For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6
I grabbed my partner’s arm at the back of the ballroom. We walked slowly to the front of the room, all eyes on us. We parted ways when we reached the officiant at the top of the aisle. As I walked to my designated position, my red full-length gown flowing around me, gracefully sweeping the floor, shoulders and neck complimented by a sweetheart neckline, I heard someone whisper “she’s pretty.”
And it wasn’t just the whispered compliment, though that was nice. It was more than that. In the months and weeks leading up to my cousin’s wedding, I had been trying to eat well and workout regularly, mindful that I had already had my final fitting for my bridesmaid’s dress, and that this was do-or-die time, and there was no room to put on any inches. And because of my efforts, I had to admit, I looked good in my dress. Thank you, Jesus. But it was more than that.
A week before the wedding, I had gotten my hair done. I had chosen to have my hair styled in a braided up-do for the event. I usually wear my hair in a tight Afro, with very little shape, might I add, and I wanted to do something different and a little dramatic for the wedding. So I had my hair braided and it was really beautiful. The style took some years off my face while adding a flair of elegance to my everyday style. It was a nice hair style. Thank you, Jesus. But it was more than that.
I had gotten my face done by a professional makeup artist. And although I didn’t have time to get lashes like I really wanted, my face was definitely painted differently with some pinks and hues that I don’t usually use. And I liked the finished product. My lips, cheeks, eyes, nose and mouth all painted to perfection for my cousin’s big day. I felt beautiful. Thank you, Jesus. But it was more than that.
I felt confidence–the kind of confidence that comes from a woman who knows that she has been touched, changed by her Lord. I walked with my bare shoulders squared and head held high because I was sure of who I was. I was sure of who God had made me to be: His.
For the first time that I can remember I didn’t jealously compare myself to the droves of other beautiful women in the room. I was too busy hugging and playing with my kids and husband whom I hadn’t seen in a few days because of wedding prep. I was talking and laughing with my family and the other bridesmaids. I was enjoying the blessings that God had given me.
And I used to be that girl. I would always compare myself to other women–always. I was never as pretty as the next woman. My nose was always too big. I was pretty, but… There was always a but. I used to always define myself by what I wasn’t. I wasn’t cool like this woman I knew. I wasn’t as stylish as this other woman I knew. I didn’t attract the attention of men and have them eating out of my palm like this other woman I knew. I was never enough–for myself or anybody else. And I stayed this way even when I dated, married and had kids. That was how I saw myself. I was never enough. I was never confident enough.
And then I had an encounter with the Lord. Through months of intense worship and prayer and time with God (see my previous posts), He showed me who I am: His. The Lord showed me that I am enough because He’s more than enough. It was as if, through those times of devotion and worship and prayer, he wiped the dirt of insecurity and low self-esteem off of my face, held a mirror in front of me, and showed me that I actually looked like Him. And I was beautiful in His sight–and finally my own. It is amazing what God will do when we give Him the room to do it. Add in a good ol’ fashioned prayer of deliverance from my old mindset (shout out to my work BFF for that), and here I am, a changed woman. A confident woman. God’s woman. And it feels so good.