Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An unexpected gift

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.


Carmen said...

You are not only beautiful but wise too. :)

deb said...

I wonder this too. My not so perfect childhood has made me who I am now. I guess someone knew better than me how it would all play out.
I am blessed by the grace to desire to gift, not continue to drown in it you know?
thanks again

Melanie said...

Wow! Thanks for letting me know that my comment meant something to you. I'm trying to retrain my own mind when it comes to the things I perceive as flaws. You've inspired me to write about one of them, so stop by my blog if you get a chance.

Debbie said...

I love that. I too believe that God doesn't give diseases and that we live in a world tarnished by sin. But everything that impacts us goes through His fingers of love. And He will be with us through any hardships and suffering. It can be used to bring glory to Him in some way. Even you opening up about an "imperfection" got people thinking, including me.

As a result I wrote a post on Heart Choices on Monday about being authentic. I got so into it that I decided to write about this subject next Monday too. If it's OK, I may link to your post on transparency and the response you received, if it's OK with you. My email is debbiepetras@cox.net.

You are beautiful inside and out because of Jesus.

Dawn said...

richella... this is so touching, and i love the reminder that God will work good in everything. i think i needed that today.

The Scooper said...

I read your original post and I think you're right. It's our imperfections that endear us more to others. Manning says we're to be "wounded healers" to one another. I love that. And I'm so glad God has brought such unexpected gifts out of your vulnerability.

togetherforgood said...

"If He allows it, He wants to redeem it." I LOVE that.

And of course Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite verses. :)

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Amen!! I have thought about you in passing moments since you posted about your birthmark. You really are inspiring for sharing...and I agree that you are beautiful...you are YOU...because of it. Thanks again!

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