Devotional Praise and Worship Words Of Encouragement By Holly Settles / last month Share Tweet Pin Share Many years ago, I went through a personal battle of self-will and finding “my own way” in life. I was raised in church, but came to a point where I found myself in a state of rebellion and bitterness. I was an angry 18 year old girl, trying to figure out my place. I made some choices back then, that I only wish I could erase, but God saw something in me that I didn’t even know existed. And since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I was extended tender mercies and forgiven for my wayward heart, because the Lord knew what my future could hold. And so, at the age of 22, after several years of highs & lows, I made my way back to God, renewing myself on a deeper level than I ever thought I could. I finally felt like I was where He wanted me to be. Then one night, 4 years later, I hit a spiritual roadblock, and I wrestled with my purpose…my calling. I knew that there was something more for me to do, and yet I struggled with the very idea of getting outside my comfort zone. But once again, the eye of the beholder saw that I was a vessel – broken, then repaired, but available…and He guided me to my new purpose, making me function in a whole new way. I humbly accepted the ministry laid before me, and to this day I weep to think that in all of my unworthiness, God still chooses to use me. Then, in January of 2007, I was faced with a physical battle. My options were laid out before me, and I cried out to God over the decisions that I had to make. I thought my faith was enough to bring about true healing, but God had other plans. He reminded me that HIS ways and MY ways are as far as the east is from the west, and sometimes trusting Him to bring me THROUGH the storm is just as important as trusting in Him to speak “Peace be still” and make the storm go away. And as this became more clear to me, I grew closer to a day that I somehow knew would come and yet I dreaded with every ounce of my being. Without going into detail about my condition, I was faced with a surgery that would take something precious from me…my hair. As superficial as it sounds, I had endured months of physical pain, just to avoid this happening, and here I was expected to enter the hospital with a head full of hair, and leave with nothing. Of course, I prayed, my family prayed, the church prayed…and then one day, it dawned on me yet again…the same God who had extended grace and mercy to me over & over again, was the same God that was watching over me now. If I trusted in Him to forgive me as a young rebellious teenager, and if I had accepted His will for my ministry, then surely I could believe that HIS EYE was still watching over me now. So with peace, I accepted the doctors advice, and underwent brain surgery on June 19th, 2007. I awoke to find a stranger looking back in the mirror. I cringed when I saw the looks on my childrens faces; their confused stares broke my heart. I attempted to cover my head, and make excuses to every strangers pitiful glances, feeling the need to explain why I looked the way I did. And I battled with the “eyes of the beholders”. Eventually, my scars healed and I was able to wear a wig to feel “normal”, and then I rejoiced as my hair grew long enough to wear an extension instead of the wig. But my hair is only secondary to the real victory in this trial. My diagnosis would’ve eventually caused total blindness in both eyes. I was literally days away from complete darkness. And in the fear of losing my eyesight, I began seeing with a different sort of vision……I began to “see” God in a whole new light, I looked at my blessings and trials differently, I even worshipped in a fresh boldness. I said all of that to say this…don’t look upon your life as if there is nothing left to offer the Lord, or the Kingdom. But know that your life is something beautiful when He looks upon you. And you may think that your abilities are limited to what you’ve done or where you’ve been…but again, I ask that you let yourself be vulnerable in the presence of the Lord. Let Him see you in your brokeness, and let Him give you beauty for ashes. For its not what you see when you look in the mirror, and its not what your peers perceive you as…but what counts is what God sees in you. Keep trusting in Him and yield to His will for your life…you may not come out of it looking the same way you went into it, but it’ll be beautiful to the Eye of the Beholder, God.