I saw this last winter and the image struck me and I immediately thought of Matthew 7: 6 “Don’t give what is holy to dogs or toss your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible) I realized that so often we throw ourselves away. God makes us beautiful; and salvation is the beautiful garment He clothes us then He displays us transformed before a hurting humanity to reveal His love to them. But sometimes, humans act like pigs and are hurtful and selfish. Sometimes, we are needy and wanting.
When I was little, I wanted friends desperately. I was shy and quiet, and not particularly fond of crowds but inside me was a princess desperate to be the center of attention. Little by little, I’d let out who I was to those I thought were my friends. I would show them my vulnerability and ask for the same. But often, I was rejected if not blantantly, then in attitude and snickers. Or worse I was end-of-the-world-left-out by the actions typical of children, teens and, frankly adults alike. These messages wrecked me on the inside. I became a wounded adult looking for validation, dodging intimacy and walking around with huge needs and feeling empty and loveless inside.
But…God. Jesus revealed Himself to me and filled all those voids. He took my ashes (my depression and loneliness) and declared me whole and beautiful- two things I’d never been. It’s still a process my thoughts being rewired to believe truth but still, I’m totally not where I was. Additionally, He showed me who I was. Like the picture, I was a pearl of great price- cherished, respected, admired, created, the list is endless, and I was enough. He showed me that like those pearls dangling from the dumpster, I had been discarded both by my own self-esteem issues but also but those around me, but that didn’t diminish my value. I was dirty from choices I made in response to my perceptions of being discarding. But God, not only doesn’t see the dirt, what He does see in me, He cleans so brightly as if is brand new. My unique character traits and quirks aren’t by accident, He made them, and I can embrace them.
Now, He reminds me, to guard myself against casting His pearl of love to those who can’t see what He sees or appreciate my intricacies. I shouldn’t toss my heart carelessly and I can’t allow myself to be abused or put down because of who I am. I embrace who I am and walk in the expectation of others doing the same.
To me, the second part of the scripture is a stern reminder of how little people are valued, unfortunately by each other. “Trampled and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Hurting people hurt others. I bet I’ve often trampled and torn people up. For this, my response is repentance and forgiveness. This verse and this picture remind me that value is determined by God alone. I’m thankful for how God speaks in simple, graphic messages that open my heart. Then I see clearer His mercy and grace and am challenged to respond.
Today, I’m that princess. I’m cherished by my loved ones and I am confident of God’s love for me, personally. I’m thankful for my past and I look with new eyes on those ghosts who’d like to draw me back, but I press on, trusting and leaning on His love.