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MARY ANN CRUM


I am beautiful. I am stunning. I am sexy. I am glamorous. I am gorgeous. 

How do I know? My blue jeans tell me so.

Oh, wait, you don?t think all these grandiose self-affirmations pop into my head when I see myself in the mirror wearing blue jeans, do you? Ha! No way.

No, these statements do not accurately express my reaction when I see myself in my unskinny jeans. Not. Even. Close.

But right there on the fabric that lines the inside of my jeans, the folks at Lee Jeans have printed, ?I am beautiful. I am stunning. I am sexy. I am glamorous, I am gorgeous? over and over and over. It seems they?ve made it their mission to pump up my self-esteem.

Of course, it might be more meaningful if they had actually laid eyes on me. For all they know I could look like a manatee. So instead of making me all happy inside when I read the inside of my pants, it feels somewhat icky. It feels like the kind of empty flattery one would dish out to manipulate desperate, gullible women.

Maybe I should call them on it. Maybe I should march right into the Lee Jeans corporate office and tell them they?ve convinced me I?m beautiful, stunning, sexy, glamorous, and gorgeous, so I?m ready to begin my career as a Lee Jeans model.

?Just tell me how much I?ll make and let?s get the first photo shoot scheduled, please.?

I?m pretty sure I?d leave that encounter feeling a whole lot less beautiful, stunning, sexy, glamorous and gorgeous.

Nice words really aren?t so nice if they?re not true.

That?s why God?s ?nice words? mean so much. His affirmations to those who are His -- those who have been adopted into His family through faith in His Son, Jesus -- come from the perfectly honest heart of Someone who knows everything about us -- our actions, thoughts, emotions, motives, goals -- as well as our past and our future. Not to mention our weight and pant size.

 And yet He says ?

?See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.? (1 John 3:1a)

?The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.? (Zephaniah 3:17)

?For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ?Fear not, I am the one who helps you.?? (Isaiah 41:13)

?? I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued My faithfulness to you.? (Jeremiah 31:3b)

And in Psalm 17:8, we learn we?re the ?apple of His eye.?

Perhaps the most amazing affirmation of all is found in a prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17:22-23: ?The glory that you have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.?

Did you catch that last part, where it says the Father loves His children ?even as? He loves Jesus?

When I feel beaten up and down by this world, other people, or by my own faults and failures, reading the inside of my jeans isn?t going to make me feel better. No, at those moments, I need to know I?m truly loved.

And I am, by God Himself ? even as He loves His Son.

Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, ?A Giggle Goes a Long Way? and ?Live.Learn.Laugh!? She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com.