By Katy Krumbach
“This is my child, my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”
- Matthew 3:17
Last week we were looking at ‘old’ photos; in other words, pictures of me 30 years ago. The face in the picture looked familiar, and yet this young woman was someone I did not recognize. Knowing this was who I had been, I wondered why she looked so unfamiliar.
My first thought when looking at myself 30 years ago was, "How pretty she is, and thin, too!" Yet I knew this picture was a person who had been told she was ‘too heavy,’ ‘plain looking, ’ and ‘uninteresting.’
One Sunday, about 15 years ago, I heard God’s voice. I heard God’s acceptance and invitation which ended with “This is my child, my beloved in whom I am well pleased.” How sweet that voice was in my ears. How cleansing are those words still in my heart. That Sunday, that voice, and my life changed forever.
I have since learned that the voices of my childhood have influenced what I thought about myself. There are still negative statements-- both my own and others--and I can still hear them. Knowing I am God’s precious child, I wonder why I hear so clearly these negative voices. And, after hearing them, why are they the voices I remember so easily?
In the clamor of voices I hear today, I must remind myself of God’s voice: This is my beloved, in whom I am well pleased. I did hear God then, I do hear God now, and I will hear God again. God’s voice is the one voice I choose to listen for everyday. This is the voice I love.
I have learned to hear other positive voices, too, and I still struggle to accept them and remember them as easily as I have the negative voices.
In his work Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster defines a spiritual discipline as those times, places and activities in which we choose to place ourselves so that God can bless us, grace us and strengthen us to live in the world and yet not of the world.
It has become a spiritual discipline for me to distinguish the love and grace of God from the clamor and criticism of the world. I choose God’s voice of love and acceptance over the world’s judgment, not because it is easier or feels better, but because God’s word, love and grace are true.
I choose to be God’s child in every way, every day.