WHEN UGLY REPRESENTS THE UTMOST BEAUTY

God recently spoke a word to me and said I’ve been going through a “beautification period”, similar to the way that Esther went through a season of preparation before she was selected as queen. He also said this period is soon coming to an end and that I will be stepping into the whirlwind of my destiny.

As I heard this, I was in immediate agreement regarding this season of life as it has been one of spiritual cleansing, renewal, and preparation. I knew right away that God wasn’t referring to physical beautification. He’s truly been uprooting things that weren’t aligned with his timing and replacing them by things that were. My favorite part is how he lavished me with his love and made me feel so worth it. He ignited a previously dormant desire to be in passionate relationship with him.

But if I’m completely honest, I thought to myself, “But I’m still a mess. I recognize that God’s done more in my spirit than I ever imagined, but I’m definitely not beautiful yet! I have so much left to fix. It’s still so ugly in here. So many things still feel ugly. I’m not ready at all, not any time soon.”

Then, I remembered something he had shown me just a few days prior, not realizing at the time how fitting it would be for this very moment:

I am a dancer. My feet look like they’ve been through some rough times. I’m used to most people thinking my feet are ugly, and I’ve always been ok with that, because I love my feet.

Why?

Because every single bruise, cut, and callus has been part of the magnificent process of perfecting my art. The uglier my feet, the more beautiful of a dancer I have become. Sometimes I look down at how worn out they are after hours of rehearsal and feel a rush of gratitude. What appears to be ugly represents an underlying beauty to me. This hidden beauty leads to an admiration for what God has led me to accomplish through hard work and commitment in my gifting. I also know that if my feet were to look any different, it would mean that I’ve neglected my passion and missed out on becoming the person I was meant to be.

I realized this is exactly how my Father sees me now.

I feel ugly because I have faced my struggles. I feel ugly because I still grieve and I still feel pain. I don’t run away from the pain like my heart was trained to do for so long. Instead, I’m handing over my aching to Jesus and allowing him to finally work with me through this process.

Of course it feels ugly- surrender and change don’t typically feel pretty when you’re in the middle of it.

The process of uprooting the old and preparing the soil for the new is not a pretty one. There’s dirt everywhere, holes in the ground, and nothing is really sprouting. At least not that I can see yet. But what he sees lies far deeper and is far more beautiful that what I see.

Whatever “ugliness” I feel within myself today is simply proof that I’m allowing my heavenly Father to guide me toward my original design. It is a symbol of the beauty that will radiate tomorrow.

 

EMPTY PROMISES vs GOD’S PROMISES

God is the only One who always means what He says.

In Acts 27, Paul traveled on a boat along with a centurion and several prisoners, when the weather suddenly took a threatening turn. Upon noticing the storm, Paul urged the centurion to turn the boat around and warned that if they continued, it would result in a disaster that could cost their lives. Paul’s warning was ignored, and they found themselves in a raging storm. The Word says that “neither sun nor stars appeared for many days” (Acts 27:10). They began to throw cargo off the ship and all hope of survival was lost. When least expected, Paul stood up and offered something they didn’t have before:

A PROMISE.

Paul told everyone they would survive. An angel of God had some to Paul and said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).

How did Paul respond to the angel’s message? By saying, “I believe God because he said it.” Period.

Think about this for a moment. Paul and several other men were caught in a storm so intense that they were literally on the verge of death. The only natural response in this situation is complete panic. Yet Paul immediately believed what was told to him, his only reason being that God said it. 

Initially, it was hard to wrap my head around it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve suffered greatly from broken promises. How many times have people you trusted spoken things to you, made promises you held on to, only to rip them away like your heart is far less than the treasure it was created to be? And as a result, you too may not have see the sun nor stars for many days.

I believe that our ability to hold on to the word of God as a promise can be heavily tainted by all the times our trust has been violated by others. As humans, we naturally guard the areas of our heart that have experienced pain. The greater wound, the greater the protection. We experience an empty promise, maybe a few, and forget that there is One is who will NEVER take away his plan for us.

When something comes out of the mouth of God and into our life, it is our responsibility to make room for his words to grow roots in our spirit by believing and walking in obedience. He doesn’t take back what he said, he doesn’t change his mind. Notice that many verses in the bible end with “The Lord has spoken.” This may seem like a minor detail, but it is a powerful statement. I think so many verses end this way because it’s equivalent to placing a seal. Similar to when the Kings wrote a decree and would complete it with a seal so no one could change it. “The Lord has spoken” means it will come to pass.

What I think is the best part, is that he LOVES us too much to make an empty promise.

Everything he speaks to us- personally, through his Word, through others, comes out of his immeasurable love that no human on will ever match. When we experience heartbreak or disappointment from an empty promise, he is sad too. He feels disappointment with us.

Remember… he knows what all of these things feel like. Jesus knew the deceit of a broken promise when Judas, his disciple sworn to loyalty, turned him over to a humiliating death with kiss. God knows what it was like to be abandoned by the Israelite people whom he deeply loved in old testament times again, and again, and again. God doesn’t give empty promises- he has been in our position far more times than we have!

Please friend, don’t limit the desire of your Father to bring to you what he has promised. He made a huge sacrifice so that you could always hold on to his promises- no matter how wounded you are, how much you’ve been let down, or how often you see others receiving their promises while you wait.

Ask your Father if there is anything you haven’t realized that could be standing in the way of you and your promise? Ask with a humble, open heart.

Ask him if there are any areas in which he has been trying to grow you, and you might be pushing back?

Ask him if there are steps of faith He’s waiting for you to take?

Perhaps none of these things are the case for you. Perhaps he wants you to trust, wait, and continue to walk in confidence.

Wherever you may find yourself, let his words seep into your spirit and make residence in the most callused areas of your heart.

God says he created you and what he creates is perfect. Your flaws don’t change that. He means it.

He says that when you’re weak, He’s ready to be strong

When others walk away because you’re too much work or responsibility, he says he’s ready to fight for you

He says that when you forget about Him, he pursues you

He says that when you fail and others give up on you, he will NEVER give up on you

He says that it would it would break his heart to lose you

He says you are enough, you are worth it, and he will keep holding on.

He means Every. Single. Word. 

When the Lord speaks into your life don’t resist it or doubt it. Don’t let your mistakes or someone else’s steal what God is excitedly desiring to give you. Hold on to what he speaks to you like it’s the most valuable and priceless treasure you will ever receive, because it is.

To God, your heart is not a joke.