing the good. Not the bad. Celebrating our strengths. Not our weaknesses. Building each other up in love. Not tearing down with self-hatred, and self-loathing.

“Ms. January. Someone wrote pretty and cute. I am not those things!”

“Sure you are, honey. Because, God made you that way. And someone else sees you in this way, too. In another’s eyes, you are pretty, cute, and beautiful!”

Just like I was yesterday morning in a Starbucks parking lot. Just as I am every morning in the eyes of God.

Just like you are.

A beautiful and wonderful masterpiece!

 

 

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