Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Love Story

by Sarah Van Diest

I have dreams from time to time where I see myself in a mirror. I don’t ever look like I do in the awake world. This dream world version is more like what you would see in a zombie movie. I always find it difficult to recognize myself, but then I force myself to look into the mirror and accept the truth that I am the grotesque figure looking back at me. Those are my dreams. They are pretty awful. I had one last night. My face was severely lopsided, as if it was made of wax and half of it was melting off. Most of my hair was gone. I was about 100 pounds overweight and probably about 30 years older than I am now, but it was supposed to be me presently. I saw myself in the mirror, felt the horror, made myself swallow the truth, and tried to go on, but with the added weight of my shame. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and pretend it wasn’t true. 

And then I woke up. Reality is not what I dreamt, but the shame stayed with me. The feeling that I am a disfigured monster stays with me still. I bring it with me as I enter into conversation with people at church or at the store, and I wonder how they can stand to look at me. I wonder how they can keep themselves from vomiting on site. I want to ease their pain, so I try to make our encounters brief. I don’t make them suffer long. I know if they look long enough, they will recognize they are talking to a monster and be frightened away or be sickened at the sight. I know they will see the monster, and the monster is me. 

That is shame. That is a core belief about a self full of death and decay. I don’t intend to have these dreams. They happen because they reflect what is happening in my soul. They show me what I’m fighting against. And it is a fight. Even in the dreams it is a fight. When I see myself there in the mirror I don’t want it to be true, I feel the resistance to the image I see, but my dreams don’t supply me with a different mirror; no alternate image is available. All I know is what I see and though there is a fight, it is short-lived and soon I resign.

This is a sad story, I know, but I share it because I know I’m not alone. I know there are others who suffer the same way and some to even greater extremes. The Enemy knows the truth about our beauty, loveliness, worth and value, but doesn’t want us to know it. He sets up “mirrors” all over our world to distort the reality of who we are and in whose image we were made. Our souls wrestle with the warring ideas and we are tempted to follow the Enemy’s lead. It is easier to believe the lie than to accept the truth. I’m not sure why.

I look at dreams like these as red flag warnings and whispers from the Lord to fall into His arms and immerse myself in His truth and His Word, because “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The mind is a powerful thing and much of our fight goes on there. God knew our propensity to focus on the negative aspects of ourselves and life in general, so He told us to dwell on the things that are good and noble and worthy of praise (see Phil. 4:8), and not on the things of this world (see Rom. 12:2). He told us to look up to the hills to see our help coming (see Ps. 121).

Here, let’s dive in, immerse in His Word and look up to the hills for help. Psalm 139 says:
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

And what of Luke 12: 6-7:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

And Genesis 1:27:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

There are many more verses that tell us we are of great and immeasurable value to God (Eph. 2:10, I John 3:16, John 3:16, Ps. 8, Eph. 1:3-5, Matt. 10:31). Jesus’ death on the cross was a statement for all time proclaiming to all peoples that our Father loves us more than we can comprehend. The entire history of man is a love story, not a zombie movie. We get it wrong when we see ourselves as depraved, flesh-eating (or brain-eating) monsters despised by a holy God until we clean ourselves up. 

No. We sin, yes, but we are not sin. When we sin it grieves our Father, not because He despises us, not because we become these horrific monsters, but because He loves us and desires that we abide in His love, that we trust Him, that we believe Him when He says He loves us, that we live as His beloved…not like the living-dead. Yes, we die, but we are not death. 

We are loved. 

We are valuable.

We are worthy because we are made in His image.

He loves us because we are lovable.
So today, Valentine’s Day, a day of love and loving, let your mind and heart dwell on His love for you. Rest in His arms. He will never let you go. Oh, and remember you are a beautiful creature because He made you, and I will do the same. We are not in a zombie movie, we are in a love story.

We are loved. We are valuable. We are worthy because we are made in His Image. Sarah Van Diest (Click to Tweet)

Sarah has worked in Christian publishing since 2005 as both an editor and an agent.

Currently, she works with her husband, David, in their agency, the Van Diest Literary Agency. Writing is a growing passion for her as she hopes to bring hope to hurting hearts.


  1. Sarah, Beautiful. Thank you for all the scripture.

    1. Thank you, Cherrilynn. And you are welcome. We need His Word, don't we? I can't imagine living without it. I think I wouldn't be able to breathe.
      Blessings today!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenni. He makes all things beautiful, doesn't He?
      Blessings and hope,