Main text: Psalm 139: 13-16
Supporting texts: Genesis 1:27, 29 | John 3:16-17 | Jeremiah 29:11 | Ephesians 2:10
By Kemi O.
Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and just didn't like what you saw? Hello! I don't know about you, but I definitely have. Many times over! I am not just talking about in recent years; but even in my youth. I have always been someone who took pride in her looks, but not to the point of getting consumed by it. I always received compliments about how flawless my skin was, especially my face. My beauty regimen didn't involve much, women, both white, black, Hispanic always asked me what my secret was and I tell them just natural Shea butter, olive oil for skin and hair and also Vaseline, yes you heard me petroleum Jelly. It worked for my ashy skin. Over the years, I realized that each time we moved to a new city, my skin started to change.. becoming extremely dry and I experienced that a lot when we were stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. (the weather was quite harsh) and then we moved again after a few years to a less harsher environment but by then I began to develop sporadic dark spots on my face and neck area. I started to contemplate using lightning cream to clear my skin and even my skin tone.
I was restless in my spirit because no matter how I justified what I wanted to do, I knew that I will be no different than other women who "bleached" their skin. They also justified their reason why. I went as far as going to the store to buy two different types but when I got home, I was so burdened in my spirit. To tell you how powerful the presence of the Holy Spirit was and still is in my life. The morning I was going use it, I started to tell myself that there is nothing wrong with what I was doing, I am not trying to lighten my skin, I love my chocolate skin tone, I am proud of it, am only just going to do minor touch ups here and there and when I see the results I will stop. That morning, I was led to an article about bleaching and not long after that, in the same morning, my Pastor had sent this devotional message and guess what! the topic was all about worldliness, not being contented with who you are and how God made you. It talked about women, mostly African women who bleach their skin because they believed society's image perception ; that being fair skinned is real beauty, the way to go. Oh my goodness, I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that morning that I did not think twice before throwing the products in the trash. I made sure I took it right out of my house into the dumpster out front. After I did that, I asked the Lord for forgiveness and felt a weight lifted off me. The Holy Spirit at that moment reminded me who I was and whose image I was made in and also how He had molded me the way I looked for a reason. He reminded me that the outer beauty will surely fade nevertheless, there are other natural and safe products in addition to my Shea butter out there that I can use to keep my skin healthy and beautiful as I age gracefully and I have been doing that ever since.
Beloved, It's often common among us women to be so self-conscious about our looks because of how society or someone expects me and you to look like. As a result, several people have harmed themselves in order to be the perfect woman, the perfect wife, mother, friend, colleague, etc. I remember years ago, I had this roommate in college and immediately my other roommates and I saw her, we knew something wasn't right about this girl , come to find out she was anorexic. For those of you who do not know what it is, Anorexia, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine is an eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height. They always have this intense fear of gaining weight even when they are underweight and it is a serious disease that sometimes leads to death. This room mate of mine had ended up in the emergency room a few times and because I was so concerned for her especially since I was the only one she really talked to, I made an effort to get her some help. Now, I know there are a few things that we may love to change on our bodies especially but let me ask you this, if you have the opportunity to change for example, your nose, lips, etc. Just "BECAUSE" you don't like the way you look, or you are constantly being made fun of, will you be content with your new look or will you seek other parts of your body to change? Who are you really trying to impress? Do you not know that God created you to be different from the next person for a reason? If you now succeed at changing to look or act like someone else, you are no longer unique and the person or persons you are attempting to impress will now have something else to make fun of at your expense. At the end of the day, what was accomplished? Absolutely nothing, except for deep regret, poor self-image, depression etc.
Beloved, God does not make mistakes, He made you and I the way we are for a particular reason, His words says in Psalm 139:13 " You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.. No one in the universe, No being can create such a master piece like you and I. Recently, I was reading an article from last year and it was talking about how finally there has been a breakthrough in human cloning and it was discovered in the state of Oregon. Can you believe these scientists? They are trying to prove to the world that there is no infinite God that created the universe and everything in it and we just happened to appear from nowhere and landed on earth. These scientists created by the God they do not believe in have no clue of the dire consequences of their actions in attempting to be like God by cloning humans. The creation cannot be above his Creator. It is not possible, no one can replicate you because sisters, you are God's original masterpiece created in His own image for His good pleasure... The bible tells us in Genesis 1:27 that we were created in the very image of God. Do you know we are the only creation of flesh and blood into which He breathed the breath of life Gen 2:7? Therefore we are living souls, we were the last of God’s creation and it was after He created Man that He now looked over all He had made and he saw that it was very good as it tells us in Genesis 1:31 NLT. "Good" not the world's kind of good but God's kind of good, which is excellence. When God looks at you, he does not look at the human imperfections, but He looks at His creation, His workmanship which He made so wonderfully complex. Do not allow the enemy to deceive you into thinking otherwise about yourself because according to John 10:10 satan’s job is to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus said I have come that you may have life in abundance. God’s thoughts towards you no matter what you think of yourself today or what the enemy wants you to believe is good and filled with love and hope for you.
As the psalmist states in vs 16 that God knew you while being formed in your mother's womb, He knew the challenges that you will face in life and He has preserved you all this time for a purpose and what is that purpose, to do His will on earth. He has an assignment for each of you to do and regardless of what you have done, where you have been, whatever challenge you may be facing today, God loves you and He wants to show you to the world as his beloved and precious daughters. Sisters, the Lord has a unique plan for your life, Jeremiah 29:11 states "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." We serve a good God who loves you so dearly and wants to use you regardless of your past experiences. He alone can turn your messes into a miracle, your trials into your testimony for the entire world to see and for He alone to take the glory. If you don't know this, there is no perfect human being on this earth, not one, we all have our imperfections/ weaknesses and God already knew all of this before we were born. See vs 16. What it says. it means every mistake we were going to make, every good or not so good thing we were going to do and every challenge we were going to face had been recorded. He is God, He knows all things and yet, He still loves and it is because of that love for us, that He made the ultimate sacrifice, In John 3:16, it says “For God loved the world so much that He sent His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, a perfect being to die for us and now scripture went even further to state in vs 17 that God sent His son into the world not to judge the world meaning "us" but to save us through His son, Jesus Christ. Imagine that! God, the Father had every right to judge you and I because of our evil ways, but He didn't because of the overwhelming, unconditional love He has for us. Sisters, we are judged every day by our looks, the color of our skin, our educational level, the mistakes and decisions we have made and so on and so forth but see our Heavenly Father, the ultimate Judge was like ..No don’t judge them, but instead go and deliver my beloved children. And today we are saved by grace because of the love of the Father. So rejoice today that you have been wonderfully and marvelously created and molded by a great and mighty God who loves us so dearly. Is there any greater love than this? None at all!