This past week I got something that really, really surprised me. Just blew me away.
A couple of weeks ago I shared the story of my birthmark and how I realized that I'd defined myself by this imperfection. And I got the kindest, most supportive comments about that post. Emily reminded me of Brennan Manning's wisdom that there is more power in sharing our weaknesses than our strengths. It's true: I felt so relieved and glad after I'd shared this truth about myself, as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.
But I got a comment this past week that just floored me. Melanie wrote: "This post brought tears to my eyes. You are beautiful--not in spite of the birthmark, but maybe even because of it."
What? Because of it??
Melanie got me to thinking: Perhaps there is something good about me that I possess solely because of my birthmark. And I think that's probably true, not just for me, but for all of us. There's something about our hardships that makes us kinder. Or more sympathetic. Or more understanding. Or something else--but something good.
I don't believe that God gave me this birthmark. This particular birthmark is the result of a medical condition (a very rare syndrome called Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome), and I don't think that God gives us diseases. I believe that disease entered the world because of man's sin, not because of God's desires. We live in a fallen world, and disease is one of the sufferings we must endure.
But the fact is that God is the boss, and I am a child of His, so nothing that happens to me is unknown or unnoticed by Him. He did not design disease for me or for anyone else, but He does allow us to have these diseases. And if He allows it, He wants to redeem it. He wants there to be some good that comes of it. "We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Or, as The Message puts it: "That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."
So, now that I think about it, I can be more beautiful because of something ugly. Thank you, Melanie, for the unexpected gift. And thank you, Emily, for prompting us to recognize the gifts in our everyday lives.
Read more at Tuesdays Unwrapped. Your soul will be blessed.