I smile as I look at the poster eight-year-old Kiersten has made on her own in the basement, and which I have now displayed proudly on “her” wall in our kitchen nook: “All About Me!” it reads at the top. Then, on a decorated strip of scrapbook paper, which she has pasted diagonally across the poster is her name, in large glittery blue letters: Kiersten Wood. Strewn about the rest of her paper, amidst hearts and stars and flowers, are words that describe her and her interests: cool, crafts, love, funny, fun, teacher, drawing, awesome, girls, writing, amazing, talented.
My heart is filled with love for her as I look at her creation. I love it that she loves herself! I love it that she can call herself cool and awesome and amazing and fun and funny. I love it that she has identified areas of interest: drawing, writing, crafts, and teaching. I love that she considers herself talented. I love that she has the word “love” on there. Whether it’s because she feels loved or she loves to love…it doesn’t really matter. My mother’s heart is filled with joy.
I then wonder: If I find great joy as a mother to see my daughter revel in who she is created to be, how much more joy must God feel when he sees us delight in who He has created us to be? Sadly, though, I’m afraid many of us don’t take such delight in ourselves.
Of course, there’s a fine line between thinking too much of one’s self and having a positive self-esteem. But I do know that God desires for us to see ourselves as he sees us – “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14) and “ very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Where does it change, how does it happen…that somewhere between the simplicity of childhood and the complexity of adulthood we go from seeing ourselves as God does to struggling to see the “awesome and talented and amazing” in ourselves.
Not until just now, as I look with love upon the words of my daughter, do I realize how much it must pain God to see us unable to recognize how wonderful and loved we are. If Kiersten had written, “plain, boring, ugly, not-talented, ordinary” on her poster, I would be saddened. I would be burdened and concerned.
“Doesn’t she know how much I love her?” I would think. “Can’t she see her beauty, her talents, and her wonderfulness…it is so clear to me!”
As God looks upon us in our hurts and brokenness and misconceptions of ourselves, I think he’s saying the same things: “Doesn’t she know I love her? I love her so much I sent my son to die on the cross for her! Doesn’t she know that I created her fearfully and wonderfully? She clearly does not see what I see.”
As I continue to look at Kiersten’s picture and ponder these thoughts, I pray that I can be more like Kiersten. May I return to that childlike understanding of who I am. May I see myself through God’s eyes…the eyes of a loving Father. I also pray for protection over my children. It saddens me to think that someday Kiersten – and Micah and Brennan – will hit struggles and hurts and insecurities that may cause them to lose sight of the their beauty and the love of their heavenly Father. That they may become jaded by this world. If that happens (and it probably will), I pray that they will return to that knowledge (that God created them wonderfully and He loves them) in even deeper ways and with greater understanding.
For now, I’ll continue to take great delight in her own delight over herself…and work on delighting in myself. And imagine God’s delight in us both!
For the Lord takes delight in his people…” Psalm 149:4