I looked around the room at the eight women who were watching me expectantly.  I had told them that today they would receive a gift from God.  I now laid out more than 20 blank envelopes on the table before them and explained that in each envelope was a scripture, one of which, God had chosen specifically for each of them.

Earlier in the week as I prayed and prepared for our monthly women’s meeting, God had spoken to me and shown me that He had a gift for each woman who would be attending.  He had a verse of scripture picked out purposely for each.  Through His Word God wanted to speak to each woman and bestow upon her His gift of hope and encouragement.

I went through my Bible choosing several verses that God had led me to such as Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28 and Philippians 1:6.  I typed out the verses, each on a separate piece of paper, slipped them into an envelope, and sealed them securely.  I then prayed over the verses hidden inside and asked God to give to each woman the scripture that was meant especially for her.

Now there were 22 identical, blank envelopes strewn across the table.  I asked each woman to choose an envelope and, in turn, open it and read their verse aloud, sharing what God’s words meant to them.  Jenny, sitting nearest to the table, was the first to grab her envelope, exclaiming “God is telling me to take this one; this is my verse!”

One by one the women read their verse and marveled at how God was speaking directly into their life and current situation.  The rest of the group then offered their own insights as to what God might be saying through His scripture.  We encouraged each other and were compassionate as we listened to intimate details of hopes and dreams for the future.

Last to share her verse was Olivia.  Olivia is a beautiful woman in her early 30’s with long blonde hair and brown eyes sharp with intelligence and energy.  Her figure is slim and she would be considered pretty by anyone’s standards.  Yet she lacked self-esteem and confidence.  Olivia had been born with large birthmarks over much of her body.  Several areas on her neck, arms and legs had much darker pigmentation than the rest of her body and she felt she stood out from everyone else as ugly and disfigured.  She had experienced much harassment and hurtful remarks when she was younger and she still noticed people staring when they saw the dark splotches on her fair skin.  She didn’t feel pretty or fully accepted.  Now she quietly opened her envelope and read aloud God’s words to her, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”  James 1:17.

Olivia didn’t know what “gift” God was referring to; however, several of the women thought the “gift” might be her new husband since Olivia had recently been married.  Perhaps God was telling Olivia that her husband and marriage were a gift from Him and would be blessed.  I felt that was a good assessment but reminded each woman to pray about her verse in the next few days and ask God to reveal to them His true meaning and message to each.

A few nights later I was praying about Olivia and thought about the verse she had received.  Suddenly God spoke to me and revealed what He was saying to Olivia through His word.  She, Olivia, is the gift!  With His scripture He was telling Olivia; “You” are a priceless treasure!  “In you, I made a perfect gift!”   Blemishes, birthmarks and all, He made her perfectly and presented her as a treasured gift, as His beautiful daughter.  What an awesome revelation!

I knew then that not only is Olivia a perfect gift, but God made each one of us as a perfect gift!   He wants us to look at ourselves that way each day, as a treasured gift from God.  God’s word tells us that He made each of us in His image, as His perfect child.

“So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness
of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Genesis 1:27 (Amplified version)

Whether our body shape is tall and big-boned, too thin, too heavy, or too short, God made us this way.  Whether we have short and stubby fingers, or large misshapen hands, whether fine, wispy hair, or thick and frizzy, God made each of us in His perfect image.  He designed us just as we are and has a purpose for us behind His plan.  Through His word, God sends us all a message: to love ourselves as He loves us.  With this knowledge, we can begin to walk in the world with confidence and see ourselves as the “perfect gift” that we are.

“For I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength.”  Isaiah 49:5b


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