Know your worth
It is easy for me to sit and type that title, hiding behind my keyboard. In reality, it is difficult to know our worth when we are in a season of suffering. A sometimes never ending saga of strife, and "will this ever end" mentality. I haven't found myself in that place too many times in my life, but watching a dear loved one going through it is hard. I have one of those friendships that has survived the teen years, college years, marriages, children, loss of parents and other family members, and many ups and downs in between. I consider this friend to be as close to me as I am with my sister. A relationship that is sometimes rocky, sometimes distant, but always fulfilling. That being said, I do not place my personal worth in it. But Carol, you just said all those amazing things about it. I did, but I have faith that the God of the universe wants even better for me than this friend. How do I know this? It's as simple as this: Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. Proverbs 18:24 The true friend mentioned here is Jesus. See, I told you it was simple. I could just end this here, because let's face it, that says EVERYTHING! But I want you to really grasp what I have been wrestling with for the last two years. Here's the thing; Jesus is the companion who will never leave us nor forsake us. He is the comforter and will always be there in those times of deep suffering. He is the One who will always support and encourage us and He is the ONE whose unconditional love will be poured out on us without measure.
Back to the wrestling. My dear sweet sister friend has not been herself for the last two years. There has been a dulling of her sparkle going on, and her sparkle could shine like the top of the Chrysler Building (like my Annie reference?).
She was slowly becoming someone those around her weren't recognizing. She wasn't reaching out or checking in like we often did with one another through the week. Responses to texts were delayed by days sometimes. This was so completely out of character for what I had come to know of her in the 33 years we have been friends. She was becoming increasingly short tempered in certain situations, and girls' nights were becoming a thing of the past. After a few short months of this, I was suddenly acutely aware of the why. I really hate what I am about to say because in my mind it is just ridiculous. It is the relationship she is in. Though she wants to always see the good in him, as she should, he leaves little good to visualize. His belittling and control have zapped her of her joyful spirit. Leaving her wondering if she is the one who is causing the relationship to be the way it has become. We all know there are two sides to every relationship and from my vantage point I have a clear view of them both. I have made it a point to keep in contact with her as often as possible to make sure she is okay. Some days good, a lot of days not so good. If Jesus commands us: "Love the Lord your God with 'all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39, then this is my time to love on my sister friend! Let her know that I am here if she needs anything, but also to remind her of her value! I have prayed and prayed for God to give me wisdom in this area. I want to be objective but I also need to be honest about what I see and what I know of the Lord and His love for her. The Proverbs 31 woman comes to mind.
Many times I have read and reread Proverbs 31. This chapter of Proverbs sticks out to me for two reasons; she is a hard example to live up to, and she is a great example to try and live up to. Said to have been written by King Lemuel (quite possibly King Solomon himself) this chapter of Proverbs is the telling of sage advice from his mother about the type of woman he should be on the lookout for when he is looking for a wife. Here it is from vs. 10-31:
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.19In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:10-31
So why bring up this woman? She is who I believe my sister friend is striving to be. Her current relationship has left this one-sided. See, verse 10 describes her value. But verse 11 states that her husband, in my friend's scenario: boyfriend, is to have confidence in her. This is where I get angry. He has on multiple occasions expressed his disappointment in her and says "he doesn't like her very much", her words. Difficult to see her worth when she is being spoken to in this manner. Verse 25 says: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She isn't feeling very dignified lately and hasn't found much to be happy about in recent days. See, this is where I feel her self worth is being displaced. She knows she is a daughter of the King, but is letting the enemy speak lies to her through this man she has chosen as a mate. She has taken this man's words and actions and mistaken them for affection and adoration because this has become the norm. In the last few days I have been speaking truth over her right from scripture. Also praying for God's will in her life, this relationship, and for this man to come to know his own worth through Christ.
The Lord is the author of our faith, therefore we can take Him at His word! God’s sufficiency is not dependent on me, but on Him. No matter the state of my heart or mind, God stays the same and my sadness and depression does not weaken the work of God’s grace in my life.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.
2 Corinthians 3:4-5
“The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.” Charles Spurgeon
Friends, I pray that you will find that the Lord is indeed your friend. Allow the truth in God's word to penetrate into your bottomless pits of despair and suffering and remind you whose you are. Your worth can only be found in the truth of who God says you are.