Who do I see in the mirror?

girl-at-mirror-1954“The Lord your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love; he shouts joy over you.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

I celebrated my birthday a few days ago – a big one with a “zero” at the end of it – and that morning, as I was running, I felt the Lord tell me “I’m going to show you who you are today!”

It happened as I ran around Evergreen Lake. I passed three women taking a morning walk, and I overheard just a snippet of conversation: “Whatever is going on with my body.” The Lord immediately prompted me to turn around and tell her I would pray for her … and she was delighted! I told her it was no accident I ran by at that moment and overheard the conversation – the Lord wants her to know His love and healing power – a “divine appointment” orchestrated by Him.

And that’s when I heard the Lord say, “I’m going to show you who you are today.”

A few years ago my response might have been something like this: “Whoa – what does that mean Lord? I think You’ve just told me to stare in the mirror so I can see what a victim looks like.”

If I believe I’m going to see a victim when I look in the mirror, isn’t that what other people will see? There are people in my life who know my story, and know I turned to God after I was kidnapped and raped – but do they believe I know a God of love and power, or do they conclude that God is only for the weak and victimized?

It reminds me of my response when a spiritual director asked me to meditate on Luke 11, v 9: “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” The entire passage is about the Father’s love for us, His children, and I dreaded doing the meditation – I did not expect the door to be opened. Sure enough, as I imagined the scene, I saw myself crumpled outside the door, crying “Why won’t it open Lord?” But then I felt Him tell me, “I want to heal the place in your heart that THINKS the door won’t be opened.” He wanted to heal the place in my heart that looks in the mirror and expects to see a victim staring back.

Healing my heart is exactly what He has done over the past few years.  In fact, at the beginning of this month, as I anticipated the various birthday celebrations being planned by my family and friends, I asked the Lord to help me “receive” – receive the love and life-giving words people would express toward me. To be intentional in receiving.

What an amazing thing that I can say that! To expect that the Lord would not only want to give me good things, He would make it happen! And I also trusted that whatever He was going to show me on my birthday, it would be life-giving! It’s a sign of how much the Lord has healed my heart AND renewed my mind – “You were taught… to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

As my “birthday day” unfolded, the Lord seemed to use every event in the day to remind me who I am – a person created to speak life-giving words to people, a person who has a purpose and mission, a person who is loved and blessed! I felt Him shouting joy over me all day! (Zephaniah 3:17)

Now, on the last day of February, I realize how the Lord so beautifully orchestrated  all the words spoken to me through the month, and all the fun and laughs I had – He used other people to speak His love and truth to me, to show me I am His beloved, just as He had used me to speak love and truth to the woman at Evergreen Lake! His words have seeped into my spirit like rain on parched soil, and I know they will rise to the surface when they are needed. There may be days when those hope-filled words won’t easily come to me – but I know they are there! That’s the difference between a victim and a beloved daughter of God.

Who do I see in the mirror? I see a person renewed by His love. I see a person who has learned to receive His love, who knows that the door will open when I knock. I don’t see a victim in the mirror; I see a woman who knows she is loved and blessed – He shouts joy over me!

Abba Father, I pray that You will continue to renew my mind so I am able to see Your truth about who I am – that You walk with me through every second of the day, that you shout joy over me. I pray that I continue to allow Your love to fill me so it overflows to those who cross my path. As I see my value to You, I am able to see how valuable others are to You. As I see who I am in You, I am able to help others see who THEY are in You! I am renewed by Your love! When I knock, You open. In Jesus’ name, Amen.