Friday, October 06, 2006
Something Beautiful
As a little girl, I dreamt of being beautiful. The women in my family were beautiful women. They knew how to dress, how to walk, how to fix their hair, how to outwardly look beautiful. I associated so much of my self worth on looking beautiful. My older cousin, Shawna, seemed to have it all. She was two years older than me and gorgeous! Constantly I compared myself to her. If she did dance, I wanted to be in dance. If it happened to be cheerleading, I wanted to be a cheerleader. Her life seemed so much better than mine so, my envy ran deep. It even seemed that she had favor with our grandparents and every other family member. Whenever the Holidays rolled around, the family would all gather for food, presents and fun. No matter what, she always ended up in the middle of the room. Somehow she was always the star, always the one that was told how pretty she was, always the one that was skinny, always the one that had beautiful long hair. Even my own parents gave her a lot more attention than they did me. So every single time I was around her, I felt ugly. I tried for a while to be as likeable and beautiful as her. But after a while, I gave up. Each time all the cousins were together, I was the one that got into trouble. I was the one that ended up crying. Deep down, I truly felt that no one liked "Mandi."

Today our society is very aware, thanks to people like Dr. Phil, that you don't say certain things to a child. There were things said to me that I can't even fathom saying to my own children. I was called names, yelled at, and much more. My Dad told me to shut up just about every single time I opened my mouth. I have always love to sing, love to talk and just be silly. Somehow after all the junk I grew up in, I turned out to be a pretty gregarious gal. You would think that based on the past, I would be timid and shy. But, the Lord did not allow me to be robbed of the personality I was born with. Thank you Lord! No matter how many times my Dad told me to shut up or quit singing along to the radio, I kept doing it. I kept talking, asking questions, and I kept singing along to everything on the radio. My Dad couldn't stand it. If I talked too much, he sent me to my room. If I asked too many questions, he told me how annoying I was. I learned then, that I did not have much value. Then when I would get together with all of my cousins, I would instantly feel like no one liked me. I instantly felt like I was not valued. With each birthday, it got worse.

My grandparents lived on a farm and my cousins and I would go visit them at the same time during the Summers. One particular day, we were all playing out in a pasture. I can still see us jumping off bales of hay. I don't remember the argument but we all got into it pretty bad. We went back to my grandparent's house arguing and I was crying. My grandmother did something to me that day that she probably thought was a good idea but it proved to be the worst thing ever. She made me sit in a room by myself and stare into a hand held mirror, it was gold. I can see it perfectly. When she handed me the mirror she said this. "Mandi, I want you to look in this mirror and see how ugly you are! You can't get along with anyone and no one wants to be around you because you are so ugly." It seemed like an eternity that I was forced to hold on to that mirror. I was only eight years old, but it was then that I learned I was ugly. With each birthday, it got worse.

It seems that my entire life has been spent trying to learn that I truly do have value. I wasn't taught that I have value, I have had to learn it every step of the way. My unhealthy view of beauty made me always look to others for affirmation. I constantly compared myself to others and figured that if I could be like them, I would be okay. Before I knew it, I was the star like my cousin. I was singing to thousands of people each weekend and finding so much value in the praise of other people. For a while, it fulfilled my need. But no matter how many great things I heard or how much affirmation I was given, the applause no longer fulfilled me. I had to learn my value was something so much more. It didn't matter how good I could sing, how funny I could be or how many heads I could turn. I did not like myself.

Through the years as an adult, it got better. The Lord delivered me of so much pain and showed me that I was a woman of value for many reasons. But until this past year, I never understood what I was supposed to do with all of the pain I had endured. If I experienced rejection or hurt in any way, I instantly felt like the little eight year old girl all over again. I continued to talk, give my opinions and be the life of the party but inside I was constantly doubting myself. Constantly I felt like no one liked "Mandi". Somehow, the Lord got my attention. I don't know exactly what it took, I think it was me realizing that I couldn't continue carrying my pain. Plus I realized that I did not HAVE to carry my pain. It wasn't mine to carry. It was time for me to truly tap into the benefits of being a Christ follower! When He got my attention, I began to understand that my timeline had a purpose and that the more I allowed it to come to surface, the more it could be sanctified and used.

I have spilled my guts many times on this blog. I have never done it for sympathy or praise. That is not my purpose. I have shared many things because I have to! The Lord wants me to share my timeline! He wants me to experience victory and the only way I can do that is by being myself. If I am truly myself, then it won't matter what you think about me. It won't matter how many deep and dark things I share from my past. This is who I am. This is who I was created to be. My timeline is a gift and I don't want anyone else's but my own. And that is the TRUTH! I like the woman that I am, the wife that I am and the mother I am. Days come full of struggles and I sometimes have to remind myself of that truth. But one thing that God shows me over and over and over again is that He longs to use my pain. He cannot use me trying to be someone else. He cannot use me lying to myself. He cannot use me pretending. He cannot use me being prideful or holier than thou. He cannot, He will not use me wearing a mask. I am totally ineffective unless I am totally being ME. So, that's what you are gonna get! When you come to this blog, I want you to find the truth and me hiding behind a perfect little home with a perfect little husband and perfect little kids is not the truth. We are FAR from perfect.

We were all created for something! Something wonderful, something great, something totally different than anyone else. What you were created for may not be what I was created for. But isn't that awesome? God has a plan for each one of us and it's a pretty amazing plan. So today, on October 6th, 2006, I will let you in on a secret that the Holy Spirit whispered into my ear. It's a secret meant to be shared!

I WAS CREATED FOR "SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL"!

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3

  posted at 11:21 AM
  26 comments



26 Comments:
At 10:53 AM, Blogger V. said...

Beautiful Amanda,

I'm a child of the 70's, so I learned many biblical truths by the Gaither singers. I don't know if you have sung this before, but you are singing it now...!

Thanks for letting Him make something beatiful of your life!

V.

SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

CHORUS:
D A7
Something beautiful, something good;
Em Em7 A7 D D7
All my con-fusion He under-stood.
G
All I had to offer Him
F#7/A Bm
Was broken-ness and strife,
G6 D/A A7 D G/D D
But He made something beautiful of my life.

VERSE:
D DM7
If there ever were dreams
D6 Ddim
That were lofty and noble
Em7 A7
They were my dreams at the start
Em
And the hopes for life's best
Em7 A7
Were the hopes that I harbored
G/D D
Down deep in my heart
DM7
But my dreams turned to ashes
D7
My castles all crumbled
G G6
My fortune turned to loss
Bm E7 Bm7 E7
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life
Em7/A A7
And laid it at the cross

(REPEAT CHORUS)

© 1971 by William J. Gaither. All rights reserved.

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger Wendy said...

I love your new blog! Susie did a great job, as always.

This post was exactly what I needed to hear. We didn't get to finish our conversation about my timeline, but didn't need to after reading this. I know I need to share it too. We should not be ashamed of it, we should be rejoicing with how the Lord has used it in our lives to bring us to Him. He has made beauty out of ashes. Thanks for this.

Love ya!

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Munchkin Land said...

It's a beautiful, beautiful look and I will have to go back when I have more time and reread your post. Whenever I see something that I know I need to wrap my head around and really digest what the author is trying to say, I need more time. You and Katherine of Raising Five do that to me all the time!!

Its a beautiful, beautiful look! And I can't wait to see what tidbits of wisdom you're going to share with us through this new blog!

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

I love your new site! Most importantly...I love your new title! I'm excited to read the new journey!

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Kate said...

I don't know one single woman who can not relate to this! You are so beautifu- inside and out - and I love reading how real and raw you are. That's how we should be with one another - to be real and lift each other up. I look forward to this journey in blog land with you - as a friend and sister in Christ! Wooo hooo!
PS - Love love love the colors and design!

 
At 11:49 AM, Blogger Amanda said...

v., okay i totally forgot about that song. We used to sing it when I was a little girl. I have not heard it in a long, long time. Thank you for reminding me of it!

Wendy, you are one of those incredible women I have met in the blogging world that challenges me, encourages me and brings me great joy. It's nice to have a friend that has "timeline" kind of simliar to my own.

muchkinland, thank you as always for your incredible and kind words. You know how to make a gal feel good!

Gwen, you are a strong woman and I have learned through you to appreciate my short comings because that is what makes me so strong!

Kate, you are one of my favorite people. I adore you! Thanks for loving on me and being there for me. Our emails back and forth really make my day. Oh and GO COWBOYS! :)

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Paula said...

Amanda, Your new blog is beautiful. I am glad you feel free to share your guts. I can tell God is using you in big ways.
By the way, I am reading Purpose Driven Life and the weird thing is, lately your post have been coinciding with my daily reading.......I call that GOD!
Question, why do you think God has created this great friendship that we both love and long for, yet we are 600 miles from each other. I would say it is NOT FAIR!!!! But I know God has a purpose.

 
At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE it the look and the title ;o))

Nancy

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Amanda -

Your new site is certainly 'Something Beautiful.' Realizing I haven't known you long, I still can say, you are one of the most honest women I know and you are beautiful!! I am anxious to watch this new chapter of your life unfold. You are certainly a strong woman and a woman of great faith. I appreciate your timeline that you have shared - because you have ministered to me through the sharing of such. I too have a timeline that's not so "beautiful" to the eyes, but have found strength to rise above it and it was through meeting you that I realized how important my timeline is!

Thanks for all you do - thanks for your friendship - thanks for sharing and caring!

Love ya!

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger keri said...

i love your new site. my daughter would love it too...her favorite colors are pink and red. thank you for continuing to be real and revealing your true self...you have such a gift and such a great story to tell!

 
At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Lela said...

Your new blog design IS beautiful.You always leave me thinking about something.I believe that EVERYTHING that happens to us, God can use to make us better, if we allow him.

 
At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your new site and title. They are sooo you!!! Thanks for everything.
Love ya,
Courtney

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger Christy said...

The more I read the more beautiful you become! God has created something beautiful in each of us and as women in this cold & dark world we need to be reminded of that daily. He has given to you a vital ministry and you are being obedient... that blesses his heart! Not alot of people wanna tell the story they have and if they do they wanna leave out the heart of it which is what makes them who they REALLY are. We don't need any more fake, we don't need anymore phony.... it is all out there. We need real, true and honest! Tell your story girl! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us! God has some big plans in store for you!

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Minnie said...

I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT!!!!! This new blog has your name written ALL OVER IT, Amanda! I can not wait to see what that "something" is that the Lord has in store for you!!

I Love you TONS! ((Hug))

 
At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amanda,

Thank you so much for your honest sharing. When I was young, my mom used to tell me how ugly I was, and that she was ashamed that I was her daughter. I've always felt God with me, but the pain has also been a stumbling block in my faith. As a child, I worried that if my own parent's didn't love me, maybe God didn't either. Your words have been so comforting to me. Thank you.

Julie

 
At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Kristin said...

Amanda:
I LOVE your new site! You are an amazing woman and I love what God is doing in your life. I love reading your posts. I will always remember you singing at our wedding and how you did such an amazing job of getting a wonderful message to our friends and family. You were pregnant with Josiah and you looked so beautiful and sang so amazing. Thank you again for being there for me on my special day and you made that day so special. You helped with my makeup and made me feel beautiful. You were there in the beginning of my marriage. YOu are a jewel. Love ya!

 
At 5:31 AM, Blogger Judi said...

I can not believe how similar my childhood was to yours. It is eerie. I am so glad I came across your blog. I think your post is fabulous and I will definitely be back. :)

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Kelly Ann said...

I love the new site! But more importantly, I can't wait to read what God is revealing to you!

I love you, sweet friend!
Kelly Ann

 
At 5:45 PM, Blogger Barb said...

Very, very pretty Amanda. I love the look and I love what you're going to do with this blog.

Susie is amazing, isn't she? I recommend her to everyone who tells me they'd like a new look at an affordable price. She gets to know you well enough that she always gets it right.

Congratulations on the new site!

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger {Karla} said...

I saw your site on Susie's blog. It's gorgeous.

I read through most of your old blog and I am looking forward to your future posts.

Blessings,
Karla

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Dionna Sanchez said...

Great new name and vision for yourself, Amanda. I look forward to stopping by your new place on the web.

 
At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

Amanda,
I can't remember how I first stumbled across your "old" blog a few weeks ago...but everything I have read so far has been so inspiring. Your REAL walk with the Lord is so challenging! I love that He is definitely your best friend! Thanks for sharing YOU!
--Jen

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger rob@blogoftheday.org said...

Great blog! I've added a link to your blog on Blog of the Day under the category of Design. To view the feature of your blog, please visit http://blogoftheday.org/page/112584

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger Kate said...

ok - just changed it on my sidebar! all updated!
thanks for your sweet sweet words! let's talk this week for sure!
we should both be sad - our teams lost today... boo-hoo! :(

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger JenMom said...

What a beautiful post! Have you read any of Angeaa Thomas' books? She has some GREAT studies on this!
Psalm 45:10-11 (The Message)
"Now listen, daughter, don't miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he's your lord, adore him."

 
At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Gina said...

Your new site is beautiful, like you are. Thank you for sharing your life and how the Lord is working in you for His Glory. God Bless you and your precious family.Love and prayers.

 

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