Dale and I were having dinner with an amazing, godly couple I knew from work. They had a chicken coop in the back, grew their own potatoes, and had fostered 3 children while raising a toddler and infant of their own. Their little girl June was 2, and learning to talk. I went through a big book of pictures with her, and she was pointing to pictures and labeling them (accurately) with “horse” and “sheep”…pretty typical progress for a child her age.
She left the room to amuse herself a while, and came waddling back minutes later with a magazine flapping in her hand and put it in my lap. She pointed to a small picture on the page.
This was the picture:
June was saying something but I couldn’t quite make out so I looked at her mom, who informed me June was saying:
Her mom explained that the page I was looking at was actually the Letter from the Editor page of Voice of Martyrs, and the picture we were looking at was just a thumbnail of the cover of the January newsletter. The editor had received SO many negative responses to the cover, asking why they would put such a horrifying picture on their cover, and how terrifying that was for their children to see. As a response, the editor posted a blog post a reader had written about Yubelina:
“Her skin is splotchy & ranges in color from light brown to red to white. Much of it is leathery. Her nose is disfigured. She has a purplish-colored patch of skin in between her bottom lip & the bottom of her chin. Her upper lip is peeling. Her left eye is white & red; her pupil is clearly no longer able to see.
But she is smiling. A huge smile. Joy radiates from her. Why?? She must receive stares. Children are probably afraid of her. The world would call her damaged. Ugly.
Yubelina has figured out where her identity lies. She is a treasured child of the King. She has traded “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning” (Isa. 61:3). Her smile reveals Jesus.
Yubelina is beautiful. I guarantee she has a joy, a contentment, that no name-brand, trendy clothing; no perfect haircut & makeup; no flawless skin or toned body can bring.
I want to be beautiful like that. I want my face to shine like Moses, because I have been in the presence of God. I want my treasure to lie in heaven & not in the tangible, the material. I want to be joyful & content & full of peace.
Jesus, make it so.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10″
So while everyone else was flipping the cover over on the counter because this woman was “Ugly”, our wonderful mother of a friend was teaching her daughter that in the sight of God, this woman was beautiful because she bore scars for Jesus. June kept looking at the picture fearlessly, stroking the woman’s face, and repeating, “Pretty!”
As I’m starting to learn to pray for my child, I pray for things like God to grant them a steady, faithful walk with Christ. But what I find that I’m really asking for is for an easy, Christian life, which is an oxymoron in itself. That our kid won’t sin too big…or that he/she will go on missions, but not get hurt. Basically, for a perfect, comfortable Christian life.
But lately, I’ve been realizing how unrealistic that is and how if I want a child who grows up to the full stature of Christ, I ultimately must give him up to be a sufferer for Christ. What I can pray for is for Christ to guard our child’s faith no matter what God decides to put him through. Jesus, may he or she bear the image of Christ, and be Pretty before you!