Several years ago, I had laser surgery on both eyes as a preventative measure against narrow angle closure glaucoma. During the weeks of my procedure and healing, I had to wear my glasses during my waking hours and not use my contact lenses.
Not so bad, right?
Well, not anymore. But, it wasn’t always that way … At age 11, my already coca-cola bottle thick glasses were upgraded to bifocals. Pretty tall order for a little girl who weighed about 70 pounds soaking wet.
Not the accessory that I wanted to add to my daily wardrobe. It didn’t matter how pretty my frames were, no one could see them for looking at two eyes that appeared to be a “uni-eye”.
The fun really began when I wanted to start wearing makeup. Guess what makeup does — it enhances your eyes so they can look larger. I tried every way possible to get mine to look smaller.
I prayed often for my eyes to be healed. If that wasn’t enough, I had overactive sebaceous glands and large pores. So add acne to my list of “how do you see me now” wonderment and you get the idea of what middle school and high school were like for me.
I was blessed to have cool, name brand clothes. But, no matter how I wrapped it, the package that I presented caused people to stare and whisper. And, of course, that made it a challenge for people to be friends with me because it meant they would risk also being considered, 'not cool'.
There were many times that I came home in tears wishing I never had to go to school again. (I homeschooled my girls, probably, in part, to feelings that I carried from this point in my life).
Fast forward to age 17 – I discovered benzoyl peroxide, got my braces off and found a doctor that would fit me for contact lenses.
With an overall improvement in my appearance, and starting college, I was moving up from stay-to-myself-shy to Sheri-the-social-butterfly.
Suffice to say, my life in college was much different than high school, except for the grades.
I had been a bookworm for way too long – at one point, in life, around age 13, I would read a Nancy Drew Mystery every single day. I was probably the only kid who checked out the maximum amount of books at the school library and actually read every one!
Over the course of life I married and gave birth to three amazing and beautiful daughters!
During my pregnancy with my oldest daughter, Angel, I prayed every day that she would have perfect eyesight, straight teeth, clear skin and curly hair! Everything I didn’t have… and she’s pretty well batting a thousand, apart from a little astigmatism. I prayed for AnnaLynne and Rachel too, but probably not with such fervor about their personal appearances. (If you've seen my daughters, you would agree that God sure did make them pretty! LOL)
I learned that my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth were not necessarily better because I had evolved from my caterpillar stage to the butterfly phase. Regardless of the outward changes, inside I still felt empty, unlovely and unlovable.
I equated outward appearance to feeling loved, accepted, cool, and all the things. What a disappointment to find this wasn’t the case at all.
At 22, after having grown up in church and spending some years being the prodigal, I got my business straight with God and began a deeper journey to intimacy with Him. (By far, the best decision I've ever made by-the-way!)
At 39, I began doing a Christian weight loss program that focused on drawing closer to God so He was my comfort and not food.
During this journey, I learned that God had been with me through all of those years. He was and is the Father I need to teach me how to do this life well. It is beyond belief the difference having this knowledge made in my life.
You see, I lost my dad in a car accident at age 9, I missed out on the valuable male insight he could have provided about guys, dating, not compromising my values to feel loved, marriage, car repair, career paths etc. I lived that loss numerous times like when I would attend a wedding and I would watch the bride walk down the aisle on the arm of her father.
I began to ask God for the abundant life His Word promises. This would take me on a journey that led me to value people but to no longer be driven by my desire for love and acceptance from them.
I began to see myself as God sees me. I saw that I am beautiful and that every struggle I have faced has served to draw me closer to Him and to the understanding that He has seen me at my best and my worst and loves me unconditionally.
All the while, He was patiently teaching me to love myself. He sent little messengers along the way, like the little four year old girl who put her hands on my face and told me that I was pretty, that Jesus loves me, and when I get to heaven He would heal all the “holes” (acne scars) on my face.
Once after we had both attended a leadership training, a friend that I served with at church told me that regardless of the acne scars that I have, the more he had gotten to know me, the more they seemed to disappear and they in no way “detracted” from my true beauty. I was proud of him for his courage.
So today, when I wear my glasses and someone comments about how thick they are, I can respond without feeling embarrassed. I smile when I touch my skin and find that as my daughter Rachel suggested, by eliminating foundation makeup and simply using a concealer as needed, my skin has actually improved. I would have never imagined I could look in at myself in the mirror without a heavy layer of foundation makeup on my skin and see beauty.
Wow, God! He can certainly change our perspective and our hearts!
Sometimes, I still ask God to heal my skin and eyes. I know He can if He chooses too. I am now happy behind my peepers, when I choose to wear them, and in my own skin. It probably helps me to be more considerate in my actions so that my inner beauty can shine through.
So at the end of the day, and in the midst of the many times I’ve felt embarrassed, having learned to love and see myself through my Father’s eyes truly has made the most amazing difference. I have stepped out of my shy-I'd-rather-be-in-the-shadows season of life and gone on to pursue much bigger things than I would have ever imagined I could do or have the courage to even try.
If you struggle with feelings of low self-worth, I hope you will take these to the Lord. (I highly recommend a journal... it's the best low/no cost therapy I've ever found). God has a wonderful way of reminding us of what a treasure we are to Him.
Allow Him to whisper His truth to you and ask Him to allow you to see you through His eyes.... You will never 'see' the same again!
Until next time,
Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*
*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ!
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