Wednesday, September 12, 2012

God Loves Ugly

On Friday, I'm doing a rare interview on my blog that I'm SUPER excited about.

I was super honored to be able to interview songwriter, musician, and author Christa Black. She's played with the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Michael W. Smith, wrote a ton of hit songs, and her book, God Loves Ugly and Love Makes Beautiful  released this month.

Honest moment: The first time I read the title, I cringed. It's a cool title, don't get me wrong. But it's been so ingrained in me as a mother to tell my kids that God makes us beautiful that it was... jarring I guess.

But...

It also hit a painful spot in me too.

I spent much of my childhood, and if I'm honest, even the occasional moment now, feeling very ugly.

I was that kid who was a little overweight, with huge coke-bottle glasses, an overly large gap between my teeth, and clothes that were handed down from my sisters so a.) didn't fit me well and b.) were about 3 to 4 years grossly out of style.

I was even walking in the mall (by myself at the time, thankfully) when I was a teen and a group of boys did pig snort noises at me as I passed. I think this is the first time I've ever told anyone about that... I was so incredibly embarrassed. I REALLY can't believe I'm even typing this now... but there it is.

So even though I *know* that God does NOT make us ugly...

Here is the thing.

When a person FEELS ugly, it is a truth to them. It is what they, at that moment, feel and know to be true in their own minds, and it is a really hard truth to break.

Christa has her own set of circumstances that caused her perception, and she tells how she dealt with it in her book, and tells a little about it on Friday.

Everyone compensates for that perception in different ways. Some go out of their way to try to create themselves into the image of pretty that they so desperately desire, but never are satisfied with. They have eating disorders and become painfully thin, and obsess with clothes and makeup and other things to try and achieve that "look" that is ever allusive.

Then others, like yours truly, go the opposite way. Sure, there were times I tried... but many times, I just tried not to care. I was never one to primp very long in the mirror, because I really didn't like to see my reflection and be reminded of how I looked. I REALLY didn't care for pictures being taken of myself. I finally lost a lot of weight when I was 16, but it was on accident. Literally. We'd moved at the time, and lived out in the middle of nowhere and had not a lot of money, so we rarely went out to eat, and my cousin and I would go on long walks around our property, thus having more exercise than I'd done in years.

I came back to visit my sisters that next summer, and everyone was quite shocked to see me. My sisters took me shopping because my clothes were hanging off me so badly. I'd gone from a size 12/14 to a size 8, and even that was a little big on me.

But through my self-image issues, I always had one thing going for me:

I knew Jesus loved me. Just as I was. I truly believed that He didn't care about my size or my hideous glasses or my teeth that scared little children... He loved ME.

And I was cool with that.

I had the "God loves ugly" part down.

But then I met my husband.

And he told me I was beautiful. He looked at me like I was the most beautiful creature God had ever made. He loved every bit of me, from my heart to my head to my toes.

It wasn't until then that I really understood that it wasn't God looking PAST my "ugly" outside that allowed Him to love me (I always quoted "Man looks on the outside, God looks at our heart" to myself over and over!), but that God... and now this wonderful man as well... loved the whole package that was Krista.

And that, my friends, was a beautiful thing.

I married that man. When I was, um, 18 years old. Young? Yes. Was it a little bit because it was the first guy who'd ever made me feel beautiful? Yes, actually that was a LOT of the reason.

Is that a good reason to get married? NO.

Do I regret it? NOT AT ALL.

13 years later, he still makes me feel oh-so beautiful, and I'm still head over heels in love with him. We have our moments, don't get me wrong. But He is the man God made for me and knew I needed at that moment.

I'm not completely cured, by the way. I still spend very, very little time in front of a mirror. Giving birth to my sweet babies has helped me gain all that weight back and then some, and geez,... it's MUCH harder to get it off at age 31 than it was at age 16!

But even in my "ugly" moments... I know the truth. That God loves me, and that love DOES make beautiful.

Discussion: Did you have self-esteem issues when you were a kid? What helped you get over them, or do you still struggle?

12 comments:

Carla Olson Gade said...

Krista, what an awesome testimony. Thank you so much for sharing this. I cried. So, here's another trick the enemy plays... I was pretty, but I felt ugly. Very self-conscious. Boys were "scared" of me I was told, because I was pretty and innocent. But I never felt attractive. It took me years and years to finally realize what you knew, know. That I am beautiful because of who I am as a child of God and to stop caring what others thought. And now I don't really care so much what I look like. Really, maybe I should! I'm happy on the inside and in love with Jesus. But when my huz tells me how beautiful I am, I like it and I know he means the whole package. I'm looking forward to reading the post about this book. We all have our issues.

Carla Olson Gade said...

Oh, almost forgot! You are one amazing and utterly beautiful woman, inside and out! And you have cute kids too!

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm totally sharing this on my very first Friday Faves this Friday. This is a MUST READ Krista!

Flossie said...

I love my daughter. I'm so thankful God saw fit to give me a little girl. But I'm so afraid of her teenage years. Being a young woman is so hard. I decided before she was born than I would try to tell her every single day not only that I love her but that she is beautiful too. No matter how pretty someone is there are always plenty of people willing to find fault in our appearance. Can't wait to read your interview.

Jessica said...

Krista, Thank you for sharing this. I always had self esteem issues but then this summer something clicked for me and I started believing that I was beautiful. I have started to dress like it too. no I dont dress like a slut but I wear dresses and skirts all the time. i love to dress up and look pretty. Thank you for having the courage to share your heart. and this is just what you were talking about, God doesn't want us to think we are ugly. we are beautiful. forget about what the media says, stop comparing yourself to others (I still have issues with this) but I am able to see myself despite those thoughts. I will be sure to tune back in on Friday. Thank you, so much again for this. It made me smile because I know that I have come a long way and I still have some time to go. so thank you for the encouragement.

Krista Phillips said...

I think it there is such a balancing point... so many care WAY TOO MUCH about looking just perfect, but then I know I go the opposite and "let myself go" because I'm really trying NOT to care... even though deep down it can be crushing.

Krista Phillips said...

*blushing* Thanks, Carla :-)

Krista Phillips said...

awww, thanks, Katie! I'll be sure to check out your Friday blog!!!! *hugs* Can't wait to see ya next week!!! (You are going... RIGHT???)

Krista Phillips said...

As a mom of 4 daughters... I'm right there with you. My oldest is 11, and I'm already struggling to find the balance.

Krista Phillips said...

*hugs* YOU ARE beautiful, Miss Jessica. Absolutely perfect JUST the way you are!

Jessica said...

Thanks for the encouragement!!! :)

Casey said...

What a beautiful post, Krista. And I can't WAIT to hug your neck and finally meet you in person next week. Glory to God!