Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives…

clarksons
{Joy and Sarah, my beloved cherished friends and daughters.}

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2: 8-9

How do we model the love of God to our children? To our lost friends? To the world?

Learning to accept God’s generous love, is not just a personal issue for ourselves, but it is a crucial part of how we show God’s grace to a world of women around us who long to be loved and accepted for who they are.

Everyone we know is longing for acceptance and validation. Yet, unless we as Christian women model this to those closest to us, they will miss seeing the unconditional love of God He wants to show through our lives.

I have been blessed with two lovely daughters. Yesterday, I had conversations with both of them–Sarah by skype and Joy sitting next to me in our living room last night–sharing hearts, insecurities, failures, flaws and love and redemption. My girls are living in a culture in which bodies and looks, intelligence, clothing, personality and behavior are marketed in such a way as to promote the message that there is a certain kind of body, way of dressing, a size or weight or body type and when any one of us measures up to this false worldly standard of perfection, we will all fall short.

Now, as to looks, some are too skinny, too tall, too short, some too overweight, some have big chests, some small.

As to personality, some are charming, some are not, all personalities are flawed in some way because all are subject to this disease called sin.

Some smarter, better, and on and on the world tempts us to think we can be enough if we just try hard enough.

But all of these arbitrary standards plague women every day. Even I, as a 60 year old fight, insecurity every year as I have to stand in front of hundreds of women at conferences, with more weight than I would wish, or more wrinkles or the kinds of clothes I should wear–I am a normal women who can be caught in the grips of cultures’ temptations by seeking measure myself by some arbitrary standard that God never established.

Why in the world would even a woman like me, aging as I am supposed to, ever compare myself with the standards of a young, thin model of a woman who represents universal beauty? Because of the messages of the world being screamed in every movie, every show, every billboard, every advertisement. If it plagues even me and I am a relatively reasonable woman, and have walked with God for many years. I know it plagues my beloved daughters, and you and your daughters.

And so I have come to understand that an important part of my testimony to others, is that I am enough–just as I am. It is God’s grace every day that saves me, restores me, makes me beautiful. Not perfection or performance.

I do not want my girls to have to believe the lies of the world, I want them to grow beautiful inside because they learn to love who God has made them to be. I do not want my daughters to bear such a legacy of self-condemnation as the world would give.

They will only learn to accept their worth to the Lord if I accept my worth from the Lord.

The whole point of Christianity and redemption is that we are saved from all of our personal corruption. As women, we are beautiful because God designed us very intentionally with our personality, our skill set, our dreams and drives. He also designed us with a specific face and body and height and weight–All are beautiful when they live in the love and confidence of God’s affirmation. As to personality, they are extremely different and make different choices in life because God gave them different gifts.

It is the grace and glory of God that we find freedom and joy and the life to live apart from the condemnation and criticism of this world. Then we are able to grow in our acceptance of His love. His desire for us as women is to greatly experience the “Life” of His reality of acceptance every day, because of how much He sacrificed so that we might live.

Yet,when it comes to my daughters, I want them also to understand, that they are beautiful because both are beloved by their Jesus and by me. They are both righteous because Jesus knew they would never ever be able to be perfect or good enough on their own, and so he lived and died for them so that they would never have to feel so deeply disappointed in themselves.They will always have hope and deep acceptance when they walk with His hand in theirs leading and loving and blessing them moment by moment–if they have first seen it in me.

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. I Peter 4:3-3

It is the hidden person of my heart, the tenderness and humility before Jesus that makes me beautiful to Him and that will make you beautiful to Him. When your heart seeks to love Him, to please Him, to rest in His love and care for you, that is your preciousness in the sight of God.

When I model this inner heart, my daughters will understand that it is their heart–not their body, their performance or their perfection that will help them to find His love.

As their mother, I hope I will make choices that lead them in this freedom and grace. They need to see me model that I feel accepted by God’s love, that my beauty if from my heart, so that they will hear a different message from me than they see in the world. When I make peace with who I am, warts and all, I speak boldly of His ability to fill up all the cracks of my life. Then they learn how to live in the freedom of His love and acceptance.

And so, I want to give them this Jesus who saved me, and who grants me His grace every day–His grace, His unmerited favor, His power to live life, His faithfulness to direct, correct and mature them little by little and His favor and unconditional love, which will never fail them. My daughters, friends, colleagues will better understand their adequacy that comes from Jesus when they see it for real in my life.

And I want to live in such a way that they will always know that they, too, can be found acceptable and beautiful in His arena of blessing.

I want my precious daughters to live in the secure ring of our own family love, grace and acceptance and to have the freedom and grace in their hearts to know that who they are, as they are is quite enough and even lovely because of the grace of God so very reflective in and through each moment of their lives.

May He bless my precious girls, and me, and each of us to so live in this true feminine beauty of His love and acceptance that we never need dwell in the insecurity of not ever being able to be perfect or measure up to the arbitrary standards of this world. May His grace truly invigorate and fuel the moments of our lives each day and may others see what is really beautiful as we reflect His reality every day.

Let us break the mold of the world and show a new acceptance–one that comes from God’s grace, not as a result of anything we have done to deserve, but acceptance that comes as a gift from God.

Love,

sally

 

 

 

itakejoy.com

 

Previous {You Are Loved} Posts:

Week 1- He Calls Us Belovedyou-are-loved-spine copy
Monday- Let’s Get Started
Wednesday- You Are Not Alone
Friday-We Are Loved!

Week 2- Knowing God
Monday- Chapter 2: Knowing God
Wednesday- He Gives Us a Heart to Know Him
Friday-Knowing God: When Doubt Comes…

Week 3-The Rival
Monday- Chapter 3: The Rival
Tuesday- A Personal Message From the You Are Loved Contributors
Wednesday-No Condemnation…
Friday- The Great Deceiver

Week 4 – God Loves You

Monday – Chapter 4: God Loves You

Want to join our study? You still can! Purchase a book and jump on in! You can go at your own pace! You can purchase You Are Loved on Amazon here.

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Comments

  1. Hello :)
    Just a question about the accompanying journal: Has anyone used just the daily SOAP verse for the entries? Or has anyone used the memory verse for them? I usually use the SOAP ones but this time I am branching out and doing the weekly memory verse too.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed every study I have done with you girls. God seems to lay the exact topics on your hearts that I need encouragement on. Thank you so much for providing us with these studies. I really appreciate all that has gone into executing them :)

    God bless you all!

    • Hi, Nita,
      We are so glad that you are enjoying the study, SOAPing your verses, and memorizing the weekly Scripture! Yay! If you aren’t in a study group for this study, you may want to check out the Good Morning Girls Facebook Page. We post the daily SOAP verse there, and a lot of women share their takeaways on the verse. We’d love for you to connect in that way.
      Blessings,
      Lyli
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

  2. Theresa says:

    Thank you Sally & Angela (& Whitney too!) for this wonderful study! I joined GMG recently & had the pleasure of joining in the Why Easter Matters study. What a blessing you ladies are in my life! As a wife of an unbeliever I struggle with purchasing bible studies. I’m a blessed SAHHSM, and I bring no income into our home. If I could explain how much your hard work, free materials (or in this case, inexpensive book) truly mean to me. Your posts are so encouraging & the last few have brought me to happy tears! I am not allowed to attend services regularly, but a few times a year with various family members. At times I feel alone. God is so faithful to provide though! He has blessed me with many beautiful sisters in Christ. My husband is a wonderful man whom I love dearly, may I not speak ill of him. His heart is blinded by our enemy, but the devil will not prevail! The Lord hears my cries & will save my beloved husband!
    Again, thank you for all your hard work, allowing The Lord to use you even when it’s hard or painful. Let’s make Him known to the world! :)

    • Theresa,
      We are so glad that you are studying with us, and that this study is encouraging you in this season. I prayed this morning that your dear husband would awaken to God’s love as you love Him like Jesus.
      Blessings,
      Lyli
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

  3. I am so glad I found this on line study, nothing happens by accident. This is just what I need at this time in my life. I am doing it on my own and am not on Facebook, so enjoy reading the comments found here, on your blog. God is using this study to reaffirm His gift of grace and love extended to me and to remind me that I am never alone. This season in my life has been a challenging one, but God is faithful. I am learning to look at the challenges as gifts that bring me closer to Him and to embrace them, for it is in my weakness that He is able to work through me. Thank you again for sharing through your book, prayers and posts.

    • So happy you found the study, Carla! What a blessing! You said that so well – taking challenges as gifts that draw you closer to Him. Everything we live is to draw us closer to Him – the good and the challenges.
      Blessings,
      Marlene
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

  4. Shefalie says:

    I hope it’s ok to make a comment on this post of today……on reading it….it felt like a wind of warm kindness blowing upon me and into my very bones……it’s like the cool drink of refreshing water to a parched area of my life……that is dieing…….it makes me want to change the rhythm of my life and my beliefs……I am learning so much……here with you…….and this post….is just excellent……it says it all……and shows a pathway thru my lies to the treasure of acceptance…..which I have never really understood…….but sally you explain it so well……and put it into context…….and I am thankful……..to have the privilege of reading this…….and gaining more awareness of how God sees things……thankyou. …shefalie

    • Shefalie,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and comment. Beautiful comment. So glad that you are gaining more awareness of how God sees things.

      In Him,
      Martha ‘GMG Leadership Encourager’

  5. Thank you, Sally, for the beautiful essay about beauty. It is very meaningful as you wrote for young women and mature women alike. By the way, your daughters are beautiful. Janine

  6. Loronda says:

    This week and chapter is bringing so much healing to my heart. I struggle with acceptance and validation, and this week I am being set free know that GOD ACCEPTS ME! HA! Just as I am, the size I am, the way I look, my personality, its flaws… I am not to emotional for him, neither am I too fat, or too short, or my face isnt smooth enough.. i havent earn enough degrees… etc etc etc. Its just so freeing that the creator of the universe, loves me.. Just me.. as I am. Whew! Grateful! / /

    • Oh Loronda, I’m so happy to read this. So thankful that the study has been a blessing to you!!
      Blessings,
      Marlene
      Good Morning Girls Leader Encourager

  7. This was in my inbox so I thought I would share…..blessings!
    http://joyfilleddays.com/how-motherhood-can-teach-you-about-god/

  8. Hi there everyone, it’s my first go to see at this web site, and post
    is in fact fruitful for me, keep up posting such posts.

  9. Kathy Johnson says:

    Dear Sally , I love your ministry and wished I had this information years ago while I was raising my children . I did not do so well as when I was young there were several divorces , and my mom was ill several years and died when I was 11 . I was on my own at 16 . My 3 grown children want nothing to do with me . They say I was abusive to them . I am now nearly 60 , not in very good health , can’t pay my medical bills . But your kind words are a
    source of strength to me . thank-you Kathy

  10. hello!,I like your writing very so much! proportion we keep up a correspondence more
    approximately your article on AOL? I need a specialist in this house too unravel my problem.
    Maybe that is you! Having a look forward to peer you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] 4- God Loves You Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives… Friday- The Good About Not Having It All […]

  2. […] over the last few weeks I have been reading an online Bible study about God’s love for us. So this morning when I got to the end of my thought path, the Lord said, […]

  3. […] 4- God Loves You Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives… Friday- The Good About Not Having It All […]

  4. […] 4- God Loves You Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives… Friday- The Good About Not Having It All […]

  5. […] 4- God Loves You Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives… Friday- The Good About Not Having It All […]

  6. […] 4- God Loves You Monday- Chapter 4: God Loves You Wednesday- Modeling God’s Love for Ourselves Changes Lives… Friday- The Good About Not Having It All […]

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