Friday, June 27, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

****I actually wrote this blogpost on Friday, June 27th. As I write, I am getting ready to head out of town for a much needed vacation with my family. I have a devotion running on Tuesday, July 1st and I wanted to welcome any Proverbs 31 Devotion readers to my blog who are visiting because of that devotion. Of course, I love my regulars too. Welcome to "I Am Beautiful".

***If you haven't read the devotion, you can click http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/2008/07/power-of-words.html to read it.

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This blog is called "I Am Beautiful" because it's the very thing I struggle with...feeling good about myself. On my own, I don't feel beautiful. I'm overweight. I say things I regret. I do things I regret. I don't have much style, really I don't. I'm freckled due to sun damage. My face breaks out like a teenager, yet I'm 40...I mean 41. I have 2 toes stuck together on each foot. And I'm very clumsy. But according to the Lord all of that doesn't matter. He loves me anyway. And He loves me no matter what. He says I'm "wonderfully made". He says I'm made in the "image of God". How is that not beautiful? When I describe myself, it's not so pretty. But when God talks, I'm "precious and honored in his sight"!

If you read "Encouragement for Today", http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/, on July 1, 2008, you read the story of Dylan's struggle in this area also. I actually blogged about this on my other blog, http://www.melissataylorp31.blogspot.com/ back in February. When Dylan came home from school upset over the words spoken to him, it broke my heart. I mean it really broke my heart. I could so easily relate.


Dylan is a great golfer, as pictured here...just look at that swing!

I remember so clearly being 7 years old and playing barefooted on the playground. Some kids I didn't even know came up and started playing too. One of them noticed something different about my feet. You see, my 2nd and 3rd toe on each foot are stuck together. He pointed that out loud and clear. He called the others over to look too. I felt like a freak on display. "Ewww, look at her toes, how weird!" "Why are they like that?" "How does it feel?" These are words that sent me into hiding...hiding my feet for the next 10 years.

Here they are...my stuck together toes, as pictured earlier this year after having bunion surgery. On my other foot, the toes are actually stuck together all the way up.






For 10 years, I would not go barefooted or wear sandals. Those words, which I don't think were really meant to hurt me, did hurt. Someone pointed out that I was different. And I just wanted to fit in.

Finally in high school, I kind of got over this. My boyfriend, who is now my husband, told me how beautiful my feet were. Funny thing is, we dated 9 months before I would go without shoes in front of him. Then when he saw my feet, he said they were beautiful. That changed everything.

Words have power. Just read James chapter 3. Words can tear a person down or they can build a person up. I think often we are so quick to speak we fail to remember how powerful our words can be.

I'm happy to report that Dylan is doing fine today. He looks at his scar in the mirror daily. If someone asks about it, he usually says something crazy like, "yea, if you think this is bad you should see my dad!" Or "yea, I just have a scar now, but you should have seen me when I had a hand sticking out of the top of my head." Or, "Oh my, the shark attack was terrible, but I'm doing much better now!" I hear him joking, but I know his heart wishes the scar was gone.

Don't we all have a scar that we wish was gone? Maybe it's a physical flaw like my stuck together toes or Dylan's scar on his head. Or maybe it's the scar from a past regret. Or maybe it's a scar from being violated. Your scar may be from a fear or insecurity that you have. Or maybe your scar is that you just want to feel loved...no matter what. Whatever the scar, I've learned that our scars are indeed beautiful to God.

I'd like to leave you with one of my favorite verses. It's Isaiah 45:3. "I will give you treasures in darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." There are treasures in our scars. So often it is our scars that draw us closer to God and actually help us to realize that we need Him in our lives.

I'd love your comments on the devotion, words of encouragement to Dylan, or sharing of your stories of your personal scars.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I pray you realize how beautiful you are. No matter what you've done, where you are, where you've been, or how you look or feel. You, my friend, are beautiful. And so am I:)

Beautiful Blessings,

Melissa

Tomorrow, July 2nd is Dylan's 11th birthday. Happy Birthday my sweet beautiful Dylan! You are an amazing boy and I love you so much. I also love the way God is using your life to reach others. Thank you for giving me permission to share your story. You rock Big Dyl! Love you, Mom





In the first picture: Here is my sweet joyful boy! This picture describes Dylan perfectly. He is sensitive, sweet, smiling, and always wanting to have fun! And the 2nd: Dylan and I pictured here a few years ago after his team won the soccer championship. He asked me to mention here that he no longer has a bowl cut and never will again:)





26 comments:

Joyful said...

OK Melissa...this isn't fair...I'm leaving on vacation and you have me sitting here bawling my eyes out! I have SO MUCH I want to say in response to this post! Again, you have reached inside a secluded part of my heart and made me look at "treasures in darkness" and "riches in secret places". Man, I so want to talk to you - and I'm not even taking my computer away - I already promised you that! STINK!!

OK...well, there's still "snail mail" - and I love the handwritten word...so, be on the look-out when you return to work!

Love ya my friend. Have a great holiday. And remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, from your adorable, freckled face (mine is too), to your special toes! All of you is a treasure!

Hugs,
Joy

Diane said...

Melissa,
It is so good to read your post today. I just weep for you dear friend, because you described me all too well. First I need to say, ease up on yourself girlfriend. You are beautiful and scars are reminders of healing mentally and physically. Oh how I wish I could just give you a big hug right now. I loved seeing you this past weekend. You have made a difference in my life. Two of my fingers stick straight out on my injured hand. It took me months to look at the scar.
Enjoy your vacation with your family. Look in the mirror every morning and remind yourself that God sees nothing but beauty and loves you.
By the way how it the running coming for that big race?
Big cyber hugs my friend,
Love ya,
Diane

Amy L Brooke said...

Have a great vacation!

I hope Dylan has a wonderful birthday!

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Melissa!
I hope that y'all are having a great vacation! Your blog is wonderful..thanks for sharing and touching the hearts of women!

I scrolled down and my eye landed on the race that you're prepearing for! I have run Kiawah half before--wonderful choice for your first half marathon! Let me know if you need links to training programs. The ones from Runner's World are really good. Please keep me posted on your progress. You can do it through God's help--one stride at the time!

Blessings,
Susan

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Melissa:
I've never been fond of my feet; but that's only the beginning. The list of "less desirables" could go on and on, but with age and with the love and grace of Jesus Christ, I've come to tolerate my less desirables and not see them as flaws but rather the lot I've been given.

Words are a powerful tool. With age, and with the love and grace of God, I'm bringing that tool into sharp use for his glory rather than for mine. Thank you for your many good thoughts in the matter. May God continue to write his truth over our lives and the lives of our children this day and in the days to come.

peace~elaine

Sarah said...

what a cute family! Enjoy your vacation and please tell your hubby I said hello! It was so great to see you at the conference.

My sister is actually running a half marathon in Philadelphia in the fall for the first time. Check out Team in Training on my blog for more info. She highly recommends the book by Dawn Dais: The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training. It has been her inspiration.

Take Care.

Sarah (GM) said...

Hey - I don't know why my blog isn't showing up as a link but here it is again. Maybe it will go through this time.

Sarah said...

okay, I give up. Delete the last comment. Here it is in the comments:

http://www.genesismoments.com/awritersjourney/2008/05/micheles-marathon-update-and-book-review.html

Thursday's Child said...

Happy Birthday, Dylan! July is a great month for a birthday. My dad's is on the 4th (I could never understand why he got fireworks on his and I had to share mine with my mom) and my son's is on the 25th. I hope you have a blast!

Melissa, thank you for your post. I'm 41 as well and need to be constantly reminded even now of everything you said.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

I remember coming to your blog before and LOVING it. And I LOVED both your devotion and post here. You're an incredible writer. You've blessed me; thank you!

darci said...

Loving you Melissa! Excellent excellent, blessed. I loved it the first time, and even more the second :)
Thank you Dylan for sharing your story. Jesus is using your realness to help and relate to so many, and my heart!
I have scars too. Some that I wear on the outside that I wish weren't there. Some are on the inside, and those I really really wish weren't there. They hurt me more, but Jesus has miraculously rubbed his healing balm over these hurts... my inside wombs are healed because of Jesus, and the scar remaining is bittersweet. (tuckersalisbury.com)
You are soldier for the Lord Dylan, a mighty warrior indeed. I'd say you are beautiful, but I know boys! So, you are handsome and I know you know how fearfully and wonderfully made you are - handsome and mighty indeed you are, all because of Jesus.
Give your mom a big hug for me.
Blessings, darci

Kathy said...

Thanks so much--both Melissa and Dylan--for sharing your beatiful and real hearts. Have a blessed vacation!

Charlene Kidd said...

I hope you are having a wonderful vacation. Happy Birthday to Dylan. I am so thankful for your inspiration.

April said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cristina said...

Melissa,

I have never left a comment on any blog. But your devotion today has truly touched me. The verse in Isaiah that you included is one I have not come across before. And to read it today in the context of our weaknesses, insecurities and scars makes it such a powerful encouragement to me. It is one of those verses that will be "engraved" in my heart.
Thank you for your transparency. You are a blessing!

Peace and Jesus Joy to you,
Cristina

April said...

(reposted because link didn't post in the first one) I cried today as I read your devotional. I will share it with my 14 year old daughter this evening. My daughter was facing some mean judgement at school not long ago and I blogged about our experience. I shared this in hopes of helping some mothers of teen girls (I'm not sure it would have the same impact on boys)http://ramblings-of-a-mother-and-wife.blogspot.com/2008/02/365-13.html This was a very hard evening on all of our family even our son (8 at the time). We had spent several evenings talking with her at the dinner table about patience and expectations and loving others when they aren't loving you. Our son was even growing frustrated with her situation and told her one night she just needs to tell them Jesus loves them and so will she no matter what they say to her. I'm glad to hear it all worked out for your son. Our daughter toughed it out and is fine now too. Thank you for a great devotional with verses for a personal check that we are not hurting someone else with our words.

Sharon said...

Hi,
First time to your sight, and it was a wonderful post. I too suffer with this. Mine is hair!
hair,hair,hair everywhere! I have been able to accept this until one-day my husband and I went to have breakfast and a woman and a man were sitting at the table next to us, and the woman said to husband "Oh my God look at her arms how hairy" I did not hear them say this, but my husband did, I saw him turning red just boiling I asked him what was wrong, he didn't want to tell me, but I nagged till I got my answer. But being the sweet kind man he is, says to me I love your arms honey.
Well that week I decided to try and change it, I was always told not to shave them they will get worse, so I tried coloring it.. :)hahaha, that didn't work either, I tried to wax NONONONO never try that again, and so I shaved, I came out showed my husband, it looked like he was going to cry, and said honey it didn't bother me and I told him it bothers me. We both agreed it looks better, but it just goes to show how much what people say can hurt our hearts and make us look at our selves differently. That we are not perfect in our eyes and we always want to try and hide it or fix it.
I hate shaving my arms, but I don't like the comments either.

Blessings to all
Sharon

Sharon said...

Happy Birthday Dylan!! :)

Bonnelle Pagel said...

WOW!

This is my first time to your sight and since She Speaks I've had a lot of firsts! I set up my first blog and I registered to take a test to see where I place to take a college english course!

I want to say that yes you are beautiful and I know that it's a beauty that obviously comes from deep within. When I saw your picture my thought was, "Wow! She really is beautiful!" As I read your posts the Lord brought to my mind of how I HATE to have my picture taken because all I see is how far I still have to go in my weight loss efforts. I fail to see how far I've come (even though I'm now in a size I haven't seen for YEARS!).

Thank you for voicing the encouraging words that yes, every woman needs to hear. We all struggle with this. Oh if we could only see ourselves as God sees us! (His beautiful daughters!).

My next first is to put on my blog a picture of me (which will be a HUGE stretch for me!). Thank you for your encouraging words that so touched my heart today.

Love,
Bonnelle

pbrcox said...

I am a new subscriber to the daily devotions and I have to say I have not been disappointed. Each and every lady on here has touched me deep within my soul with their stories. I cried when I read yours. The love we feel for our children is immeasurable and when they hurt we hurt. I sometimes feel like I cause too much of the hurt in my children's lives. The prayer you wrote today (July 1) really hit me hard. I have written it down and I hope to recite it everyday until I can truly tame my tongue. Thank you for the beautiful words. God Bless You!

Monica said...

Melissa;

This is the first time I have read your blog and I have to say it has touched my heart. I too, struggle with image issues and the lies of the enemy. God is fully aware of this and has called me to help other women through this struggle.

Thank you for sharing your heart. Mine goes out to Dylan and I truly understand what it is like to hear insensitive comments from people about those we love. Both my brother and nephew are disabled and I am fiercely protective of them because I know their hearts. Within each one of them is a beauty that can only come from God.

So continue to tell Dylan how beautiful and precious he is and that God has the power to heal the hurt.

I pray that you will continue to walk out what God has in store for you and that He will continue to use you for His glory.

Be blessed,
Monica

Marebear said...

Hellow, A friend of mine sent your July 1'st devotion to me. Amazing how God works.
So I took a look at your site, and..it was hard but I read..it hasn't really sunk in it, it will take a awhile.
I have scars..physical and emotional, I just had a surgery, I haven't dealt with that yet..um..yeah..I think I will be coming to your site everyday..well try to anyhow..interesting..
I could say more, but thats all for now
Your post speakes rite to me cos thats exactly what Im dealing with rite now and I guess my friend somehow knew.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, it's my first time to leave a comment on your blog, so I am both excited and little nerveous!
Well, I want to say your writing about your son's and your own story really touched my heart today. It's so true that we all have scars, yet how many times do we(more specifically I) try to hide them because I don't think they are beautiful but ugly.
As you said, scars really remind me to turn to God, because God is beautiful. To me, God is most beautiful in the whole world, because His heart is so big and beautiful. And, by the same token, I believe that beautiful God can make me beautiful by His healing power and love. It really hurts to have scars; yet, with and through scars, I believe I can be more beautiful in God.

Also, happy B-day to Dylan!

Have an awesome,unforgettable, and FUN time with your family!

Truth4thejourney said...

Hello Melissa,
I'm coming over from the P31 post today. It was really sad and good! I was one who was teased as a child because I looked different. God is so good and He is still revealing areas in my heart that need His healing touch, and I'm 41!! I love Him and I'm glad we can find our true value in who we are in Christ, not what the world thinks of us. :)

Marilyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

When I looked at the title, then looked at your face...I thought she has to be talking about herself...she is beautiful! (love those dimples)

I cannot look in the mirror and see someone beautiful. Sometimes (often) even when looking inside I feel so very ugly. I have some physical flaws...physiologically caused problems that leave me feeling less than feminine. Let's just say that when someone reads God's word "even the hairs of your head are numbered" it causes grief instead of security.

I have wondered if God cares, although in my 'head knowledge' I know it has to be true. If only I could know and understand that love that He has for me. If only I could feel it.

It seems as though i am unable to accept the "imperfect" love of others. My husband tries, a few friends. But their love always seems to be tied to me doing something for them...I guess that is the human part. But sometimes I see God the same way. I don't understand what His love looks like---on the earth today. It all seems so foreign at times.

"I am beautiful"? hmmm.....may the LORD convince me, and others like me....by His Spirit....

May He bring healing to those of us who are scarred emotionally and not just physically...those of us who feel guilty because we can't trace our wounds back to a physical abuse...but are bound all the same. Who feel that we must be the worst of all for hurting, for not being whole and sound.

For those of us who have suffered for years and begin to feel hopeless because we have tried and tried to "get healthy" and nothing seems to work for us. Who feel foolish because we have been Christians for years and still just "can't get it"....

May the LORD make us into something I heard of as "wounded-healers"....ones who still understand the pain, but, by His power can be used to help someone else.

God bless one and all...