My friend had dropped off a little orchid plant for me. It’s so tiny, the vase and plant only stand seven inches tall.
I’ve never bought orchids for myself before, so I was amazed seeing how the petals just stay open and don’t fall off like they do on peonies or roses I usually get.
“Look, guys!” I said to my husband and two boys, eleven and fourteen. “I’ve never seen flowers blooms last so long!”
“Are you sure it’s real?” my husband said, taking a closer look. “It’s too perfect.”
“Yeah!” my two boys chimed in. They went over to gently touch the plant to confirm it. “The petals . . . the stem . . . too smooth. It’s plastic!”
“No,” I protested. “They’re real!” But to no avail. They boys were convinced it was fake.
I looked closer and finally found something to prove these orchids were, in fact, living and organic. “Look here,” I pointed to a spot on one leaf that wasn’t so easily seen. “It’s nicked here. You see, it is real. They would never put a flaw in something fake they would sell.”
The flaw was proof that it was indeed real.
Let’s remind ourselves of this truth. Because when I bump up against my worries, anxieties, or imperfections, which are showing up often during these extreme shelter-in-place conditions, I can forget that God makes beautiful things out of us.
God doesn’t call us to sell a fake gospel but to tell a living, organic story of how we are loved just as we are. Our flaws bring us closer to others who need to know that God is with us in the brokenness and even in our hiding.
I recently visited the party store to get some balloons for my son’s birthday. His party was canceled due to COVID-19, and I wanted to do something to cheer him up.
When I got to the store, there was no one there except for the young woman behind the counter. I asked her what colors she’d recommend for “instant happy,” and as we picked some together, I asked how she was doing with the coronavirus challenges and what helped her to feel better.
“I love to read,” she said. She shared how she was reading The Diary of Anne Frank, and when I asked why, she answered, “She inspires me because she chose to live with hope, hiding for years though she was facing death everyday.”
I sensed a story behind her words, so I shared something vulnerable, something that once made me feel flawed. “You know, I’m not Anne Frank, but I do understand hiding. When you doubt your worth. When I was growing up, I hid my heart in order to survive, to be strong. It was the only way to get through an emotionally traumatic childhood. I hid my heart.”
Her eyes began to well up, emotions speaking a thousand words as her beautiful face broke into a flow of tears. As we cried together, I asked for the story behind her tears, and she shared about her hard times as a single mom to her daughter. I listened and shared how God helped me learn to stop hiding my heart.
I gently reassured her, “You are worth loving. You are worth everything good and beautiful. God loves you so much. You are precious to Him.” I asked if I could pray for her, and we stood there in the party store, two strangers now connected by our vulnerability, our flaws.
Friends, everything hard you’re going through isn’t wasted. The suffering you are enduring will be the loving bridge for others to experience God’s peace and rest.
So, don’t hide your scars from others during these times of trial and suffering. It’s our flaws that invite others to share their stories and know that God’s love is real and unconditional. Jesus Himself resurrected with visible scars, and it was the one thing that convinced Thomas He was real, even more than His words.
So, when you feel isolated and discouraged, when you feel like your flaws should be hidden from others, know that you are beautiful in God’s eyes.
Lord, when I doubt my worth, remind me that when I can’t see ahead, I can trust You. When I feel afraid, I have a friend in You. My flaws are beautiful to you, and they show the world how much You love me. Thank You that my suffering is not wasted and that You will use it all for Your glory. Amen.