Friday, March 14, 2014

White Sneaks + Black Tights | Testimony



I traveled to California this week for work. I've always packed pretty light, but I try to pack even lighter these days since I have extra equipment to carry (breast pump). So other than the Chucks I wore on the flight there, I only packed 1 pair of heeled boots. I realized the other day as I repacked my bag to fly from Orange County to San Francisco for the second half of my trip, that there was no way I was going to try to trek through the airport with my boots on, so I slipped on these dingy white Chucks with my black tights, blazer, and dress. Oh, yes I did. I definitely got some interesting looks but I walked through that airport proudly with my black tights and white shoes.

So allow me to explain why this is such a big deal for me. Because, let’s be honest, it’s definitely NOT because I was trying to intentionally break any fashion rules. There was a time in my life when I would've cared so much about what people thought of me for – {gasp} – wearing white sneaks with a dress and black tights. I’m sure that sounds so trivial and self-absorbed to most of you, but it’s true. I was incredibly insecure. Incredibly.

It started at a young age. I remember being very conscious about how my hair was styled in Kindergarten. Kindergarten, people. A time in my life where I should have been worried about Barbie dolls and finding enough restraint to not eat glue, I was worried about my hair. To this day, I’m not sure where all of that came from. I didn’t grow up with a mom who was overly obsessed with her appearance…she never talked about her weight or physical insecurities in front of me. I always viewed her as a confident woman. She was also pretty deliberate about not letting us watch smut TV or exposing us to media influences that often shape a young girl’s world view. So, yeah, it didn't come from her.

As I got older, I became even more aware of my appearance. Aware of my perceived flaws. Always having a deep, deep desire to measure up to an ideal of beauty that seemed unreachable. Like most kids, junior high and high school were especially rough for me. I was super skinny, flat-chested, had a long neck, big nose, and big forehead – I often felt tormented in my own skin. Bangs were an absolute necessity to cover my forehead and I stuffed my bra for years. Even though I hung with a crowd that was considered “cool”, I still felt very…uncool. I constantly tried to overcompensate my feelings of insecurity by talking down to other people, involving myself in gossip, and spreading rumors that almost got me beat up on more than one occasion.

The insanity didn't stop after high school. I continued to search for validation and some ounce of confidence through toxic relationships and material things…even to the point of shoplifting when I couldn't afford what I wanted.

In late 2003, I got into some trouble with the law. I was disappointed in myself. So many questions flooded my brain: What is wrong with me? How did this happen to me? Why am I so discontent with my life? Why am I constantly seeking affirmation from people and things? What am I missing? I continued to search for answers to these questions but kept coming up short.

But God.

A couple months after my brush with the law, the Lord strategically placed me right smack dab in the middle of a campus ministry event. I watched these people…talking about a Savior who could deliver you from yourself…out of the darkest of places. Of course, my interest was peaked because I was in a dark place. 

Growing up, I always believed there was a God. And I believed in Heaven and Hell. But that was the extent of it. I didn't have a personal relationship with God and didn't really know I needed one. I don't recall ever hearing the Gospel before this point. When I look back at that time, it is clear to me that God had been pursuing me for a long time and my heart was slowly but surely turning toward Him. The circumstances I was dealing with made it possible for me to actually hear the Gospel this time. 

The message was so simple.

I am a sinner before a holy, blameless God. And there was nothing I could do in my own power to change that fact. Oh and by the way, even if I had a million dollars to change all of the things I didn't like about my appearance, I am still a sinner and I would ultimately never find complete healing and fulfillment through the worldly things I was chasing.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

The ultimate consequence of sin is death. An eternity spent apart from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Dang. That sucks. Really bad. Death? Man. But to know God sent Jesus to save me from my sins. Wow.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

So you mean to tell me that God sent His only Son in the form of man...to love on us and show us how to live as God intended...only to die a brutal death? But how relieved I was to know that He HAD to die because He took my sins (and all of the sins of mankind) with Him to the grave. And with his burial, our sins (past, present and future) are buried. Jesus was perfect. Sinless. He didn't deserve to die. But it was the only way to restore the broken relationship between God and mankind.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13


I didn't make a decision for Christ immediately. It took me a little while to digest these truths. And frankly, I was a little taken back that I had been thinking all that time that I was a "good person" and deserved to go to Heaven. As simple as the Gospel message is, it was a lot to take in.

But in March 2004, I accepted God's free gift of salvation. Praise the Lord.


So, my appearance...I look at myself much differently now. To know that God carefully stitched me together in my mother's womb makes my heart flutter a little bit. He thinks I'm beautiful. He made me (Psalm 139:14). How amazing is that? Don't get me wrong...I still have plenty of days where I feel a little insecure. It's frustrating sometimes when my hair isn't right or when I feel and look a little frumpy. Oh and P.S. this gut I have left over from pregnancy...yeah, can't say I love it.

But He made me. Made me to be so much more than a pretty face and a perfect body. Made me to love Him. Love others. Serve others. Do His work. Excel in the gifts and talents He's given me for the purpose of increasing His Kingdom with more people that are in the exact same place I was in. He made me to be a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife, and mother.

So I look at this body, this nose, this forehead, this long neck so differently now. He made me. And He loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me. And this is why I can wear black tights and white sneaks proudly through an airport and not care what other people think about it. Because He made me. He saved me.

Oh, and I absolutely love that He uses such random moments like me deciding to wing it and wear white shoes and black tights, to remind me of the work He's done in my life. Love it.

If this is the first time you're hearing/reading these truths and want to know more, please email me.
Would be honored to talk to you about my journey.

12 comments:

  1. ohhhhh my gosh. such a good read!!!! thanks for sharing, sis!!!
    xoxoxox

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  2. Angela, Angela, Angela!!! You are so amazing to me!! Although I knew all of the above it still brings so much joy to my heart!! I'm so thankful for our connection! Truly truly grateful!!! Another sign of Gods perfect love for us!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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  3. I love that such a simple event can remind us of so much that God has done for us! You're awesome for sharing! And you're awesome because He made you that way! :)

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  4. Beautiful testimony. The simplest things make us realize the most profound things sometimes. I love reading peoples spiritual journey's. Praise God...be blessed! xo

    ~Whitney
    www.whitneynicjames.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great photos! I really like how your hair looks esp. with the braids. Nice post! Thanks for commenting on my blog, I'm following you back now :)
    Check out my weblog Hair transplant in Pakistan

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved reading this post. Even though I feel pretty confident about the way I look, there are so many moments when I am out and about around other people that I begin to feel self-conscious about my looks (when I compare myself to others). Your post is a reminder that God made me the way that I am and that I should love me the way the He loves me. Thanks for the reminder!

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