A memory surfaced recently.
One in which a friend called me a "hairy beast".
This wasn't a one time deal. She said it frequently through middle school and early high school, always in front of others.
I thought about her words often while I was struggling with Cushing's disease, and my body was forming more hairy, and hunch-backed. As I wrote in greater detail about her comment, using the insecurity that developed to frame my April piece for Kindred Grace (which I will announce with a link on its post date), I felt a true sense of healing from that hurtful memory.
Processing what happened with the Lord, asking if I held unforgiveness towards her in my heart, I realized that her comment didn't cause me to love her any less. What it did, however, was cause me to love me less. And that's not ok.
I wish I had told her that even if she was only kidding, her words hurt my heart and I wouldn't listen to them anymore. Honestly, I didn't know that was right, or even Godly. And I felt so embarrassed about being a fuzzy gril, that my shame caused me to hide from help.
I remember another time when a friend in undergraduate school shared a prophetic vision with me.
"The Lord gave me a picture of you, and your chest was a bird cage. The door was open and birds were flying out.... one day you'll be that free."
She may have meant it as encouragement, but given that we had walked through repeated conflict, in which I felt she was always trying to change me, rather than accept me for who I was, it was hurtful.
I just sort of said, "Ok, thanks." and went on my way. But it wasn't something I could shake. Again, I found myself, not angry with her for saying these things, but
shame-filled, wondering if there really was so much wrong with me.
This time, a growing believer, I asked the Lord about this picture, which actually was quite beautiful, wondering if her interpretation was correct... if I was so bound up.
His response brought me to tears. You see, what He told me was that when He looked at me, He saw that much freedom right then... in that minute... in that season... broken parts and all. He saw me as free, because I was covered in the blood of His Son.
Of course I had places where the Lord needed to do some work. I still do and will until I die. But so did my friend. Maybe if she would have been open to listening, she might have heard the Lord telling her, not that I needed to be free, but that I was free, I am free, and she needed to see me as He did.
Even more importantly, I needed to see myself as he did.
Both times I wish I had spoken up. And not for my friend's sake, but for my own. I needed to state that I was worth too much to be put down. I needed to hear that I was beautiful. I needed to hear that I was free. Facts that are eternally true, not because of my body or my personality, but because I was bought at a high price through the shed blood of Messiah Yeshua, and he was, and is, at work in me.
To curse me is to curse someone He treasures. I don't even have a personal right to receive it, because I don't belong to myself, I belong to Him.
The work in progress that I am, Lord, embolden me to council myself with your truth, even in the presence of the enemy. Amen.