Well the last five lessons of the bible Study I am doing have focused on this subject alone. It talked a lot about the wounds that have been inflicted over the years and what we can actually gain from them. Wounds inflicted by ourselves and wounds inflicted by others. And the feelings that come with the wounds.
One of the main themes being, It's tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment. Again I am blown away by her thoughts and the things that have moved her. They are moving me as well!! It is interesting when you change your perspective the tiniest bit God has a way of bringing thoughts into your mind that have been there all along.
In the 2nd Chapter of Esther it tells the story of Esther winning Hegai and King Xerxes "favor". The back story being that all of these girls (they were probably only 14 and 15 yrs. old) were gathered up and given beauty treatments. This process of beauty treatments took a total of twelve months. It says they were fed special food and covered in special oils. The bible also says when it was a girls turn to meet with the king she was given whatever she desired to bring with her in order to win the kings approval. When it was Esthers turn she simply asked Hegai-the girls caregiver- what he thought she should bring. In doing this she did gain King Xerxes favor and became queen.
You may wonder what this has to do with today, however if you think about it how much do we rely on to make us beautiful when most of our beauty is actually on the inside. How often are we trying so hard to fit in that we forget about being who God has made us to be. So often I think we get caught up in parts of our bodies instead of the whole picture. Lately I have creases and wrinkles and stretch marks that I have never noticed before, which bugs me a bit. But Brian reminded me that if I didn't have these it would likely mean I would have missed out on something that makes me who I am. Like my stretch marks, I would never trade in my babies for the lack of those. Or my smile lines that are becoming more and more apparent around my nose would I give up my smile likely not. Bottom line I am realizing that we spend way to much time worried about our outward appearance when in the end it is just like everything else God has made me look the way I look for a reason.
But we are not just talking about outside appearance though, there are so many internal scars as well where I can apply the tid bit Brian gave me. And with this comes hurt and anger. How many times have I been hurt or been let down my friends and relatives and people that I trust? Hundreds. Has it hurt? Yes. Do some of these things hurt still? Deeply! Does it make me angry? Sometimes, however I am learning that moments of anger are often turned into the best opportunities that we can be given to show grace. And in showing grace I have found that even though the hurt still lingers at times, the anger most often disappears. In no way am I saying to be a doormat you need to stick up for yourself but anger isn't helping you gain anything it is holding you back from moving on to greater things that God has in store for you.
Esther had plenty to feel slighted about. She was a Jew that had been exiled, and she was an orphan who had been raised by her uncle. Yet the Bible describes her as being lovely in form and feature.She was able to put her own agenda aside and keep her eye on the prize. I hope to be more like Esther as I go on. To be more focused on the now then on the past. There are going to be many more times that point to less of me and more of Him!! Many more times that demand subservience and make me leave my own agenda by the wayside. And boy am I excited:)
There are so many situations that I would have rather not experienced. So many choices I have made that I wish I would have taken the straight and narrow instead the s-curves. Each choice and each path has lead to where I stand now and has formed into the woman I am now. I am learning to love myself and accept each chapter in my life as just that, a chapter. A chapter that is bringing me to a place that really symbolizes the true beginning.