Candace is a beautiful and vibrant young lady. She is well known in her church for her contagious smile and joyful attitude. One Sunday as Candace was sitting in the back row of her church, her pastor asked the small congregation to share one thing for which they were grateful. Candace leaned forward and caught the attention of her pastor. He looked at her and asked her what she was grateful for. She looked back with a big smile and said “I am so grateful that God has given me a really great nose.” Everyone in the congregation knew exactly why Candace was thanking God for her nose. They had known her long enough to understand.
Candace was born with an extremely rare disease called Tetra-amelia syndrome.
That means that she was born without any arms or legs. She is now in her early thirties and she still has no idea what it’s like to wrap her arms around someone, or to walk or to write. She has lived her entire life in a wheelchair with people constantly assisting her with her every need. Amazingly enough, Candace made a choice to use her disability to serve God and advance His kingdom through sharing the gospel.
Candace enjoys going to big stores like Wal-Mart and parks her wheelchair right outside the front doors. She catches the shoppers attention going in and out and calls them over to talk. She says, “Most people feel sorry for me, so they all come over when I call to them.” She then asks them to pull her Bible out of the back pocket of the wheelchair and has them place it on her tray in front of her. Candace then uses her nose to flip through the Bible and takes the person standing there through the gospel story. When Candace told the pastor that she was grateful for her “really great nose,” she was referring to the fact that she is able to use her nose to turn the pages of her Bible and share the love of Jesus with others.
When I heard the story about Candace I immediately put myself in her shoes.
Would I be thankful if God had allowed me to be born without any arms or legs? Would I have used my disability as a tool to share the gospel? I imagine that Candace has her hard days. I’m sure she has had thoughts of what life with arms and legs would be like. Despite what life would or could be like, Candace has her heart in the right place. She has chosen to use the life and body that God has given her to advance His kingdom.
When you think about your own life, are you thankful for the nose, eyes, lips, height, hair etc. that God has given to you? Are you thankful for the way that God has chosen to design you? Like Candace, we have a choice to make. We can either choose to be thankful for what God has given us (whether we like it or not) or we can whine and complain and wish things were different.
God’s definition of beauty is so much different than the world’s.
He says that “charm is deceptive and beauty is vain but a woman who fears Him shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). He designed every feature of your body on purpose and thinks you are beautiful just the way He made you. He is looking for willing girls, like Candace, who are thankful for all that God has given them and are ready to use their life to serve Him however they can.
Are there any features on your body that you need to thank God for? I challenge you to make a list of all of the features/aspects of yourself that you dislike. Write them all down on a piece of paper. Then write this verse below them: “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). After you’ve written everything down read Psalm 139:13 out loud and tell God that you are choosing to believe that He designed you the way He did on purpose. Go through each one of the features you listed on your paper and thank God for each one of those. Whenever you are tempted to whine or complain about any of your features, stop and remember that verse.
Remember that God is your designer and He thinks you are beautiful just the way that He created you.
Photo Credit: Karen and Louise Salling