“You look so beautiful today, Mom.” My 9-year-old daughter said these words to me day after day following the amputation of my foot. One evening as the family gathered around the dinner table to yet another delicious meal brought by a friend, I rolled into the room in my wheelchair and looked across the kitchen at my children. I was wearing pajamas, no makeup, and my hair most certainly looked like a bird’s nest. In a confident display of kindness and courage, my daughter said, “Mama, you look pretty tonight.” I told her thank you as I had each time before. Then I paused, looked in her eyes and said, “I really appreciate your sensitive heart, Honey. I want to ask you a question. Do you think I don’t feel pretty anymore because my foot is gone?” As her bright blue eyes filled with tears, she looked down and nodded her precious little head. I hugged her neck and said, “You are so compassionate and kind. I want to tell you something I mean with all my heart: I am complete. I am still who I was before my foot was amputated. I’m still 100% me in here. Nothing is missing. I am not my body.” Wow! Mothers all around the world wish to convey to our daughters they are worth far more than their appearance. I feel blessed to have credible proof.
It’s true. I love this feeling I have. My body no longer has a right foot. Yet, I am completely still 100% me. I’ve lost nothing except the burden my soul released before the surgery.
My daughter’s words took me back to words that began my freedom journey more than a decade ago. When my husband and I were still dating, I was super-nervous to let him see my deformed, partial foot. I feared rejection. He looked at me with unconditional acceptance and said, “Lesley, you are not your foot.” In the best possible way, his words were an icy-cold bucket of water in my face. I was delightfully shocked. In that moment, I knew he was choosing me, broken pieces and all. I had lived most of my life thinking I was defined by my broken foot. To have someone so important in my life recognize me separate from my foot opened my eyes to see myself and the world around me differently.
Friend, you are no less a woman if you struggle with infertility. You are no less a woman if you have a double mastectomy. You are no less a woman if chemo takes your hair for a season. You are no less a woman if your body and face were damaged by burns. Regaining the 20 lbs you lost 6 months ago does not diminish your value, and neither does a muted sense of fashion. Your body is just a shell which contains the wonder of who you really are.
I Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Your worth is not defined by the way you look. The worth of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it or even to whom it once belonged. You have been ransomed by Christ. He paid His own life to bring you back home to Him. Your worth far exceeds your outward appearance or any amazing acts you could perform.
1 Corinthians 7:23 (TLB) You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears.”
When we choose to believe our value is defined by God and not people we can walk in a confident freedom no circumstances can disempower. I believe the sense of wholeness I experience in my life is a result of daily surrender to Christ. As I fix my eyes on Him and release myself from the role of a performer, I find continual freedom and grace to live with joy and peace. The more I let go of my need to dominate and accept His leadership in my life the more precious and valued I realize I truly am. Friend, you can find this freedom too.
Begin setting your mind on what God’s Word says about you. Here are a few scriptures to jump start your search:
- Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise You, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and You know completely.”
- Isaiah 49:16a – “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;“
- John 15:15 – “I no longer call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I have heard from My Father have I made known to you.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.”
- Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
- Philippians 3:20 – “But our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Colossians 3:1-3 – “If you then were raised with Christ, desire those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
- 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
© Lesley Sturm 2017