I see her with bright eyes full of life and long luscious lashes. She has flowy-vibrant hair and her outfit is straight out of the latest issue of InStyle. Her smile encompasses all those hopes and dreams that give breath to her lungs. Of course she has struggles, we all do, but she weathers them with strength and grace. Genuinely charming and fun to be with, she is beautiful and she is my friend. I have no qualms telling her so because it is truth; she is beautiful, deserving, worthy, lovable, and I can tell her these things even when she doesn’t believe them. It is truth.
One day, while our children played, we walked and talked. We were goin’ round about the comparisons we found distracting. When she said to me, “I know that I shouldn’t be so harsh on myself but I just can’t honestly believe that I am beautiful in anyway.”
I was stunned. Speechless, not because of what she said about herself, but because if I were to be honest, I felt the exact same way. Her shocking sentence was like finally looking my naked self in the eye. I can see beauty in and on her but what I see of me is not. I see my poor attitudes, my plethora of failures, my vicious words and ugly faces. I know vividly my dirty imperfections and tangles of doubts and fears. There is no way the word ‘beautiful’ can be applied to me.
In that moment an argument began within my own cerebellum. On one side I see my friend’s beauty and can’t understand why she doesn’t. And on the other side what I’ve read in the bible says I am beautiful too, but I deny its truth.
In an instant I blurted out, “Well then, you don’t believe in salvation.”
Wait! What?? (DID I JUST SAY THAT?!) I fully expected to be slapped, you know, because that is what I wanted to do to myself. In saying that to her I was also saying to me: “Brandi, if you deny that you are fearfully AND WONDERFULLY made, then you deny the truth of your salvation too.”
I can’t take one verse and believe it intrinsically and not another. I can’t believe that Jesus cleanses me and restores to me my salvation and yet disregard his words about me because of all my faults, imperfections and failures. If you were to allow me the utter vulnerability of honesty:
I do believe that Romans 3:23-24 is truth:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
And I do believe that John 3:16 is truth:
For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
But I wrestle with the infallibility of Psalms 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
And Gen 1:27-31
And God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; … and God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
There are so many comments in the Bible where God calls me: beloved, redeemed, child, lovely, beautiful, anointed, full of purpose, a display of His splendor, saved, righteous… on and on.
I believe in the words God spoke in John 3:16 and Romans 3… I believe that the words spoken in Genesis 1 are solid. I stand on the firm words that God reigns supreme in Heaven and we battle a real enemy from Hell.
I believe Psalm 33:4
For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.
I believe 2 Tim. 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
I believe Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword.
So if I quiet the ramble of lying serpents and stand still in the sanctuary of His garden I can hear His whisper. I have to choose… I have to stomp out the penetrating lies…
And I believe, despite what I feel, despite what I think I see in the mirror… I choose to believe… I choose to believe that He calls me:
Chosen, Beloved one, beautiful, perfectly created one, worthy of His presence, complete, whole, strong, equipped, peaceful, wise, healed, captivating, lovely, redeemed, glory displayed, Holiness expressed you are.
And I pray you hear his whisper too, for it dances around you. He sings these words over you every day all day (yes, even today)… like sunshine surrounds your skin and air dives into your lungs He sings these truths over you. You are His creation and you are good. You my friend are lovely in all that you are TODAY. He sees you as His creation, redeemed and perfect. (Is. 43:1-13 and Col. 3:12) You wear a crown of beauty (Is. 61:3) and clothing worthy of a royal princess (2 Cor. 5:21). He sees you right where you are and LOVES YOU. ALL OF YOU. He loves you in the dark and he loves you in the light, He loves you in the neat and He loves you in the messy – it is ALL THE SAME to Him. (Romans 5:8)
Do you choose to believe Him?