Hi. My name is Lindsey...
...and I'm a sinner.
"But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I am 23 years old, I'll be turning 24 this coming January, I'm 5'8" and I weigh 120 lbs. There are days when I like how I look, but to be honest, there are more days that I don't.
Throughout my lifetime, I was one of the people who "grew up in church." I was there every Sunday with my parents, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, and every other chance I could get. I was the "good girl," everyone makes fun of now. When I started elementary school, I was a cute kid. (Am I allowed to say that?) My mom dressed me up in pretty dresses and always fixed my hair in bows. I cherish the memories of my mom letting me pick out my own clothes and then her gentle reminders that it didn't match and I should probably choose a different shirt to wear with those shorts. For as long as I remember, my grandmother (Memomma) made all our dresses. I love that. I love that we still have them. I love that someday I'll get to give those dresses to my own kids. (Even the lacy one that I would rip every time I wore it.) I had a great childhood. I have two parents who love me and my younger sister unconditionally, and a huge family that does the same. I grew up on a farm - it's all I've ever known. I learned at an early age the toils of doing things yourself. I learned quickly in school and never really had to try when it came to my studies, except math, I hated math. School was just something that came natural to me, I actually enjoyed school. (Enjoy, present term.) I enjoy learning new things and making good grades. When I was in third grade I started experiencing headaches. Not just your average headaches, migraines. My head would hurt everyday and I would have to leave school, I missed gymnastics cause I couldn't stop crying because of my head, and all I remember wanting was for the headaches to go away. About a month after that I got glasses. I loved my glasses at first, they were cool. Plus my mom and dad had glasses so I thought I was even cooler cause I got to be like them. At school the next day is a day that I will remember forever. It was the first time I hated the way I looked. My body. My appearance. Everything. It was the most unfamiliar and wretched feeling I like I have ever felt. And little did I know at the time, but that day and that feeling would be something that would be apart of my life for so long - even sneak up on me to this day. I still remember all my "friends" calling me four eyes, they'd neigh at me because I had crooked teeth and they said they looked like a horse, then when sixth grade came around, "brace face!" And "lanky," "bony," and "ugly." Ugly. Ouch. Out of all the things they called me, I think that's the worst.
Everyone is wired differently. Most kids learn to shake those things off and forget it. Not me. I had always been fine with my body. I liked myself. I was tall and skinny. I never questioned the way I looked or felt; I always felt like I was enough. I was fine with the way I looked and my body: my long legs gave me the ability to run faster than most, play basketball, catch, and jump. I never gave much thought to how I looked. Until I got home that day it was then that I saw it: I wasn't enough. Suddenly, I wasn't tall enough, pretty enough, or good enough.
This feeling lasted all throughout high school and on into college. Throughout high school, I did everything in my power to fill the emptiness that this feeling was creating in my life through so many other things. Friends, popularity, and sports. Sports became my God. I wanted to for once be the best. I wanted to be the best so badly that it consumed my thoughts. It's all I could think about. Sports became my world. I was constantly chasing the next high to win something. I had to win. Winning is what I believed I was created for. Growing up in church, I had always learned we were created for something, I just missed the part about it being so much more than this world has to offer. Through God's grace my tall lankiness made me extremely clumsy and I ended up getting hurt my sophomore year of high school. I tore my lateral bone in my left leg in half, leading to a reconstructive surgery and what I thought was the end of my sports career and all hopes of a college scholarship. (Our God has much bigger plans!) Countless days and hours to physical therapy later, I was back in action and back to doing what I love. Senior year of high school, I signed a cheerleading scholarship and I finally felt as if all was right in the world.
In today's society, the world tells you, you have to look one way. You have to be a certain way. And I bought into that. I went into college thinking I was a Christian and none of the "bad things" mattered because I walked down the aisle and said "the prayer." You know, the prayer that "saves you,'' and if I had died then, I would be in hell. There's no doubt in my mind. See even after being in church my whole life and praying the prayer, I still didn't get it. I didn't get that no matter how good I tried to be, I still would never be good enough. My goodness wasn't going to get me to Heaven. In college, I quickly became all that I had wanted to be in high school. Long gone were my braces, glasses, and bangs. I was finally popular and pretty and everyone wanted to be my friend. I was on top of the world. I knew everyone and everyone knew me. People wanted to be me, guys suddenly found me attractive, and I had it all. But no one could see that on the inside I really didn't.
My sophomore year of college was some of the darkest times of my life. The pit of hatred that I had for myself began to grow and grow. I hated the choices I made, I hated who I was as a person. Through the Lord placing unbelievable new friends in my life, they spoke truth to me and made me wake up and realize that I really didn't know the Christ that I was proclaiming. Through the Lord speaking through them, I realized that the way I was living was not glorifying to God and that I was made for so much more. I was made for more than feelings of unworthiness, emptiness, and fear. It was then that I realized I was no greater than anyone else, I was a sinner and I NEEDED to be saved. I needed someone to save me. I remember crying out to the Lord and audibly saying, "Lord, I know you are real. I know you're there. But I need some reassurance. Save me. I need you." When I finally admitted those words, all calmness passed over me. To say those feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, and fear faded away instantly would be a lie, they were there, but it felt like they were taken care of. For once, I felt free. I had finally learned that You can I don't have to manufacture our own goodness, our own enoughness. Everything good is from Him and for Him. (John 15:5)
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold! The new has come." -2 Corinthians 5:17
This feeling of freedom was something I had never experienced before. Each day I felt the Lord pulling me toward Him and not to the things of this world. I became transformed by His word. And all the things that used to matter, like being the best, most popular, and having all the right friends, suddenly didn't matter anymore. I started hanging out with other believers and living out my life change. My heart had been consumed by the Gospel and I wanted everyone to know. During the summer of my junior year, I started feeling as if the Lord wanted to somewhere else. After praying fervently about where the Lord was leading me, I transferred to Murray State to finish my degree there. I joined a sorority and I can say that was some of the funnest times in my life. Yet, I still felt the Lord was calling me to do more. Through a mutual friend I heard about Crossings Ministries and to help her meet her quota of people that she had to get to apply, I applied. And somehow through God's grace, I got the job. Going into that summer, I didn't think camp was for me. Sure I came expecting changes and that God would teach me a lot, but it has been way more than I ever could have imagined. Through Crossings, the Lord taught me that every 24 hours He has a fresh new supply of grace, favor and forgiveness. Ultimately everything I did that summer was about seeing lives like mine change and students crossing over from death to LIFE.
It was at Crossings that I met my husband. We were both summer staffers and both fervently seeking after the Lord. The Lord brought him into my life when I least expected it. I never believed I would walk out of that summer and become best friends with someone I now call my husband. Marriage is good. Really good. Getting to do life with the person you love and work toward advancing the Gospel with that person, is overwhelmingly humbling at times. But, as good as marriage is, Jesus is better. A very wise theologian, C.S. Lewis put it this way:
"Being in love is a good thing, but it's not the best thing..... being in love is the explosion that started it all." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
"He loved us, not because we are lovable creatures, but because He is love." -C.S. Lewis
During a staff trip to Haiti in December of 2013, the Lord revealed to me more and more about who He was and his calling for my life. The country of Haiti captured my heart and it was there and through those people that the Lord placed on my heart a passion for missions and of the work to be done.
The Victory is already won. The insecurities you face, the fear, unworthiness, and doubts begins to fade away. No they won't (and didn't) go away entirely, but they no longer occupied the forefront of my thoughts anymore. I am no longer concerned with how I look; I feel love and cherished by the God of the universe. Do I still have doubts? Yes. Do I still struggle with looking in the mirror and not liking what I see? Yes. Do I still want to loose weight and go to the gym? Yes. But the Lord has also CREATED me. He has designed and fashioned me to be exactly how he wants me to be. It's mind-boggling to think about. Even more so to think about how I am God's choice. He delivered me out of the mess I was in and restored me through Jesus. Isaiah 14:1 says, "For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel..." Israel rebelled against God. The Lord will once again choose those who rebelled and rejected Him. This is the same for you and me. Just like my precious husband who chooses me daily, so God, the ultimate husband, continues to choose us as His bride. I (and you) are Jesus' joy set before Him. You are the one thing that He didn't have before the cross, you are His treasure. (Matthew 13:44)
When feelings of doubt and insecurity creep along, I remind myself I was created by the one God who has never yawned. He does not grow weak or weary. I know that even in my weakest moments - when I am feeling unworthy, looking in the mirror, hating what I see, and feeling ugly, that my God calms the seas - He can calm the feelings of doubt in me. It's a journey. It's a process.. and still learning. I am learning to be content in the Lord and the way he has fashioned and made me. When I start to compare myself to others thinking, "I'm not thin enough," or "I wish I looked like her," I have to remember - my body is not my own and I was bought with a price. I am not cheap. (1 Corinthians 6:20) I am so thankful that God’s definition of beauty isn't in line with the worlds. You see, in God’s eyes, it goes back to the heart. “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4) God redefines the norm whenever he calls us beautiful in Song of Solomon 4:7, “You are all together beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” You see regardless of the color or our hair, language we speak, skin color, age, wrinkles on our skin, height or weight, He sees us as beautiful despite all our frailties. What we have to grasp our minds around is this: Whenever God looks at us; He sees a masterpiece, a masterpiece of HIS creation. We have to understand that THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE is in pursuit of our worthless hearts, a heart that He treasures as sacred.
"I would rather be who God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all of thinking." - C.S. Lewis