There’s an old gospel song that never fails to move me. The words were written by Gloria Gaither, and her husband, Bill Gaither composed the music in 1971. If my life was a television show, I would make this my theme song. For though the tune is old and outdated, and despite the fact that I’m not a fan of Southern Gospel music, this song strikes a chord, deep within me. Listen to the words of this song, and as you listen, know that my prayer is that these words will minister to you, and that God will make something beautiful of your life…
Beloved reader, I don’t know about you, but there’s been a whole lot of ugliness in my life. I’ve had many ugly things said and done to me, that left me feeling ugly and broken in their wake… And sadly, I’ve also said and done ugly things, and those things left me feeling even dirtier and uglier.
The fact is that my earliest childhood memories are filled with ugliness. My mother and my birth father were divorced when I was just a toddler, and my father quickly married the woman he had committed adultery, with while still married to my mother. Before long, he went on to father another daughter, and played a very active part in her childhood, while I could count the number of times I saw him, as a child, on one hand. This left me feeling unwanted, unloved and abandoned. Have you ever been there?
Meanwhile, my mother fell in love with the man who became my stepfather as soon as she got her divorce papers. I often felt ugly and unlovable, while growing up with my mother and my stepfather. I was always in trouble for one thing or another. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of my stepfather angrily lifting me from the table by my left arm, while he beat me with his free hand, as I dangled midair, like a pinata. My crime? Failure to eat my peas. (To this day, I HATE peas!)
I share these stories because I want you to form an image in your mind of a little girl, who felt ugly, unwanted and rejected. Children like this are not pleasant to be around, and I certainly wasn’t. Indeed, I had a huge chip on my shoulder, and because I felt so ugly and rejected, I also felt very sorry for myself. I was whiny and clingy, and the harder I worked to hold on to people, and tried to make them love me, the more I pushed them away from me. I didn’t understand that at the time.
Looking back through the eyes of time, I now see that my desperate longing for love only turned all of my relationships into high maintenance jobs. For I required constant reassurance that I was loved. I constantly needed someone to demonstrate their love for me and make a declaration of their undying love, thereby proving my worth. It was a vicious cycle.
Because I was so desperate to win the approval of my parents, teachers and peers, I lied. I lied alot. I lied because I was afraid of what would happen if the truth about me was known. I lied because I felt justified in doing so. I lied so much that sometimes, I even convinced myself. I lied because I was ugly, inside and out, and because I hated myself, I was convinced that no one could ever love the “real” me. Therefore, I lied as I tried to be someone, anyone other than me. Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to hate yourself and to feel ugly and unworthy? My prayer for those who do, is that God will heal your broken heart.
When Jesus saved me, He delivered me from many things… lying… bitterness… smoking… But some areas in my life took longer for me to overcome, and there was one area in particular, that took much longer for me to overcome. You see, years of rejection, combined with physical, sexual and emotional abuse left me feeling different, unworthy and alone. I felt uglier than anyone else and unworthy of God’s love…
3 To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. ~ Isaiah 61:3 NLT ~
And so, in His great love and mercy, God began to minister to the ugly little girl who still lived inside of me. You see, I grew up being told how stupid and worthless I was, and how ugly too, and I believed it was so. Therefore, God had to change the way I thought…
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2 NLT ~
As I began to read and study the word of God, my way of thinking began to change, as promised, in the scripture above. I discovered that much of what I had been told and taught wasn’t really true. In fact, I realized that many things I believed about myself were nothing more than lies…
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32 NLT ~
The more I studied God’s word, the more I learned about myself. My whole life, I was told I would never amount to anything. I was told how stupid I was, and how ugly too, and I believed every word spoken against me… But when I studied the bible, I started to learn the truth about me… I learned that I was created in God’s image!
So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. ~ Genesis 1:27 NLT ~
Not only did God create me (and everyone else!) in His own image, but just look at the care He took when forming us…
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me! ~ Psalm 139:13-18 NLT ~
Now, please allow me to ask you a question, beloved reader. As you look all around you and see all that God has created, the birds in the air, the fish in the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars, as well as the oceans, the continents, the mountains, the valleys, the forests and the deserts, not to mention every other living creature, as well as mankind, would you say it was all the workmanship of a Master? Or would you say this was the feeble attempt of a mere child? Of course, it’s obvious to see that only the Master Creator, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords could have created all of this, and His workmanship is marvelous!
Therefore, having come to that conclusion, we must acknowledge that this God, who changes not, did not make a mistake when He created me (you too!). He did not create everything, except me (or you), and call it good. Further, God did not love the whole world, excluding me (or you)…
“I am the Lord, and I do not change…” ~ Malachi 3:6a NLT ~
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8 NLT ~
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 NLT ~
Do you see, beloved reader? Despite what anyone says to the contrary, God created you in His image, therefore, you cannot be and you are not UGLY. Indeed, the God who knit you together in your mother’s womb with excellent workmanship, made us (you and me) BEAUTIFUL…
And although you may feel that you are UNWORTHY of His love, understand that the love He lavishes on you, makes you worthy…
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” ~ Matthew 6:26 NLT ~
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. ~ Romans 5:1 NLT ~
Do you feel ugly and unworthy of love? Beloved reader, read and study the word of God. As you study His word, you will learn the truth about who He says you are, as He begins to make “Something Beautiful” of your life.
Cheryl A. Showers