I was watching my girlfriend’s children for the day while she recovered from surgery when she suddenly slipped into a coma. Three of her four children were the same ages as my two boys. She had twins in preschool with Billy, and her oldest was in 4th grade with Andrew, she also had a 2nd grader that went to the same school as all the others. I was a stay at home mom (My daughter was a baby.) and I lived close to the school, so it seemed easy enough for me to blend the extra children into my life while we all waited to for their mom to wake up.
They stayed with me for nine months.
Caring for seven children under the age of 10 was like hosting a long, loud birthday party where the parents forget to return for their kids. I imagine that if they were all my own–and I had gradually trained each of them with my rules and routines–that it would have been a little easier, but disciplining someone else’s children has its challenges. For me, the hardest part was watching them all at the beach. I couldn’t relax for a moment; I was constantly counting heads to make sure no one was missing.
One beautiful summer day, a girlfriend met me at a pond (the ocean was not a wise option). As she sat with me, she calmly kept track of her four children and I stressed and struggled to count all of mine. 1- 2- 3- 4- 5—oh, oh… Oh, Phew! 6-7. Her advice that day that not only changed my beach-life, but also it taught me something very powerful about image.
“Put them in bright colors, then they are easy to find. That’s why my girls wear ribbons in their hair and I make them all match–so they stand out and anyone can help me pick them out of a crowd.”
Before that I thought my friend was a bit particular about making sure her kids looked good. I was wrong. The time she took to tie those bows wasn’t about impressing anyone–it was about her love for those kids and her desire to keep them.
So, what makes you stand out in a crowd?
Is it your height, weight, color, or characteristics? Do you stutter, twitch or have a birthmark you cannot hide? Are you deaf, blind, or in need of assistance to get around? How do you feel about that?
Does it feel unfair when people stare?
I wonder if God wanted you to stand out in a crowd. Maybe He wanted others to stare at you so that they would see that you are His and you could help them find Him.
If you struggle with an image issue that robs your confidence, I challenge you today to accept your physical challenge as an honor, not a flaw. You’ve heard it said, “God doesn’t make junk.” Believe it. Perhaps that [scar] was His way of putting you in bright colors. Consider it a mark of love from the One who created you, and let people stare–for His glory, and not your own.
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.