God's Word tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that outward beauty is deceptive and fleeting while inward beauty is unfading and of great worth. It doesn't take long to look at today's media and see how the world is trying to convince us otherwise! Read uplifting and encouraging real life stories from Christian women about true beauty and health. Start seeing yourself as the women God created you to be!
Tears streamed down my face as I read a friend's comment on my new Facebook profile photo. It said:
"You are so beautiful. I am officially intimidated - ha! Truly, you are gorgeous!"
If they only knew... I thought.
You see, I've been hiding a secret that may surprise many who don't know me in real life. Behind the smile in the photo is a fear that people will see past the layer of makeup and into my thorn in the flesh.
Rosacea has been my enemy for years. It is the weakness I cannot control and the reason I despise looking in the mirror and being included in photos.
I have never spoken of it until now. Not to my friends. Not to my family. Not even to my husband.
Rosacea is the source of self-hate for the bully in my mirror.
I have prayed a million times that God would remove it from me. I have begged him to heal my face so that I could be confident enough to serve Him better. I have tried every eating plan imaginable. My skin has stumped every dermatologist I have visited. I have spent more money than I care to admit on medication, medical procedures, special makeup, moisturizers, creams, and cleansers.
But my rosacea is still here. God didn't choose to heal me, although I know He can.
One night I stood weeping in front of the mirror, removing the layers of makeup and revealing the red, irregular texture below. I cried out to God in despair and self-loathing. Why, God? Why won't you heal me? You raised the dead to life. You made the blind see. You made the lame walk. Rosacea really cannot be that big of a deal!
"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14
Then it was as if God wrapped arms of comfort around me, and calmed my spirit. In my heart, I knew that God would not heal my rosacea because He had designed me with rosacea to serve a purpose. Could it be that rosacea, the part of my story that I most loathe, could be the part of my story that is most important?
Could it be that God could not work through my life if it were not for the defect in myself that I hate most? If I would be willing to surrender it to Him, could He somehow use it for His purposes?
Maybe you are overweight or struggle with eating disorders. Perhaps addiction makes you feel like a fraud in front of others who have no idea that you struggle. Whatever you see when you look in the mirror as a design "flaw" may be exactly the part of your story that God needs you to surrender to Him so that He can use it to spread hope to others.
Rather than praying that God heal me from rosacea, I now pray that God will reveal to me how to use this human flaw to bring Him glory.
God is teaching me that we all have flaws and issues that we are hiding. Yours, like mine, may be right below the surface. It may glare you in the face when you look in the mirror, but no one else knows that it is there.
The people that you see that you think have everything together? They are struggling too. It may be a physical problem or an emotional problem, but none of us are immune from struggles.
It is so important that we understand that every person we come into contact with may be carrying heavy burdens. Rosacea has opened my eyes to the needs of others. Some needs are just below the surface of their outer "Facebook perfect" smiles. Perhaps they are struggling with financial issues or a crumbling marriage. They may feel totally alone, but scared to give voice to their struggles. Why would they reach out to others when they feel so alone?
They believe the lie that they are the only ones struggling...
Rosacea has taught me that when we remove our "mask" of confidence and perfection, God works in our weakness. He takes our broken, messy, imperfect lives and reveals His amazing power.
So today, I'm taking off the mask.
My Facebook photo, taken by a professional photographer, was photoshopped I'm sure. In fact, during the photo session, I cringed because I knew she would have to photoshop out my rosacea.
But today I have good news. God gave me rosacea for a reason, and I am fully confident that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
Through this "gift" of rosacea, I have learned that all of us struggle. I feel more compassion for each person I meet. I feel deep down that my message is one of the importance of being genuine and transparent. God is teaching me that I tend to be a control freak, and that this skin he wrapped around my soul is not something I have any control over. I am learning the beauty of total surrender and trust in Him alone, not in myself.
Most of all, I've learned that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
If you struggle with a body image issue or any type of burden that is holding you down, would you please surrender that issue to God today? I believe sincerely that He can use that very thing that you hate the most to bring the most glory to Himself.
... if we just allow Him to do it.
Would you consider your "flaw" as a gift? I'm praying that you will make peace today with the way God uniquely designed you, spots and all.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." 2 Corinthians 4:7
Melanie Moore writes at her blog, Only a Breath, and shares her real-life faith journey. Her blog's mission is a simple one -- to make you smile and to point your heart to the Giver of true joy. Melanie works as a full-time software developer and cherishes every moment she can spend with her husband and two hilarious sons. Follow Melanie on Twitter at @MelanieAnneTN.