At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. (Author Unknown)
Sometimes when I look back at my life its difficult to believe how far I've come. It's not been an easy path but today I humbly admit it's ALL been God. All of it. I would not have made it this far if I had been on my own; on my own meaning without God's guiding hand upon my life. I would have died 36years ago, when I was only 2years old....but that's a story for another day.
I may not have grown up in the most ideal family, but I am grateful to my Mum for taking care of my Sis and I single-handedly and in a Godly manner. But as any parent knows, you cannot protect your children from everything negative in life because no one really knows when negativity will strike. The best you can do is prepare them and impart in them "Life-Skills" to help them deal with whatever negativity that might come their way. Sadly though, some of that negativity comes from the most unlikely sources, such as family members, like it was in my case.
I remember this one aunt who once told me somethings that altered my perception about myself and for a very long time, I believed I was the odd one out in the family. One of the things she told me was that I had "buggy lips" that looked like sausages. This translated to English meant I had big lips, and as if that wasn't damaging enough, she also told me that I had big teeth. Now, how do you tell a girl who has just turned into a teenager something that demeaning?
As a result of this, I had some serious self-esteem issues to the point where I could not smile or show my teeth and lips in public. I used to bite my "sausage lips" to hide them and when I laughed, I would cover my mouth to hide my "big teeth". If you know me, you'll also know that this was like a punishment to me considering my middle name could very well be "Laughing".
After this so called "revelation" from my aunt, I never really believed in myself for a long time. In fact, my security intensified when another disaster struck; a dude I was dating was quoted saying that I was not as beautiful as his previous girlfriend. I know men can be insensitive but I think this was the height of insensitivity and selfishness. But then again that happens when men choose to use the wrong head to (not) think....
Anyway, back to my sausage lips, even after being complimented by so many people about my naturally colored full lips, I never really believed any of them because of the damage that had already been done by my aunt. Sadly, I used to think they were mocking me or making fun of me. It took me a long time to fully gain confidence in my looks, and when I finally did, I saw myself in a totally different light. Now I know my lips are beautiful in more ways than one; they are full, well rounded and curved, and they need no artificial color. All I need is a slight touch of lip-balm or even Vaseline....need I say more?
Today I look back and truly thank God for the far I've come. He helped me beat lots of odds to be the exact opposite of what many thought I'd be. The lips and teeth are not the only things that were swung at me in a demeaning way. For instance, that same aunt said I'd be a loser because I was brought up by a single mother. And she was not the only one who thought so. Some other people said I'd never get a good job because I didn't have a university education. Well, lets just say many people said/wished (and still do) a lot of negativity on me but God mercifully transformed all that negativity into positivity.
I no longer look at myself and see big teeth and buggy lips or basically a "shempire" (read vampire). No, let me be honest; sometimes I do have some insecurity attacks - yeah, I still do. In fact, earlier this week, something happened that drove me down that road again, and for some hours I was quite low. However, I try and look at myself through God's eyes whenever something like that happens.
I always remind myself one thing: that the sperm that conceived me could not have out-performed all the other millions of sperms for nothing. I believe God had a pre-ordained purpose for me exactly as I am; with my big teeth, sausage-like lips and oh yeah...my big feet. I am still learning to see Myself as He saw me when He created me; fearfully and wonderfully made. Like Sheila Walsh says in one of her books, "I may not be Wonder Woman, but I know I am wonderfully made".
Today (3rd February) as I celebrate my 38th birthday I just want to thank God for the many insecurity hurdles He has helped me overcome, not that they are all gone, but they've reduced over the years. I thank Him for every single milestone He has seen me through in all those years, not forgetting all the countless blessings He has bestowed upon my life. I know I am still a project in progress but I am glad this project is no longer at the foundation stage. It is work in progress.
My message to all of us is this: let's use our words wisely. The words that come out of our mouths can either make someone or break their spirit totally. May your words today be an encouragement to everyone who hears or reads them. I think I now understand why my language of love is words of affirmation.
As for those who've been hurt deeply by words that have been said to them or about them by others, I know it is not easy to forget that totally but the first step is in letting go and letting God. You need to forgive those people and release them from your heart, something you cannot do by yourself without God's help. I know this because I struggle with some issues too, but I have realized that the more I hold on to them, the more damaging they are to me, while in fact, the people who hurt me are going on with their lives like I don't exist. It's hard but then again nothing good comes easy. Forgiveness is good and it is necessary.
To those I could have hurt unknowingly or otherwise, I take this opportunity to ask for your forgiveness too. I'm not a perfect person, far from it. I make my fair share of mistakes but I truly appreciate the people in my life who have stuck by me this far. I appreciate you for being there for me all these years.
God bless you all and love one another GENUINELY. Where there is love, there is concern and no one will want to knowingly do something that will hurt the other person. Then there will be peace amongst us all. No wonder the greatest commandment left to us by God was LOVE.