Liam and Sawyer the first moment I got to hold them! Now these works of God are truly wonderful:-)
Having children has improved my self-esteem. Granted, motherhood has also given me a new world of things to be insecure about, but my self-worth and the way God sees me has become more clear, humbling and awe-inspiring as God’s allowed me to partner with him in creating and shaping THREE sons.
Recently I memorized all of Psalm 139. I have loved this passage since I was a young teen, but I've wrestled with myself to believe it when I say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (vs. 14). And honestly, I never did believed it. I saw so many flaws—in the mirror, in my character, in my actions—that the wonderfully made part seemed far-fetched. And yet, when I first felt Liam move in my belly and especially when I first held him my arms, I could not deny that God’s works are wonderful. So began my efforts to reconcile my complete belief in the second part of the verse with my incredulity about its application to myself.
I have realized, much to my chagrin, that my low self-esteem has actually stemmed from a lack of submission to God’s truth and has become a vehicle to let myself off the hook from doing the more difficult parts of God’s calling in my life. This is not to self-condemn or make light of the emotions I’ve felt, because my erroneous view of myself has led to lots of real pain. I hurt for my teenage years when I turned to an eating disorder to prove my worth and for my early adult years when my poor husband struggled to convince me that I was worthy of his love. But I now see that I missed so many opportunities to show God’s love or stand up boldly for his truth because I was truly convinced I was not the right person for the job; this conviction came from my refusal to believe a Bible that I actually believe is completely true. God said he created me fearfully and wonderfully, yet I said to him, “I believe the rest, Lord, but not that.”
Yet as I marvel at the amazing imagination Liam displays every day, the way Sawyer shows his emotions—especially his love—in wonderful extremes and the crazy soccer games Everett plays in my belly every night, I cannot deny how fabulous God’s works are. Therefore I have to submit to the fact that I too am one of God’s magnificent creations. In fact, denying it probably hurts God just like it would hurt me if my sons did not see themselves the way I see them: as perfect, beautiful, fascinating, surprising reflections of God, me and my husband. The most mind-blowing part is that God describes himself as a parent, so the intense, delightful, almost achingly heavy love I feel for my boys is just a dim glimmer of the love God feels for me. Whoa.
Seeing myself in this new light opens up opportunities and unlocks my boldness. Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). I am abiding in Christ, so the pressure is off! I don’t need to dwell on my perceived shortcomings. I can do nothing without him, so I need not try. He will do it all!
This does not mean that I am now immune to the effects of a bad hair day or an I-can’t-go-out-in-public-because-I’m-so-fat-freak-out moment; I know that I will still balk at times and shy away from stepping into situations that make my comfort zone not so comfy. But I have submitted to the idea that God “thoroughly equipped [me] for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). Just like my heart got all melty when Liam gave me his Picasso-esque elephant drawing this morning, and I continue to chuckle throughout the day about Sawyer’s random but very convincing kung-fu break dance right before we left for school, God feels warmed-hearted and lovingly amused by me. And that is something to praise him about.