Today I am thankful for my cane. I never thought I would ever admit that, being 34 years old and reliant on a mobility device. But today, as I walked the pathway to my child’s school and my feet slipped on ice lying quietly under snow – the unthinkable happened. In the same moment I cried out to God to guide my feet so I would not fall, I had gratitude for something I’m not all that pleased to need.
This year I was diagnosed with an untreatable disease called Lipedema. While this disease does come with a significant amount of pain, it also comes with a significant amount of disfigurement. Sometimes I jokingly refer to myself as the Michelin woman – my limbs are heavy laden with excess fat that can’t be resolved with diet or exercise. In short, it is pretty ugly.
While this diagnosis is new, I’ve suffered from this disease for years. Living with chronic pain isn’t a peach, but far worse is living in this world as a “super sized” woman. The media has made it very clear what they believe to be beautiful. Society is screaming beauty is skin deep. I’ve been given looks of disgust as I walk through the mall. I’ve heard hurtful comments as I watched my children play at the playground. I am not going to lie, it hurts. Sometimes it is hard to see your value when the world says you are worthless.
It says in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord doesn’t see things the way we see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. These beautiful words have allowed me to pause. Here, they have significant meaning. The Israelites were looking for a King, a strong leader to guide them. Someone they could depend on. This small shepherd boy didn’t seem like much of a contender, let alone a King. But God hand picked David for this very important role. He is known as a man after God’s own heart.
Fast forward to the New Testament, we see the workings of Jesus Christ and His upside down kingdom. What seemed right to society was wrong. What seemed wrong to society was right. You can see where I’m going with this, right? When we live in the Lord, we are active members of this upside down Kingdom. The good in His kingdom is the exact opposite of what the world would view as desirable. It is in this truth where the gift lies – He sees me as beautiful. He doesn’t see the deformed, crippled body I live in. He sees the beauty in it –and my suffering as a prize.
Let’s not miss this – sometimes gifts aren’t what they seem. Sometimes heartache is healing. Sometimes injuries are opportunities. Sometimes disease is desirable. James 1:2 tells us to consider it as pure joy when we endure trials of many kinds. These trials are what bring us our future glory. So what happens while we are waiting for this future glory? As we wait in a world that doesn’t appreciate nor understand our Upside Down Kingdom views? We change our perspective.
Today, when I left my house with my cane, I felt lousy. The world sees me as the fat girl who can’t walk without a cane. Knowing that makes stepping out the door difficult. But a few moments later, my perspective changed. If I hadn’t had it, I most certainly would have fallen. The ugly cane had become a blessing.
And so it is with our lives. Maybe you are struggling with something that is challenging you to change your perspective. When we endure hardships such as a difficult diagnosis, it does not change our worth. When we look in the mirror and our reflection is not what the world considers beautiful, that does not change our worth.
In Christ Jesus, we are more. When we align our hearts and lives with His Kingdom, we are more precious than rubies (Prov. 31:10).
What about you? What you do you struggle with that could actually be seen as blessings when you change your perspective to an Upside Down Kingdom? I pray that as you go through this Christmas season you will discover new meaning in your circumstances.
May your best gift this Christmas be the gift of a changed heart.
Jerusha lives in Eastern Canada with her husband and two sons. She always wanted to be a writer since she was ten years old. Writing is her therapy, her way of dealing with life. She loves writing about her journey and sharing the love of God with others. She may not be a famous, world-traveling journalist – but she believes she is exactly where God wants her to be, writing exactly what He wants her to write. What a beautiful thing!