by Lt. Colonel Renea Smith, Territorial Secretary for Personnel

When we were little my sister had a doll with no hair and one eyelash. One eye would stay open, the other closed. The doll was marked up and not very attractive, but my sister still loved her. I don’t remember the doll’s name, but I’m certain my sister does. In fact, she might still have it stashed away. Somehow, the doll’s appearance didn’t deter my sister’s devotion. Her love remained constant.

Not everything about us is beautiful either. Our lives often are characterized by imperfections, mistakes, limitations and weaknesses. Although we might be unlovely, we are not unlovable or unloved! No matter how we look, what we do or how well we function, God loves us. Our flaws and brokenness don’t stop God from loving us unconditionally, deeply and eternally.

In Life of the Beloved theologian and author Henri Nouwen penned words God would say to us: “All I
want to say to you is ‘You are the Beloved,’ and all I hope is that you can hear these words as spoken to you with all the tenderness and force that love can hold. My only desire is to make these words reverberate in every corner of your being—‘You are the Beloved.’”

Unfortunately, the message most of us hear is we aren’t good enough, pretty enough or accomplished enough. As a result, we believe we are worthless and unlovable. But it’s a lie! God loves us! We are valued and valuable.

As Christ-followers we have the awesome opportunity to reflect Christ and His love to the world. We are His ambassadors. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV)

Love made my sister see her doll as beautiful. God’s love allows us to see ourselves and others as He does: created in His image, beautiful, filled with potential. Only God enables us to see beyond the surface and extend grace, mercy and love. God’s love is life-changing! Through it we find healing, hope, reconciliation and new life.




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