“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139: 13-14a
For 8 years, I have been a mom of boys (current ages 8 and 3). I love to watch their simplicity of play—with boxes and dirt and any toy vehicle to drive, push, ramp, race, or destruct with—the boys are happy for hours on end. 19 months ago, we were blessed with a baby girl in our life, and we are still amazed at how different she is from our boys. She loves shoes and purses, bracelets and bows. She loves to imitate everything from talking on the phone to putting on makeup. I adore her “girly-ness,” however I have to wonder if her desire to play “dress-up” will someday turn into complex layers of masks and costumes that have inadvertently consumed my life.
My latest spiritual season has been one of learning, understanding, and accepting my true identity in Christ. Personality profiles and spiritual gifts assessments have identified my personality as an “achiever” to no surprise of those that know me. I am frequently described as driven, goal-achieving, high capacity, etc. In one sense, these descriptions promote a posture of standing tall with my head held high. But I have come to realize that similar to the dress-up games of a toddler girl, I have been wearing masks and costumes for years on end to prove my value and worth. The Enemy tells me that I am not valuable unless I am accomplishing, so the layers of masks have accumulated. God has had me in a season of stillness as the (sometimes difficult) lessons He has taught me have simmered in my heart.
The following is a letter to my little girl, in hopes that the lessons learned from my journey can possibly be instilled in her:
Dear Baby Girl,
God knows you inside and out. He knit you together in my womb. He loves you just as you are. His gifts of love and grace and mercy are exactly that—they are gifts. Gifts are not earned through hard work or accomplishments or achievements. They are freely given regardless of your behavior, how hard you try, or anything that you do. My love and adoration for you is an imperfect and pale comparison of the love your Heavenly Father feels for you. As you grow and this harsh world speaks into your heart, instilling the desire to look and act a particular way, to strive to earn your value and worth, know that just as the father of the prodigal son ran to embrace his wayward son, God is always waiting to embrace and love you just as you are.
So my beautiful girl, as adorable as you are dressing up with costumes and glitter, sequins and bows, I pray that as you grow, you will remove all the masks and costumes. Relish the reality that you are a child of God, and that He loves you just as you are, scars and imperfections included. There’s no need to waste your time and energy covering your brokenness- God wants to use even those areas of your life…to keep you sitting at His feet… and to see others through the lenses of humility that He has provided for your good. As you bare your “real-ness” before the Father, He will bless your surrendered life in ways even greater than you could ever imagine.
As I ponder on any of the “successes” that I have experienced in my life, I must fully realize that all of those came, not in my strength, but by the grace of God. For without His grace, I have nothing to show.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Thank you, Father, for your gift of grace! Remind me that when my hands are full of the many masks and costumes that I wear for this world, it is then that they are not free to receive Your good gifts. Give me the confidence and the ability to empty my hands, to keep my eyes on You, and to humbly accept the gifts that you offer.
As I remove my own masks and accept my weaknesses, it is then that Christ may live through my life, demonstrating His glorious power. Stop striving. Let go of the self-image. Surrender to Christ. Relish His love and grace.
About the Author:
I’m a country-livin’, sun-seekin’, over-thinkin’ kind of girl! God created my husband, Jack, specifically for me (and putting up with me), and I’m happy to have the high-priority job on this earth to show the love of Jesus to him each day. We have recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and have the opportunity to steward and homeschool a 7, 2, and 1 year old in which they teach us more life lessons than we could ever teach them! We have a passion for marriage ministry and a newfound love for missions near and far. I enjoy spending my time reading, writing, cooking, decorating and studying whatever it is that God has placed on my heart each season.