Pearls and Dreams
by Peggikaye Eagler
Mirrors’ can be deceiving. Take a look into yours. What do you see? Make an honest inventory of what you see in your reflection. What does your nose look like? Are your lips too big or do they disappear when you smile? Is your chin sticking out too far? Is it receding? Are your eyebrows bushy or barely there? Do you like what you see? Study your reflection. Now STOP. Think about what God says about you. God made you exactly like he wanted you to be. He formed you and you are a beautiful reflection of his glorious imagination. He is the potter and is very proud to call you His handiwork.
This concept is not an easy one to grasp. For me, it seemed like a battle for my life to come around to accept this. And in effect, it has been the battle of my life.I have lived my whole life with the deep down belief that I was the exception to God’s Word. God promised that He loved each and every one of us. That He created us for His Glory. God loved us so much that He sacrificed His SON in a painful and excruciating death so that WE can enter into His Holy presence! I understood that I had the privilege of walking into His throne room and worshiping Him because I had accepted His son’s offer of salvation. But I still felt like I’d slipped into the privilege by default.
God is a sovereign God. He cannot go back on His word. So even though He made a mistake when He created Peggikaye, he still had to let her in with all the privileges that are offered to everyone else that accepted His son. But the other stuff . . . the pride of His Creation, the beauty of His imagination didn’t apply to me. So even though I was not good enough, I was allowed in because He had to let me in.
A few years ago my Sunday School Teacher and dear friend, Ronda, challenged our Sunday School class to have a spiritual goal for the year. I knew that other people did not share the opinion that I had of myself. I knew others saw me as God’s creation. So I set my goal to see myself through God’s eyes. I decided that I could not change the reflection in the mirror. God had to change that reflection for me. I knew that I’d grown in the Lord as much as I was going to grow until I saw myself through God’s eyes.
So I sat down and wrote God a letter asking Him to reveal myself to me. To break down the mask I had glued so tightly to myself that even I could not see past to the real me. I asked God to change my focus from what I thought I was seeing to what HE sees when He looks at me. I asked Him to give me the courage to take down the mask and let His glory be revealed through me. It was time that I see myself as God’s beloved child.
For a full year I felt like I made no progress in changing the opinion of myself. The next January rolled around and I still couldn’t stand the person staring back at me in the mirror. The first Sunday of the year our Pastor had us break into groups of 3 or 4 and pray for each others needs. I shared with my group my struggle to see what God sees. The lady in my group prayed for me. I can’t remember the words she prayed, but I remember the tone of voice, the gentleness and the genuine surprise that I saw myself that way. That day, praying there, the first cracks were made in my mask. The barriers were starting to be broken down. Piece by piece . . . it would start to crumble.
Ironically, the first thing God used to start to break my mask, was something I’d despised my whole life. My name. God quickly and persistently started to use my name to reveal what he thought of me. My name and it’s meaning were just the name that God meant for me to have. It was to be the thing that He would use to show His great love for me. My name means “Precious Pearl” or “Pure Gem” depending on the source. But no matter what language you look up the name under ... the basis is the same. Kaye (nickname for Kathleen) is either precious or pure or something along those lines. And Peggi (nickname for Margaret) is either pearl or gem. God was showing me that to Him, I was a pure and precious gemstone! So precious ... the gate to heaven was made of pearls!
I went to a women’s meeting one Saturday morning in March. I will never forget it. The special speaker was a friend of mine and she was sharing about how to take care of your jewelry and why jewelry was so precious to her. When she had been widowed God used
11 "O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones.
to touch her, to heal her. I was floored. Gems . . . gems are precious not only to humans, but to GOD! He saw these things as valuable creations and so ... could it be that I was named what He’d wanted me to be named to show me that I was indeed precious to Him?
Before I had a chance to let that fully sink in, our church had a prayer vigil. During the worship time, our Pastor’s wife, Carla, shared the story of how a pearl came to be a gem. How it started as a piece of dust that was an irritant, and how a coating would form around the dust, making it smooth, beautiful and precious. How as life struggles are presented, God uses those to form this protective coating and making us beautiful creations! I was floored. Ironically when I shared with Carla that her lesson had meant so much to me because of my name, she said she thought of me during the time she was sharing. And she hadn’t known my name meant pearl!
A few weeks later, my neighborhood had a neighborhood garage sale. My children went around and bought this and that. Things that boys will buy. The next morning was Mother’s Day and they presented me with the best thing they’d found ... a pearl necklace they’d bought for a quarter. The symbolism was lost on them, but not on me. I proudly wore it to church. A friend was looking at it, asked to see it. I took it off and as she examined the clasp she said “Peggi, this is REAL!” She told me what company had made it. And the pearls were in fact very real. God had seen to it that my children presented me with something that I needed! Precious Pearls!
I finally got it through my head that my name was something God planned especially for me. And as I started to accept that yes, God created me and loves me ... God started to place other things in my path besides my name. From songs to Bible verses, to sermons. Left and right God has shown me that I am HIS beloved child. And He wants me to shine for Him. How can I shine for Him if I am hiding behind the mask?
Shortly after, I was doing a Bible study on breaking free from strongholds that help to keep you down. Those strong holds that others can’t see, but God sees, and God so strongly desires you to put them at His feet in surrender. One of the things that keeps strongholds in our life is pride. I was thinking, well pride certainly isn’t my problem! It’s low self esteem that I have to struggle with. As I turned the page the author of that Bible study addressed that very issue! Low self esteem IS pride. Not pride like we Americans’ tend to look at it. But what is pride? Pride is self absorption is it not? While it was not phrased that way in the Bible study I realized that low self esteem is exactly that. It is refusing to see things the way that God intended you to see them, and dwelling on them as you think they are! So . . . my next step was to surrender that sense of pride, that self absorption that kept me from looking correctly into the mirror God wanted me to look in.
A few days later I was in church and we sang my favorite worship song. “The Potter’s Hand” has been a favorite of mine since the day I first heard it. But as we sang the song that morning, a realization struck me. God has taken the responsibility to mold me, to make me, to make me who He wants me to be. My responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities that help me. My responsibility is to avail myself to the teachings, the friendships, and the tools that God has placed in my life to learn about Him and to draw closer to Him . God's responsibility is to mold me. To comfort me when I need comfort, strengthen me when I need strength and to guide me into the direction he wants me to go.
I look at my looks and personality and I cringe. I look at who I am and think ugh ... and yet... the things I don't like about me are things that I really cannot seem to change ... so if it needs to be changed ... is it my responsibility or God's.
We were singing that song and suddenly it dawned on me. My responsibility is to be moldable, to be the clay, to stay moist and pliable . . . so how do I do that. I read the Bible daily, pray daily, worship daily ... I take Bible study classes. I work at getting closer to God, work at getting closer to those around me, work at saturating myself with what God intends me to be saturated with. That will keep me moist and pliable in the Potter's Hand. Then it is the POTTER who is responsible for making me into the vessel that He wants me to be! My beauty is GOD's responsibility! WHO I am is my job only so far as doing what God has put for me to do. HIS job is molding me. HIS job is to make me. Mold me. To Fill me, to use me ... to MAKE ME.
I will not pretend that I have fully achieved my entire goal of seeing myself the way God wants me to see myself. But I have come far enough to remove some of the masks from myself. To reveal not only to others the real me, but to myself as I look in my mirror. I looked today as I was getting ready for church. You know what I saw? I saw eyes that are very blue. I saw hair that is multi colored brown. I saw a smile that is not too big and not too small. And I looked and said “God, thank you for making me the way you want me to be.” I don’t know that I’ve ever looked at myself and not wished something about me was different. But this morning, I saw why God is proud of me. I saw a creation of the Heavenly Father smiling back at me. I have a long way to go, but I have come a long way. And I will forever be grateful that God is the potter who is molding me to be exactly what HE desires for me to be.