Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How's Your Self-Esteem?

Whenever I teach a women's self-esteem group, the over-riding principle that I desperately desire to share with the participants is to let each woman know that she is valuable to the Everlasting God.

Each woman (and man, too!)  is worthy of being treated with honor and respect.  I know this because I know that God has created each of us in His image, and He loves each of us so much that He gave his only son as a living sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins and as atonement to be rekindled back into relationship with God himself.  I know this, but the young women I teach may not.  Whether Christians saved by grace or those yet to be, God has great plans for each person He has made.

While I desperately want to just come right out and tell those I work with that they are special because God made them and that they deserve so much more in this life than what they are settling for at the moment, I often hold my tongue because I want to be sure that I first gain the credibility with them that will allow them to hear me and God's truth about them.  If I just shout out what I believe and know to be true, what I say may be dismissed as some Pollyannaish, conservative Christian positive thinking mumbo jumbo, but if I show up week after week and treat each person with the love of Christ, with respectful words of compassion and kindness, and encourage them through their struggles with wise words of healing (all via the Lord's leading and ability, of course), I hope that God's truth will eventually fall on willing and receptive ears. 

However, if you are reading this blog, chances are that you may be searching and ready for the truth about you.

If you do not yet realize that you have great value, to whom are you listening?  Are you comparing yourself to the air-brushed super-models you see in magazines, to the low expectations of a parent or supposed friend, or to your neighbors, relatives, or some fantasy life on TV?

Whatever you are allowing to tell you anything about yourself that does not make you the apple of God's eye is a lie.  Sin is what separates us from God, but Jesus paid the ultimate price to cleanse us from our sins.  When we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.  Shouldn't we, the saved, know who we are in Christ Jesus?

If you are a Christian, woman-of-God, and you are suffering with low self-esteem, I am shouting this truth to you right now:   "YOU ARE VALUABLE.  GOD MADE YOU.  GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES.  YOU  ARE THE APPLE OF GOD's EYE.  YOU ARE A PRINCESS because YOUR FATHER IS THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS."

You are special.  Choose to believe it; it will change your life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Healing, it's not in the chicken soup!

Well, one (hopefully last) cold of the season just nastily took our family of five by storm in the past week.  Fevers, stuffy noses, deep, hacking coughs, chills, nausea, and all the fun of all that those entail came in full force.  So, we stocked up on the ginger ale, oj, chicken soup, Puffs soft tissue, piled on the blankets, snuggled on the coach, and we basically were miserable together. 

While I would definitely not desire to meet on the coach with my husband and kids in this condition on a regular basis, I have to say that my misery did love the company....who was also miserable, of course.  The thing is, togetherness made it more tolerable, possibly even more survivable.  The germs had me wishing for the kindness of death, but knowing that my husband and kids value me in their lives kept me fighting.  It may seem extreme to say this, as I wasn't at death's door, but I truly felt like the rest death might offer from the brunt of the illness would be a welcome relief (I appear to have been the one of us most severely hit/out the longest with the symptoms).

Having a God/the God to turn to in prayer when every fiber of my body wanted to expire, having His strength, and having the love of those I love most in this world buoyed me until healing came back bit by bit.  Just knowing that I am not alone in whatever I face, good or bad, is enough to make me grateful for each new day.

This is the stuff worth fighting for.  Marriages and families are casualties of divorce all the time, leaning on God falls by the wayside in favor of people out to find self-fulfillment or happiness in seemingly greener pastures.  The problem is, the answers to life's challenges are never found outside of God's design, and marriage and family unity is His design for when things are great and for when things are hard.  Life is worth living, but the healing and support isn't ultimately and truly found in the ginger ale or the chicken soup.