A Tragically Beautiful Woman

(Originally Written May of 2010)

megan-fox

While finishing up my degree at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, I took a part time job at a tanning salon. I encountered many women who were impatient and selfish with their identity all wrapped up in their sex appeal.  These women that I would encounter daily had extreme standoff-ish outer beauty that is uninviting at best.

But one afternoon a naturally beautiful woman walked in. I noticed her because her demeanor was gentle and she didn’t look all done up.  She was there to get a spray tan and had a funny request. “Do you have any trash bags? I need two of them for my legs.”  I got them for her and she engaged me in a delightful conversation.

natural-beauty-face-md-2Her heart was so loving, so soft. She revealed to me that she lost both of her legs 10 year ago in an accident. I would have never known that she had two fake legs. She was wearing skinny jeans and walked normally.  She told me she was a model and ran a non-profit organization too.  I was so blessed by her that day. 

I couldn’t help but wonder if she was not involved in her accident, if her heart would still be that beautiful….or would it be hard like so many young women today?

I grew up in southern California.  I saw my first Cosmopolitan magazine when I was 11.  Sadly, it made me obsessed with beauty.  ”Wanting to be beautiful”  held me captive for many years. Endless wishing, striving, and wanting more than God gave me, never being satisfied and content.

One day I was reading the bible and came across the story of God’s prophet Samuel.  He was supposed to go to Jesse’s house and find the next King of Isreal.  Jesse had several sons and Samuel thought Eliab would be the chosen one.  But here is what GOD said, “Do not look at his appearance or physical stature, because I have refused him! For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  

In my own life, The Lord has used the tragic things to remind me that there is a life to come and what I currently see and can touch is quickly passing away.  I can’t help but wonder if what is stated in Matthew chapter 18, about cutting off and throwing away the part of us that can drag us into sin, is tied in with our personal tragedies of life.  Will what we suffer here echo for our own benefit into eternity? No one can know for sure until we are on the other side, but as I was emotionally struggling that day at work with my own two feet intact, a women who tragically had hers taken from her was able to warm my heart and leave me with more hope than I had.

 

Control < Trusting God

Don’t you love it when God shows up? This morning he proved again to my mind of flesh that he sees what I am going through and will provide understanding so I can conquer this world. #BOOM (Yeah, I know hashtags don’t work here)

I have been having some anxiety about parenting and my past. Wondering what it will take in his life for my son to see the reality of not just sin and the coming judgement, but the immeasurable love of Christ.

Now-a-days boys have girlfriends at 13 years old (uh, huh? yeah.) Yet it’s my job to steer him toward integrity and marriage.  This is my task in a culture that switches boy/girl friends like underwear.  A culture of “do what you think is right” and pushes pornography on young minds that continues to get more degrading and violent with each passing decade. And just because a kid is in a Christian school or you are sure they attend youth group, statistically does not release them from these cancers in our society….yet as parents we hope.

Enough of my own understanding.  This morning as I woke I started praying. I was releasing my worry about the whole thing. I am pretty good at going back to trusting God after I have a little anxiety breakdown session.  He is either God or he isn’t.  Right?!    I can only teach my son truth and display it- but I cannot force him to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” That’s between him and the Lord and I will display love to him either way.

I opened my bible and the Holy Spirit spoke “Philippians 3″ to me. I was not sure if I heard God correctly, but after some of its content was unlocked for me, I had my proof.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 

 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

I have read this scripture two dozen times, but today it was spiritually discerned it for me…  My past is something I still conquer mentally even though I have left it physically.  Why did I have to get divorced Lord? Why wasn’t I raised in a home with Christian parents? My son wouldn’t have been fatherless (and all the crap that comes along with that!) if YOU Lord would have just…..

Then it hit me. What I have been through was not just for me, it was for others too.  I was entangled with so many people during my years I lived apart from Christ. How in the world did that glorify him? Well, that many more people saw my conversion. That many more people saw me walking away form a 7 year, all day, erry’ day habit of smoking marijuana.  That many more saw me completely change as a human being. Did most of them appreciate the change? No way! I lost all my friends, I lost my husband who was in love with drugs and the Vegas nightlife…I was laughed at and still am. I lost everything I knew and needed to rebuild my whole life. But I gained eternal life.

“the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

What if the “why” questions we have for God can only be understood through the lens of humility?  Humility that says, tribulation produces repentance that leads to eternal life for some. Your tribulation is not just pain for you.  It will produce conversion in your soul and will magnify the reality of Christ to others. Will you accept that answer?

And my own son. What will be of him Lord? Same thing. “if BY ANY MEANS, I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.” I don’t want to even attach that verse to my boy. My flesh says, “that’s MY boy. Satan will not take him.”  But you see, I have no power over that.  That’s between my son and his creator.

Just like any person, God has put us on this earth to experience good and evil. Without evil we cannot know what’s truly good. My job is to intercede in prayer and let Christ live through me by his spirit.  That is the only control I am allowed to have over others; anything else would set me up as a god.  And I don’t want to be God, like, for sure!

My Son Has Christian Parents

My son will never know what it’s like to smoke a joint with me. Nor will he ever be allowed to have a member of the opposite sex in his bedroom with the door closed. Those things were allowed in my home when I was young.  I have long since forgiven my beloved mom for these things that I once believed were cool, but as I matured, came to realize they damaged my teenage soul.

Fast-forward to when Christ came into my life at twenty-three.  I was pregnant with my son.  This little man was now going to be growing up in a Christian home!

UsI must admit I am slightly jealous of him.  He will not just be learning about when and how he should have sex from his friends at school, he will be hearing what God has to say about it.  He will not be hanging out late at night with people handing him hits of acid behind a movie theater because I am too strict for that.  When he recently asked me if he can have a girlfriend, I looked my thirteen year old in the eyes and said, “No, invite her to youth group.”

I question myself constantly. Ever since he was little the Holy Spirit would instruct me as I raised him.  I read about spanking in the bible and believed it to be truth but I was so confused on the execution.  Than one day when my boy was almost three, he hit me, told me no, and threw a toy at me all at the same moment.  Very gently, yet with divine authority, I felt the Lord speak into my being, “Now is the time to spank him.”

I calmly told my son he may not treat me that way and gave him three hard whacks on the butt.  He stood there perplexed. My guess is that he was shocked I showed him who was in charge- and it wasn’t him.  He thought for a minute and than the tears and loud crying came.  I consoled him and told him he may not hit and throw stuff at me.  Worked like a charm. He learned that he may not walk all over me. Satan the counterfeiter would have loved to teach my son to rule over me so his life would be easier to ruin as an adult.

I have had to apologize to my son many times through the years. I believe it shows him that I am a real person.  However, I have always reminded him of God’s expectation that he is to honor me with obedience.  In doing that, I would remind him also of God’s promise to bless him and give him a long life.

I have been immersed in depravity and than rescued from practicing many sins. Yet I wonder about my son. I am proud of him.  His heart is compassionate. He is funny and genuinely loves people. He has a very strong sense of right and wrong.  I wonder though, will his relationship with the Lord be deep? Will he have to trudge through willful valley’s of sin and wickedness in his life?  Will he decide to reject what I have taught him?  I am content not to know these answers at this moment, but when these answers unfold, I will be relying on the Lord and trusting him to guide me, just as I did when my son was three.

My God is faithful. That I know.  What I also know is that I have the power to influence, I have the power to parent, but as he is nearing maturity, I may not control him.  God wouldn’t have it any other way.