Devotional Week 27 Thursday
“Neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon Thee.”
II Chronicles 20: 12
“Being perplexed, I say,
‘Lord, make it right!
Night is as day to Thee,
Darkness as light.
I am afraid to touch
Things that involve so much;
My trembling hand may shake,
My skilless hand may break;
Thine can make no mistake.’
Being in doubt I say,
‘Lord, make it plain;
Which is the true, safe way?
Which would be gain?
I am not wise to know,
Nor sure of foot to go;
What is so clear to Thee,
Lord, make it clear to me!’”
“It gives me great freedom and joy to drop the tangled knots of my life into the nail-pierced hands of Christ and let Him do His work.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and confidence, your body fills up with light.”
Matthew 6: 22
The Message Bible
Loss versus Hope: “Lost Self-Image”
“Self-Image” – One’s idea of oneself or status or appearance and presentation to others.
“This uniform could be much worse:
Three-layered skin, blood, sinew, bones.
When God came to work here,
God wore it, once.
When God comes to work here,
God wears it, still.”
The Reverend Sharon K. Dunn
“Why not be one’s self? That is the whole secret of a successful appearance. If one is a
greyhound, why try to look like a Pekingese?”
Several weeks ago, I went for my annual physical exam which included a trip to the radiologist for a mammogram. Ever since I had an abnormal result to this test, nearly fifteen years ago, there’s a part of me that dreads the moment when the technician comes to the waiting room and calls out, “Mrs. Valcárcel, can I speak to you?” This time she took me into another room and I felt as though it was a “walk of fear.” Believe me, I was the one who was afraid. Thankfully, the test was normal.
I don’t think I’m wrong in saying this, but after talking with many women, of all the places where our bodies can fail, the one place that strikes at the heart of the feminine appearance of a woman most directly is breast cancer. While the most obvious reason is that the diagnosis of the disease has the possibility of threatening our lives, the second reason is that surgery, that in anyway is disfiguring, especially to those areas that outwardly -- appearance–wise -- help define us as women, can be viewed in a most frightening way because it can alter not only how we view ourselves but how we feel others see us.
In an insightful book, “Laughter, Silence and Shouting”, author Kathy Keay, who herself battled breast cancer, wrote these words as she was contemplating her mastectomy:
Shock Me, Rock Me
If You must,
So that I
Your once beautiful
Will yet dare
To love You
Twice as much.”
These words, as a woman, touch me to the core of my being because they reflect that this woman understood that her ability to give her all to God had absolutely nothing to do with her appearance and everything to do with her heart. I might add what a blessing her life has been to thousands as she has shared her spiritual insights and personal struggles in her writings during her battle with breast cancer at a very young age.
In her book, “Love Is Not What You think”, author Jessamy West penned this astute observation, “The tragedy of our time is not that we are so eye-centered, so appearance besotted. The tragedy is that we do not know what we like until we are told by our advertisers and entertainers.”
What I found interesting about this quote is the use of the word, “eye-centered.” For over 2,000 years ago, this is the exact reference Jesus made when He said that our eyes are the windows of our body. In fact, He was making the point that our bodies will reflect what the eyes let in. In The Message, I find the paraphrase of this text to be revealing when it says that if the eyes take in wonder, if what the eyes see encourages us to believe in ourselves, the body, no matter the appearance, will radiate Heavenly confidence! Isn’t that beautiful? No matter what the outside looks like; no matter how our appearance changes through the years; no matter how the effects of disease take their toll on our external beings when our eyes are filled with the inner light of Heaven which we allow to permeate us we will radiate the beauty that is areflection of our Father.
These words written many years ago by St. Augustine only emphasize that you and I, no matter the challenges we face with our earthly bodies, will always be God’s reflection of His perfectly created daughters: “Ask the earth and the sea, the plains and the mountains, the sky, and the clouds, the stars and the sun, the fish and animals, and all of them will say, “We are beautiful because God made us.”
“This beauty is their testimony to God. Ask men and women, too, and they know that their beauty comes from God. Yet what is it that sees the beauty? What is it that can be enraptured by the loveliness of God’s creation? It is the soul which appreciates beauty. Indeed, God made (women’s) souls so they could appreciate the beauty of His handiwork.”
Over the last few months, we have had nearly 50 prayer requests from our Transformation Garden sisters who have been diagnosed with or are battling breast cancer. I invite each of you to remember in prayer all women who are fighting this insidious disease. I want to end today with this beautiful prayer by Rosemary Atkins. To all our sisters who are struggling, may you feel the presence of God through our prayers for you today.
A lump in my breast
“O God, I have found a lump in my breast
and I don’t want to know.
My imagination is running riot
and I’m scared. Why me, Lord?
What have I done to deserve this?
But why not me?
Forgive me, Lord, but I panicked!
You are still here
with all the love, concern and compassion
I have always claimed and relied upon.
You want for me only that which is the most loving,
so I trust you to see me through.
I’m still scared,
but with You I can face the future.
In the name of Jesus Christ,
touch me with your healing power,
That power which brings an awareness of your presence
with all its peace and serenity.
You will be with me,
giving me grace and strength to cope.
Thank you, Lord, for the faith.”
You have given me to rely upon You.
All of Creation
“Lord, may I learn to be just as pleased with me, Your creation, as You are.
Help me to love my body and to cherish each part as the lovingly fashioned gift from You that it is. Let me not look with disdain or hate on that-part-that-would- be-so-much-better-if-only-it-were smaller, curvier, more toned, less sagging, larger, firmer, longer, shorter, straighter, or wavier. Let me not continually seek out faults in Your work; instead, let me wonder in the perfection of Your craftsmanship, declaring with You that yes, what You have created indeed very good.”
Ms. Vivian Lam
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author