According to the Mayo Clinic Libraries, the value placed on the basic elements in the human body is $4.50. When I was younger, my brother “appraised my value” as much less! Repeatedly, he told me, “If Daddy had a quarter, you wouldn’t have been born!” Apparently, my dad could have bought a condom for 25¢ back then, and my brother enjoyed sharing that I was “a mistake” that could have been prevented with a quarter.
Even if I didn’t accept his appraisal outright, it was easy for me to own the basic premise. After all, how much could a little girl possibly be worth when she is used for someone’s sexual gratification without consideration for her well-being, thoughts, feelings, or future? Surely she is expendable if he threatens her life? My mother suffered a nervous breakdown during my preschool years as well, further enforcing my feelings of abandonment and low self-esteem.
Throughout my life I fought to justify my existence. My Daddy was especially proud of me when I made good grades, so I tried to make straight A’s throughout school. My fiancé made me feel really special when we were dating, so I found added value through his estimation of me for a time. Then the romance morphed into family life, and I questioned my “appraised value” again whenever his words were less than kind. During my career, I fought hard for titles and position, only to discover the old adage is often true: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Even in the church community, I often felt like I didn’t belong. But then again, how can anyone belong who thinks she isn’t supposed to be here anyway?
Shortly after I began counseling, I had a vivid dream. In the dream, a member of my Sunday school class had a party at her home on a high, outside deck. As I looked over the railing, I saw a woman bring a toddler to the corner of the house below and walk away. The child was crying. I made my way down the stairs and picked her up. I thought if I held her and explained her mother would return, she would be comforted. Instead, she stiffened up and struggled in my arms. I couldn’t understand why the child was inconsolable? Deep in my heart I sensed that this child was me.
I later had a vision connected to the dream. I envisioned Jesus stepping out of me and taking the crying child from my arms. He took the child—who still resided within my heart—to a rocking chair. She continued to cry inconsolably as Jesus held her and rocked her. He tenderly patted her back and stroked her hair. Then, he began to sing to her. As He sang, the sobs turned into a whimper as she laid her head on His shoulder and leaned into Him. He continued to sing softly and to rock the child until she was at rest, then he gave the toddler back to the adult me and told me I could return to the party. At that moment, a question arose in my spirit on behalf of that little girl: “Who was that man?” (You see; the child wasn’t old enough to know anything about Jesus yet.) Then I heard the reply, “He is your older brother,” and a passage from Hebrews immediately flooded my mind. (See Hebrews 2:10-18 in The Message.)
How much was that little girl worth to Jesus?
Jesus cared about her thoughts and feelings enough to sing over her as He ministered the loving touch that she lacked. He healed emotional wounds that words could not satisfy that day (and I have never been the same).
The scriptures also teach us He thought she was worth dying for. If value can be determined by the price someone is willing to pay, Jesus paid the ultimate price, dying on the cross so she could live with Him forever. Rather than threatening to end her life, Jesus sacrificed Himself to save it. (He is the kind of brother a woman of any age can respect.)
As Jesus held the child close in His arms, His actions reassured her that she was not a mistake nor was she forgotten. To the contrary, He knew her before she was born, and He also knows how long she will live. When something is valuable, we keep track of it. (Jesus has always kept track of me, thereby declaring my value to be great in His eyes.)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)
“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.” (Psalm 139:15-16)
After Jesus healed the child within, He returned her to my adult self. He wanted me to re-engage at the party. I am not defined by my past or the “appraised value” others assign to me. Rather I have an opportunity to share my story, multiplying it’s healing effect. Jesus still has plans for my future.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
My natural brother’s failure to appraise my value accurately in no way diminished it. In retrospect, I now realize my brother sought to minimize my value in a futile attempt to excuse his own behavior. The reality is my life has “declared worth” that comes from the One who created me. Contrary to my brother’s assertion, I don’t exist solely because my natural dad didn’t have a quarter. I exist because my Heavenly Father has always had a plan. Alleluia!