Monday, January 7, 2013


This simple truth from the Jesus Storybook Bible's version of creation has been pressing on me lately:

We are lovely because He loves us.

Not because we're beautiful inside or out.

More importantly, when we aren't beautiful inside or out.

God created us. And He loves us. So we are lovely.

This is a hard, hard truth for me to swallow and I'm kind of buried in it right now. Bear with me as I try to preach the Gospel to myself here.

I thought I had the self-loathing thing down pat. For years, I used the label of eating-disorder "survivor" to pacify myself. Like, I'm not nearly as bad as I used to be. So I'll just sit here in my survival shell instead of pursuing things of true and lasting beauty??? Ummm I can't believe I'm typing all these ugly thoughts out. But I know I'm not alone.

The truth is, I have struck a balance between bouts emotional overeating and a regular exercise schedule. My weight has fluctuated within a normal range for the past few years: a little skinnier in the summer, a little fluffier in the winter. It's a cycle completely dependent upon self-control and lack thereof.

Then, 2012 became (among other things) the year of unrelenting acne. Stress, hormones, and who-knows-what else made a perfect mess of the part of me that's most visible to the world. Unlike a sweatshirt that hides a few extra pounds, there has been no hiding this acne. Now that I'm on accutane, it's even worse because I'm still breaking out, but my skin is also ridiculously dry and flaky, so makeup just accentuates the dryness.

To be honest, though, even these things are small matters compared to what lies within. At the same time my acne grew out of control, my marriage was imploding and exposing the idols in my heart-- revealing the worst of me to myself. The past year has made me feel quite un-lovely in deep ways I never thought possible. What I once found decent about myself, was now wretched. It just wasn't good enough. I wasn't enough inside or out. For anyone. I wasn't enough of a wife to hold my husband's attention. I wasn't a smart enough nurse. I wasn't a dedicated student. I wasn't a good friend. I wasn't a good daughter, sister, co-worker, you name it. But truly, all those things aside, I wasn't enough for me.

My confidence was once at least held up by a semblance of denial and a healthy dose of, if they don't like my sweatshirt and jeans, that's their problem, not mine. Now? It's all out on the table and I'm trudging through the thick of it and I'm finding that I really can't fix this pain. I can't will it away. I can't outsmart it. I know that even if and when this accutane does its thing, I will feel so un-lovely if nothing changes in my heart. This holiday season, I ended up in tears in the bathroom before every single social event we had on the calendar, crying that I just wanted to feel beautiful for one day. Is that so much to ask?!


When I disrespect myself, I'm saying to God, look, I know you tried and all, but you didn't do a very good job here. I know better. This is ugly. All of it.

The thing is, he already knows our hearts are ugly, because we are humans and sinners by nature. But he offers us grace upon grace upon grace in spite of that. In fact, because of that. I see now how much I need it. God sent his Son to justify our legal standing before the gates of heaven, and the Holy Spirit to sanctify our daily lives that we may constantly repent and turn toward the Gospel.

This is me repenting, I guess. Over and over again. I thought that if I was self-depreciating enough, people would have no expectations. That way, showing up somewhere with frizzy hair and no makeup would be better than not showing up at all. Joke's on me, though. I worked my way in a downward spiral until I felt unworthy of anything and incapable of true beauty. My sin is exposed and I cannot get stuck in this cycle of seeing my sin, skipping the cross, and moving straight to repentance and behavior modification. (Thanks for reminding me over and over again, Jami). This pattern will lead straight to despair every. single. time. Because I will never been good enough, but He is.

I am lovely because He loves me.

I am lovely because He loves me.

I am lovely because He loves me.

I did nothing to deserve that, and that's okay. I need to need my Savior. I am less than nothing without him.

1 comment:

  1. Therese, I pictured God in a rocking chair ,his arms lovingly wrapped around you in his lap
    as you two rocked back and forth.
    Mary and Jesus are sitting at God's feet
    looking up at the two of you with such complete love
    .... nodding with understanding at the things you are saying.
    It is such a peaceful picture.
    Lovely, actually :)