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Reflections of Grace
by Chantelle Cudger
2/26/2011 / Womens Interest
I thank you, High God-you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! (Psalm 139:14 The Message)
I can recall Walt Disney's popular tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in which the vain and wicked Queen would often ask her magical mirror: "Mirror, mirror on the wall who in the land is fairest of all?"
The mirror always responded to the Queen's advantage in telling her she was the fairest in the land. One day the Queen, however, was finally faced with an unsuspecting dose of reality when instead her mirror replies: "Queen you are full fair, 'tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you."
From that moment forward the Queen did all she could to rid the land of Snow White so she could reclaim her title as the land's fairest maiden.
Much like the Queen, if we aren't careful, we too can find ourselves doing whatever it takes to remain beautiful by the standards of others or by standards that we have set for ourselves.
Though I am a Christian, even I sometimes find that I still compare myself to others for countless reasons. As women in today's society, it's easy to lose sight of who God esteems us to be. Sometimes I find that I still compare myself to others for countless reasons. Their waist is smaller, their hair is more beautiful, they are more educated, God gave them better gifts and talents - and the list goes on and on!
Due to these insecurities, I have often found the Lord's unquestionable reassurances of who I am somehow lost in a shuffle of beautiful faces on the TV screen, flawless figures in magazines, along with all of the superficial glitz and glamour that the media has to offer.
Recently I was having one of those days where I wasn't pleased with the overweight, slowly aging 32-year old image that was staring back at me in the mirror. My dark, curly, usually manageable hair wouldn't cooperate; my teeth weren't straight enough, and my hips were too big! Do you get the picture ladies? One of those days!
Instead of looking at myself through the eyes of the One who created me, I allowed my view to be limited to the world's standards. Yet in the midst of my melodramatic episode, God took the time to remind me of some things that He treasures about me. The Father advised that I not complain, but rather to rejoice in knowing that my body and soul were marvelously made (Psalm 139:14)!
We were uniquely crafted by the Master's hands and in His divine image (Genesis 1:26-27). When we criticize ourselves we criticize His creation. To complain and to depreciate the value of who our Creator has purposed us to be is to say that His creation is flawed. To dare to believe that we know what is better for ourselves than God does, means we believe that He is not perfect and all knowing regarding what is best for us.
When I took on the perspective of seeing myself from the Master's viewpoint, I couldn't help being reminded of the age old question that God posed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they had hidden themselves from Him (Genesis 3:9-11).
What God was basically asking me was, "Who told you those things? Who have you been talking to? With whom have you taken counsel concerning My creation?"
Oftentimes the things we allow ourselves to be entertained by have a much greater impact on us than we would want to admit. God's true vision of us can easily become drowned out by unhealthy relationships, envy of others, past experiences, and a plethora of other circumstances causing us to negatively redefine ourselves.
When we compare ourselves to others, the Master's hand drawn sketch of us is now marred by shallow words and thoughts about how we see ourselves. By the grace of God, we are who we are and that is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Reaching this point of contentment is no easy task! We have to be determined to spend time studying the Word, so that we are reassured moment by moment of how precious we are in the Father's sight. Also asking the Lord to allow His words of truth to take root in our heart so that we are able to receive them, believe them, but most importantly walk in them.
We have to also consistently spend just as much time in prayer, and not necessarily doing all of the talking, rather listening and taking the opportunity to allow the Lord to minister to us. Hearing what He has to say about the way He envisions usheart, mind, body, and soul.
We also have to take full responsibility regarding our speech, thoughts, and actions-speaking God's words over ourselves. Also being more mindful of the types of relationships we permit ourselves to be in. Instead of becoming consumed by negative partnerships, I began to surround myself with people who saw what God saw in me.
Playing the blame game is not allowed using negative things said to us by others as excuses for our own poor attitude about ourselves. If we are not careful about the things that we say and think, we become our own worst enemy.
Who we esteem ourselves to be is simply a matter of the heart (Luke 6:45). Therefore, we must be passionate in our pursuit of God, praying and asking Him to purge us of negative and shameful things that would hinder us from having the view that He holds.
It is then that we can arise each morning, look into the mirror and say, "You know what, I am the righteousness of God! I was created in His perfect image and anyone who sees me is beholding the beauty of the Lord! I am not too big. I am not too thin. I am not too inadequate. I am a reflection of the glory and the grace of God!"
Who we are on the outside holds no candle to all of the beauty, courage, love, strength, and wisdom that our Creator has deposited on the inside of us.
When we become content with simply being His we have come to a place in which we can live each day enjoying who we are in Him, walking in the word of truth, now seeing ourselves through His eyes.
All in all, I thank God for turning my mood-swing-Monday into an opportunity for Him to reveal himself to me. In doing so I am now able to rejoice in the fact that I am His. And when He looks at me, because I am covered in the precious blood of Jesus, and because He created me, my beauty is beyond measure.
Points to Ponder
-I am uniquely crafted by the Master's hands and in His divine image!
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27 NIV).
-I am a reflection of God's grace!
"But by the grace of God I am what I am." (I Corinthians 15:10 NIV).
-Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship God in adoration, for I am His awesome creation!
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalms 139:14 NIV).
1. What negative influences have you allowed to mar God's view of you?
2. What personal and spiritual changes can you begin making in striving to accept the unique and beautiful woman that God has created you to be?
Count Your Blessings
-Standing in front of the mirror and reflecting on Psalms 139:14 and I Corinthians 15:10, list at least seven positive things about yourself. The list can include both inner and outer qualities. Then repeat aloud the three phrases listed under Points to Ponder.
Father God I praise you because I was carefully and lovingly made! Create in me a clean and pure heart so that I can begin to see myself as You see me. Guard the doors of my lips and be the keeper of my tongue that I may not discredit or depreciate the value of the awesome creation that is me. I honor and adore You because I am a reflection of Your divine grace.
Chantelle Cudger, Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Chantelle Cudger was born and raised in Atlanta, GA the sixth of eleven siblings; she holds her family close to her heart.
She attends First Baptist Atlanta where she has also served in the Pre-School Ministry for 9 yrs. She is also actively involved in both short-term missions and local outreach
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