By Jackie Casey
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Isaiah 62:3 (NIV)
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, and I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
“You are absolutely worthless! You can’t do anything right!” It seemed that everyone in the entire neighborhood overheard her shrill, piercing voice and waited for my response. I could feel my face flush with embarrassment as all heads and eyes turned in my direction. I let out a nervous giggle and muttered, “Oh well at least I’m cute.” I thought a little comic relief would soften my mother’s ever present anger, and the tension of the moment. Well, that’s what I got for thinking! Boy was I wrong. My mother screamed, “You’re not even cute! You are a useless human being!” Then she turned and proceeded to pull up all the plants I had just bought and planted in the garden and tossed them in a nearby garbage can set aside for weeds – all because I “dared” to take a chance to surprise my mother. Once again, all eyes were on me as I prayed for the ground under my feet to open and swallow me up whole. I smiled back at the watching eyes, apologized for the disruption of their day, and silently went into the house to clean up.
This scenario was one that was typical in life with my mother, and being her daughter required me to be gracious and merciful and forgiving no matter how uncomfortable the situation might be. Towards the end of her life, my mother became increasingly difficult to please. However, the Lord allowed me to see my mother through His eyes over and over again which truly softened my heart and my mind towards her. During her last year, I found myself as her caretaker and boy oh boy did the Lord work on creating a new Jackie. You see, my mother had suffered an entire lifetime from emotional problems (thus her frequent outbursts of uncontrollable anger), but when she suffered a major stroke, the stroke exacerbated her emotional frailties. Oftentimes, she would curse at me and try to hit me with objects while I was trying to bathe or clothe her. If the same situation had occurred five years earlier, my reaction would have been radically different. I would have completely fallen apart and broken into uncontrollable crying, for I would have believed her words and placed them on my shoulders like a wet and heavy blanket … wearing them for all to see.
Perhaps some of you can relate to the fact that I’ve spent much of my life looking to people to validate my self-worth, relying on their words as truth and not relying on the words of truth from my Heavenly Father. Friends, I’m here to tell you that looking to people for validation and self-worth has been exhausting and fruitless. Perhaps it’s my increasing age, or maybe my spiritual maturity is catching up with my age. Whatever the reason, I’ve discovered it is better to walk in the confidence of my value in Christ, than worry about other people’s opinions. Being secure in my Father’s love for me and finding my worth in the pages of His Bible equips me to let situations like these “roll off my back.”
I wonder how many others struggle with self-worth and value? I use to be a charter member of the “secret sisterhood of low self esteem.” In fact, I probably invented the secret handshake. Friends, if you’re still a member of that secret sisterhood (or brotherhood), let me encourage you to resign. Being a member only brings you heartache, heartburn, and ulcers. When I took the time to discover God’s truth about how valuable His children really are, I resigned and stepped instead into the glorious light of self-worth and value in Christ. You can too – and that’s a promise!!!
Dear Lord, I’m grateful to be Your daughter (son) and to experience the benefits of finding my worth and value in You, my King. Help me to encourage others to do the same. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
· Begin to record Scripture verses that confirm your true value and worth.
· Choose a different verse and meditate on it each week.
· Who can I encourage to find their value and worth through God’s Word?
· John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
· Luke 12:24, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”