Hi, mom. I have a confession to share with you. Maybe you’ve felt this way too.
It’s easy for me to believe God loves me. I can understand He has forgiven me. But making the leap to believing He has truly accepted me is another story. Perhaps that’s because we experience so little true acceptance with each other. The preacher talks about grace but gives us a list of rules to follow. Friends promise to always be there for us, only to turn their backs when we don’t meet their expectations. Families boast of unconditional love but withdraw it when we choose a different path. So like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we hide from ourselves, each other, and God.
In Beyond the Masquerade: Unveiling the Authentic You, Dr. Julianna Slattery says, “Facing others without covering my psychological blemishes is actually more terrifying than going out into the world without a shower or makeup. Far more offensive than body odor are my fears, malicious thoughts, insecurities, shame, and pride.”
While we strive to make ourselves acceptable, we also secretly long for someone to catch a glimpse of our true selves and exclaim, “You can stop hiding now—I really do love you just as you are!” In the Mark of the Lion trilogy, one character, Hadassah, miraculously survives an attack. However, she walks away with deep scars and always wears veils to cover them. She fears rejection if she’s seen as she truly is. The moment that has terrified her finally arrives:
“Oh, beloved.” The wounds had been deep, the scars running from her forehead to her chin and throat. Releasing her wrists, he touched her face tenderly, tracing the mark of the lion. “You are beautiful.” He cupped her head in his hands and kissed her forehead, her cheek, her chin, her mouth. “You are beautiful.” She opened her eyes as he drew back slightly and he looked into them. What she saw melted all resistance, removed all shame.
We have all been Hadassah. We know how to hide. We cover our pain. We fear being truly seen. These words spoken to her resonate because we long to hear them ourselves. Thankfully, there is Someone who wants to speak this way to our hearts every day. When Christ went to the cross, He made it possible for us to stop hiding. All of our sin, shame, and guilt have been erased. The Lord looks at us with eyes of love. His scars bring healing and even beauty to our own.
We can drop the veils of performance and people-pleasing. We don’t have to be afraid of what we perceive as our ugliness or our inadequacies.
We’re truly seen, known, and loved in a way we never thought possible.
Here’s the secret and the miracle: The acceptance we long for is already ours if only we’ll dare to embrace it. You are accepted.
Lord, I’m so grateful You love and accept me just as I am. Sometimes that truth is hard to understand and embrace, so I pray You’ll help me learn to walk fully in it. I thank You for showing my heart…
the one wondering if you’re enough,
if you’d be loved if anyone really knew you—
turn your heart this way for a moment,
then lean in and listen close…
You’ve got it.
You don’t have to look any further
than the hands of the One who made you,
the heart of the One who loves you.
You’re welcomed, held,
cherished just as you are
and encouraged to grow
into all you’ll become.
So hold your heart and head high;
look the world in the eyes and say…
“I’m His. I’m loved.
I’m already accepted today.”
Holley Gerth is an author, speaker, and cofounder of (in)courage.me—an online home for the hearts of women. She is wife to Mark and mom to Lovelle.