I've been hearing the words, "cabin fever" quite a lot lately, haven't you? Our boys were small during those really bad winters of the late 70's and early 80's and oh the stories I could tell! But now that they are grown, I will refrain from sharing tales of snowball fights, snow forts, snow tracked from the back door all the way to the basement and beyond, David hitching the sled to their pony, wrestling in every corner of the house, fights over brownies and hot chocolate, and oh the broken things...we really won't go there. And from what I am hearing, Moms are just as affected by cabin fever today as I was, oh so many years ago.
Being stuck in the house has an effect on our children's behavior, and how we parent. But I also found out that me being stuck in the house can affect my behavior, my discipline, and my self-image. Wearing your flannel pj's all day is great for the 1st snow day, but after a few days, we pass by a mirror and realize it's time to trade in the flannels, fix the hair and put on a little make-up for heaven's sake.
I love my Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible. Throughout it's pages are principles for daily living and lessons from stories of great people that are impacting my life. Lately it seems I've had a combination of cabin fever, melancholy, worry, and too many flannel pajama days. Recently, while reading my Bible, Dr. Stanley placed this question on the page where I was reading: How can I develop a better self-image? Most women I know have or have had issues with our self-image. And as mothers of daughters or granddaughters, we are all too familiar with the standard of beauty and physical perfection that they are bombarded with on a daily basis. As Christian women, we want the girls in our lives to derive their self image from their relationship with Christ; we want them to see themselves as He sees them. The problem is, too often we don't follow our own advice. Dr. Stanley used this story about Franklin Delano Roosevelt to teach me what God sees when He looks at me and my life.
"On April 12, 1945, President Roosevelt was sitting for his portrait, when he suddenly died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The "Unfinished Portrait" as it was called, still remains on the easel, looking just as it did the day he died. The artist, Elizabeth Shoumatoff, laid down her brush when she saw the president collapse and never picked it up again. The portrait she had been painting shows a man with great inner strength, calmness, and confidence. But the photographs that had been taken just days before and placed beside her easel showed a much different man. Those photos showed the real face of a national leader who was completely worn out by the heavy political strain of the great depression and World War 2.
Later, Madam Shoumatoff returned to her work on the president's portrait, but she chose not to complete the watercolor, because she saw it complete, just like it was. Instead, she began and finished a new portrait, this time in oils, and it is a beautiful portrait of a strong President Rossevelt with no signs of fatigue, worry, or flaws.
Have you ever wondered how God views your life? Do you worry that He sees your flaws and mistakes and loves you less? Do not worry! God knows you perfectly and loves you completely just the way you are. You are His masterpiece, His workmanship of grace and love, His work of art. He continues to paint the colors of your life in such a way that you will glorify Him." (end of passage.)
Don't you love that? I, like most women I know, need those positive, reassuring words that God loves me just as I am. I cannot make Him love me more and I cannot make Him love me less. That is unconditional love.
Women are natural born worriers. David says I can find more to worry about than anyone he knows, and I don't want him to know he's right, but he is. If I can choose between worrying and not worrying, my mind naturally navigates to the worrying side, every time. And sometimes I do worry that God sees my flaws and my mistakes, and is it possible that He could love me less because of them?
In Eph. 2;10, the apostle Paul says this: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
So on those days when too much cold, too much snow, your cabin full of small children (and some not so small children) seems to be getting smaller and smaller, let Ephesians 1 remind you that when God looks at you and me He sees His beloved child who has been "blessed, chosen, holy, (yes holy) loved, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, and sealed." We can choose to get our self-image from tv, Hollywood, social media, or from a hundred other places, or, we can choose to see ourselves as God sees us. I choose the latter.
Only 2 weeks till spring and underneath all this snow and ice are Easter flowers!
Read the book of Ephesians this week; tons of real encouragement, just when we need it most.