Looking for Self-Worth on a Wall?

Two walls stand in my home.

One wall is a reflection of who I am.

A sage-green wall covered with framed photographs of my family, frozen in time. Scattered among the living are snapshots of deceased ancestors from whence I came. They stare back at me with stern, sepia-colored faces. Next to these are plaques commending military service, certificates of appreciation, contests won.

Commonly known as an “I love Me Wall,” is it a showcase of my life? Or a subliminal need to affirm self-worth? No different than hanging children’s elementary artwork on the refrigerator.

See what I’ve done!

The other wall is a reminder of whose I am.

Where hangs unframed reproductions of two paintings: The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, and Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Madox Brown.

Bible passages captured on canvas ages ago with brushstrokes of oil paint. These art works were gifts, reminders of God’s love and mercy towards me.

See what GOD has done! And doing still…..

Why look for my worth in “things” represented on the “love me” wall?

When the ONE in whom I find my worth is revealed in the scripture behind these paintings.

A ragged, wretched son kneels in repentance at His father’s feet after squandering his inheritance. In his father’s welcoming arms, he receives forgiveness while the older brother watches in contempt.

 “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son…’

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:19, 20)

Head bowed, Jesus is on his knees washing the dusty, calloused feet of Simon Peter while the apostles watch in disbelief.

“Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel…And so He came to Simon Peter who said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’… Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’” (John 13:5-8)

Do likewise, He challenges the apostles. “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Two walls stand in my home.

One wall focuses on me.

The other wall points to the Lord.

The only ONE who is worthy to be praised.

God’s Grace is Enough

It’s Communion Sunday. A time of repentance, remembrance, rejoicing.

Repentance ~ Silver plate passes in front of me. I take the bread, symbol of Christ’s broken body. Next comes the fruit of the vine, poured in thimble-sized, plastic cups.

Lord, I don’t deserve this. I’m not worthy.

But still, God loved me enough to send His Son, Jesus to ransom me

So I eat and drink in….

Remembrance ~ For this is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

Can’t comprehend the magnitude of God’s love, can’t fathom the cost.

But still, I raise my hands and …

Rejoice ~ that God’s grace is enough. I’ve been purchased with His own blood. (Acts  20:28)  and “nothing can separate me from the love of God.” (Romans 8:38,39)

It’s a truth I’ll need to cling to because

That same day, I’m on a walk when a turkey vulture circles overhead; in search of death, a hearty meal.

I think of my “adversary, the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to destroy.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Not knowing, that someone is me.

While the sweet fruit of the vine lingers on my lips, I trespass once again. And in a blind moment, God’s grace and love appears dim as I listen to the enemy’s accusations.

Karen, You are not worthy. 

I weep, knowing my best can’t close the gap between my filth and God’s holiness.

But still, God loves me. And His Spirit that dwells within me, because I am purchased by His blood, guides me to a passage that confirms His benevolent grace.

In Zechariah 3:1-4, Satan accuses Joshua, the high priest of Israel, who stands before the angel of the Lord wearing filthy garments. Instead of defending Joshua, God says, “Remove the filthy garments from him. See, I have taken your iniquity from you and will clothe you with festal robes.”  

God’s grace is enough.

Tears cloud my vision, as I read verse 8 aloud, “Behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch…and I will remove the iniquity….”  

“The Branch,” Jesus the Messiah, who “was crushed for our iniquities” (Psalm 53:5)

Crushed for MY iniquities, and brought

Reconciliation ~”God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…. “ (2 Corinthians 5:18)

Defeated, the enemy slinks away in silence; his tail between his legs.

Elated, I rejoice once again that my perfection is based on my relationship with Christ and not my petty performance.

Broken

It is nine days into the New Year and I’m just now packing Christmas decorations. Thirty-two years of Christmas past can’t be shoved thoughtlessly into a closet.  

Round, colored ornaments go into boxes with individual slots that resemble egg cartons. Hand-made ornaments and souvenirs, that look ordinary to any stranger’s eyes, are swaddled in tissue paper and placed in protective plastic bins ….accompanied by family memories I revisit every year.

I also collect nativity sets that require special handling. My favorite one was purchased in 1981 B.C. (before children) when my husband and I first moved to California. The figurines are wide-eyed children, forever young, although there are signs of aging: Joseph’s broken staff, the angel’s missing halo, and the shepherd boy’s glue-filled cracks.

When the Shepherd fell off the mantle, years ago, I glued him back together like Humpty Dumpty with the exception of a hole that remains in the back of his head. Nobody notices. We have to get close to see the scars and know he’s BROKEN.

I’ve been broken more than once. Have you…………..

Ever felt brokenhearted over the death of a loved one, or by the betrayal of someone who “supposedly” loved you?

Ever been like King David who felt alone, “forgotten …like a broken vessel?” (Psalm 31:12)

Has chronic pain, anxiety, or depression given you a “broken spirit that dries the bones?”(Proverbs 17:22)

Nobody notices. We have to get close and personal to see the scars and know someone’s BROKEN.

Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Sounds patronizing, but I know His Word is true. Three miscarriages in a row taught me to rely on the Lord to bind up my wounds from a broken spirit, and show me I could trust Him even in this.  

God restores broken lives, but brokenness is a good thing when it makes us aware of sin and leads us to repentance. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)  

Before I wrap the Shepherd boy like a mummy and place him in a box, I put the tip of my index finger into the hole on his head.

Thoughts trigger. Wasn’t it Thomas who insisted on putting his finger into the holes on Jesus’ nail-scarred hands? The apostle refused to believe in the resurrected Christ unless he also put his hand into the hole on Jesus’ side (John 20:24-28). And when this proof came, Thomas cried out, “My Lord, and My God.”

Tears spill on my cheeks, “Lord, life is hard, forgive me when I doubt your love and goodness. Your ‘body was broken for me’ (1 Cor. 11:24and that is all the reason I need to bring you praise.

      With that happy thought, I wrap tissue paper around the broken Shepherd boy and place him in a box, to rest in the coming year next to Jesus.