Blog Entry
You Are My Masterpiece // Emily Wood
By #peopleof1910, February 14, 2017

I stood in front of a mirror with eyes closed. Almost as if by doing so, it would mean the image reflected in front of me didn't exist. I would prefer it that way. It would take a lot of effort to look through just squinted eyes, but every flaw wasn't at least screaming back back me. In that mirror I saw something disgusting. In that mirror I saw an ugliness that couldn't possibly ever go away -- an ugliness that had managed to find it's way from the inside to be displayed on the outside. Why was I the only one who saw it? Everyone always told me I was beautiful. They must just have been trying to be nice. Because I knew it wasn't true. Every voice inside me told me what was true.

You are ugly.
You are weak.
You should be ashamed.
You aren't good at anything.
No one likes you. 
You have no real friends because you're unlovable
worthless
unimportant
insignificant.....

"You are too small for God to even notice," I would say.

That was my reflection.

 

Around the age of 15, I started not only listening to but believing everything that the enemy had to say about me. What he had to say about my appearance, my worth, and my abilities. He won. He crept into my heart and my mind and and got a grip onto my entire being. The decades that followed were filled with self loathing, shame, preoccupation with food, poor self esteem, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and an endless list of insecurities. I got really good at hiding behind my smile. That seemed to keep everyone from seeing the storm that was sweeping me away on the inside. I was so good at distracting with my humor, my accolades, and my material possessions. No one knew what was going on in my mind and in my heart. But all the while, the evil one's voice overpowered all the others. Compliments thrown my way by family and friends were almost always immediately followed by an internal "yeah right. Thanks but no thanks." I knew the "truth" so I found it painfully impossible to believe them.

I must say that I consider myself extremely blessed to have been raised in a God-loving home. My parents surrounded me with so much love and support. The words "I love you" were quite common. I never doubted their love for me. They sacrificed a lot for my brother and me, never missing anything. They were as close as they could get at every piano recital. My dad would stand behind my goal net as I got pummeled with soccer balls at every soccer game. They attended every track meet in Jr. High, every choir concert in high school, every opera performance in college. Their support and love for me was never a doubt in my mind. 

But even with the two most important people in my life showing their constant and unconditional love for me, I couldn't wrap my brain around anyone else loving me. I most definitely couldn't love myself and sadly couldn't comprehend God loving me. I knew God...but I didn't know God. So I was ill-prepared to stand up with my full coat of armor when the enemy attacked me full force. And he seems to strike at two times: when you are gaining strength (in effort to take you down) and when there is easy access -- when you are weak. And he continued to take a stronghold on me in my weakest of places throughout most of my life. For me, those were a result of pain, broken relationships, rejection, and trauma. Each one I swept under the rug and hid. Again, I would smile on the outside so no one knew the mess.

On the inside, I was struggling with every eating disorder in the book.
On the inside, I was experiencing depression.
On the inside, I was dealing with the ramifications of abuse.
On the inside, I hated what I looked like.
On the inside, I was struggling with an identity crisis.
On the inside, I felt rejected.
I knew I deserved everything that was done to me and said to me as a child, teenager, and young adult --
Every inappropriate comment, violation, and manipulative relationship.
I was being viciously attacked by anxiety.
I saw myself as trash and allowed others to treat me as such.
On the inside, the enemy was having a dance party and I was allowing everything he had to say to me not only enter my thought process but I was letting it linger long enough and often enough that I believed every-last-ugly-word he had to pollute me with. And boy did he love it. Boy did he love that I found my identity in these things. What I saw when looking in the mirror was not what my family saw, not what my friends saw, not what strangers saw, and most certainly not what God saw. What I saw was heavily distorted because I knew the inside was: I was ugly. Even at my lowest weight, I was fat. Even in the best shape, I was weak. I was worthless. I was unlovable. I wasn't good enough. I wasn't worth enough, important enough, or strong enough, to even remotely come CLOSE to finding my identity in anything other than these lies. But I smiled on. 

People saw my smile and told me it was beautiful.
Friends would tell me I walked with so much confidence.
They would tell me I was gifted with a God-given talent.
They would tell me I was funny,
that I was a a loyal friend,
that I was perfect just the way I was,
that I was a leader,
that I was pretty,
that I was smart,
that I was strong,
that I was loving,
that I was a joy to be around.

"You are a child of God," they would say.

When they looked at my reflection, that's what they saw.

I struggled to breathe for 25 years of my life. Lucky for me, throughout those 25 years, my Heavenly Father was there all along. He was just waiting for me to hear His whispers so I would come to Him. But the enemy's voice was always so loud I couldn't hear the only One who could save me. I always envied people who had a strong relationship with God. I wanted that, too. I loved Him so much. I did my best to live in obedience and walk in His light. But I couldn't find the fire to know Him even more. I couldn't believe in and be consumed by the enemy's truths and hear God's voice at the same time. 

But just a couple of years ago, as I was suffocating at rock bottom, just when the enemy's voice paused so he could take a breath, I literally fell to my knees. I was so tired. I was done. I wanted change. I wanted breakthrough. I wanted healing. 

I heard from my Father. And He took my weeping face in His hands and said in firm but loving voice...."Then stop. And come to Me." 

And so I did. It was time.

And then something happened: A fire was lit in me that I have never experienced before in my entire life. I could not get enough of my Creator. He became my fuel. For the first time I was seeing things through the eyes of a woman finding her identity in Christ, brought to her knees in sweet surrender. I hear from Him daily and I listen. The reality of this love relationship struck me hard -- the more time I spent with Him, in His Word, in connection with Him, and in dialog with Him, the more familiar His voice became to me. Now, after so many years of losing the battle, I can tell the difference between His voice and that of the flesh, getting quicker at silencing lies when they attempt to creep back in. The lies that I found my identity in for so long had been replaced with His truths. God was always there in the midst of the storms, just like He will be during those that are imminent. But I wear my coat of armor now as a true, uninhibited, unashamed, vivacious Daughter of the King.

He has changed me.
He has given me a new purpose.
He has moved every fear, every ounce of shame, every root of blame.
He has made a new path just for me.

Worship had won the war.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Psalm 91:4. "He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge." My Father was waiting the entire time, warm in a nest ready to hold me, cover me, and lovingly protect me. I just had to swim through the murky waters before I could see clearly enough to find my way to Him. He knew this would be. And now I soar with a freedom so undeniably  good and precious. 

People who have known me throughout the majority of my journey ask me what has gotten into me. I tell them Jesus. 

"Emily, I am The One who puts your broken pieces back together to make you whole.
When you feel like you are anything less than, I'm reminding you now that you are beautiful.
When you struggle to find the hope in life, find your hope in Me.
You aren't dirty, because I made you clean.
Every hurt, every ounce of pain you have felt or feel, find healing in Me.
When you feel unloved, know this truth above all truths: I love you.
Feel no shame, my beauty. I have unveiled you.
You have been restored. 
You have been given a purpose.
You have been given the power to influence.
You are a strong and mighty warrior.
You are worthy of My forgiveness and mercy.
You are filled with My light.
I see you.
I notice you.
I have anointed you.

You, My precious daughter, are My Masterpiece......"

That is the only mirror that speaks truth in its reflection. The only mirror to be hung on the wall. That of my Father. The only One who can provide restoration, transformation, healing, change, and undeniable, unshakable freedom. 



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