You are Altogether Beautiful| By Tori Savoy

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I slipped on my best dress, used as many beauty products on my face as possible, and straightened my curly locks until they looked like sleek perfection. It was girls night, and I was set on looking my absolute best.

My husband caught a glimpse of me and told me I looked beautiful. I responded with a quick thank you, as our usual routine, then returned to doing a full-body check to make sure I looked exactly right (completely letting that compliment go in one ear and out the other).

I slowly turned and looked at every inch of where my dress laid to make sure there were no noticeable bumps, or abnormal body shapes. I then proceeded to run my fingers through my hair and got face-to-face with the mirror to look at every detail of my face – especially to make sure those pesky dark circles and eye wrinkles were masked as much as possible.

Forgetting my husband was in the room, I heard a little giggle from behind me.

“You sure do look at every little detail, don’t you?” My husband said with a smirk on his face.

“I guess I’m just self-conscious of the little things,” I responded.

“Well, you look gorgeous to me.”

Somehow, God taught me a lesson right then and there.

You see, my husband did not see the little flaws I saw because he looks at me as a whole and thinks I am beautiful. Even as I stood there focusing on every flaw, my husband stood there admiring my every move.

This is very similar to my relationship with God. His word tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. He calls me beautiful and beloved. Yet, I can hear those words over and over again and still turn to the mirror to pick out my imperfections. Just like my husband’s words, I let God’s words go in one ear and out the other. I view myself through a mirror of self-hate rather than God’s mirror.

I come to God and say, “But look at these imperfections in my heart. Look at the ugly.”

He looks at me and says, “Look at all the beauty I created.”

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them..” Genesis 1:27(NIV)

It can be a difficult thing to break a life-long habit of self-destruction and self-hate. Words that were said to me at a young age continue to repeat in my head to this day. Things like “You’ll be as big as a house and never find a husband if you keep eating those cookies” constantly remind me that my body weight and physical appearance need to take priority. Those feelings were heightened when my chronic illness made me gain significant weight. My outer appearance determined whether I was worthy of love from others.

However, God’s word tells me otherwise.

“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you..” Song of Solomon 4:7 (ESV)

You see, from the moment I was created, God began a work in me – molding me perfectly into a unique creation. He continues to mold and shape me each and everyday, making me more beautiful than the day before. His definition of beauty stretches further than just the surface.

Instead of viewing ourselves through a distorted mirror molded by our own opinions or the opinions of others, we must see ourselves through God’s lens. You are a daughter of the most high King and possess all the beauty and grace of a princess.

I would encourage you to meditate on what God’s word says of each of us.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalms 139:13-14

 

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Love Series: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself| By Rachel Lukinovich

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A gardener was walking through his field one day and stood in front of one of his cherished trees. It was a medium-sized tree, with tiny white flowers flourishing all over.

He said, “wow, what a beautiful tree! I truly am blown away with this one!”

A worker next to him said, “I think this tree is okay, but the flowers are a little weird.”

The gardener reassured the worker that he, the gardener, was the only one who can see the full beauty of this tree because he is the one who invested his life into caring for it.

He then cut off a branch, only to find that the inside was weak and brittle. The worker was surprised, but the gardener was sorrowful because he gave the tree everything it needed to be strong and confident.

This is what I imagine insecurity can look like. Sometimes it is obvious and the whole tree produces little to no flowers because of its weakness, but sometimes the tree seems healthy on the outside and can feel the exact opposite on the inside.

No one really wants to admit it, but as women we struggle all too often with this. Have you ever said these words to yourself?

“What were they thinking about me?”

“Why do I ALWAYS do that?”

“Why can’t I be more like her?”

These thoughts replayed way too often in my brain after awkward encounters with people. It only increased as the Lord placed me in ministry and again when I became a mother. Areas of insecurity were exposed that I never thought were there. Although it did not cause me to shy away, it definitely affected my emotions and consumed brain time when it was unnecessary. I was once that flowering tree mentioned above, seemingly healthy on the outside, but sometimes weak and brittle on the inside.

You see, we don’t want to admit this weakness because we think it’s embarrassing, and others will think less of us.  As a result, we put on a facade as though we have it all together. Let’s just expose this for what it really is- a strategy of the devil. He wants to rob the security of who we are in Jesus. He thrives on us comparing ourselves to others and judging them. He does whatever it takes to steal our attention from how much our Gardener loves us and cares for us, resulting in insecurity and incomplete love for others.

When I saw the strategy of the enemy for what it really was, I made the choice to truly receive my father’s love for me, found security and acceptance from Him, and in return, was able to love others more completely.

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31

When I dismissed the devil’s lies and received God’s truth about me from His Word, I could more fully walk in the freedom He has given me and truly love my neighbor as myself more effectively.

Judgements and comparisons no longer bound me from loving others, regardless of who the person is.

You see, Jesus saw our full beauty all along. He literally gave His life for it. We cannot let the enemy rob us of what is already ours – security, freedom, and most importantly love.

The victory is ours, ladies!