Incomparably Beautiful! That’s you!

We all have our heroes. Whether it is a parent, a brother or sister, a friend, a coach or someone like Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa, we all have someone we look up to. Several people at times because as we grow, our heroes can change with us. As a little child you can look up to your father but as grown up it can be someone entirely different! Whoever it is, it is someone we want to be like. We see someone and think, if only I could be more like him/her.

When I was a little girl, my family were my role models. My dad, my mom, my three brothers. I thought that if I would just be a little more like them, I would be a better, nicer or a more loved person. As I grew up, it changed into musicians in my teens to someone like Mother Theresa, Akiane Kramarik, and several Christian writers as an adult. If only I could be more like them, maybe then I would be better. How the mind can make up such lies is, at times, somewhat admirable. But the greatest lesson I have learned over the past few years is;

‘Do not compare yourself to other people
  &
Do not compare other people to yourself’

God has created everything in a unique way. When He created you, He did compare you to all the other humans that He had already created. On the contrary, He looked at you with new eyes. You are a unique masterpiece. And God didn’t stop creating, until you were absolutely perfect! And when He was done, He looked at you and saw that you were good…and He blessed you!

A couple of blogs ago I shared with you the poem ‘The Sunflower’. This poem is a message that God gave me at a time when I was wondering why the grass seemed a whole lot greener on all the other lawns. I was downcast. God had promised me things that hadn’t happen yet. In my eyes, others seemed to get blessing after blessing, while my life seemed like one big curse. Not only was I frustrated with myself, I was also a bit disappointed with God. Why wasn’t I prettier? Why wasn’t I a better writer? Why did nobody seemed to notice me? Why was my life so hard? Every day I fired a million questions to God’s throne because I was disappointed with myself and my life. At that time I started painting. First God gave me a vision of a sunflower to let me know what my first painting had to become. After I painted ‘The Sunflower’, He gave me the poem. And the last sentence has nestled itself in my heart ever since. Where it is stored for times I need it.

My child, I see the sunflower in you,
and all I ask is for you to see it too.

God has the same message for you today! Look at a sunflower. Look at how it always grows towards the light of the sun, with it’s radiant yellow petals. That beautiful flower is you! You are beautiful and uniquely made. You may grow towards the light of God, knowing that you are so loved, every single day of your life. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Whether it are people at work, school, church or TV, magazines and the internet. Focus on yourself. Who do you want to be? Rest in God’s love and light. God sees you as His perfectly beautiful child! But more important is, how do you see yourself?
Choose to see yourself through God’s eyes and focus on that only. You are a wonderful person just as you are! You are beautiful and uniquely made, a masterpiece created by the Almighty God Himself! And God loves you so much that He was willing to give up His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, so He could have a personal relationship with you! That is how much you are worth! That is who you are! You are God’s beloved child! Don’t you ever forget that!

May Love guide your steps to eternal life!

Daughter of God

This blog is another piece of my story. It started in January, when I was 29 years old. That one particular afternoon I was contemplating life. After my whole story had played like a film through my mind, I said to God, “Why did all of this happen to me? Why did you give me this life?” I didn’t close my eyes or fold my hands, I didn’t sit in a specific praying position, none of that. All I did was look up, with my eyes wide open and from speak from the deepest bottom of my heart. Not expecting an answer, I was very surprised when I did receive one. I heard an audible voice, the same one I heard in the past, who said, “God’s daughter, daughter of God”. That’s it.

All over the new testament, it is written that through Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice, we are called Children of God. Since I am a christian, I believe all that. However, I felt as if God was taking one more step. As if He wanted to say, “Yes, you are my child through Jesus, but you are also really my child”. Myself, I did not want to go that far. I could believe that I was a sinner saved by grace, but not that I was God’s own child. So I dismissed God’s words to me. All I was willing to accept out of His words was, that my life went the way it did because I was a follower of Jesus, a child of God through the cross. Nothing more, nothing less.

In April however I got a vision. One that completely overwhelmed me. I saw a green place. Green grass, green trees with green bushes in front of it. It was a secluded place with a long white (French garden style) table, with at the head tree chairs. I saw myself sitting on one side, on a chair. I looked different. My face seemed to glow, as if it was giving light, my eyes were brown, instead of blue/grey. My hair was dark brown, instead of grey/blond, and I had a fringe (which I haven’t had since I was a child!) and curlier hair than my straight hair now. My lips seemed a little thinner. My body frame was more petite. I cannot explain it really. It looked like me but at the same time I looked completely different. However I did recognize myself. I thought, I looked stunning. I was smiling and looked so happy. In fact, I looked so perfect that I didn’t know what to do with it. I felt to much of a sinner to be that girl. I guess in a way, I felt ashamed of myself. So I shook my head and pushed the vision, that God gave me, away. God showed me the way that He sees me, but somehow I wasn’t ready to accept that.

Throughout the following months I would get more visions and poems from God. Visions that felt like memories that were stored in my mind long before I was born. I had a vision about God creating the planets. I saw exactly what materials He used to create them. I saw a waterfall that is located somewhere in Heaven. The waterfall streams down from a giant rock into a small lake. I saw the city (The New Jerusalem) that has a small stream on either side with willows beside the streams. I saw a particular animal that doesn’t exist here on earth, a dear but than it was full-grown as big as a baby-deer. I saw a secluded garden with stone walls around it, which felt like a centre of peace, with rose trees. You know those little rose bushes but these rose trees were as tall as a apple tree. And it had a small fountain at the centre, with a bench (old roman style), where you could sit down and enjoy the serenity of the moment. and I saw many more. I never talked about it with anyone, not even my parents. Some I wrote down in poetry, some I didn’t write down at all and some were stored in my heart where it felt safe.

In November I was on the internet searching for names and their meaning. For some reason I have always been curious about that. For example, the name Gineke means Queen. Haha, who new! My parents certainly did not when they chose my name!
This time I was searching Hebrew names. I had found a list and started with the letter A. When I came to the names beginning with the letter B, the name Batyah jumped out right away. The meaning of the name Batyah is, God’s daughter, daughter of God. At that moment it didn’t hit me, but a few months later, in January, it did. It was exactly a year (12 months) ago when God had spoken to me. That day I suddenly put all the pieces together. Batyah was exactly what God had told me a year before. Batyah is me.

Think of it whatever you want. For me, it took me another 7 months before I was willing to accept that name. And even though God gave me a new name that year, I stick with my old one. Batyah is a name for Heaven, that’s what it feels like to me. On earth I am Gineke, and I am more than okay with that. I think what is more important, is that God loves me and sees me as His child. And all in the end, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are just that. If God wants to call me Batyah then I am okay with that. If God wants to call me Gineke, that’s okay too. As long as He loves me, I am pretty much fine with whatever He chooses. Because His love is the fuel to my existence. It is what keeps me going when life gets tough. His love is more important to me. To me, it is everything!

The reason why I am sharing this story, is because God has the same message for you. Whatever way you see yourself, in God’s eyes you are perfect. You are God’s child and you are so loved. The love God has for you, trust me, you cannot even begin to fathom it. It is overwhelming!  When you look in the mirror today, please tell yourself that you are beautiful, loved and God’s child! Because that is the truth!

Let me be

Let me be

Give me peace, Lord,
give me peace!
Let me be,
let me stay.
Love and embrace,
the creation of Your hand!

Let me be,
simply me,
both for You,
and for me.
Let me be,
Let me be Yours!

Let me be,
happy in me,
poor and free,
let me be,
me in You,
and You in me,
Let me be,
Always Yours!

Give me love, Lord,
give me love,
both for You,
and those around me,
Let me love,
Just like You,
Let me be,
Simply me,
Let me be love!

 

I wrote this poem a couple of years back and it still touches me, every time I read it. It feels like a caterpillar in a cocoon impatiently waiting to come out of his shell. I wrote it straight from the heart. And I think that every single one of us, one way or another, holds back. There are only a handful of people truly able to be who they really are for 100%. So I think it is a great message for all of us. It is time to crawl out of our own handmade cocoon and be the butterfly that God created us to be. Even when this is easier said than done. How difficult the road may be, or might have been, I believe there is always a way back to our true self. We don’t ever lose ourselves! Sometimes we just decided to step away for a while only to realize that who we really are was the best option after all. When you are at that place in your life where you feel like going back to your roots, let me encourage you! Don’t hesitate and don’t let fear stop you. And if necessary, allow someone to help you (a family member, a friend, someone from church, a team mate from your sport club or a therapist). Together you are always stronger than alone. And other people might have a view that you haven’t seen yet.

Let Love be your guidance!

Optimism is the key to a happy life!

Optimism is the key to a happy life. It really is. I believe that happy people are optimistic people. Optimism does not mean that you avoid problems in your life or simply turning a blind eye. Optimism, to me, means that you remain positive about the outcome regardless of the circumstances. When facing a problem, you don’t dwell in the problem but you look beyond the problem to the outcome and you make it a happy one.

When I was a child, I was a very optimistic little girl. One of the things I always said was, “Everything will be okay. Maybe not today but in the end it will be”. And I believed in it. Why? Because I believed that God could literally do everything. Nothing was too out of reach for God. But when I grew up, I had moments when I doubted that. I did not doubt that God could do everything, but I did doubt that everything would be okay in the end. The problem, in my own point of view, is adulthood. There comes a time where we lose our childlike innocence. It is like someone takes our rose-colored glasses off and exchanges them for reality glasses. As we grow older we start to look at the world and lose a piece of our childlike positivity. A positivity that is so important for us.

When I was nineteen years old (about two months before my twentieth birthday) I got into a deep depression. During that depression I lost my optimism completely. It was like something shifted inside of me. In the weeks before I became depressed, it had been brewing for a while inside of me but I ignored it. Then suddenly one morning, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I could not see the goodness in my life or people. It lasted for at least a year and a half, and with therapy I found a way out. Since then I have had two more depressive periods. And the only thing that helps me during these dark days is optimism. Telling myself positive things. One thing that helped me greatly was telling myself that Jesus loves me. As soon as I woke up, I would remind myself of Jesus love. And throughout the day I would repeat it. Then slowly, little by little, my happiness would return.

Negative thoughts enter the mind so easily. With me it probably started at school. Someone laughed at my because I did not wear the right clothes. Then someone rejected me. And more people followed. Instead of seeing people for what they really are, I would try to locate the problem within myself. I kept trying to fix myself until I felt worthless and unfixable. But when exactly this started? I cannot put the finger on it. Little by little negativity ate its way into my soul until it had eaten me from the inside out.

And yet the answer was so easy. The only thing that ever helped me was to replace it with positivity. Even when I was twenty my psychologist would make me look at myself and research myself as long as it took for me to see that things weren’t that bad after all. I wasn’t that bad after all. When I was twenty-one, a good friend of mine secretly filmed me with her camera as a joke. When I saw it back, I thought, wow she is a really great girl. Only to realize that this great girl was actually me. After all the negativity, this moment shifted my heart back in its place. For the first time I started to like myself. Which was a huge step forward! And it has only improved ever since. Like I said, I still have depressive moments that can last several weeks, but I don’t take it out on myself anymore. I just keep repeating Jesus’s love for me. I keep reminding myself of what is beautiful about myself. I literally talk myself happy again. And if I can’t do it? God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit remind me of it.

A happy life starts with loving yourself. I know the bible asks us to be humble, but there is a great difference between humility and pulling yourself down. You can see the beauty within yourself, love yourself and be humble at the same time. Humility simply means that you don’t boast about yourself. Or in the language of the bible; Honor one another above yourself (Romans 12: 10). When I realized this, it was a great eye-opener! For as long as I lived, I literally thought that I had to hate myself to be humble. But slowly, as I grew older, God started to show me a new reality. He asked me to like myself. In the poem ‘The Sunflower’ (I posted it in a previous blog), God said to me, “I see the sunflower in you, now all I ask is for you to see it to”. God wants us to be positive and optimistic. He wants us to see His love for us and He wants that love to penetrate our soul so much that it covers our soul completely.

But positivity goes beyond yourself. I can be very positive about myself but it is equally important to be positive about the world around me. To see the good in people instead of the bad. To give people a chance instead of rejecting them right away. To give someone a compliment or a kind word. Greet people on the street or smile at someone instead of living in your own world. If we try to be a little more positive, it can already change our souls and lives dramatically. Optimism is the key to a happy life. Not just for yourself but also for the people around you!

Take a breath!

I am in desperate need of rest and peace. My mind is going on and on without intermission. I feel the pressure of expectations weigh on me, like a huge boulder, in every aspect of my life. My heart is racing and my breath is getting shallower as if I am running a race in a too long marathon. I am out of breath and ready for a well needed break. But I am my greatest problem. I can’t say no. I cannot stand up for myself. I am insecure, afraid of what people might think. The pressure I put on myself is immense. To be perfect or not to be perfect that’s the question. That’s the dilemma. And through this all I hear God say, “I love you so much, regardless of what you do”. But it is like an echo in the distance. I desperately try to hold on to His light, but it fades in the darkness of my own expectations. In this world today I know that I am not the only one.  The deep desire to be this perfect girl, to please everyone, is becoming too much for me. But if the answer is so simple, to simply say, “No”, then why is it so hard for me to choose that?

My whole life I have had the feeling of having to prove myself. Not just to my family, friends, teachers, church and God, but also to myself. Making friends has always been hard for me and I have been rejected by people too often. And every single time I think that I am over the past, it hits me in the face. Too much has happened for me to be open and outgoing. My personality has changed with the waves, beating against my ocean shore. But I do not want to dwell in the past. I refuse to dwell in the laughter, the comments and the rejection that I was forced to face. Yet still it affects my life today. I am filled with fear. Fear of people disliking me or what I do. But their opinion isn’t important. This is about my own happiness. This is about me being able to be happy. Focussing on my weaknesses is not going to make me feel better, but focussing on my strengths is. I should be allowed to love myself. It should be illegal for me to hate myself for the things I am not good at. But that is life. Life throws your weaknesses in your face and tells you that you are not good enough. I need a break.

A break from my weakness would be a welcome escape and yet it is haunting me like a ghost in a long-ago abandoned house. How do I escape? And the same answer is back in my face. Just say no! Focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses. It is so simple and yet so difficult. Because admitting that you are weak is losing your face. It is like standing naked in front a big crowd, bare and exposed. Giving people a reason to dislike you and that was exactly the fear I began with. In life we are asked to do things we are not good at and we force ourselves to do a perfect job at it. At least I do. Instead of being proud of of trying to become better at something that I’m not good at, I feel the noose around my neck tighten until all the air is sucked out of my lungs and I am in full panic mode. I know my strengths and weaknesses but I don’t like to be confronted with my weaknesses all the time. All I have to say is, “No”. Instead I walk away with my soul in my arms, rocking myself to sleep. Hoping then I find peace. Then in the midst of my distress I hear a soft whisper that says, “It is braver to say no and admit that you are weak, than to be brave behind a steel mask”.

The storm in my mind finally comes to a screeching halt. The waves beating against my heart come to rest and silence fills my soul. Rest and peace fill me up until my cup overflows. The love of God is not asking me to do what I am not good at yet, so I will be better. The love of God is telling me that I am good the way I am. Unimportant it is to be perfect. Important it is to be the perfect version of how God created you. God created mankind in His image. He created me as a unique being with my own talents. What I can do is something that others cannot and what others can do is something that I cannot do. We are all uniquely made. I may not be good at organizing events, speaking in front of people or leading a group of people. But I am good at helping people, writing and listening. Saying no at times…is proclaiming who you are. And when you are proclaiming who you are, you are proclaiming who God made you to be. And that is something, you can be proud of. When God loves me, I can happily be who I am, in His image, as His unique masterpiece, even when I have to admit that I am not good at some things.

Now…I can finally…take a breath!

Special and loved!

You are special and loved just as you are! You may not realize it yet but I hope you will very soon.

I see it all around me and I even detect it within myself at times. That deep desire of pleasing other people. It happens so easily and you often don’t even realize it. You are at a party and as you are listening to the conversations around you, you can’t help yourself. Before you know it, you are comparing yourself to everyone around you. The lady on the right is thinner than you, the man on the left is funnier, the third has a better job and before you know it, you feel pretty horrible about yourself. Or another scenario. You are trying to find a job and everybody has something to say. Your mom thinks you should find a job as a nurse, your dad thinks you should be a teacher, you brother suggests administration work and before you know it, you are trying to please at least one of them. In one of my previous blogs I talked about becoming your purpose. But how can you find your purpose when you are too afraid to be who you really are?

All we ever want is to be liked! You hear all these amazing stories of the people around you and you feel bad because it is not you. And the media is not very helpful either. They present super skinny people with flawless faces. When you look in the mirror you cannot see the beauty within yourself because you compare yourself to those faces on TV. And it aren’t only teenagers who do this. Adults are the same way. They start dieting and exercising to be thin as well. A little bit of botox here and a small surgery there. And often it swallows them up completely.

A couple of week ago I was in a town in Germany. We had parked the car in a garage and we had to walk a few stairs down. Now you may have noticed it in my picture but I have a lazy eye. When I was four years old, I had a surgery on my right eye to correct a lazy eye and squint. This surgery was apparently so successful that my left eye felt like it had no purpose anymore. Through the years my left eye became lazy.  Because of this eyes condition I cannot see depth. An annoying thing to live with, especially stairs are a nightmare. You see, the stairs often have just one color. For me it looks more like a straight path. I have to look very carefully to see the steps. Often I hold on to the banister and I am okay.
This day I did the same thing. I held on the banister and carefully made my way down the stairs. Two women came from another floor, from the opposite direction. They took one glance at me and burst out laughing. Pointing at me, they made fun of me and even though I have been laughed at quite a bit in my life, it still hurts. My eye problem is not so much a problem to me. I have learned to deal with it, especially when an eye doctor told me that surgery would not make much of a difference anymore, nor would glasses. My sight is normal, the only problem I have is not being able to see depth and I cannot look with both eyes at the same time. I don’t mind that my eyes are the way they are but when people laugh at me, I get very insecure.

We all have issues in our life. Whether it is our weight, our job, our clothes or a visible disability, we get insecure. The world has a certain expectancy. We have to look a certain way, earn a certain amount of money, behave perfectly and our personality has to be picture perfect as well. And it is so sad.

You and me, we are perfect the way we are. God made people in His own image. He made every single human being as a unique masterpiece. We have to learn to stop listening to what the world expects from us. It is time that we discover our own beautiful self within ourself. My eyes may not be perfect and I may be slightly overweight, but I am a beautiful person. I am sweet, kind, caring and joyful. And so are you. I may not be a lawyer, a doctor or a supermodel but I am a writer, send by God. I am good the way I am.

So are you. Stop listening to what people expect from you. The only thing that really matters is what you expect from yourself! God loves you. God thinks you are absolutely stunning the way you are. In God’s eyes you don’t need to be thinner, prettier or better. You are most beautiful when you are your complete self. When we are young it is so difficult to find out who we really are. But if we turn the noise of the world off. If we start looking deep within our own heart and soul, we will discover who we really are. That person that God created you to be is inside yourself, waiting to come out! Allow yourself to be who you really are because that is the place where you will find real joy and happiness.

But is is also the other way around. We can also look at other people and judge them. Because in order to feel good about ourselves, we make the other person a little worse, so we feel a little better. And it is all about insecurity. But you know what, everybody is just as beautiful you. Everybody is worthful because God did not just create you. He created everything and everyone. And when He saw what He had created, He blessed it because it was good (Genesis 1). If we learn to accept and love the people around us and treat them with dignity and respect, the world will be a better place in no time. We cannot change the way the world looks at us, but we can change the way we look at world. A small change is like a ripple effect in water, it becomes bigger and bigger. Finding out who you are and embracing your true self will lead you to your purpose in life. But most of all, embracing your true self will make you a lot happier. People cannot be happy for you, only you can do that for yourself. Be the real you, be happy and don’t forget that God absolutely adores you!