Have you ever felt ugly, awkward, and disgusted with yourself? I have. My mother used to tell me growing up: “You were beautiful when you were very little, asleep, and facing the wall.” Today, I will share with you what God says about you: you are beautiful. I will give you the gift of Biblical Affirmation “I am beautiful” to encourage and empower you daily.
This daily devotional will reveal to you that, no matter who said what in the past about you, you are beautiful according to your nature in Christ which you received as a gift by faith.
READ: What is Faith?
The format of this devotional is “self-examination.” I’ll be sharing my personal story of how I felt ugly and awkward, yet, learned to feel beautiful by the grace of God through my faith in Christ. I discovered what God says about me: I am beautiful according to the nature of Jesus.
READ: Who is Jesus?
The reason why I chose the self-examination format for my devotionals is that whenever people tell me how I should think, I feel preached to, but whenever they share about their own faith journey and breakthroughs, I feel touched by their story. God uses their experiences to transform me.
READ: My Testimony
I trust that sharing my feelings, experiences, journey, and spiritual breakthroughs with you in this Biblical devotional will encourage and empower you. My hope is that you’ll hear God speak to yyou through this devotional.
I pray that you’ll be moved and inspired by my story of accepting God’s everlasting grace, stepping into His unconditional love, and giving Him all the glory. May this devotional be a blessing to you!
I Used To Feel Ugly and Awkward
My mother had me when she was 27 years old. I was born out of wedlock, and for most of my childhood, everyone knew that my father was in jail but he also had multiple children with many women. My mom lived all her life with her mother, which is where she lives still today. She’d 65 now.
Growing up, in our four-bedroom little condo in post-USSR Russia, there were me and my mom in one room, my mom’s youngest sister and her kids in another room, their middle sister and her daughter in another room, and my grandparents in the smallest room.
Nobody got along with anybody ever.
READ: Anna Szabo’s Story
The family members were drinking heavily, every day. They fought physically. The home environment, in which I grew up, was extremely violent. My cousins and I were also taught hatred and abuse. We were always in a state of war with one another.
When it comes to beauty, I have amusing memories of my family. Get yourself some tea and have a seat. You are about to experience my childhood horror story…
A custom tradition is my home was for adult women to gather in a room, put me in the middle of their circle, and start gossiping about my body. The goal was to criticize and humiliate me to the point of tears so that each of them could feel good about herself.
Below are some of the things said to me by my mom.
- You’re so ugly, have you noticed that you have no eyebrows
- Your teeth are so ugly, you look like a horse
- Your ears are popping, you look like a monkey
- You shouldn’t smile, too much gum is exposed, it’s ugly
- You have no boobs, I wish you had boobs like your cousin Vika
- Your legs are ugly, I wish you had beautiful legs like your cousin Vika
- Your butt is so flat, I wish you had a nicely shaped butt like Vika
- I wish you were beautiful like your cousin Vika
That traditional family gathering for the purpose of harassing me and criticizing my body and looks went on for years, until I was strong enough to tell them off and fight them off my back physically, which I did.
I remember my mother would repeatedly say to me: “Your laughter is ugly, don’t laugh, listen to your cousin’s laugher, it’s beautiful!” Those three sisters, led by my mother, used to turn me around and humiliate me by counting holes between my legs, criticizing how my legs were also very ugly.
They would grab my arm and criticize how I had no arm muscles predicting how my arms in the future would be fat and flabby: “Your arms are fat, you’re gonna have fat arms like your father’s side!”
From my eyes that didn’t look in the same direction and my eyebrows that were not pleasing to my mother to my arms and butt – everything about me was ugly and awkward, according to her and her sisters.
That was all I knew.
I felt severely insecure.
I hardy had any friends because I felt so ugly.
In fact, the neighborhood’s kids used to tease me for my wild hair curls and called me names that reflected their opinions of my ugliness.
I just wanted to die. At 11 and 12, twice, I tried to commit suicide during Summer. When suicide didn’t work, I decided that I’ll build a beautiful life for myself. I learned to visualize how I would be beautiful one day when I move far away from my mother and her sisters.
How I Discovered My Outer Beauty
When I was 17 years old, I was in college studying to become an elementary school teacher. That Summer, I got a job as a waitress at a restaurant in a private hotel in Kursk, Russia. It was the first time I ever met people from other countries, mostly men traveling for business.
I began getting compliments for my beauty.
Of course, I never believed any of them.
I felt extremely awkward.
Then, I learned that some men paid the hotel owner extra-cash to free me from my job duties just to have me sit with them at a dinner table and talk, so they could enjoy my beauty.
The owner of that hotel also owned a beauty magazine.
He invited me to be featured in it.
I was shocked but said yes.
I attended a photoshoot, I saw my picture in a beauty magazine and was … um … How do I explain it? … I was transformed in my head! “I am beautiful!” I realized that I was beautiful and the three evil sisters who used to put me down for years, all led by my narcissistic mother, were just plain jealous.
I was beautiful and I finally knew it.
READ: How To Feel Beautiful
So, I entered into a beauty pageant.
It was the first time someone did a story about my life on TV, filmed me walking and talking, and taught me how to do my hair and makeup. The experience was transformational. I gained confidence in my outer beauty. I stopped feeling awkward. And I won my first-ever all-inclusive international vacation trip during the pageant!
I felt like living a whole new life.
How I carried myself and how I felt about myself changed completely, thanks to a year of beauty magazines and local beauty pageants. And I learned how to pose like a model. It helped with my posture, not just confidence. It helped change my perception of my outer self and also enticed me to develop good health habits.
How I Experienced Painful Rejection
I grew up into an adult, graduated from three universities, and left Russia. I moved to America, and in 2016, I married a kind-hearted, Bible-believing, seminary graduate (according to his words) Christian man who treated me with love and care. Michel declared his genuine love for me to the world on May 14th, 2016. Our wedding was a happy and memorable day. I wore a true Princess dress, was in love with Michel, and couldn’t wait to begin our life together as husband and wife.
Every day following our wedding, Michel treated me as a woman who was ugly and awkward in his eyes. He rejected me in every way, and I described the experience on this blog in my articles Narcissistic Relationship Abuse and Feeling Rejected In a Relationship.
I was devastated by Michel’s behavior toward me. I was confused by his rejection. I was puzzled as to why he wanted to marry me so eagerly. I was desperate for answers and clarity. I was angry at Michel for mistreating me and at myself for sticking around for the sake of our marriage. I soon began to experience a severely suicidal depression.
Being dead seemed like a much better future than another day of the future with Michel. While enduring narcissistic abuse in my marriage, I also did ugly things, like cussing, yelling, blaming, and threatening divorce.
I said many ugly words to Michel in response to his actions. I felt many ugly feelings, including hatred toward him. I lived an ugly life with Michel, and we had an ugly relationship. I felt ugly and awkward.
In my despair, I turned to the Bible to find out what God says about me. That was how I found out that I was beautiful for real, independently from anyone’s opinion of me, just because God made me beautifully His own image, just by the nature of Christ, to whom I gave my life in 2014. I was liberated forever from feeling ugly and awkward.
I felt beautiful not in vanity but in eternity.
Feeling Beautiful and Grand
Too often we wonder about ourselves and our lives. We question why we’re even here, what’s the purpose of it all? We feel that we are ugly humans living ugly lives full of ugly mess and ugly things, and our intentions, thoughts, and words are overall ugly.
Ever felt that way?
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10
God’s handiwork, that’s who I am, as I learned from the Bible.
Handiwork = Invention = Handcraft
It took some time to comprehend that I am God’s handcrafted invention designed for God’s enjoyment as His piece of art, His masterpiece.
Repeat after me because this breakthrough is true of you!
Once I accepted that as truth, I wept.
I was blown away.
I was set free from the opinions of others about me.
This one truth answers so many questions all at once:
- Am I ugly? No, I am God’s masterpiece.
- Why am I the way I am? God created me in His image.
- What is the purpose of my life? To do good works that God prepared in advance for me to do.
It was a breakthrough for me.
My liberation from learned false ugliness and my new divine confidence in my beauty as a daughter of God empowered me to appear publicly without any makeup and still feel beautiful.
However, even after I learned this truth, I was still questioning: how beautiful am I? Am I a little masterpiece as opposed to a big masterpiece who might be a truly great Christian?
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.Isaiah 62:3
What I took away from learning the above truth was that I am a beautiful, splendid masterpiece, created by God in His own image, I’m His glory on display, and He sees me as precious as a diadem, which is a jeweled crown worn as a symbol of sovereignty and authority.
That’s how beautiful I am, according to the Bible.
And so are you.
You’re splendid and beautiful.
You’re God’s piece of handcrafted art.
You’re one of a kind beautiful, designed for God’s enjoyment.
You’re gorgeous and grand!
Do you believe this about yourself?
If you do, memorize my Biblical affirmation below and practice it often to remember that you are beautiful.
I Am Beautiful
"I Am Beautiful" #52Devotionals I am God's precious handiwork, His masterpiece I am. Created in His image, I'm beautiful and grand. Click to Tweet
How does it make you feel to know that you are beautiful? Share with me in the comments below so I can cheer you on. If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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