Friday, January 21, 2011

You're Worth it

I find it particularly amusing as I watch my own daughters play dress-up. Adorned in high heals, feather boas, and party dresses, my daughters feel beautiful and grown-up as they strut confidently around the living room. They are not inhibited by their dress size and they are not embarrassed about their hair style or color. Embracing their unique beauty, my daughters celebrate their individuality. May it always be so.

Watching them takes me back to another time. How I long to see myself with the eyes of a child. "When did I forget who I am?" I wonder silently as I watch them in awe. Somewhere along life's journey, I started to see myself with eyes of criticism and self-loathing. Relentlessly, the world bombards me with images, conceived by my enemy, and designed to erode my self-worth. My eyes deceive me. Commercials for weight loss plans, exercise regimines, and cosmetic procedures all point mercilessly at my many flaws and shatter my confidence. Some days, it is enough to send a girl straight to the candy aisle!

UNLESS...I choose to see myself with new eyes. God's eyes. Now is the time for me to lift the veil of lies designed to hide God's perspective on my identity. And my daughters will learn by my example. There is no time to waste. I must begin to see myself with new eyes. So, that is what I have been doing this week. During the quiet hours of the day, before the kids rush through the door and the afternoon crazies begin, I have been lifting the veil in search of my true identity. And this is what I have discovered.

I am...
precious (Isaiah 43:4),
beautiful (Song Solomon 1:15),
chosen (John 15:16),
redeemed (Psalm 71:23),
forgiven (Ephesians 1:7),
accepted(Romans 15:7),
equipped (2 Timothy 3:17),
protected (2 Thessalonians 3:3),
secure (Romans 8:38-39),
and loved. (Jeremiah 31:3)

I am His beloved, "worth far more than rubies." (Proverbs 31:10)

He knows all my ways. (Psalm 139:3) The good. The bad. And the ugly. And still, God calls me "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand." (Ephesian 2:10 NIV)

God sees His children. Our faults. Our weaknesses. Our selfish tendencies. And He loves us anyway. In mercy, our Heavenly Father sent His only Son to die for each one of us, as Christ took our sins to the Cross so that we might know eternal life with Him.

In humble gratitude, we look towards Heaven and we proclaim, "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 36:7 NIV) And in response, God looks upon us and whispers lovingly, "You're worth it."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Confession: I am a recovering control freak. I like the predictable. I crave structure. I like to feel like I have all my ducks in a row. I want to be in control. It is how I am bent. And I am very early in my recovery.

Sometimes, in trial, life reminds me that I am truly not in control. In the midst of grief or pain, I want to disagree with God. Tell Him how it should be. Explain that somehow, the sovereign maker of all things has gotten it all wrong this time.

And yet, as a child of God, I am instructed to submit and trust Him who is greater. Like John the Baptist, I sometimes have questions. As John sat in prison awaiting his execution, surely life left him perplexed. Circumstances must have seemed out of control as he sent messengers to ask Jesus, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" (Luke 7:20)

Jesus' reply to John's confusion was "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news in preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." (Luke 7:22-23)

Like John, I am called to trust God and acknowledge He is greater. In reply to my doubts, God says," As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." -(Isaiah 55:9) My God, is greater than the uncertainties around me. My God is stronger than my fears. My God is higher than any hindrance in my path. And He is sovereign, though I don't always understand His ways. I am so small.

Still, in faith, I cling to these promises and believe He is greater. Even in the bad stuff. Especially in the things I do not understand. And even though I am not in charge, I pray. Again. And again. And again. I cling to my Heavenly Father and I give Him my heart. All my doubts. All my fears. I give Him everything. He knows that I do not understand. And in love, He allows His comfort to cover me like a warm blanket. His word awakens truth in my soul. In faith, I choose to believe that above all else, "great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever." (Psalm 117:2)

Indeed, God is greater. He was in control when He led the Israelites out of Egypt and into a vast desert. He was in control as Jesus died on the Cross for the sins of all mankind. And He is in control now. In joy. In sorrow. He is greater.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

He Came

Sunday morning, as I was preparing to go to church, I got word from Iowa of a terrible accident. During the night, a young member of our family had been taken from us. It is the kind of turn in life that just doesn't make sense this side of Heaven.

Speaking through tears, a beloved member of my family asked, "How do we celebrate Christmas?" And I confess, in the moment, I didn't have an answer. For as I sat stunned by the events that had come to pass, I couldn't find words.

Though I wanted to sit alone and cry, I went to church with my family instead. And it was there, during worship, that I found clarity. My heart still broke. My spirit ached. And tears streamed down my face as I replayed the news in my mind. But I now understood the answer to the question.

How do we celebrate Christmas in the midst of tragedy?

We celebrate because Christ still came.

He left his throne, came to us as a baby, took on the sins of a fallen world, and conquered death. We celebrate, for without a manger, there is no cross. And without a cross there is no redemption.

We celebrate...

Christ's life.
Christ's death.
Christ's sacrifice.
Christ's resurrection.
Christ's victory.

After all, Christmas is not about beautifully trimmed trees or carefully wrapped gifts. It's not about music, parties, food, or games. The true reason for the season cannot be stolen from us no matter what we may be feeling. And that includes grief.

For many of us this Christmas, the lights will seem a bit dimmer. Still, we celebrate the gift of Christ.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
(Isaiah 9:6)

Celebrate the Savior because He came. For you. For me. He came.

Merry CHRISTmas.