I have struggled a lot in the past year with my self-confidence. Maybe it was turning 40. Maybe it’s that going back to school makes me realize I am neither as smart nor as capable as I once thought. Maybe it’s because being faced with the reality of providing for my family makes me feel ridiculously inadequate. Maybe it’s the fact that my “you-look-so-cute-today”-child moved out and left me with my “those-shoes-are-ugly” and my “i-don’t-know-why-people-think-you’re-funny.you’re-really-not”-children. And the one who pees in my closet.
Perhaps it’s the culmination of all of it. Whatever it is, it’s been a strange, hard year. And one that has really made me question my abilities and my worth.
Rewind to a couple weeks ago. Twice a year, my church has a general conference. This is a time when leaders from the different organizations in the church come together and share messages of hope and faith and love. It happens every April and October. This year it happened to be on Easter. So to prepare for it, during the prior week I decided to listen to talks from the previous conferences when I could. One morning while I was getting ready for work, I had one of the talks from last October playing in the background. I was half listening-half yelling at my 5-year old to finish his breakfast-half feeling like a slob because my bathroom is a mess and I never have the energy to clean it-half hating my clothes and my face and my hair like I do every morning when I’m getting ready. (That’s a lot of halves shoved into just one whole morning. I know.)
And then I heard something that made me pause. And filled me with gratitude because I needed to hear it:
My dear sisters, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:
You are loved.
The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.
Yes, God loves you this very day and always.
He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.
He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.
Despite the fact that I had JUST put on mascara, tears streamed down my face as I listened to this. In that brief moment, I felt loved. And understood. And beautiful. I say brief moment, because that day went on. And it was just another ordinary day. One where I messed up, and failed, and doubted myself. I lost my temper, I didn’t make dinner for my kids, I struggled with homework. Ordinary day. But the message I heard that morning has stayed in the back of my mind through all of my ordinary days. And it has been a reminder to me of where to look for validation.
Because it is easy to forget. Particularly in a world when we are ceaselessly bombarded with images of people more attractive, richer, and more successful than we are. Particularly in a world where friends, followers, readers, retweets, shares, likes, and comments have become just another way to gauge ourselves and fall short. It is easy to forget that none of that matters. But it is vital to remember.
Because no matter who we are: We are known. We are cherished. And we are loved. Every ordinary day.