You are beautiful

Ellie hair

My daughter needs a haircut. Her hair is LONG, but oh so beautiful, a pretty golden blonde that I want to bottle up for myself. She always wants to wear it down, but I usually put it up in a ponytail to keep it out of her face, because it tangles so easily. The other day, I surprised her and told her to bring me a headband instead of a ponytail holder. I brushed out her beautiful hair, put on the headband, and told her that’s how she was wearing it to school. She looked in the mirror, her face lit up, and she said, “I love myself mama.” Her words caught me off guard because they were so innocent and pure so I asked her to repeat them. ”I love myself.” Then she skipped out of the room beaming. I wanted to cry out of love for her.

Why is it so hard for us to love ourselves? I am not talking about a narcissistic, obsession. I mean an authentic acceptance of who we are in our own skin. Almost all of us struggle with so much insecurity, sometimes spilling over into self-loathing. I would imagine that even the most gorgeous women in the world have things they would change and even many who seem to love themselves so much are compensating for something. And yet, despite what the media tells us, or what others around us say, we are each so beautiful. I cannot tell you the joy it brought to my heart hearing my daughter say those words.

It made me think how our Father must desire that we, his sons and daughter, love ourselves. Psalm 139:6 says,

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it well.”

We see in Genesis 1:27 that we are each made in the image of God. And yet for most of my life, I have thought I am too this, or not enough of that. I look back and am saddened over the hours wasted obsessing over the things I don’t like about myself. And if I am honest those still creep in. How sad that must make the One who created me and looks on me with love.

This is not a post to pump up our egos. This is about what God Word’s says. And once again I was reminded of truth Through the eyes of a child. There is nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves, but when we allow it to contradict what Scripture says, it becomes a stronghold in our lives that steals our joy. I don’t want that for my daughter, and God doesn’t want that for me. The next time I see new wrinkles and those wiry gray hairs, I may just look in the mirror and force myself to say, “I love myself!  And then make an appointment with my hair stylist to cover up those grays 🙂 Or maybe I won’t! Either way I am thankful that God’s Word tells me my inner beauty is more important than the external, and that my King thinks that I am beautiful. Isn’t that what matters most?

Natalie

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The God who sees me

desert

Mommy are you watching? Do you see me? If you are a parent or have ever been around children, you know that this question is often on their lips. Children want to be seen by us, to know that they are important and noticed. And as adults we are not much different. Perhaps one of the most important times that we yearn to be seen is when we are hurting, when we feel as if the walls are closing in around us and pain is unbearable. And isn’t it true that in those times we can sometimes feel the most invisible?

I am going through the book of Ruth with a group of precious women, and this past week we talked about affliction or suffering. At the end of Ruth chapter one, Naomi is in a deep depression. She has lost her husband and her two sons and feels empty, alone, and even believes that God’s hand has turned against her. If we are honest, haven’t we all felt like that at one time or another? If you have read the book of Ruth, you know that God has not forgotten about Naomi and indeed has a plan for her. It is one of the reasons the book is so beloved. But before Naomi, there was a woman named Hagar, who went through her own type of affliction.

Look back to Genesis 16. God had promised Abraham a son to carry on his name and give him numerous descendants. The only problem was his wife Sarah was barren. So they took matters into their own hands, as we often do. Sarah told Abraham to sleep with her maidservant Hagar to produce an heir. The plan work and Hagar got pregnant, but soon after Sarah became jealous and mistreated her. (No surprise there!)  Hagar decided to run away from Sarah into the desert.

Hagar probably felt pretty invisible huh? She was the lowest on the totem pole. She was bullied by THE matriarch in the camp, and probably felt helpless, alone, invisible. She was about to find out that she was anything but. The Almighty God sent an angel out after Hagar in the desert. In Genesis 16:11 (ESV), the angel said to her,

Behold you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction.

This is the first time the word “affliction” is used in Scripture. Thanks a lot Sarah!!! Not a great to start off women’s relationships in Scripture ha! In all seriousness, my favorite part of this story is what happened in verse 11.

So [Hagar] called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly I have seen Him who looks after me.”

Is that not incredible?! Hagar the maidservant, gave the God of Israel a name, El Roi! And that is still one of His names today! He doesn’t change. Don’t you think if God pursued Hagar in the midst of her affliction, that He still pursues us? He sees what you are going through; you are not invisible to Him. Even if you feel as if no one else care, He does. Pour out your heart to the God who Sees and let Him comfort you with a peace you only He can provide.

Natalie