Who cares about hair…and other truths about me

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If only I could see you as you see me, and understand the way that I am loved. Would it give a whole new meaning to my purpose, change the way I see the world? -Mandisa, The Truth About Me

Growing up I stood out. Not for any typical reason. I wasn’t taller than my peers. I wasn’t exceptionally pretty. I didn’t stand out for any supernatural reason either. I had no awesome talent or some super athletic ability.

Nope. Nothing like that.

It was my hair. I had extremely, unruly, wiry, curly hair. Like…can’t-get-a-comb-through-it-without-getting-it-stuck-in-the-ends-curly. Puffy. Poofy. Frizzy on rainy days curly. Can’t do anything with curly. Same haircut since kindergarten curly.

And it made me stand out. Made me different. A target.

For envy…because I wanted the long, silky, straight strands of my classmates. The ones that could sit in class and brush each strand without looking like the love child of Diana Ross.

And for bullies…who feared different. Who called me names. All because my hair didn’t look like theirs. Or their dolls. Their sisters. Their girlfriends. Because I didn’t fit the standard of what the world considered pretty. Beautiful. Acceptable. Perfect.

I didn’t fit into a neat tidy box.

Now, many years later…there is another little girl who often stands out. In a world that wants to think that it has changed, but has not all that much.

This girl is my daughter. With the same unruly, can’t get a comb through it hair.

But, she’s a little different.

Unlike me…if she has one hair out of place. If she has one knot. If someone makes a comment about how she is different…she simply does not care.

We could learn a lot from this spunky, sassy, strong-willed, curly-headed, beautiful little girl. We could learn that it is OK to not fit into a neat tidy box. And to simply not care when we don’t.

See, we all want to think that as we got older and grew out of our “awkwardness,” that we also stopped worrying about our bullies. The simple truth is, some of us didn’t. Some of us still carry around the hurts of the bullies that made us feel less than. And, yes…let’s be real. Some of us still have a few bullies. Some of them even live among us in grown-up (even “Christian”) bodies.

But, we don’t have to continue to be their victims. Because, yes. We are different. We are set apart. Molded. Made unique. Made different on purpose. By a creator who loves us. Just.As.We.Are.

So, when the bullies start to attack again and tell you that you are worthless, remember that He says you are worth so much more. A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31: 10

When Satan whispers that you are not beautiful, or don’t fit in, remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

When those who call themselves martyrs try to call you by your sin, remind yourself (and them) that you are redeemed! Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people-free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly, free! Ephesians 1:7, MSG

You are loved. You are worthy. You are set apart. You are His. It is OK to be different. To fit in a different box. To stand out in all your sassiness. Spunkiness. Strong-will. And to not care what the bullies or world thinks about it. Even if they decide your brand doesn’t fit into their tidy box.

Embrace the truth about you.

Love it. Own it. It’s how and who He made you to be.

Because He doesn’t care about our hair…and frankly, neither should we.

I am His

For we are God’s masterpiece…Ephesians 2:10

I am his

Once again…I have failed.

The dishes are unwashed in the sink. Nothing has been accomplished due to pain and sickness. The house is still a mess. There are still bits of the failed attempt at dinner on the floor.

After months of just trying to get through homework. Of leaving-yet again-an item needed at one of the kids schools at home. Of forgetting to sign permission slips. Study for tests. Losing study guides. Forgetting important events.

I’ve yelled too many times at the kids. Left one in tears. The other hiding under a blanket.

Apologized one too many times. Only to turn around and do it again.

And once again, a permission slip has been lost. Something else has been forgotten. Been let down.

I’ve failed. Again. The doubts and self-contempt start to seep through, and it happens. Those thoughts start to fill my head again.

Am I strong 
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I’ve said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don’t measure up
Am I loved

Unworthy. Imperfect. Unloved. A failure. As a mom. As a wife. In life. In everything. With my hands and my mouth I have managed to wreck everything in my path.

It is He who made us, and we are His. Psalm 100:3

But, that isn’t what he says I am.

I am His. Even in my failure. I am loved by the King. I am called His daughter. I am called beautiful. Good enough. Magnificent. All because I belong to Him.

He doesn’t see my failures. He doesn’t count each time I was angry. Each time I misplaced something. Each time I let my kids down. He doesn’t care about the dirty dishes. He doesn’t care about the piles of laundry. He doesn’t count the times I skipped making dinner.

He does know every hair on my head. He knows my heart. He created my innermost personality and thoughts. He crafted me into the woman I am. With His hands, He made me His masterpiece. He knows I am only strong with Him. He loves me, even when I don’t love myself. Even when I think I have failed.

He reminds me…

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You’ve done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

I am His.

Not a failure. Not a screw-up. Not a bad mom.

Of this I am sure….I am His.

Enough

Enough

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

My name is January. I am an approval addict. I want to be liked. I want to be enough of everything to everyone. I struggle with the dangerous need to please. A need and a desire that saps my energy. That festers in my soul. That listens to the lies of the devil when I become the target of someone’s unkind words, hurtful whispers, or misguided actions. A dangerous need to be liked that causes me to constantly question if I am good enough.

My name is January. I have several other identities. I am broken. A sinner saved and redeemed by the grace of God. I am flawed. I can be a little too “tough.” And, I have a testimony courtesy of all the mistakes I have made, and all the wrong paths I have chosen. Of all the imperfections that have made me who I am.

Even with all this…he thinks I am enough.

But, even with this truth, I have resorted too freely to people-pleasing. I try to please the society that is too quick to label anyone that does not fit the norm. The one that labels “bad” kids, “deadbeat” dads, “unfit” mothers. If you don’t work society calls you “lazy.” If you are not the shining star in class, then you are labeled “stupid” or “unteachable.” If you do not do everything just like those before you, then you are “incompetent.” If you don’t meet the ideal of perfection, you are unworthy.

But, this is not the truth.

You are enough.

In a world that will label you too broken, too damaged, too sassy, too sweet, too goofy, too this, too that. God says otherwise.

He says you are enough.

When you have yelled at your kids one too many times. When you are too tired to help with the homework. When you could not find the right words to say to soothe a hurting child. God says you are just the mom they need.

You are enough.

When the comparison trap rears its ugly head again. When the world tells you that you don’t measure up to its standards. When the devil’s lies scream that you don’t have what it takes. God says “I have called you. I have chosen you. You have just what I need.”

You are enough.

When you leave work feeling completely useless. Thinking you are out of your league, or that you are not making a difference. Doing it all wrong. Know that God has equipped you with the skills you need. The endurance to persevere.

You are enough.

When the guilt and shame of your past sins slowly start creeping back in. Remember, God gave you a fresh start. He gave you grace. He poured out His love to prove you are enough.

When the demands of life just become too much. When your balance is off. When you can’t remember who you are. When you just want to give up. God reminds us He has enough of what we need to get through.

So, you…the one reading this. Right now. The one who has been labeled “bad,” a “deadbeat,” unfit, lazy, unworthy.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

You are altogether flawless. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Your weaknesses? Your failures? They will be used for good.

Because, you are important.

You are beautiful.

You are smart enough.

You are good enough.

You are strong enough.

You are worthy enough.

You are enough.

My Father Told Me So

How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Song of Songs 1:5

“Mommy, what’s wrong with your hair? You look like a poodle.”

I had been coveting a short haircut for many years, always scared that the curls which adorned my head would make that impossible. That those curls would make me resemble a 30 year old Annie, and nothing like the Halle Berry styles I desired.

What was uttered as a simple child-like observation after taking the pixie plunge, quickly transported me back to middle and high school. The hair that was a source of so much “teasing,” and which apparently made me resemble a poodle according to my classmates, was once again something I began to loathe.

“Mommy, all my friends have straight hair. Why can’t I have straight hair? You even straighten yours.”

Uh oh…Now, 4 years later, she has once again left me speechless. I have been called out. Dealt with. Exposed. By a 7 year old little girl who so needs to hear that her curls are beautiful, before the world convinces her otherwise.

“I just want it straight like yours.” Like “hers.” Like “theirs.” Like all the others who make her feel different. And, I get it, girl. I do. I remember watching those girls in class with straight locks as they ran their fingers through their hair. No tangles at the end of their silky strands. Able to brush their hair so it looked shiny and soft, not frizzy and frazzled like my own.

I remember all the times I made the same plea with my own mom. “Please, make it straight.” The number of times she took me to the salon in an attempt to tame the mass of tangles and ringlets I hated so much. To tame the curls that were the subject of taunts in gym class, when the running around would turn my neatly gelled curls into a heaping mess. To silence the critics that spoke words that made me believe I was not beautiful. To fulfill the longing to just look like everyone else.

The critics I still, 20 to 30 years later, try to silence with bleach, a pixie cut, and a flat iron. Yes, even the white hair that still makes me look drastically different isn’t enough to embrace the idea that my head is adorned with a heap of waves.

Even though I am reminded that it is acceptable to be unique.

Before you were born, I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5

Even though I am reminded that I am beautiful.

Even though I have a Father who tells me so…

You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. Song of Songs 4:1

Even as I try to teach my daughter that the same heap of falling waves, and tangled curls is altogether beautiful.

To remind her that God wants her to embrace who he made her to be. To help her silence the critics who tell her she has to look a certain way. To live this out a little more in my own life, even if it means I have to leave the flat iron in the bathroom drawer on a regular basis.

To be an example of the message I want my daughter to understand and own…that she is “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The message I was afraid to embrace, and definitely too terrified to boldly state so many years ago.

So, to my former critics, and to those future hair critics who will try to decide what defines beautiful…take a look at this little girl. Take a look at her curls. The curls that some may say resemble the hair of a poodle.

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I hope you get to meet her some day, and I hope she will be brave enough to stand up to her critics and say:

“You are wrong! I may look different, but I am beautiful! My Father told me so!”

Do You Need A Reminder?

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“Why are these notes still on the mirror?”

“Not sure, Hayley, Maybe he thought you needed to be reminded of these things again today. Do you need a reminder?”

Of course, who knew that the person needing the reminder would be me.

A couple nights earlier, (a dark and wet night, I will add), as I made my trek through the muddy yard to pull a pile of junk mail and bills out of our mailbox, I slipped. Fell. Injured the wrist I used to keep from falling on my face.

It hurt. I couldn’t use the hand I needed to do so many things, and I was pretty sure I had broken it. 4-6 weeks in a cast at Christmas? Great! But, at least at some point it would heal, right?

“Well, Mrs. Marshall. What looked like a break on the original x-ray was actually just a defect in the way your wrist bone grew. At least it isn’t broken, right?

Sure. No cast. But, what is this “defect” mess?

And, this is where it all begins. The self-criticism that begins to fester, and begins to tell me-Great. Another flaw. Another “defect” that will never heal or go away.

Another one to add to all those others. To add to the already “messed up” DNA I possess.

The spinal defects that keep me in constant pain daily.

The crooked teeth I try to hide when I smile.

“Strong” arms I cover up because I think they are fat.

The curly hair I chopped off because it made me look different.

The pain and mistakes in the past I swore no longer defined me.

The “defects” that now consist of a new one.

And, then I see it. That mirror. Those notes. The ones I left to remind my kids of their worth. The ones that now whisper: January, Do you need a reminder? You are beautiful. You are brave. You are strong. You are smart. You are loved. You are a child of God.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.                                                           Psalm 139:13

You are beautiful. You are brave. You are strong. You are smart. You are loved. You are a child of God.

January, Do you need a reminder?

Yes, I did. Because just as I tell my son that his autism does not mean he is defective…God wants me to know the same.

That, yes. Maybe I was born with a weak spine. Maybe something (I will die swearing it was not coffee!) stunted my bones into thinking they did not need to grow. Maybe my teeth aren’t straight, and maybe I suffered a lot of heartache and pain. And, yes. I also have some crummy inherited tendencies and DNA, but I am His. Created to be just this way.

What I see as “defects,” he sees as beauty. All these situations, flaws, imperfections, and trials were given to me for a purpose.

To help a little boy embrace and find a purpose in his “defects.”

To help others let go of shame, and define themselves by God’s standards and not the mistakes they have made.

To help others realize that beauty has nothing to do with “good” hair, straight teeth, or well-toned arms.

So, do you need a reminder?

You are beautiful. You are brave. You are strong. You are smart. You are loved. You are a child of God.

Every Single Strand

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

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It is no secret that our home has been a breeding ground for one “learning” experience after another. So, it is no surprise that our home would start to breed other things as well.

Like…lice.

Yes, I know. Yuck. Gross. My thoughts exactly! The mere mention of them makes my skin crawl and my head itch. If that is not enough to make you cringe, then just take a look at the head full of hair in the picture above. Yes, that head. The one with the dark tangled curls. That is where our new problem decided to breed.

And, yet again. God hands me a lesson in the midst of our new problem.

“Mommy, this is why I hate my hair.”

And, I get it. I remember feeling the same way about my own long, curly locks. But, I don’t want my little girl to feel such contempt for her looks, so instead of agreeing, I simply said: “Hayley, your hair is beautiful. It is exactly the way God wanted it to be.”

And, with her best oh-mommy-you-are-so-dumb look of annoyance- “God wanted me to get lice?”

“Well, yes. And you know what? God knows exactly how many strands of hair are on your head. And, believe it or not. He knows exactly how many of these strands also have lice eggs (except, he certainly was not letting me in on this little secret!).

While I certainly did not want to be picking these gross things out of this head full of hair, He wanted me to.

Maybe it was for the simple fact that I couldn’t think of the last time I had actually spent 3 hours just hanging out with my daughter.

Or, maybe it was to make me understand that He not only knows everything about my little girl, and still loves her; He feels the same way about me as well. That the same messages of His love I try so hard to get her to understand, also apply to me as well.

To remind me that while I may use His word to keep the world and its messages of what is beautiful from corrupting the self-esteem of my daughter, I need to heed these words as well. Even if I have been beaten up by a cruel and harsh world.

Like me, my mom always made sure I knew that the many strands of curly hair on my head were beautiful, but it didn’t change the fact that I still looked different from my classmates.

That those strands were a source of ridicule.

That those strands would be the very thing a harsh and cruel world would focus on.

The very strands I began to hate. To loathe. To scorn. Until I moved on to hate and scorn other parts of my body. My upturned nose. My short legs. My strong arms. My crooked teeth.

The very things that God loves about me, and the very things that set me apart from everyone else.

So, He could have made me look like everyone else, but He chose to give me thick, curly, brown hair. Just as He knows the number of strands on my daughter’s head (and the number of lice, too….yuck!), He also knows the number of hairs on my head.

He knows my fears. He knows my doubts.

He knows my strengths. He knows my weaknesses.

You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts when I am far away. Psalm 139:2

And, He also fashioned all my parts. My body. My teeth. My nose. My hair.

Unlike the cruel and harsh world that often does not appreciate the very things that make us unique, God loves every part of me. Of my little girl. Of all of us.

And this is something I won’t allow the world to take from my beautiful daughter.

This is something I can’t allow the world to take away from me.

From the tips of my toes, to the hairs on my short-stranded head-God loves all of me!

For He is Pleased with Me

Recently as part of an exercise for training I have to do as a volunteer, I had to ask a few people about my strengths and weaknesses. While I wasn’t surprised by the responses (That is good, right?), I also learned that many of these strengths are also my greatest weaknesses.

Because while I am caring, passionate, and can handle multiple tasks, I am also too caring, too passionate, and find it hard to say “no.”

Because I care too much, I also care too much about what others think. I hate criticism, and in the process of being picked apart, I start picking at myself even more.

Because I am too passionate, I take on the burdens, worries, and struggles of the world around me. In the process I get worn down, beat up, broken, and used up.

Because I resist the urge to say “no” in the fear of disappointing someone, I take on too much, and then I fail. I disappoint someone despite trying to do it all, and I once again feel worn down, beat up, broken, and used up.

While I have many friends who do a great job celebrating my strengths, I also have a number of people who love to celebrate my weaknesses.

Unfortunately, this is the place I tend to dwell.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

It’s that thief. The one that prowls around to remind me of my inadequacies that I often allow into my head. The one that allows a hurtful comment to fester in my heart, until I start believing the liar that tells me I am not good enough. I could never measure up to those who came before me. I’m weak. I’m not equipped. I’m “Bible stupid.” I’m a big, fat failure.

I forget too often that these lies are the very ones God wants me to put to rest. The God who tells me I am loved beyond measure. I am strong. I am equipped and He has given me the wisdom to do His will. That I could never fail Him.

However, people will turn their backs on you. But, God always has our back!

People will leave you. God is always with you.

People will be against your ideas, your dreams, your plans. God is always for you. Cheering you on to fulfill His ideas. His dreams. His plans.

People will hurt you, criticize you, and pick you apart. God will protect you, love you, and set you apart.

People will disappear when you need their support the most. God will never leave you lonely. He carries our burdens when everyone else disappears.

People will forever disappoint. But, God will never let us down!

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So, from one people pleaser to another. Let’s remember our aim is not to please the world. Our aim is not to please and live out the dreams of others.

Our aim is to live for Him. Please Him. Do His will. Because His applause and His approval is really the only one I want to strive to receive. The only applause that will never cease. The applause and pat on the back that the world could never give.

He Knows My Name

I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Those who know me well also know how much I frequent the local Starbucks. So much so, that not only do they have my drink memorized and ready before I get in line to pay, I am also on a first name basis with most of the baristas. Occasionally, someone does get the name wrong, or decides to crack a-not-so-extraordinary-anymore joke. Take for instance, the trip I made just the other day. I stood in line, chatted up my usual friendly barista, the one who has even given my drink its own special name, picked up my cup, to discover….he had also written “August” on my beloved cup.

Over my 36 years, I have learned to shake off most of these jokes. I have also had many names in those years. My maiden name (which had some jokes of it’s own!). The last name I carried during my first marriage. My current name. Some I can’t really repeat. All the names I was called in an attempt to make fun of my first name-April, Winter, Christmas, even Jupiter. And, I have even been called January Jones on occasion. Sometimes, having a name like mine has been irritating, embarrassing, and for the longest time, I used to shorten it on those cups just so I wouldn’t have to answer all the questions that were sure to come, or the jokes that followed shortly after.

While the world may identify me by my birth name, my married name, or the name used to crack those oh-so-not-orginal calendar jokes, the devil also has a few names for me as well.

He calls me January the sinner.

January the failure. 

January the unloved.

He says I am forgotten, not worthy, and broken.

He says I am nothing. Too scared. Too little. Too damaged. Too insignificant.

He fills me with doubt, shame and guilt, and he wants me to base my identity on the things for which I have been forgiven. He knows just what to call me to make me question God. To question myself. To send me back to the days filled with loneliness, despair, and worry.

Yes, the world sometimes knows my name, and the devil insists on reminding me of my old ones, but God? He knows my true name. He identifies me in a different way. While the world may get it wrong, or just plain not get it (Your name is really, January???), God never gets it wrong.

He calls me January the redeemed.

He calls me His masterpiece.

He says I am January the overcomer.

January, who is never lonely.

He says I am valued. Strong. Courageous. Able to accomplish anything through Him.

January, His worthy and beautiful daughter. The one He loves as His own.

Even when those around me may call me by a different name, and may consider this name to be the only identity I possess, all I have to do is seek God and find that my true identity is much more than the earthly name I have been given. Much more than the one the world gives me. Much more than the one the devil hopes I remember.

God reminds me, that while my name may be January, my identity goes far beyond my unique and sometimes ridiculed name. My identity is in Christ, and I am a child of God. A name more special and honorable than the one written on a Starbucks cup.

In Another’s Eyes We Are Beautiful

You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. Song of Songs 4:7

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Some days just start out bad, and yesterday just happened to be one of those days. Besides the fact that it was Monday, I was exhausted, I couldn’t do anything with my hair, and since it is summer, my kids can’t seem to get motivated to get out the door, making me late for work, AGAIN! I didn’t feel like putting much effort into anything else, so I reached for the first and easiest article to put on, a dress in my least favorite color-yellow! Bad hair day, cranky kids, even crankier Mommy, and yellow? Yep, today was going to be NO good!

But, then that same dress, in that color I hate became the subject of a random and unexpected compliment: “I just had to stop and tell you how fabulous you look in yellow!” What? You mean despite the fact that my hair is an unruly, curly mess? That I have under eye circles that would put a raccoon to shame, and I absolutely hate yellow? Someone still saw beyond all the other things I have criticized myself for this morning?

I was reminded of a Sunday School lesson I did several months ago. One that resulted in the portrait above, along with self-portraits of several very self-critical 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade boys and girls.

As I asked a group of 8 to 11 year olds how many had something about themselves that they didn’t like, I was amazed at how many hands were raised in response to the question. Nearly every hand shot up, along with a few comments about skinny knees, big noses, and crooked teeth.

“Do you realize all those things about yourself that you do no like, God loves? And, that he wants us to show how much we love Him, by loving how He has made us?”

And, so began a lesson on self-love for a group of 8 to 11 year olds. Which made me start wondering where exactly our distorted view of beauty and self-worth comes from. Why would a young child be so quick to raise their hand to point out their flaws, and not what makes them wonderful? And, why do we, the adults, do the same?

We can start placing blame on media. On fashion magazines that continue to glorify pin thin (and airbrushed, mind you!) models. We can blame this on the 50 plus years that Barbie has been around, had babies, grown older, and still managed to stay unrealistically skinny. We can blame it on a history that has scorned and ridiculed people who dared to look different, or be different.

Or, we can recognize the problem that lays before us and teach each other how to love once again.

How to love God. How to love ourselves. How to love each other. Despite our differences. Despite our flaws. Despite our size. Despite our cellulite. Despite our unruly hair, raccoon eyes, skinny knees, big nose, and crooked teeth.

For we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

The truth about our image does not lie in the pages of fashion magazines or swimsuit catalogs. It doesn’t reveal itself in the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us.

It reveals itself in the Word of the One who created us. Who created us as His masterpieces.

“Now, write three things you like about yourself. Your classmates will then do the same with each portrait.”

Recognizing the good. Not the bad. Celebrating our strengths. Not our weaknesses. Building each other up in love. Not tearing down with self-hatred, and self-loathing.

“Ms. January. Someone wrote pretty and cute. I am not those things!”

“Sure you are, honey. Because, God made you that way. And someone else sees you in this way, too. In another’s eyes, you are pretty, cute, and beautiful!”

Just like I was yesterday morning in a Starbucks parking lot. Just as I am every morning in the eyes of God.

Just like you are.

A beautiful and wonderful masterpiece!

 

Slowly Making Peace With the Face In the Mirror

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I absolutely hate taking pictures. Actually, let’s rephrase that. I absolutely hate having pictures taken of me. I, like many women, have the occasional gripe about my appearance in the morning, and I don’t always think the woman staring back at me in the mirror is unattractive. So, it must be something about the flat, slightly washed out, one-dimensional self-portraits that bring out the negative self-talk. “My face looks fat! Those dark circles are horrible. Oh, wow! Is my forehead really that high? Great. I didn’t capture my good side. I really wish I could fix that crooked tooth!” Self-hatred brings on a whole new meaning when the flash has gone off, and that awful picture has been tagged on Facebook.

And don’t expect to ever see a selfie of this girl! The self-hatred and negative comments about my freckles, forehead, nose, you name it; definitely outnumber any enhancements or filters Beauty Box or Instagram have to offer.

The issue of self-love and peace with our flaws, is not a new one. A newfound friend and fellow blogger, even posed the same question on her site this week.

So, when does self-love begin? When do we, do I, start making peace with the perceived flaws I think I possess?

We love because he loves us first. 1 John 4:19

Because he first loved us. That’s right. God loves us. Even in the midst of all my self-potrait hatred, there is one who thinks I am beautiful-God. The one who made me. The one who knows every bone in my body, and sculpted me from nothing to something. The one who thinks my crooked teeth, upturned nose, and freckled cheeks are awesome.

Then why can’t I make peace with the face in the mirror, and love these things about myself? To find peace, maybe it’s time to stop allowing the devil to control my mind with these self-loathing thoughts, and look in the mirror knowing this truth:

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female. Genesis 1:27

God created me in HIS image. So, how could I possibly look at the face in the mirror and feel anything but love for what I see? Knowing that God thought I was, we were, special enough to be fashioned into His likeness should help us make peace with who we see in the mirror, in family photos, or in Facebook selfies.

Every bump, every scar, every freckle is completely perfect to God. We are handcrafted by our maker, something the world, Photoshop, and Instagram effects and filters will never accomplish! God wants us to claim the truth that we are beautiful, and to recognize that all of our perceived flaws are all part of His perfect love. Down to double chins, upturned noses, thick eyebrows, and crooked teeth. The molding of all our “imperfect” parts was not an accident!

So, take out the camera. Turn on the flash, and SMILE!

Make peace with the face in the mirror, and remember: God loves you. Freckles and all!