2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if any person is [ingratiated] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
I gritted my teeth as the needle worked its way in and out of my skin. Various colors of royal purple swirled around the needle mixing with drops of blood as the needle worked its way into the shape of a butterfly. This would be my reminder, my testimony of God in my life. I was still very new in Christ and didn't realize at the time how controversial tattoos are, however; at the time I needed something marked on my body that I could visibly see that said "You are the daughter of the True King, you belong, I love you, you are beautiful, you are mine." I had just broken through another wall the enemy had been using in my life about beauty, about what it means to be a woman. My entire life I was told I was nothing but white trash, and ugly. There were times, I could literally feel the words, radiating from my forehead for all to see. The times that I felt most unclean was when I came into contact with other Christians. Whether or not they were physically attractive, I could see something that radiated from their face that was so beautiful, so pure. I didn't know what it was but I wanted it and found myself lacking each time I passed those them by. The closer I got to God, the more I was able to let Him into my heart and let Him love me. I was so scared of exposing my real self to Him or to the world and yet I was so tired of the self rejection and so tired of wrestling with the Word of God. As the days progressed into my walk with God, the more I wrestled with my guilt of my sins, with my past actions, and the more His angels professed his love for me. I still remember the when the walls starting falling around me and God was telling me He was strong enough for the both of us and I could stop fighting. He was strong enough to love me even when I couldn't! He was strong enough to love me when no one else could. I was on the phone with a dear friend and cried for what seemed like hours. Nothing was out of the ordinary that day, here on earth. But the Heavens were shaking. God wasn't finished with me when I first said that I would follow Him. He was just beginning and the dust had yet to settle. With Him, I left behind any trace of who I had been, I was tired of that life, of dressing to get mens attention, of pleasing others, of torturing my body, of losing weight to be paper thin, of being anybody except who I was meant to be. With my baptism and the loving support of others, I left behind all the traces of who I had been. I was desperate for change and starving for Truth.
I let go of all I held onto and hung onto that moment with God in His presence. For the first time I heard God calling to me, a name I had never heard, I was a Lily of the field, the cover of beauty. It didn't matter what people saw on the outside or knew what I had done; what mattered was that Christ was living within me and changed my heart. I never felt more naked, or vulnerable. And yet, no one came to take advantage of it. Instead, they loved me for who I was, and for who I was becoming.
Most gals I talk with are surprised that I have difficulty with compliments about my outside appearance because I don't see myself as beautiful and probably never will. I still get uneasy with stares and glances from women and men alike. But it's something I'm still accepting with grace. There was even a time when I was learning to change out my wardrobe when a dear friend told me "Girl you could wear a potato sack and still stop traffic!" Talk about wanting to hide and yet wanting to be seen...
There's something about every woman that draws the attention of every man. Its the mystery and captivating spirit that God created in each of us. The outside package may be appealing but its truly whats on the inside that captivates the heart of man because its endows the mystery of God! We all want to unveil the beauty of God in one form or another. "The desire to be beautiful, to have a beauty all our own to unveil is not primarily about our looks. It is a desire to be captivating in the depths of who we are...John & Stasi Eldredge. It's so easy for someone to crush that longing within each woman, whether it's an ad about makeup to a snide comment from a passerby about our looks.
The struggle we go through as a woman, as well as becoming who we were meant to be in Christ reminds me of the life cycle of the butterfly. Butterfly's will always be a promise to me from God that He can take anything and make it beautiful. Even in the journey, there are struggles, just as a butterfly struggles to leave its chrysalis; but there's beauty in the struggle, in the breaking! Because you emerge as a new creation, as the creature God intended each of us to be.