Many of us grew up being told, “You can be whatever you want to be!” But I have found that it isn’t quite true. I dreamed of becoming a ballerina, but instead I worked on a farm. Later, I wanted piano lessons… then to become a doctor. But none of these happened. Did I fail?
Over the years I have learned that God’s opinion of us never changes, whatever we accomplish. And he always loved us, whether we do important things or not, whether we are overweight or not, whether exhausted while caring for a crying baby or having a dream job. No matter what we do in life, or what we look like, he always considers us his beautiful children.
So why do I still cut myself down?
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If I am surrounded by demanding voices, telling me who I should be, eventually I believe them. I begin to think differently. I act differently. And I forget who God meant me to be.
A young woman summed it up in one sentence: “My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I had to neglect.” (Song of Solomon 1:6) This precious woman forgot that she was an equal inheritor. Her father had given her a vineyard as well. And, no matter what anyone said, she too was worthy. She too had capability and talent. But with all that conditioning, she forgot and became a slave.
Oh, to remember that we are God’s children, that what HE gives us is ours.
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This spring I witnessed a river in flood. The ground shook. The noise of crashing water filled the air. Yet one HUGE boulder stood up above the flood. Sure, it had been worn smooth with centuries of troubles, but it stood its ground. It refused to budge.
I gazed at this rock and thought, “This is life. We get battered and overwhelmed, but we can still stand strong.” For, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down… Because I am God, your personal God… your Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:2-3) God holds us tight.
He won’t let us get swept away. He won’t let any of those troubles intimidate us. In him we can stand. In him we are safe, no matter the size of flood.
People often ask me, “Where is home for you? Is there a place you feel like you belong?”
“Home isn’t a place for me,” I say. “I grew up with refugee parents who could never settle. Derek and I have moved a number of times. Home is about the people I love, where I am loved. It’s about where I feel safe.”
Yet, loved ones move on and my ‘home’ dwindles away. Suddenly I feel unsafe. But God steps in. The Bible says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
God is my home. I belong with him.
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- You get to sleep – no more 1am chats about life.
- You lose weight – no more watching films together and snacking on tortilla chips.
- You have time alone with your partner – no more interruptions.
- You can do what YOU want every Saturday – no more taking them to lessons or launching water rockets in a field.
- You face yourself – no more avoiding the question, “Who am I really?”
- You encounter hope – no more little hands to hold. You can hold onto God.
(photo by James Garcia on Unsplash)
Derek bought me a hat, a green one with a bow in the back. We both like it, but others have not been so positive. “You look eccentric!” “You really look funny!” And the best one.. “Your hat looks like a lily pad!”
I appreciate the honesty. But… there is a wonderful verse in the Bible. It says that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”* We don’t need to worry about opinions. God created beauty to stand out as different, for that is what beauty is. Each of us is beautiful, regardless of our peculiarities.
I still wear my hat, and when people meet me, they nod and smile. They even stop for a chat. My lily-pad hat might be eccentric, but so is God’s love.
* (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
The other night my mobile phone’s GPS told me that my thirty-minute journey would take two hours! Another accident, I thought. I followed the directions. Then it said, “Turn left on Bicycle Route 6.” What? It thought I was a bike!
I reset my phone, and it took me down a single-track road. Four kilometers later, no lights or habitations around, tall metal bollards blocked my way. Only bicycles could pass through. I came unglued. “I’m a car,” I cried out, “not a bike!”
Then it hit me. I wasn’t a car. I wasn’t even an insignificant dot to a satellite in the sky. I was scared, and God’s precious daughter. I could trust HIM… I turned off my mobile phone and prayed. God got me home with his GPS.
Derek and I met two hikers. They stood by a fence with binoculars. “Excuse me,” said one of them, pointing to a manor house, “do you live there?”
I laughed. “I wish.”
Then they pointed there again. “What is that thing in the tree?”
Derek and I shook our heads. But then I grinned and waved my arm with exaggerated grandeur. “Please, feel welcome to take a look.”
All of us laughed, and Derek and I walked on. But Derek and I kept on laughing. Imagine being mistaken for a lord and lady… But actually… Jesus is Lord, and he has a manor house in heaven. It feels so good to have a place we can call home.