On Friday, I’m doing a rare interview on my blog that I’m SUPER excited about.
I was super honored to be able to interview songwriter, musician, and author Christa Black. She’s played with the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Michael W. Smith, wrote a ton of hit songs, and her book, God Loves Ugly and Love Makes Beautiful released this month.
Honest moment: The first time I read the title, I cringed. It’s a cool title, don’t get me wrong. But it’s been so ingrained in me as a mother to tell my kids that God makes us beautiful that it was… jarring I guess.
It also hit a painful spot in me too.
I spent much of my childhood, and if I’m honest, even the occasional moment now, feeling very ugly.
I was that kid who was a little overweight, with huge coke-bottle glasses, an overly large gap between my teeth, and clothes that were handed down from my sisters so a.) didn’t fit me well and b.) were about 3 to 4 years grossly out of style.
I was even walking in the mall (by myself at the time, thankfully) when I was a teen and a group of boys did pig snort noises at me as I passed. I think this is the first time I’ve ever told anyone about that… I was so incredibly embarrassed. I REALLY can’t believe I’m even typing this now… but there it is.
So even though I *know* that God does NOT make us ugly…
Here is the thing.
When a person FEELS ugly, it is a truth to them. It is what they, at that moment, feel and know to be true in their own minds, and it is a really hard truth to break.
Christa has her own set of circumstances that caused her perception, and she tells how she dealt with it in her book, and tells a little about it on Friday.
Everyone compensates for that perception in different ways. Some go out of their way to try to create themselves into the image of pretty that they so desperately desire, but never are satisfied with. They have eating disorders and become painfully thin, and obsess with clothes and makeup and other things to try and achieve that “look” that is ever allusive.
Then others, like yours truly, go the opposite way. Sure, there were times I tried… but many times, I just tried not to care. I was never one to primp very long in the mirror, because I really didn’t like to see my reflection and be reminded of how I looked. I REALLY didn’t care for pictures being taken of myself. I finally lost a lot of weight when I was 16, but it was on accident. Literally. We’d moved at the time, and lived out in the middle of nowhere and had not a lot of money, so we rarely went out to eat, and my cousin and I would go on long walks around our property, thus having more exercise than I’d done in years.
I came back to visit my sisters that next summer, and everyone was quite shocked to see me. My sisters took me shopping because my clothes were hanging off me so badly. I’d gone from a size 12/14 to a size 8, and even that was a little big on me.
But through my self-image issues, I always had one thing going for me:
I knew Jesus loved me. Just as I was. I truly believed that He didn’t care about my size or my hideous glasses or my teeth that scared little children… He loved ME.
And I was cool with that.
I had the “God loves ugly” part down.
But then I met my husband.
And he told me I was beautiful. He looked at me like I was the most beautiful creature God had ever made. He loved every bit of me, from my heart to my head to my toes.
It wasn’t until then that I really understood that it wasn’t God looking PAST my “ugly” outside that allowed Him to love me (I always quoted “Man looks on the outside, God looks at our heart” to myself over and over!), but that God… and now this wonderful man as well… loved the whole package that was Krista.
And that, my friends, was a beautiful thing.
I married that man. When I was, um, 18 years old. Young? Yes. Was it a little bit because it was the first guy who’d ever made me feel beautiful? Yes, actually that was a LOT of the reason.
Is that a good reason to get married? NO.
Do I regret it? NOT AT ALL.
13 years later, he still makes me feel oh-so beautiful, and I’m still head over heels in love with him. We have our moments, don’t get me wrong. But He is the man God made for me and knew I needed at that moment.
I’m not completely cured, by the way. I still spend very, very little time in front of a mirror. Giving birth to my sweet babies has helped me gain all that weight back and then some, and geez,… it’s MUCH harder to get it off at age 31 than it was at age 16!
But even in my “ugly” moments… I know the truth. That God loves me, and that love DOES make beautiful.
Discussion: Did you have self-esteem issues when you were a kid? What helped you get over them, or do you still struggle?