May 31, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 31

Oh my. The Lord cracks me up. He really does have a sense of humor. Seriously, He does.

I had asked my friend, Melissa, to post this week. I had gotten my days confused because of the holiday this week. I told her I wanted to post her story on Friday--thinking that I had today covered.

Oops. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

I have no post scheduled for today. I know why the Lord let that happen.

He has been telling me all week to share my story. I have been pretending like I didn't hear Him.

This doesn't go over well with the Lord. He always gets His way. Always.

So, here goes.

"I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well."  Psalm 139:14

This verse changed my life.

I had always heard this verse quoted and would secretly roll my eyes thinking that it certainly did not apply to me. It never would.

Growing up as the younger sister, I was always in my older sisters shadow. Whether she liked it or not, there I was hovering and trying to soak up every inch of her beautiful presence.

She was older than me, taller than me, skinnier than me, and prettier than me. (i know she hates when i say this, but it's true.)

My parents always told me that I was beautiful. Always.

I never, ever believed them. When someone would tell me that I was pretty, I would immediately wonder why they would lie and what their purpose was for lying to me. I even would think that my parents paid them to tell me these lies. (yes, that's pretty sad.)

Looking back, it breaks my heart that I would actually think people were never telling the truth.

I convinced myself that because they felt sorry for me, they had to lie to make me feel better.

Sad, but true.

I have no idea why I was so insecure. None. Nothing major happened in my life that would have made me be filled with such insecurity.

My insecurities affected every single aspect of my life. From friendships, to boyfriends.

Approval from them was my main goal in life. If I ever felt like they did not approve, I would strive even harder to make them like me.

I would become whoever they wanted me to be so that I could feel like they liked me and loved me.

This went on well into my married life. I know for a fact that one of the many reasons I fell in love with Lem was because he was so sure of himself and comfortable in his own skin. He made me want to be like him in this way. I loved his confidence. His easy way with people. I was always striving. Striving. Striving.

We would go to parties and I would be glued to his side because I liked who I was around him. He loved me for being me. He knew me...and yet, he still loved me.

I could not stand seeing myself in pictures. I would cringe every time I would see a picture of myself. It would make me even more insecure because I would find every flaw and scrutinize them.

When I became pregnant with our first child, I prayed every night that my child would look like Lem. I really did.

Lo and behold, my first born, looked just like me. (there's that sense of humor, Lord!)

I was shocked, because I thought since he was a boy, he would surely look like Lem. Nope.

My body became different after having my first baby. This made me even more insecure. My face was broken out all of the time, so I covered it with make-up. Heavily.

Let me just throw something out here on the table: If you know a girl who wears a little (or a lot) too much make-up, her hair is a little too blonde (or just a little too much), go and love on her. Go and tell her how much God loves her and how beautiful she is. She desperately needs to hear it.

I was that girl. All the heavy make-up and the bleached out blonde hair was not because I thought I was pretty. On the contrary. It was because I thought that I was anything but pretty.

The make-up, the hair, those were all just things to hide myself, to cover up what I didn't want anyone to see--the real me. Too much was better than not enough--in my skewed vision, anyway.

Lem would always try to convince me to not wear make-up. I thought he was crazy. I hated when he would tell me this because I felt like he was teasing me. Like some kind of torturous game.

I was messed up.

A couple of years after our son was born, we  had our second child, a little girl. She looked just like Lem. My prayers were answered. Finally.

The last thing I ever wanted was a little girl that looked like me. No way.

Little did I know that having a little girl would completely force me to take a major microscope to my own life as a woman.

Here I was raising this daughter, and I could barely get a grip on my own  pitiful life. I needed some intervention.

Things had to change.

I needed freedom, desperately.

God led me to Beth Moore's book, "So Long, Insecurity", in July of 2010.

here is the book!

After reading it, I thought for sure that Beth had been watching my life from the time I was born. I felt like she had written my auto-biography.

My eyes were slowly opened to the lie that I had built my life upon.

The lie that I was not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, etc.

I began to finally realize that my self-absorption with my flaws had actually been a form of self-idolatry. I  was so focused on ME, that there was no way that I could ever be a good wife, a good momma, or a good friend.

I would never even begin to be able to love the Lord and serve Him with all of myself because "myself" was wrapped up in ME. Me, Myself, and I. (gag)

Hello, this was a huge epiphany. Huge.

One day soon after, I was admiring Presley playing in one of her cute little dresses. I noticed her beautiful features and her wind-blown hair. I could not take my eyes off of her. She was mesmerizing.

I heard the Lord say this to me as clear as crystal: "You see her, as I see you, Jill. I feel the same exact way about YOU, that you feel about her. I cannot take my eyes off of you, sweet daughter of mine."

I remember calling a friend and crying about this revelation from the Lord! I really was worthy. I really was beautiful to someone. Not just someone...but to my Father in Heaven! The Creator of all things!

I soon opened my Bible to the verse that I wrote above--Psalm 139:14. I read it over and over. I now believed it. I was wonderfully made. It was true.

The last line of Beth Moore's book that changed my life was this: "Now get out there and show some wide-eyed little girls what a secure woman looks like".

It was as if the Lord Himself had breathed those words right into my pierced ears.

The biggest challenge of my life was beginning to unfold. I had to show my daughter, my Presley, what security looked like. If I didn't show it to her, who would?

Now, I wake up each and every day with her on my mind and on my heart.

I will show her security. I will show her strength.

She will know what security looks like. If I have to fight tooth and nail every second of every day to overcome my past of insecurity, then that's what I will do. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

I will show her. Every single day.

"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. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

fearfully and wonderfully made,


p.s...A funny little thing: the minute I finished typing this, I received the draft for Melissa's SHINE post. Hmmm. God seriously has a sense of humor and a sense of timing. ;) Stay tuned for Melissa's incredible story...tomorrow. 

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. "
Psalm 31:30
(Presley's Life Verse.)

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