When God Sees Me

Young woman looking at herself in the mirror

Young woman looking at herself in the mirror

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13)

When you look at me through this blog what do you see?  Perhaps a Bible teacher or writer?  When my friends look at me they tell me they see a person who is determined to fulfill God’s call.  They also say they see someone who is friendly and helpful and dependable.

But when I look at myself in a mirror, I see a middle-age woman with graying hair (under the red hair dye), a weight problem, out of date clothes and a tired expression.  When I look at my heart, I see scars—lots of scars—some self-inflicted and some caused by others.  I see anxiety and a sense of unworthiness.  When I look at my spirit, I see hopes and dreams left scattered and unrealized.

But how does God see me?  Does He have the same image of me that I see of myself?  Let’s take a look through the Bible and see how God’s perspective is so vastly different from our own.

Abram whose name meant “exalted father,” saw himself as childless, but God saw Abraham as the “father of many”—in fact God saw him as the father of nations (Genesis 17:5).

Abram’s wife saw herself as a barren woman, but God saw her as the mother of the promise, through whom an entire nation would be born (Romans 9:8-9).

Jacob was known as a deceiver, a name he lived up to for many years; but God saw him as “Israel”—an overcomer (Genesis 32:28).

Joseph’s brothers saw him as arrogant and bratty, Daddy’s favorite son.  The Midianites saw him as a quick sale in the slave market.  Potiphar saw him as his slave, and Potiphar’s wife saw him as a temptation until he spurned her advances, then she saw him as a prisoner.  Pharaoh saw him as a wise and trusted official. But God saw him as the savior of Israel (Genesis 50:20).

Moses saw himself as a stuttering criminal on the lam, but God saw him as the deliverer of His people (Exodus 3:10).

Gideon saw himself as “the least in the weakest clan of Israel,” but God saw him as a “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:15, 12).

Ruth believed herself to be merely the caregiver of her mother-in-law, Naomi, but God saw her as the great-grandmother of the chosen king of Israel.

David’s father Jesse saw his son as the tender of the family’s sheep, but God saw him as the shepherd-king of His people.

Esther thought of herself as the wife of the king of Persia, but God saw her as the instrument through whom He would rescue the Jewish people.

Consider Peter, Andrew, James and John—just fishermen and Matthew—a tax collector and the others Jesus saw as His disciples, men who would turn the world upside down in just a few short years (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9).

He saw paralyzed people as whole and walking, demonized people as souls at peace, sick people as healthy, dead people as alive.  He saw people once bound in sin as freed from their shackles to live as His followers.

The woman caught in adultery, who was seen through her sin, Jesus saw as forgiven and restored to a life of holiness (John 8:3-11).  Where the woman with issue of blood saw herself as ostracized and unclean, Jesus saw her as a “daughter” (Luke 8:48). Simon the Pharisee saw the woman washing Jesus’ feet as a “sinful woman,” Jesus saw her as a model of love born out of forgiveness (Luke 7:36-50). He saw Mary Magdalene, whom the whole town knew as a demon possessed woman as the first witness to His resurrection (John 20:10-18).

He saw Saul, the persecutor of His church as His “chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people Israel” (Acts 9:15).

The Roman Emperor Dominican saw the Apostle John as a criminal who deserved banishment, but Jesus saw John as the Revelator, who would receive his divine prophecy for the church (Revelation 1:11, 19).

So, to return to my question—how does God see me?—I believe the answer is found in these examples from His Word.  He sees me as forgiven, redeemed, and whole, set free and set apart.  Yes, He sees me with my scars, but He sees those scars as bridges as I reach out to other wounded souls.  He sees me as His servant and vessel, as His imperfect, but chosen mouthpiece in this generation.  But most precious to my heart, He sees me as His daughter.

My friend, God sees you and me far more clearly that we could ever see ourselves.  Who you are in the sight of others, or even in your own eyes, is not who you are in the sight of the God who created and redeemed you.   For those who are in Christ, He sees us as His children (1 John 3:1), with a purpose and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  Where others see us through the mistakes we’ve made, God sees us with all the potential He placed in us from before we were born.  When we see ourselves through the worldly standards of beauty and success, God sees us through the beauty of His Son and His victory over death.  When we see ourselves as unworthy, hopeless, useless and unwanted He sees us as valuable, and desired, because He sees us through eyes of love and compassion.

How do others see you?  How do you see yourself?  When you consider those questions, always come back to this truth:  the God who created you sees you as so much more than you can ever imagine.  Ask Him to give you His perspective so you can live as the child of God that you are.

Holy Father, Your perspective is what really matters to me, because Your eyes only see what is true.  Give me a glimpse of who I am in Christ, so that I can cast aside every false image and live as the woman You created me to be. Amen.

The Gift of a Mother

hand-in-hand-mother-and-baby-love

The first loving face I see,

That voice I know so well,

That’s the heart I’ve heard beating,

For nine long months,

Repeating its song of love.

This is the sweetness of my Mother.

 

First kisses, sweet nuzzles,

A warm bath, soft cuddles,

Her finger tracing my face.

The sway of the rocking chair

Late in the night.

This is the tenderness of my Mother.

 

Storybooks and nursery rhymes,

Learning the Golden Rule.

Walking away on the first day of school,

I look back to see her smile

Through her tears.

This is the heart of my Mother.

 

First dates and late-night talks,

Seeing her pride as I walk

With cap and gown across the stage.

Phone calls in a panic—

She always knows the answer

This is the joy of my Mother.

 

Her eyes never dimmed,

But her voice has grown thin.

The wisest woman I’ve ever known

Draws quiet breaths now,

I hold her soft and wrinkled hand.

This is the gift of my Mother.

The Good Giver

giftgiving“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .” (James 1:17).

“Please sir, I want some more.”

You probably recognize those words spoken by Oliver Twist in Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the same name.  Oliver is a young boy, orphaned at birth in Dickens’ story set in 1830’s England.  He is one of many orphans who are kept in cruel near-slave conditions and given meager rations to survive on.  He warily approaches the master and makes his plea, but his  request only causes the boy even more trouble.  How dare this no-account waif ask for more!  Who does he think he is to presume upon the charity of the master?  We see the cruel irony of a hungry orphan approaching the well-fed head-master, and we understand that he at least deserves a decent meal to sustain him.  He is not acting out of greed, but out of need.  It is a reasonable request, we think.

Yet how often do we approach God with the same trepidation as Oliver Twist?  How often do we approach Him as if we think He is a harsh master who will refuse us even the humblest request?   We assume He rations out His blessings only to the most deserving, or worse, that He is holding back His blessings from us.  That is what Satan implied to Eve in the Garden when He told her, “God knows that when you eat [of the fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . .” (Genesis 3:3).  You can almost hear him hissing: “God is holding out on you missy, don’t be a naïve fool!”  But we know that Satan is a liar, and the Bible reveals God as a generous Father who loves to give good things to His children.

Jesus compared our Heavenly Father with earthly fathers who provide for their children’s needs.  And even though it is really no comparison at all, the Lord said if we, as human parents give our children what they need and desire, “how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11).  How much more will the God who gave us life (Romans 4:17) give us what is necessary to sustain life?  Why then, do we hesitate?

James 4:2 says “You do not have because you do not ask.” And Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Jesus Himself said “Ask and it will be given to you…” (Luke 11:9). I think we can all agree that this isn’t so much about stuff—houses and cars and a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, although God has generously provided a home and a vehicle for me when I needed them. (Still waiting on the shoes 🙂 But God promises to bless us when we ask for those things that are in His will, such as wisdom (James 1:5), healing (James 5:14-15), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), faith (Luke 17:5), joy (John 16:24), strength (Philippians 4:13), love (1 John 4:7), grace—actually “more grace” according to James 4:6. Best of all He gives us what we don’t even think to ask for: peace (John 14:27), hope (Romans 5:5), light (John 1:9), a future (Jeremiah 29:11), glory (John 17:22), revelation (John 17:26), direct access to the Father (John 16:23), and eternal life (John 17:2).  He gave His only Son for you (John 3:16).  Does that sound like He is holding out on you?

2 Peter 1:3 says He “has given us everything we need for life and godliness;” those things we need for life, like our daily bread (Matthew 5:11), clothes on our back (Matthew 6:30) and “all these things” that are necessary for life (Matthew 6:33).  I’ve been the recipient of His practical generosity and kindness many, many times.  He also promises to give us everything we need for a godly life: chiefly His Word (John 17:8) and His Spirit (John 14:16).   God provides with a generous heart and an open hand.

I love John’s affirmation in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”  The writer of Hebrews echoes the same thought: “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).  That is an invitation we should jump at!

You do not have to come to your Heavenly Father with a sense of apprehension, as if you are asking for more than God is willing to bestow.  He has so much he desires to give you—till your cup overflows (Psalm 23:5).  Don’t come crawling to Him with a little teacup in your hand. Come running to your Father with the biggest bucket you can find, and He will fill it till is spills over and you can’t contain it all.  He is a God who loves to give!

Holy Father, I cannot count the number of times You’ve blessed me—You have given and given and given even more.  Not only do you give from an endless supply, but You give from extraordinary generosity.  Please help me to always come to you with the confidence of a child coming to her loving Father.  Amen