Tag Archives: reflection

But Mom, Do I Have To?

I was a little all over the place, but the text has some interesting complexities. See notes below video.

 

From the earliest days of the church there have been many heresies that emphasized the deity of Jesus to the point of denying his humanity and vice versa. Some would ask why this issue of the full humanity and deity of Jesus are important to us today, so I will try to address why this is so important for us today before I begin. In denying the deity of Jesus, we call into question the authority to forgive us and atone for us. In denying the humanity of Jesus we take away the possibility that his teachings can actually be followed by normal human beings.

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. John 2:1-12

  • Invited to the party.
  • A chore from Mom and a less than gracious response. HUMANITY!
  • Do whatever He tells you. Good advice for us.
  • Ceremonial washing jars – Using the Holy to aid celebration.
  • The deity of Jesus: displayed.
  • The cultural faux pas of failing to have enough. Poverty leads to ostracism.
  • When Deity and Humanity come together all those at the celebration are blessed, rich and poor alike.
  • There is nothing that compares with what God provides.
  • The disciples believed because they witnessed the full humanity and deity in action on a daily basis.
  • My response to this call to vulnerability is similar to Jesus’. Do I have to get involved in this uncomfortable situation? Yes? I am not ready!
  • I am going to say this now and I hope you believe it: With Jesus in our hearts we are made ready to love as he did, giving up all of the rights and privileges that came from being God so that he could experience what his beloved creation did and redeem us from our essential brokenness.
  • We have been shown the most excellent way, now with the power and grace of God, we can love our neighbors even when we don’t feel ready.
  • I invite you to join me in seeking God during our time of open worship and pray that each of our eyes would be open to the opportunities we have to bring God’s love to boost our neighbors’ joy.
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The Living Word

Was inspired from the following notes:

Today I want to talk about the word of God, the divine logos that teaches us how to live the most excellent way. There are a lot of messages about what the good life looks like, and they even refer to the Bible to back up their claims. Creflo Dollar taught that God wanted him to have a private jet and quoted chapter and verse to justify it. Televangelists taught that God wanted you rich, fat, and happy and that if you gave them your money God would bless you with money. The church in America taught that it was just fine to enslave other human beings for personal profit using passages from scripture to back up their position. We now look at those things as abhorrent, and rightly so. The misuse of scripture has definitely caused many hurts, trials, and ills in the world. I myself must say that I misused scripture to self-justify bad behavior a few times. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one in this room to have done that, and when I lose sight of the important truth in today’s scripture I will again. What I forget sometimes is that the Divine Word existed before the first human writers chiseled pictograms into rock.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known. John 1:1-18

  • The Word of God is not separate from God. The Word is God himself.
  • Through the Word creation happens. The Word is the source of life.
  • The Word is light and there is no darkness to be found in it. Darkness has no chance.
  • Clearing up confusion between the messenger and the message.
  • The world’s priority structure is based on darkness, so cannot recognize the light.
  • Even God’s people did not accept the light of God.
  • Those who did come to accept him became God’s children, superseding all previous arrangements.
  • The Word became flesh. God accepted all of the limitations of humanity in order to demonstrate the truth and show the way of grace.
  • Without the Living Word we cannot rightly understand the written Word. Our interpretation must come through Jesus.
  • God’s agenda is grace and restoration, not judgment and destruction. Grace and grace – unmerited favor.
  • Law of Moses is interpreted into God’s heart for humanity in Jesus.
  • To know God we must look to Jesus. To understand the scripture we have to look at Jesus.
  • We, like John the Baptist, are called to point our lives to Jesus, and as we enter into open worship let us focus on the example our savior set for us and ask that God help each of us to seek the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the teaching that flows from Jesus, and the heart of the Father who loves us.

 

Faith, Trust, Doubt, and Hope

Click here to listen to the sermon that came from the following notes.

There are times when God leads you to a passage and you just wonder why God had to lead you there. This week we are going to look at Jesus’ interactions with people bringing someone they cared about to him for healing. The first story is that of a Roman Centurion with an ill servant.

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Luke 8:5-13

  • A loaded question. Purity rules, entering a gentiles house.
  • Centurion’s respect for culture – humility.
  • Centurion’s faith shows that the kingdom is offered to all, not just the “chosen race.”
  • Just being born into the right family doesn’t guarantee us a relationship with God. We must pursue it.

The next story is from the gospel of Mark 9:14-27 and is a much different circumstance involving a Father who has watched their child suffer for many years.

14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. 16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. 17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.

  • Failure is to be expected.
  • Disciples like us don’t always know the best way to approach a situation.
  • The only real failure for us is to not take things to Jesus, so maybe there isn’t a failure here after all.
  • “If you can?” vs. “If you will?”
  • Worn down faith needs Jesus, not judgment. Doubt is natural and can be the catalyst for deeper faith. Talk about my struggle with faith re:Analise.
  • Key element to both stories: humility.
  • Let us come before God together to seek his will in humility, but with Hope that our Father will act.

Prepare the Way

Click here to listen to the sermon that came from the following notes:

On Thursday we celebrated the coming of Jesus into our world, and today as we face into a new year, I would like to encourage us to prepare our hearts for God’s work. God’s intervention has begun, and we can see its effects as we look back over human history and our own lives. One part of preparation is clearing out the stuff in our way and walking a path that is straight.

This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King, the Son of God.

2 Isaiah the prophet told us what would happen before He came: Watch, I will send My messenger in front of You to prepare Your way and make it clear and straight.

3 You’ll hear him, a voice crying in the wilderness,   “Prepare the way of the Eternal One, a straight way in the wandering desert, a highway for our God.”

4 That messenger was John the Baptist, who appeared in the desert near the Jordan River preaching that people should be ritually cleansed through baptism with water as a sign of both their changed hearts and God’s forgiveness of their sins. 5 People from across the countryside of Judea and from the city of Jerusalem came to him and confessed that they were deeply flawed and needed help, so he cleansed them with the waters of the Jordan. 6 John dressed as some of the Hebrew prophets had, in clothes made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. He made his meals in the desert from locusts and wild honey. 7 He preached a message in the wilderness.

John the Baptist: Someone is coming who is a lot more powerful than I am—One whose sandals I’m not worthy to bend down and untie. 8 I’ve washed you here through baptism with water; but when He gets here, He will wash you in the Spirit of God. Mark 1:1-8

 

  • The Good news has begun!
  • The messenger has come to prepare the way.
  • Change of heart and forgiveness are what clears the path to God.
  • Keep your eyes on the goal. What we focus on is where we are going.
  • Confession is crucial. We have to acknowledge that there is debris in our lives in order for it to be cleared.
  • Outward signs were important and can still be, but they cannot induce or confer the inward reality. Only Jesus can do that.

Receiving My Daughters’ Gifts

There are few aspects of life that have changed my life and relationship with God as deeply as my daughters have. Now that my oldest is 6 I have learned to not only be a minister to them, but to give them the space to minister to me. I am at a point in my life in which I am learning that the relationship of parenting has a lot more to do with developing the gifts my girls have than anything else. My oldest is the quiet, bookish one who can pull out deep meanings and has conversations with me that challenge my understanding of God and challenge me. My youngest is the sassy outgoing type who likes to sing and call me out on being a “Silly Daddy.”

I have to work hard to not squash the questioning spirit of my 6 year old and to help her discover God for herself and not give her a solely inherited faith, by to allow her to develop her own relationship with God. I also have to work equally hard to not be triggered by my almost 2 year old who is so like me in personality that it is a little frightening. Both of my girls have great gifts to offer me if I humble myself and allow them to minister to me, but if I try to force parental authority rather than lead them it gets ugly fast and instead of building each other up tears and grumpiness reign. Friends theology teaches that each human being possesses the ability to hear the voice of God speaking within and that our role is to seek out in the people we meet the way God is speaking through them. As a parent it becomes a bit difficult to seek that voice out in our children since often the truth they have to share and reflect at us is the truth of our personal errors.

I don’t want my daughters to be obsessed with negative body image and food intake, and I sure don’t want to hear “Daddy, is it ok for you to eat that?” It is hard to hear those little voices when they question my brokenness and my hypocrisy, but I need to. I need to give their voice the weight it deserves, especially when they are sharing their ministry of concern, or their questioning of whether what I do and what I say are matching up. I firmly believe that God has placed these two small ministers of his grace in my life to teach me to listen better, to use my authority to promote others’ gifts, and to challenge me to live as I say I believe.

When I was considering what to write this week, my youngest toddled by singing the chorus “Hallelujah, Grace like rain falls down on me.” and the truth of the grace I have received through my girls ministered to me in that moment. As I considered the grace I have received through the ministry of my daughters I started asking myself some queries to examine how I was present to my girls:

How do I encourage my kids’ ministry? What ways am I helping them develop their gifts? How do I help them see their gifts and talents? What ways do I allow them to minister to me? What areas do I need to let them minister to me? What ways am I interfering with their ministry? Is there any issue of pride or fear that is preventing me from accepting their ministry?

For you other parents out there, are there queries you ask yourself that I might add to this list?

With love and trepidation,

Gil George, Silly Daddy

Friendly Persuasion

(Click here to listen.)

As we look over this week’s and the next few weeks’ texts, I want us to keep in mind that Peter is writing to some people that are experiencing some very scary things. Fear was the main tool that the Roman Empire used to keep its subject peoples in line, and they were brutally effective at instilling fear in conquered territories. Fear was a part of daily life in the Roman Empire, and fear is still used by entities in our time to control others for power and profit. The sad thing is that fear mongering is effective. We see people from all walks of life driven by fear of others who are different from them, or who live by different principles, or who they think might want what they have. This fear creeps its way into my life, and I am sure yours as well, until suddenly God opens my eyes to the fact that I have been operating from fear. When I began the recording process for Friends ministers there was a fear that I hadn’t recognized until someone said that they thought I should go to seminary before I was recorded. I kind of lashed out a bit because I was afraid of those snobby educated types. I was afraid that my lack of education would make me look foolish and that I would be looked down on. These were fears based on the experience of watching others with access to education look down on the folks from my neighborhood. These fears of our neighbors are used to manipulate us and to generate conflict that draws our attention away from what is important. It almost drew me away from God’s call on my life to be a pastor. Into our fearful society Peter’s words speak with surprising relevance:

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[or what they fear]; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 2:13-17 NIV)

Peter starts out with what might first be considered a rhetorical question, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?” Well, the Wednesday night bible study came up with a fairly depressing list of all sorts of people that could fit into that category. Needless to say what all of the categories had in common was that there are some people who stand to gain in one way or another from others who are not eager to do what is good. Kathy pointed out last week that some of those who benefit from our accepting a broken role in our families will lash out at us when we reject a bad relationship and enforce boundaries that are healthy and good. Peter doesn’t gloss over the brokenness of the world or of the various institutional and personal relationships we have to navigate.  I would say that every culture, nation or relationship has some form of brokenness built into it, so when we go about our daily lives maybe we can keep our eyes open for the opportunities to repair things. The good work of repairing what is broken exposes us to the jagged edges of raw emotion and occasionally we will get hurt by those edges, occasionally we will suffer for our repair efforts. Peter reminds us to not let our fear of pain, rejection, and loss stop us from doing the good work we have been given. The work of healing broken relationships is worth a little pain and suffering, isn’t it? Especially when we get the blessing of seeing a broken relationship with God healed.

This section of the letter is about witness, and Peter’s instruction is even more relevant to us than those to whom he wrote. Christianity has a bit of a PR problem. There are people who claim to follow Jesus as their Lord that picket funerals and attack people who are hurting rather than extending healing hands. There are people who claim the name of Jesus that do not act lovingly at all times, and to my great sadness I have to admit to being one of them. God has chosen to reveal himself through broken people like me who still have large imperfections and flaws that in their clumsy attempts to bring healing instead cause harm. When I was in my discernment process for coming here and was feeling unsure about the call, one of the elders of my church asked me what I was afraid of. I thought about it for a minute and said that I was afraid that my mouth would move ahead of my brain and I would hurt someone and not realize it until it was too late. My elder looked over at me with a chuckle and said “Don’t worry about that Gil. I guarantee you that it will happen, the only question you need to keep asking yourself is will you keep yourself ready to do what you must to make things right.” Following Jesus and revering him as Lord means paying attention to the fact that some of the brokenness I have to work on is in me, that some of the broken relationships I am called to repair were broken by me.

This is what I think Peter is referring to when he speaks about being prepared to give an answer to the hope we have with gentleness and respect: we must acknowledge our brokenness in order for others to ask us why on earth we would have any hope, and we must be sympathetic to the brokenness in others, not passing judgment, but carrying the fragile light of hope into someone’s personal darkness. We as the church and me personally have gotten this dead wrong all too often, and I can only speak to my own condition here, but I mostly get it wrong when I allow fear to set my agenda. It is a natural thing for us to be afraid of what is different from us. We have had thousands of years to set up mental structures that tell us who to be near and who to avoid, and the people who are most like us fall into the category of people to be around. Unfortunately for this tribal imperative Jesus teaches that the people who God loves tends to not fit into those neat categories. Keeping a clear conscience in God’s sight then leads us to look beyond the surface impressions and false identities and see the beloved child of God in each face we encounter no matter how unlike us that face appears to be. Jesus taught about this in a parable:

25Just then a scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures tried to trap Jesus.

Scholar: Teacher, what must I do to experience the eternal life?

Jesus (answering with a question)26What is written in the Hebrew Scriptures? How do you interpret their answer to your question?

Scholar: 27You shall love—“love the Eternal One your God with everything you have: all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind”* —and “love your neighbor as yourself.”*

Jesus: 28Perfect. Your answer is correct. Follow these commands and you will live. 29The scholar was frustrated by this response because he was hoping to make himself appear smarter than Jesus.

Scholar: Ah, but who is my neighbor?

Jesus: 30This fellow was traveling down from Jerusalem to Jericho when some robbers mugged him. They took his clothes, beat him to a pulp, and left him naked and bleeding and in critical condition. 31By chance, a priest was going down that same road, and when he saw the wounded man, he crossed over to the other side and passed by. 32Then a Levite who was on his way to assist in the temple also came and saw the victim lying there, and he too kept his distance. 33Then a despised Samaritan journeyed by. When he saw the fellow, he felt compassion for him. 34The Samaritan went over to him, stopped the bleeding, applied some first aid, and put the poor fellow on his donkey. He brought the man to an inn and cared for him through the night. 35The next day, the Samaritan took out some money—two days’ wages* to be exact—and paid the innkeeper, saying, “Please take care of this fellow, and if this isn’t enough, I’ll repay you next time I pass through.” 36Which of these three proved himself a neighbor to the man who had been mugged by the robbers?

Scholar: 37The one who showed mercy to him.

Jesus: Well then, go and behave like that Samaritan. (Luke 11:25-37 The Voice)

The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable proved himself to be a friend to the victim of the robbers, and Jesus tells this scholar, a Jew raised to despise the Samaritans as half-breeds who taught all kinds of wrong things about God, to emulate the Samaritan in this story. If we would persuade the world around us of the truth of the hope we bear, we also must behave like the Samaritan. The Samaritan didn’t check to see what faith the wounded man was, what class, race or anything else. The Samaritan simply saw someone who was wounded and dying.

Our culture is mired in a culture war that is creating scores of wounded and dying and I wonder if God may not be calling us to lay down any arms and jagged edges that we may be carrying and minister to the wounded rather than fight. As a pastor I have felt pressured to take sides in the culture wars and I will say this: my job is to minister to the wounded not to create more wounds. I will fail at this, but by the grace and mercy of God I will try my hardest to bind up every wound that God brings before me no matter what. It cannot matter to me whether someone agrees or disagrees with what I believe the only thing that can matter is that there is a beloved child of God in front of me that has been wounded and may be in danger of dying. That must be my top priority, not making sure everyone is saying the right words or doing the right things, but that the sick, wounded and dying are being healed, that by my friendship, compassion, and care I might witness to the hope that comes from knowing Jesus as my king. If we are to imitate Jesus we must remember that it was by his wounds that we could be healed and be ready to stand in the gap for others so they might be healed. There will be a price for being conscientious objectors in the culture wars but if we truly befriend the wounded and become as a body a “hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints” the good of planting those seeds of God’s kingdom is, and will be, worth the cost. As we enter into open worship let us listen for the direction of the Holy Spirit, giving him the space to speak to each of our souls. Let us ask that God open our eyes to how we can be Jesus’ hands and feet, binding up the wounds of the fallen and persuading people by our friendship that they not only have a good friend in us, but the best possible friend in Jesus.

Who Am I Really?

Identity is such a tricky thing. Up until August of last year, I spent a good portion of my life being obese, the last 10 years being morbidly obese. What I hadn’t realized before I started losing weight was how much of my identity as a person had been shaped by my weight. In my mind, I went from being “the fat kid” to being “the fat guy.” There was no conscious thought put into this label, it was just an assumption about who I was that shaped the cornerstone of my identity. I didn’t realize how much it was a part of me until I had lost 70 pounds and had to go clothes shopping as things weren’t fitting anymore. Looking at a pair of size 40 pants, my mind said “Those are too small. They are made for someone else.” I went into the fitting room to try them on and was shocked to find they fit perfectly.

I felt lost. Who was this person fitting into smaller clothes? My mind still thinks I am the fat guy, and I no longer want to be, but who am I now? Who am I going to be when I have lost 60 more pounds? I don’t know. Oh crap, I don’t know. As a pastor, I know what the answer to that question is supposed to be on an intellectual level, but the deepest parts of me still haven’t accepted I am worth loving today — weighing 234 pounds — or that I was worth loving at 305 pounds. I enjoyed playing the likeable, earnest, fat guy role and played it well, and that role became my identity. But that identity now has to change as it is no longer true. I need to forge a new identity based on the truth of who I am, not what I am. I’ll be up front and admit I don’t have the tools at my disposal to do this well. I now know the consequences of confusing my “who” and “what” and I don’t want to trade one mask for another.

I am still mourning the loss of me. Even though I know intellectually I am healthier, even though I physically feel better, I have still lost a core piece of my identity. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t good for me or healthy for me to take on that role, there is still a loss to my picture of who I am, and I worry this loss will plunge me back into the same habits that got me 140 pounds heavier than is healthy for me. Dealing with this has actually been more difficult than making the habit changes needed to lose weight in the first place. One of my sources of difficulty is thinking I had myself figured out; I had no expectation of needing to change the way I saw myself and how that self negotiates daily life. Now, on top of the work I am already doing in terms of my relationship with food, I also have to do this unexpected internal work. The mental four letter words are now flowing and I am getting mad.

Inside me is a flood of growing anger. I am angry at myself for letting things get so out of hand, angry at the way I now see how I was treated before as a fat person. Angry at how my own mistreatment of myself and others strengthened this misidentification. Angry that now I’m being treated differently based on the way I look. I am broken in my inmost being and I am angry I don’t have the tools to put it all back together. My anger gets misdirected and occasionally I lash out at my wife and two daughters and then I get angry at myself for lashing out, and what a crummy broken mess this all is. I called my doctor for help and told him, “I am having self-identity and anger issues around losing all this weight, does this make sense to you?” To which he replied, “Oh yeah, we see this all the time.” The doctor referred me to a mental health provider and I’m hoping they will be able to give me some tools and language to process this inner change of self and my understanding of who I am. It’s scary to have to reconstruct my identity but this is part of growing into the beauty of being made in the image and likeness of God. I don’t feel beautiful or worthy of love right now, but maybe at some point in this journey I can make a start.