Monday, April 19, 2010

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling: "Poor little ugly duckling!" she would say. "Why are you so different from the others?" And the ugly duckling felt worse than ever. He secretly wept at night. He felt nobody wanted him. "Nobody loves me, they all tease me! Why am I different from my brothers?" Growing up, I wasn't the prettiest flower in the vase. I had very large, crooked teeth that over lapped one another, a significantly over sized nose (for my face) and I started wearing glasses at the young age of seven. My mother kept my hair short, not exactly sure why, so I looked quite boyish. To make matters worse, I spoke with a lisp that caused me to take speech lessons for many years. And to top it all off, I was clumsy like a one-legged chicken. Are you starting to get the picture? As we all know, the cruel words that children say can leave you feeling alone and lifeless. I was made fun of for as long as I can remember being in school. If it wasn't my teeth that they were making fun of, by calling me "Bugs Bunny", it was my lisp that they were making fun of, by calling me "Daffy Duck". The name calling and mocking was endless. It was unbearable at times. I felt different and alone. So, to turn my hurt around, I started making fun of myself first, before anyone else got the chance. I would do it in a comical way, that made everyone laugh and take the focus off of what they were making fun of. It seemed to work, because everyone laughed...all the time. This became my ammo. But, little did I know, it was only hiding what I was truly feeling on the inside...pain. I had learned to hate my outer appearance because I felt as though I wasn't ever going to be good enough not to be laughed at. Even though I used my physical flaws to cause someone else to laugh, at least I was the one causing myself pain and not them. This went on for years. It wasn't long after the birth of my first child, that I began a new way of dealing with my pain. I couldn't lose the weight from my pregnancy fast enough, so I began feeling not good enough, and not pretty enough. Even though my husband continually told me how pretty I was, the pain from my childhood was still there. It was only hidden under a blanket of laughter, that I had created at my own expense, so it just grew larger and larger. I began to take laxatives to help myself lose weight faster. I thought if I eat, and then take the laxatives, I would still get some sort of nutrition but not keep the calories. I started to lose a little weight. But a little weight, was not enough. I took more laxatives. I lost more still wasn't enough. After several months, I was taking a box of laxatives each day. But, I was losing the weight. It still was not enough. I remember walking to one of my college classes one day...and that's all I remember. I woke up in the nurses office on the campus. I had completely dehydrated and had passed out while walking to my class. This still did not stop me. I took more, and more, and more. I was suffering from a disease called bullemia. No matter how many laxatives I took, or how much weight I lost, it would never cover up the memories of my past. It would never make me feel normal and beautiful. It only fed my pain. It finally took my OBGYN to inform me, that if I did not stop abusing my body, that I was risking the chance of never having any more children. That for me, was my wake up call. I began to get some counseling and dove into my church, soaking up as much of God's word as I could. There is amazing healing power in the word of God. Like the ugly duckling, I had to realize that there was somewhere that I fit. I didn't have to run away anymore and hide myself, and try to find where I fit. A place where I wasn't made fun of or laughed at. A place where I could be myself and be loved for being me. I had to get to a place where I felt accepting of receiving love no matter what I looked like or spoke like. That place was in God's family. I had known most of my life about that place, was taught about God at a very early age. But, somewhere along the way, I forgot how big God's love was for ME. I was focusing on my flaws so much, that I forgot that God made me this way. Not only that, HE thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am. Through God's unconditional love in my life, I learned to love myself. I learned that I am beautiful because I hold the most precious thing inside of me...Jesus! I am beautifully and wonderfully made in HIS image. Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Hey...that's me! I'm a female! I am made in HIS image! So that means somewhere, somehow, I have my father's mouth, my father's nose, and I even sound like my father. If I was created in HIS own image, and HE is the one and only perfect being, I look just right! As soon as I began to draw closer to God, I began to see myself as HE sees me. I may not be perfect in man's eyes, but I was molded together with the same hands that created the sun, the moon and the stars. So, I began to love me. As I began to do that, I began to love the inside of me. And hiding deep down on the inside of my beautiful heart, was that pain and those memories. When I was able to love myself enough to open up my heart, God released all of the pain that was hidden. I can't tell you the day that it left my heart, all I know is that it is gone! I became a new and beautiful creation in Christ Jesus. Through relationship with Jesus, I found my beauty. I found that even though I'm not perfect...God thinks I am. God's love is the only thing that I ever needed. God's love makes me "burst with happiness"! Now I laugh with the joy of the LORD! Psalm 16:11, "In his presence is fullness of joy." When I look in the mirror, I see God in me...what's not to love about that? I know now, that I fit right where I HIM! ..the duckling saw himself mirrored in the water. "Goodness! How I've changed! I hardly recognize myself!" The flight of swans winged north again and glided on to the pond. When the duckling saw them, he realized he was one of their kind, and soon made friends. "We're swans like you!" they said warmly. "Where have you been hiding?" "It's a long story," replied the young swan, still astounded. Now, he swam majestically with his fellow swans. One day, he heard children on the river bank exclaim. "Look at that young swan! He's the finest of them all!" And he almost burst with happiness.

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