“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Luke 5:12-13
When Elly was born I put a picture of her darling face on Facebook so our friends and family could dote over her. And dote they did. On and on about how perfect she was.
I’ve since posted hundreds, but these first were so memorable because of the care that went in to hiding the damaged portions of her skin. Making her look perfect. Shewasn’t perfect… but she was perfectly mine, and I loved her.
The doctors agreed she had a genetic skin disorder called Ichthyosis. (Read more about the disease here).
There was so much uncertainty in the days and weeks that followed, it is hard to muddle through those memories and get a clear picture of anything but fear.
I was afraid.
I know that there are far worse things… but this was my child…my baby girl.
I was afraid she would never look normal. I was afraid she would be ostracized and mocked. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to protect her from staring eyes. I was afraid she would blame me… or that I would blame me. I was afraid she would never be perfect.
She wasn’t perfect… but she was perfectly mine, and I loved her.
Today Elly is 2. Yesterday she tossed a doll in the toilet, pulled my son’s hair until he cried, and attempted to throw lasagna all over the kitchen (unlucky for her, I have cat-like reflexes).
She has a wildness about her that brings such a strange combination of fear and delight. She sucks every ounce of my energy from morning to-night, and still somehow manages to replace it will joy and gladness. She brings such light.
She is not perfect, but she is perfectly mine, and I love her.
One day, she will be grown and I’ll be just a memory. I shudder to think of all the mistakes I will make between now and then. I hope she will look past them and see a heart of a mother who was never perfect… but was perfectly hers, and who loved her.
A month after Elly’s birthday, her pediatric dermatologist astounded us with news that her skin was healing itself. And although it may need extra attention, it would be easy enough to manage with long baths and fancy lotions (every girls dream prescription). Skeptics will say it was a misdiagnosis, but we praise the Lord, Jehova-Rapha, our healer. We remember that as much as we love her, He loves her. As much as she is ours, she is His, perfectly His.
You and me, our husbands, our kids, we will never be perfect. We will never look, act, or feel perfect.
But because of grace, we can know perfection.
Beloved, God knows you better than you know yourself, and he loves you. You are not perfect, but you are perfectly His. You are not unlovable, you are not unbeautiful, you are not a failure, and you are not alone.
God loves you so much, He sent his son Jesus, the picture of perfection, to heal broken hearts and set captives free (Isaiah 61:1). The Bible says He is full of compassion for you (Psalm 145:8). You are precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4). And He will love you forever (Jeremiah 31:1).
His love, beloved, is perfect.
Praying for you this week. That you will know His perfect love.