When a woman lives closely with God and is rooted wholly in Christ it is evident, even through social media updates and family pictures. I connected with Lauren Washer online several years ago and as her photos and words began popping up in my news feed it became clear to me that this was a solid woman of God, whose faith, marriage, and parenting offered much for me to learn from. Open your hearts, friends, as Lauren opens her. These words are meant to go deep.
It was the first day of Christmas break, my senior year of college, and my boyfriend of the past year abruptly ended our relationship. I thought our evening was going to lead to a marriage proposal, or at least a conversation about the timing of marriage. He had just completed his first semester of seminary and our future had seemed hopeful. I was devastated.
But it wasn’t just the break up. It was what he said to me, words I’ll never forget:
“I don’t think you’re beautiful.”
Words that almost every woman secretly thinks about herself, but hopes no one will ever admit to her face. My response to him was full of things that I knew to be true–verses about beauty and the fear of the Lord–but in that moment felt like the furthest thing from the truth.
I’ve come to learn that this is where much of life is lived: preaching the Truth to my heart when I don’t feel like it’s true.
It’s easy to believe that our worth and value lie in external things. Beauty, a career, a title or role we’ve been given, even the gifts we use to serve in the church can all feel like ways we need to describe ourselves, defining our identity.
But what happens when these labels are threatened or questioned? A work project that you invested in receives no praise, or worse gets rejected. Your baby won’t sleep or eat and you feel like a failure as a mom. The honeymoon is over and your husband seems distant and communication is scarce. You move and the ministry you worked in for years has to end because no one knows you at your new church.
We place value in these roles that we’re given, often seeking to find our worth and significance in a label, something that we’ve worked hard to achieve or have dreamed of becoming. And these are good gifts. God has equipped us and given us opportunities to be used by him in various ways. But if we try to find satisfaction in a relationship, a role, a job, a stage of life or an ability, at some point we will be disappointed.
We cannot find our worth in our God-given roles. We must find our worth in our God-given redemption.
Because of Christ, you are forgiven.
Because of Christ, you have been bought with a price.
Because of Christ, you are set free.
Because of Christ, you are a child of God.
Because of Christ, you have an inheritance that cannot be destroyed.
Because of Christ, you are seen as righteous.
Because of Christ, you are a new creation.
Because of Christ, your worth is found in what he has accomplished for you.
When you preach this ultimate reality to your heart, you will be able to face the hurt, the confusion, the inadequacies, the mess-ups, the broken relationships, and the feelings of failure with an unwavering confidence.
That night, years ago, when my heart was broken with some pretty hurtful words, I had to preach the truth to my heart for a long time. There were questions and tears, and a whole lot of crying out to God. But I came to embrace more fully the power of Christ in me. He met me in my hurt, my weakness, and what felt like failure, to reveal to me his presence within me.
Christ in you gives you a permanent identity that can empower you to respond to every issue of life with hope and confidence that he is doing a work in you and he will complete it.
Christ in you, the hope of glory, this changes everything.
Lauren Washer has been married to Bradley for 10 years, 8 of which have been spent moving across the country with the Navy. Their family is currently stationed in Norfolk, VA, and enjoys being on the same coast as their families. Together they have five children–Isabella, Mallory, Mason, Jennavieve, and Cooper– who keep them busy and tired, but also leave them feeling incredibly blessed. Quiet mornings are Lauren’s favorite time of day, and she craves these hours before her children wake up so that she can drink my coffee in silence and meet with Jesus. Be sure to visit her at her blog, laurenwasher.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.