Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Lord Looks at the Heart

Our entire family, from the tallest to the smallest, is studying The Purpose Driven Life as our "New Year's Resolution" for 2010.  (God recently used this book to bring some amazing healing to our Colombian daughter, Meribeth, who has suffered much trauma in her young life.)  We began our Purpose Driven adventure January 2, which means that today we read and discussed Day 3.  (We got started a day late due to a camping excursion that we took and couldn't locate our books on Jan. 1!)  God led us into a deep conversation during our family devo time this evening.  The conversation revealed some unhealthy competition between two siblings, and how we sometimes, unknowingly, allow our lives to be driven by things that are not of significance in God's eyes.  This occurs when we care more about what others think about us than what God thinks and says about us.  (The best part of how God ended our conversation and healed a hurting heart comes at the end of this blog, so make sure you read all the way through!!!)

Let me begin with a short description about our reading today from The Purpose Driven Life.  The title of Day 3's reading is "What Drives Your Life?"  Rick Warren describes the things that many people allow to drive their lives, such as guilt, fear, resentment/anger, materialism, and the need for approval.  He goes on to explain how these things keep us from living the Purpose Driven Life that God has planned for us.  We must seek to discover God's purpose for our lives in order to live a life of purpose, His purpose.  We must let go of all of the things that might be our driving force, and ask God to be our One and Only driving force.  The "Question to Consider" at the end of Day 3's reading is this:  "What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life?  What do I want it to be?"

Each member of our family took turns answering this question after we discussed in depth all that we got out of Day 3's reading.  When our 11 year-old daughter, Mattie, answered this question, she said things such as "helping others, caring about others, putting others before myself, building others up instead of tearing them down."  We all agreed that yes, those are definitely things we would say about Mattie and what drives her, which all goes back to Jesus b/c that is Who drives Mattie to do those things and live a selfless, compassionate life.  However, the conversation quickly revealed that Mattie's heart was hurting.  How could a heart of such selflessness and compassion be hurting so deeply?

It all boils down to beauty.  The world's definition of beauty.

You see, Mattie welcomed with open arms an 11 year-old sister into her life just a year ago.  This sister just happens to be 4 months older than Mattie.  This sister also happens to be a beautiful Colombian girl who has a beautiful face, gorgeous, to-die-for hair, a petite body...and she happens to look great in all of the hippest clothing and fashion.  

There was a time when Mattie was the only princess in the family.  She longed for a sister.  She prayed for a sister for YEARS.  God answered her prayers.  And Mattie even said to her daddy, on the day we committed to adopting Meribeth, the following words, "I know I won't be your little princess anymore, Daddy, but it's worth it to save the life of a child." 

Little did Mattie know what those words would actually mean.

Mattie has matured beyond measure over the last year:  emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  She has learned more in the past year than many people learn their entire lives...selflessness.  Mattie has poured out her heart for the love of her Colombian sister.  She has given until there was nothing left to give.  She joyfully shared her mom, her dad, her brothers, her time, her room, her bed, her closet, her clothes, her bathroom, her jewelry, but, most of all, she shared her heart, her whole heart, with her sister.

However, what happens when you put two girls, who are only 4 months apart, side by side as sisters overnight?  Competition.  Jealousy.  Sibling rivalry.  Love.  Growth.  Maturity.  Selflessness.  Love.  Learning.  Compassion.  Pain.  Love.  Joy.  Laughter.  Tears.  Love.

So, what does all of this have to do with a  hurting heart revealed during a discussion of Day 3 in Purpose Driven Life?  Looking at others for approval.  Looking at the world to tell us who we are.  Looking at the world's definition of beauty.  Not allowing God to be our driving force in every decision we make.

You see, Mattie will always be her daddy's little princess.  Nothing could ever change that.  But, princesses want to be beautiful.  They don't just want their daddies to tell them that they're beautiful and treasured, they want the WORLD to tell them that they're beautiful and treasured.  Unfortunately, the world defines beauty differently than our Daddy does.  The world looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Mattie had been comparing her beauty to that of the outward beauty of her Colombian sister.  Mattie had been confused about her own beauty because of what she hears the world saying every time we go out in public.  "Oh, your sister is so beautiful."  "Oh, your sister has such gorgeous hair."  "Oh, your sister could be a model." 

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."  Proverbs 31:30

That is what God says about beauty.  May we never forget it.  While the world might look at the outward appearance and ew and awe over the physical beauty of a person, the Lord looks at the heart. 

Nothing is more beautiful than a selfless, compassionate, kind, caring, generous, loving, giving heart.

Do you think that God cares about the hurting heart of an 11 year-old girl who has gotten confused about His message of beauty?!?

You betcha!

You MUST click HERE to see what God did to show Mattie just how beautiful she is and how much He cares about her!!!

This is amazing!

You really have to click HERE (or on the other "HERE") before you read any further!!!

Don't read anymore until you promise you have clicked HERE (or on either of the other 2 "HERE"s) AND READ atleast the TITLE of this blog post!!! (You'll be blessed to read the whole blog post, but if you don't have time to click HERE, this is the title of Amy Block's blog post from tonight:

A Heart Like Mattie's

That is the title of a blog post about having a heart like Mattie's!!!  Our Mattie.  Our princess. 

And, Mattie said with tears steaming from the corner of her eye after reading this blog post, "Mom, she called me beautiful!"

If that isn't God, I don't know what is.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."  Colossian 3:17.

Now that's beauty.

Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Glory to God in the highest!  We praise You and give You thanks, Daddy!


paul-and-lori said...

I followed the link at 'Building the Blocks' to get to your site. I am so blessed by Mattie's story. You have an incredibly beautiful daughter both inside and out.
I am praying for the Lord's blessings on her life!
Lori King

GinSpaghetti said...

What an amazing family you have... Mattie is special indeed, many blessings to you all this new year! Gin

acceptance with joy said...

Mattie is beautiful! The tears came to my eyes as I read of her selfless Christmas for the Pass if Forward Fund. She has inspired me to do something more for people in our own town adopting (two families adopting from Ethiopia.)! If a young girl can do it, I can do it!! But I also think Mattie has a gorgeous face - but that isn't half as important as seeing the light of Jesus in her eyes. That makes her fabulously exquisite!

natali said...

What an amazingly beautiful daughter you have! I found your blog through Amy's [building the blocks] and was humbled by what a beauty lies in Mattie's heart!

Chris said...

Yes Mattie, you are beautiful. Not many 11 y.o. girls would be able to stick with that decision.
Remember daddies can have many princesses.

Keep following Jesus and you will keep your real beauty.

Addisyn said...

Mattie you are amazing! I was so good to meet you and your family! Keep being God's hands and feet!

Erin said...

Yes precious Mattie, you ARE beautiful - but what is REALLY special about you is that God wasn't finished with you when He gave you physical beauty, He went on to fill you with His spirit and His heart so that the beauty of Jesus also shines through you!

I pray that you will always hold tight to your relationship with Jesus because if you do, and you remain willing for God to use you, many people will come to know Jesus and many more lives will be touched through you.

Sophie said...

What an amazing young woman you are raising with a heart filled with Godly desires. While she is so beatiful on the outside it's what's in the heart that defines beauty. I pray that my little girl will be as wise and obedient as you are sweet Mattie!!

Jenny said...

Hi...My name is Jenny Bland and I am Amy Block's sister. I just wanted to tell you how blown away I am by your AMAZING daughter Mattie. You guys have obviously done exactly what God asks us to do with our children AND MORE! We are so proud of her giving heart. We are also praying for Chrissie surgery on the 18th. May God bless your family as much as you have blessed ours.

Chris, Tammy and the gang! said...

I'd love touch base with you...we also have adopted and have 2 bio children, 2 from China and 1 from Colombia (she just turned 12)...I would like to make other Colombian contacts for her...you can email me at tammymackinnon@pei.sympatico.ca or visit our blog at www.themackinnons.blogspot.com

Tell Mattie she is absolutely beautiful - I saw her picture on "Building the Blocks" blog!!!

elizabeth engelhardt creations said...

Mattie is a VERY beautiful young lady. I saw her birthday invitation and all on the Building the Blocks. I look forward to keeping up with your blog and on facebook. Blessings.

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