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Girlfriends in God - Feb. 11, 2008


February 11, 2008

Sandpaper People

Mary Southerland



Today’s Truth

Ephesians 2:10 “You are God’s workmanship.”


Friend to Friend

Valentine’s Day is almost here…but not everyone is thrilled about it! Sandpaper People often dread Valentine’s Day. Why? Because difficult people are afraid that the day will go by without a single phone call, card, flower or piece of candy that indicates they are special to someone. I battled that same fear well into my adult years, looking for worth and value in the eyes of others. It never was enough – until I looked for and finally found my worth and value in the eyes of God. In His eyes, I am special.


The artist came to the park every day at the same time, when the light was just right, setting up his easel and paints under the same familiar shade tree. It was his favorite spot to work and fulfill his passion for painting. A talented and sensitive man, he specialized in portraits, skillfully drawing out the inner qualities of his subject. For hours, he watched the people strolling by, searching for just the right face to paint. The artist loved the way each face told so many different stories, some filled with joy and others with pain and sadness.


A beggar sitting across the path caught his eye. Thinking of God’s handiwork in every human being, the artist resolved to paint the man as he imagined he could be. With the last stroke, the artist breathed a sigh of satisfaction, a contented smile spreading across his face. It was done. And it was some of his best work. The artist then called the beggar over to see the painting. “Is that me?’ the beggar asked. “That is the “you” I see!” replied the artist. The beggar stared at the painting, silent in his appraisal. Finally, with tears in his eyes the beggar softly declared, “If that’s the man you see in me, then that’s the man I shall be!”


Sandpaper people desperately need someone who will look beyond their abrasive behavior and rough exterior to recognize their worth. Somewhere along the way, sandpaper people have allowed someone or something to assign an identity to them that is false. Parents, friends, family members or even enemies are inadvertently allowed to weave a paralyzing identity that distorts accurate identity, producing a sandpaper person. As a result, sandpaper people live a life they were never intended to live, bound to an unhealthy self-image, having no concept of whom they really are or what they can possibly become. Desperate to fit in, they try on different identities like trying on new clothes and wonder why none of them fit. Sandpaper people have either not heard or refuse to believe the good news that their identity was established before the world began, in the heart and mind of God.


The words of Psalm 139 beautifully express the heart of God toward each and every one of us, “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. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Verses 13-16) A healthy self-image is not one of pride or arrogance, but rather one that coincides with God’s viewpoint. It is learning to accept God’s evaluation of who we are, learning to see ourselves as God sees us, no more and no less, learning who we are in His eyes and giving Him permission to make us what He designed us to be. In His eyes, every person is valuable – sandpaper and all. Sinful and broken, wounded and sick, sandpaper people are why He came.


I encourage you to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a new way this year. Let God show you how He sees you – special, wanted, loved, planned. Receive the gift of His unconditional love and celebrate your place in His heart. Then share that love with a “sandpaper person” in your life. You are never more like your Father, than when you love those who are difficult to love.


Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the amazing and incredible gift of Your unconditional love. Help me to see myself as You see me, and then give me Your eyes, to see those around me who are lonely and afraid they will never be loved by anyone. Help me share Your love with them and in doing so, demonstrate my love for You.

In Jesus’ name,



Now it’s Your Turn

Valentine’s Day is only three days away! Is there someone in your life who is difficult to love? I encourage you to be their “secret valentine” this year. Send them a beautiful card. Leave a small box of candy on their doorstep. Place a single rose under their windshield wiper. Tie a balloon to their car door handle, their office desk, their mailbox…you get the idea. To each gift, attach a piece of paper or a card with a Scripture verse about God’s love. Ready? Get started.


More from the Girls

As February 14 approaches, I am reminded of just how very blessed I am with family and friends who really love me…warts and all! This year, I am going to celebrate the love of God poured out on my life through these very special people. Need ideas for a friend or family member? Check out my on-line store to find that perfect gift for someone special. Blessings!



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