Category Archives: Self-Worth

The Touch of His Hand

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This past week has been one long blur, resulting in a combination of medicines and my body’s need for healing sleep.  At times, I was so miserable that all I could do is lay still trying to avoid my progressively worsening cough.  I couldn’t breathe.  Literally, I couldn’t get the air I was in taking to filter to my lungs.  The Dr. said I had asthma induced bronchitis.  Nice to know, I guess, but I just wanted to feel better.  From experience, I knew that it would not take long until the miracle of modern medicine would work it’s magic and I would soon be back to good health.  I did let my mind wander to the days of pre-medicine though, and tried to imagine what it would have been like for many who, experiencing the same type of sickness I have just suffered, had no hope for cure. Perhaps they had access to medicinal herbs or lived close to one of the major cities where some sort of medical knowledge might have been helpful, but for the most part, there was no known cure for many of today’s common illnesses.

I then let my mind journey even farther back through time, to the days when the streets of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Judea were nothing but tired and worn trails of dust. They were also the only way that the cities of Israel were connected to each other. More than likely, caravans carrying wares to be sold in the market along with travelers making their way throughout the countryside could be seen on these streets on any given day. Another guaranteed sight, if one were to be walking the streets outside of any of the cities of Israel when Herod reigned in Judea on behalf of Rome, would be the various people for whom illness had driven them outside the city gates. In order to keep the greater populace living inside the confines of the city walls safe and healthy, those people having contracted leprosy, tuberculosis or other forms of highly contagious diseases were forced to find refuge along the highway or catacombs outside the city. The chronically ill were additionally forced to cry the word ‘unclean’ to passerbys so that no one might mistakenly come in contact with them. Think of this existence. These poor people were already feeling miserable, had been forced from their homes – in most cases, alone – they had to rely on charity for food, and if that wasn’t enough, also had to announce their uncleanness and unworthiness to all who might pass by them. The physical, mental and emotional toll on these individuals must have been overwhelming.

At some point, during this time period, word of unusual events started spreading throughout the country. For this small window in time, there lived One who might actually be able to help these ostracized folks. Eager to share what they had seen, men, women and children ran from city to neighboring city yelling and crying out the name of Jesus. This name, the wonderfully, powerful name of Jesus fell on the ears of the sick, laying outside the city. Maybe they felt hope and the possibility for a real life again. Maybe they had become so hardened that skepticism was the only emotion they could feel. Regardless of their reception of the news, the fact that something unusual was taking place in Israel could not be escaped. The documented love that Jesus had for the sick can be found in the New Testament eyewitness accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John even ends his writings by saying in John 21:25, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

I let my mind wrap around the incredible surge of feeling that might have been felt by those who experienced the actual, physical touch of Jesus. For the outcast living outside the city, this touch meant even more as they had not experienced a touch from anyone in a very long time. No hugs, no handshakes, no pat on the back in passing, they were unclean and unable to be touched. The touch of Jesus not only healed these people permanently from their illness, but it radically changed the course of their life. Take a moment, let your mind roll around the opportunities that presented themselves to the sick through just that one touch by Jesus. As I lay trying to recuperate this past week, I savored the thought of feeling Jesus heal me of my cough. I stand in awe of His power and can only imagine what His personal touch felt like.

I will testify though, that I am better today and I give the credit for my health to only God. The prayers of a few close friends, availed much and I am confident that I felt the touch of God. We do not live during the time that God opened the doorway from heaven and allowed His Son, Jesus, to physically walk the earth. We do, however, live in a time when we, who believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have His Spirit living in us. Jesus is not here, in person, to minister to the lost and sick, so it is up to us as His ambassadors to take his message to those outside the city gates. If the city is represented by the Church, in our times, then we must leave the safety and confinements of the church and go where the sick, unwanted and unloved live – outside the city gates. As Christians, we can bring the life changing, healing touch of the Master to those who truly need it but have no idea how or where to find Jesus. So many people wander outside the gate. They may not shout the word, ‘unclean,’ but they undoubtably feel unclean. Only those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, can ever feel clean and whole.

The world needs the Healing Touch of Jesus! Will you be the hands He uses?
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On the Surface

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1 Samuel 16:7
English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

I love that God finds my beauty on the inside and not on the surface. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant experience to look in the mirror because time is not forgiving and gravity takes it’s toll. Some people are blessed to have a good genes and they retain their figure and youthful look but for most of us, it’s a daily struggle to be one of ‘the beautiful people’.

Often, a thought builds in my mind and I feel led to share what ends up becoming a full article. Sometimes, I am fueled by outrage at a current event and have to address it immediately. There are times though, where a subtle conversation or comment shared in passing is repeated over the course of time. When this happens, I know I have received a prompting from God to share what He is revealing to me.

I spend some time, not by choice, at the dermatologist several times a year reversing sun damage in the hopes to prevent skin cancer from surfacing. As a teen, I spent hours soaking in the sun as I tried to obtain a golden tan. Unsuccessful in most attempts, I would end up suffering from burns and the resulting peels that revealed only freckles and no tan. Unfortunately, I never learned and repeated this process so much over the years that now I have to reverse the damage that took years to build. Frequently, the damage to cells in your body take place years before the evidence of the resulting skin cancer can be seen. I’ve been told that typically, the length of time from initial damage to visible results can span ten years. I think there’s a lesson to learn here….(besides the obvious of avoiding sun damage). How long does it take for damage to reach the surface?

In casual conversation, I mentioned to a friend that she has flawless skin and she looked really great. After thanking me for the comment, which was genuine admiration, she clouded for a second before she said that my compliment made up for years of feeling ugly because she couldn’t tan. She was always more pale than her friends and didn’t feel like one of the “beautiful people.” I can relate because I’m so pale that I can literally blind people from the sun’s reflection off my skin. I felt immediately humbled to receive a glimpse into what had been years of suffering that my friend had experienced. In her case, she has emerged as the recipient of flawless and youthful skin because she avoided the sun. The feeling of beauty is only skin deep though because the feeling of inadequacy runs deeper than the surface.

Later, the same week, I was talking to another friend and somehow the conversation turned to her years of feeling invisible. In her youth, she had been heavier and always felt as if she was completely invisible to the world. As she matured, she lost weight and became more comfortable with herself so that people started noticing her. The attention she received could have easily gone to her head but she knew that regardless of what she looked like, the real person could only be known from the inside out. She said it was eye opening to see that people want to associate with those they perceive to be beautiful, so much so, that sometimes it’s hard to know who your real friends might be.

How many other people feel like this? How many neighbors, co-workers or relatives are suffering from what lies below the surface? If it takes ten years for some skin cancers to surface, how long does it take for emotional scars or feelings of inadequacy to become apparent? How many people do you know who are suffering in silence? Are you someone who has a hidden hurt? It’s such a comfort to know that there is One who looks past the surface and not only knows the real you but who can also hold and heal those secret scars. God knows you and He loves you! Psalm 139:13 New International Version (NIV) says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” How awesome is that! Not only does God see you and know you, He is the one who created the inner most you. He formed your soul and knows your secret thoughts and painful past. Turn those hurts that you have held on to for years over to Him and let Him free you from long held feelings of inadequacy.

“For man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart!”

Steps

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Psalm 37:23

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.

Who doesn’t love a good shoe!

Every woman has a journey that begins with a step.  Some days it’s one step forward and two steps back but each step takes us closer to the purpose God has intended for our lives.  I have noticed that each one of my steps also brings me to a newer sense of realization that I am learning so much as I move forward.  All I need to do is look back over my past footprints to see the success stories and triumphs that way overshadow my mistakes and failures.

I want to use this site as a way to reach other women and share ideas, thoughts, helpful hints, questions and solutions.  Some of my triumphs have been so small that they are almost not worth mentioning, but they make me smile.  For instance, I discovered that if I heat the cream for my coffee before I add to my cup, the flavor is so much better and I get to drink a nice, hot cup for a longer time which makes my entire morning so enjoyable!  It’s these little things that encourage me and make me stronger and better.  Hence, the “better today” moniker.  The things that make us better do make us stronger.  I believe that God has ordered my footsteps in such a way that I will come across, usually stumble over, a solution to a problem or an easier way to do something at just the time I need it.  He is great that way!  This keeps me from becoming egotistical and self-reliant.  I know that all good things come from Him who knows just what I need and when I need it.

I hope the things you read here are helpful and meaningful.  Enjoy!

Loving Myself

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Amelia Island
Teeing off and posing. What a great time we had on that vacation!

 

I love me, I love me not.  I love me, I love me not.  Do these words sound familiar?  Every time I think that I have come to grips with who I am, I catch a fleeting glimpse of myself in the mirror.  The horror of seeing, or rather not seeing, myself in that sideways glimpse that really puts everything in proportion drives me into a total downward spiral of self-criticism.  Gravity is not my friend!  If only I had the arms of Jennifer Anniston, the behind of Jennifer Lopez and the legs of any of the professionals on Dancing with the Stars, then I could be truly happy with myself……like a conveyor belt, these self-loathing accusations float through my thoughts until they have me convinced that because I am not pretty like the models and actresses that I must also be unlovable and undesirable.  Then I move to the closet and, well, let’s face it, my middle-class wardrobe does not compare to the couture of Beverly Hills or even the store front windows in the mall.  Several changes of clothes later, I move to the counter to start the transformation of my hair.  Maybe I should just throw in towel, so to speak, or just grab my nearest hat which is so well worn that it comfortably conforms to my head while deftly hiding my unruly locks.  This vicious cycle is one that has repeated itself way too many times to count.

Thankfully, the me I see in the mirror is not the me that really matters.  For obvious reasons, I need to take care of myself with good nutrition, exercise and grooming, but how I look or dress is not the be-all, end-all that defines me.  As I learn to place my focus on how God sees me – a perfect reflection of Him with a unique purpose and plan – then I can easily be comfortable with loving myself.  This body that I am in right now is just a shell that carries the real me for the short time I am on earth.  My real journey begins when I reach my heavenly home and eternity starts.  This life is a dress rehearsal for so much more.  Here’s the thing though, I cannot truly love others or God while I’m here, if I can’t love myself.  How can I love God yet not love myself when He says I am perfectly and wonderfully made?  Herein lies the battle between what I know and what I see.  I have been so conditioned to look for aesthetic beauty that I rarely look beneath the surface to see the diamond that is hidden within.  I am striving to consciously look beneath the surface in hopes that this action will become an unconscious habit.  Wish me luck as I perfect this newly started habit.

 

What do you do when you feel the doubts about your self-worth?  What words of advice can you share?  Please let me know!