Handcrafted or Production Line Made: Which One Are You?

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14

Everyday thousands of girls are born, unwanted. In some countries like India and Pakistan, boys are the preferred gender. A man might divorce his wife because she bore him a son. Girls receive less or no education because of gender discrimination. The list of abuses against women is exhaustive. Many girls grow up wishing they were born boys for they know they would fare better as males. And it isn’t just in Asia or Africa, gender discrimination against females is a worldwide problem.

Many young people, men and women, grow up hating themselves and their bodies because they either feel unwanted or they do not like who they are. They look in the mirror and see only an ugly face staring back at them. Their image is often shaped by an ill-placed insult or demeaning statement by a friend or relative. Perhaps an aunt many years ago said to her chubby-cheeked niece, “My, aren’t you a chubby one!” Although the aunt had intended no harm, the little girl begins to think there is something wrong with her body. She is too fat. This is especially possible in a world that emphasises thinness. Women are supposed to be shaped a certain way, thinly, that is. Soon, the little girl is eating less and develops anorexia. This may seem extreme, but all very possible.

Or maybe you live in a country where there is a strong “beauty culture”. You compare your body and facial feature to the latest Bollywood or Hollywood beauty or fashion model. You fall short. Low self-worth sets in. You wish you had not been born, or if at least, if you could have been born in a different body, you are sure life would be better. You begin to berate yourself.

Now I am going to take you on a bit of a journey; to a grandmother knitting a sweater for her grandchild. Let’s say it’s her granddaughter. She either uses a pattern, chooses the colour carefully, perhaps in a lovely pastel pink because her little granddaughter loves pink. It’s her favourite colour. Or maybe the grandmother is an accomplished craftswoman and makes her own design, a detailed artwork of cables, purls, and knits. She sits in a comfortable chair and love is wrought with every click of the needles, ever stitch knit, love for her granddaughter. The creation is finally complete, and the grandmother wraps the sweater up and gifts it to her granddaughter. A beautiful creation is born swathed in love.

Let’s now look at how God’s design (that is you) happens. The Psalmist says, he was knit together in his mother’s womb. Take now the imagery above of the grandmother and replace it with God. That is how God makes you. He lovingly knits you together in your mother’s womb. Love and beauty poured into one creation. You.

Then the Psalmist goes on to say that he is fearfully and wonderfully made, God’s works are wonderful. You are wonderfully created by the Creator. And the love that was poured into designing you! Unfathomable!

If you feel unloved, unwanted, imperfect, if you despair at how you look, what your gender is, if you feel unworthy of love and attention, look to your Creator. Look to the love he poured into you. Look at his design. You might not be a fashion model, but you are beautiful, you are wonderful.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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A Hand in the Dark by Helen Khan

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139: 9-10

Today, I am going to talk about the right hand. Hopefully no left-handed people take offence!

We talk about a right-hand man. What does that mean? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means someone who helps and supports you the most. The use of righthandedness is not limited to the English-speaking world. Early civilizations, including Mesopotamians, Greeks and Romans have exalted the right hand. The right hand of their gods signified healing and benevolence. A strong right-handed culture developed in the Middle East. The person who stands at the right side of an authoritative figure holds the same power and authority as the one in authority. In this honorary position, he/she acts as a viceroy. In present day nations, strongly influenced by Middle Eastern culture, the right hand is used for eating, for beckoning a person to come closer, to say thank you and to provide a blessing.

In the Bible, the right hand of God signifies his omnipotence. His strength is indicated when “the right hand of God overcame Israel’s enemies (Ex. 15:6).

In our verses mentioned above, we see the Psalmist enjoying glorious morning light only to plunge down into darkness. From joy to doldrums. From life to death. From mountain heights to the lowest valley. Have you ever been there? I have. I suspect many have been there too.

But then David gives us hope, a helping hand. God’s hand will lead us, and not just any hand, but his right hand. That all-powerful hand of God will uphold you. Wow! When we feel like there is no one there, no one who can lead us up and out, God is there. And what a God! His right hand will hold us up. David discovered that God could deliver him and save him from the valley, perhaps even the valley of death. And he can do it again, today, for you and me.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God. He is now “seated at the right hand of the power of God”. (Luke 22:69). Jesus is the exact representation of God Almighty. He is the one that rebuked the wind and the sea became calm. He stopped the storm. You can call out today to Jesus and he will calm your storms, lift you up from the darkest valley of despair or death. He holds the right hand of power from the Almighty.

Click Here to read Shrouds Over Eden by Helen Khan

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