I am fearfully and wonderfully made

birdbath1Photo credit Michael and Diane Porter

I must have been five or six, visiting my nana, I don’t remember much but I know she lived in a small two story house somewhere in the Northeast. I don’t recall going there often or even having been there before that time. It was winter, or maybe spring. I know it was wet. We had been stuck in the house for sometime and so when the sunshine made its appearance I hurried outside to play. I was quickly greeted by a neighbor girl who took no time in becoming my best friend. We laughed and giggled as we chased each other around a large white birdbath.

After a few minutes of us running, we stopped to catch our breath and she turned to me and asked me why my skin was so brown.

I believe it was one of those defining moments in my life. I remember looking down at my tanned colored arms as if looking at them for the first time, and not knowing the answer to this question, I shrugged.

I can’t tell you how the rest of our play time went, or if there was any more discussion of the matter, but my next memory is of my little body pressed up against a white pedestal sink in my nana’s little bathroom with my arms stretched out in the water and a bar of white ivory soap. With childlike faith I believed that if I lathered up enough white soapy foam onto my arms, my skin would turn the same color as this little neighbor girls.

This isn’t a painful memory, although it’s an uncomfortable one. It used to bring many questions about who I am, and I used to wonder if my skin was all anyone ever saw. Did others too have questions?

Often when I look at my oldest daughter, that memory presents itself. I see her beautiful brown eyes and the same tanned skin and I wonder, will she too encounter a little girl that will unknowingly ask her a question that will forever haunt her? Will she too feel imperfect? Suffer from the same insecurities?

 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139

It’s a verse we talk about often. It’s the one, once I knew Christ, that I found comfort in. I love the diversity of God’s creation; I love the rich history that comes from our differences. I love that God knew before we were even formed in our mother’s womb that we would be all that we are. He paid special attention to our every attribute and chose our personalities and the Bible even tells us he took the time to place us exactly where he wants us in history!

I can only pray that these truths would be steeped deep in her heart. And if/when she is asked the question she can say with confidence; I am who I am because this is who God created me to be. And she can know in her heart that God doesn’t make mistakes.