I am beautiful #52Devotionals
Have you ever felt ugly, awkward, and disgusted with yourself? I have. My mother used to tell me growing up: “you were beautiful when you were very little, asleep and facing the wall…”
Feeling ugly and awkward
My mother had me when she was 27years old, out of wedlock. She lived all her life with her mother, and so were her sisters.
Growing up, in our 4-bedroom little condo in post-USSR Russia, there were me and my mom in one room, my mom’s youngest sister and her kids in another room, their middle sister and her daughter in another room, and my grandparents in the smallest room. Nobody got along with anybody.
The family was drinking heavily, every day. They fought physically, and it was violent. Me and my cousins were also taught hate red and abuse. We were always in a state of war with one another.
When it comes to beauty, I have amusing memories about my family.
A custom tradition was for adult women to gather in one room, put me in the middle of their circle, and start gossiping about my body. The goal was to criticize and humiliate me to the point of tears so each of them can feel good about herself. That went on for years until I was strong enough to tell them off and fight them off my back physically.
Some comments they frequently made during those sessions led by my mother were “Don’t smile, your teeth are too big,” “Your butt is so flat, look at your cousin’s beautiful butt, your butt is ugly!” and “You have no boobs, you’re so flat, look at your other cousin’s beautiful boobs, she’s a real girl, you’re too flat to be a woman!”
I remember my mother would repeatedly say to me: “Your laughter is ugly, don’t laugh, listen to your cousin’s laugher, it’s beautiful”
These three sisters led by my mother used to turn me around and humiliate me by counting holes between my legs criticizing how my legs were also very ugly.
They would grab my arm and criticize how I had no arm muscles predicting how my arms in the future would be fat and flabby.
From my eyes that didn’t look in the same direction and my eyebrows that were not pleasing to my mother to my arms and butt – everything about me was ugly and awkward.
That was all I knew.
I felt severely insecure. And I hardy had any friends because I felt so ugly. In fact, the neighborhood kids used to tease me for my wild hair curls and called me names that reflected their opinions of my ugliness.
I just wanted to die.
At 11 and 12, twice, I tried to commit suicide during Summer. When suicide didn’t work, I decided that I’ll build a beautiful life for myself.
I used to visualize how I would be beautiful one day when I move far away from my mother and her sisters.
Discovering my outer beauty
When I was 17 years old, I was in college studying to become an elementary school teacher. That Summer, I got a job as a waitress at a restaurant in a private hotel in Kursk, Russia. It was the first time I ever met people from other countries, mostly men traveling for business.
I began getting compliments for my beauty. Of course, I never believed any of them. I felt extremely awkward. It was until I learned that some men paid the hotel owner extra-cash to free me from my job duties just to have me sit with them at a dinner table and talk, so they could enjoy my beauty.
[find pictures from that time]
The owner of the hotel also owned a beauty magazine. He invited me to be featured in it. I was shocked but said yes.
I attended a photo shoot, I saw my picture in a beauty magazine and was … um … How do I explain it? … I was transformed!
I realized that I was beautiful and these sisters who used to put me down for years all led by my mother were just plain wrong.
I was beautiful and I finally knew it.
So, I entered a beauty pageant. It was the first time someone did a story about my life on TV, filmed me walking and talking, and taught me how to do my hair and makeup.
[find a picture]
The experience was transformational. I gained confidence in my outer beauty. I stopped feeling awkward. And I won my first-ever all-inclusive international vacation trip during the pageant! I felt like living a whole new life.
How I carried myself and how I felt about myself changed completely, thanks to a year of beauty magazines and local beauty pageants. And I learned how to pose like a real model 🙂
[some modeling pictures here]
I grew up into an adult, graduated from three universities, and left Russia. I moved to America and in 2016, I married a kind-hearted, Bible-believing, seminary graduate (according to his words) Christian man who treated me with love and care.
As I walked down the aisle on 5/14/2016, there stood Michel, the man I loved and adored! He had the tears of happiness in his eyes. Michel declared his genuine love for me to the world that day.
Our wedding was a happy and memorable day. I wore a true Princess dress, was in love with Michel, and couldn’t wait to begin our life together as husband and wife.
That day, I became “Missis Szabo” and looked forward with a hopeful heart to spending the rest of my life with the man I loved and considered Christ-like.
After the wedding, Michel abandoned our marriage and declared to me: “My bicycle is my other wife I cheat on you with.” He said that he wasn’t interested in me and that all he wanted was to be an IronMan and complete in Kona.
We never made it to even a honeymoon. Instead, right after our wedding, we went to Chattanooga, TN for an IronMan competition.
[picture of us there from IG]
Michel rejected me not just verbally and with his daily actions, but sexually, too, stating that he didn’t want sex and needed to save his body for IronMan training.
Every day following our wedding, Michel treated me as a woman who was ugly and awkward in his eyes.
I began to experience a severely suicidal depression. Being dead seemed like a much better future than another day of future with Michel.
While enduring narcissistic abuse in my marriage, I also did ugly things, like cussing, yelling, blaming, and threatening divorce. I said many ugly words to Michel in response to his actions. I felt many ugly feelings, including hatred toward him. I lived an ugly life with Michel, and we had an ugly relationship.
I felt ugly and awkward.
That was until in my despair I turned to the Bible to find out what God said about me. And that was how I found out that I was beautiful for real, independently from anyone’s opinion of me, just because God made me beautifully His own image.
I was liberated forever from feeling ugly and awkward. I felt beautiful not in vanity but in eternity.
Feeling beautifully and grand
Too often we wonder about ourselves, our lives, we question why we’re even here, what’s the purpose of it all, we feel that we are ugly humans living ugly lives full of ugly mess and ugly things, and our intentions, thoughts, and words are overall ugly.
Ever felt that way?
Ephesians 2:10 says this:“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God’s handiwork, hat’s who I am, as I learned from the Bible.
Handiwork = Invention = Handcraft
It took some time to comprehend that I am God’s handcrafted invention and that God designed me to enjoy me as His piece of art, His masterpiece.
Once I accepted that as truth, I wept. I was blown away. I was set free from slavery to the opinions of others about me.
This one truth answers so many questions all at once:
• Am I ugly? No, I am God’s masterpiece.• Why am I the way I am? God created me in His image.• What is the purpose of my life? To do good works that God prepared in advance for me to do.
It was a breakthrough for me. My liberation from ugliness and confidence in my beauty empowered me to appear publicly without any makeup and feel beautiful still.
However, even after I learned this truth, I was still questioning: HOW beautiful am I?
Am I a little masterpiece as opposed to a big masterpiece who might be a truly great Christian?
Isaiah 62:3 answers the question:“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”
What I took away from learning the above truth was that I am a beautiful, splendid masterpiece, created by God in His own image, I’m His glory on display, and He sees me as precious as a diadem, which is a jeweled crown worn as a symbol of sovereignty and authority.
That’s how beautiful I am, according to the Bible. And so are you.
You’re splendid and beautiful. You’re God’s piece of handcrafted art. You’re one of a kind beautiful, designed for God’s enjoyment. You’re gorgeous and grand!
Do you believe this about yourself?
If you do, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remember that you are beautiful.
I am beautiful
I am God’s precious handiwork,His masterpiece I am.Created in His image,I’m beautiful and grand.
How does it make you feel to know that you are beautiful? Share with me in the comments below so I can cheer you on.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Dear #TruePrincesses! I’m Anna Szabo, the founder of Online Discipleship For Women.
On this Christian blog for women, I write about the six pillars of joyful living: Faith, Food, Fitness, Finances, Felicity, and Fortitude.
Please post your comments and questions for me. Your opinions, thoughts, life stories, and experiences matter. Why? Because every story is for God’s glory. I share with you my life experiences and believe that God has each of us on a very special journey. He wants to uniquely equip and qualify us for special ministry in His kingdom. The purpose of adversity is for us to persevere, grow in faith, and share hope with others. So, share freely here!
May this ministry be a blessing to you!