Look at me!


It started pretty much from day one….

Look at me!

My longing to be noticed started off harmless enough. After all, I was the first girl born after a batch of boys. Look at my toes! Look at my dress! Look at how cute I am! John, on the left, was less than thrilled with me, but don’t you worry, I did what I could to win him over through my toddler years.

Just a few years later...

Look at me! I’m playing in the mud and I have sand in my shorts!

At 7 years old, I’d spin a hundred times. “Watch me, Mama, watch me!”

At 9, I’d climb a tree and cling to the branch. “Look at me, Dad! Look at how high I got!”

My parents were kind over the years. My brothers, not as much. “That’s nothing, you’re just a girl. I could climb higher than that.”  (They couldn’t, by the way. I was a superb tree climber.) But never mind that. For the most part, my little girl need to be noticed was met.

So now I’m a little older, a growing and mature believer in our God. I’ve learned that it’s not very polite to stand in front of a group and say “Look at me!” And I get that it would be weird for me to spin a hundred times in my living room and then turn to my husband, “Wasn’t that good? Wasn’t it, love?”

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, those little girl longings still surface.

Like when I recently filled out a marketing form for my publisher. They asked me how many friends I have on Facebook. I wrote, “1000-ish.”

Look at me!

Almost immediately it felt like the Holy Spirit cleared his throat over my shoulder.

Fine. (Erase, erase). “787 – but I’m working on it.”

I saw that little girl again when I was recently interviewed for a national radio broadcast. After the interview, someone took a picture of me with the big kahuna on one side and the lovely doctor co-host on the other. I received a letter (with the picture) a few days later.

Look at me!

I put the picture and letter up on the fridge.

I was tempted to invite over my neighbors, the newspaper boy and any random strangers meandering by our home. “Come on in, grab a bite to eat… no, really. Just open that refrigerator door and help yourself!”  Maybe I’d even tape up the door so they couldn’t actually open it, then they would be forced to ogle the prominent picture on the fridge. “Oh my goodness, Elsa, is that you with….”

“Oh, that silly old picture? I forgot it was there.”

Oh friends, what is wrong with me? Does a picture make me matter? Do 1000 friends make me more special then 787 friends? If that’s the case, what happens when I bump over the 2000 mark? Does God invite me up to heaven for a VIP dinner? Hand me a certificate and call me out in front of the crowd? “Goodness, Elsa, I was waiting for the moment you would cross 2000 friends on Facebook. Now you have truly arrived and can officially be my number one girl.”

Blech. Ugh. Gross.

So I sat in that awhile. Gave myself a good tongue-lashing for my little girl self-obsession.  And then God in his grace, reminded me that He has slowly been growing me up. He brought to mind the stories I talked about on that radio show… the tales of my most broken moments as a young single mom – how I made bad choices and hurt people I cared about. And then how I told the big kahuna and the kind doctor and that radio audience all about my God. I told them how He met me with his grace through loving older women. I talked about the sweet gifts He gave me in the midst of my poverty, pain and foolishness. I talked of how his love wooed me and drew me and set me free.

On that radio show, I got it: Look at HIM! Look at HIM!

And I imagine in that moment, God smiled. And nudged the nearest angel. “Ahhh, now see? Look at my girl..”

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6).

P.S. I’d love to hear your comments… and just so you know, there’s a part two to this blog. Stay tuned. 🙂

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25 Responses to Look at me!

  1. Kitty Kok says:

    Still looking at you with much love as you reflect Him so well….

  2. Pam says:

    I am so blessed to be among the 787! Elsa, one of the loveliest, most winsome things about you is your kind willingness to open your soul that others might be encouraged in the journey. Kitty is right…you are a beautiful reflection of Him!

  3. John Koke says:

    Elsa!! So Good!! Loved it!! You even went pretty easy on the brothers… thank you!!

  4. Tom Matichuk says:

    Look at Elsa!!
    Look as she is a blessing to many through her words about Him shared in a few moments on the DivorceCare videos!!
    Look how here close, intimate relationship with God is an inspiration to many who have never known Him at all, and many more who have never “known” Him!!

  5. Lissa says:

    As always, wonderful!

  6. Suzanne Tillinger says:

    oh elsa sweetie how I have missed your way of putting words together to encourage my heart to smile and burst with LOVE for God. Thank You and I look foward to your future stories, love, insights, honesty and hearing from that little girl Elsa that God loves so dearly!

  7. Bev says:

    As usual, beautiful words from the beautiful heart of a beautiful girl. We all need reminders from time to time that He is the reason for everything in our lives. Thanks for always being there to do that for us.

  8. My dear sis,

    Coulda written that one myself. Thanks for sharing. It is when we open up about this stuff and honestly confess its shallowness that it losses its power. It looks as silly as it is. Thanks for helping to expose the darkness with the light of your own vulnerability.

    Love you!


  9. sherry sherman says:

    I have to tell you that I love how you look at things, I think as I set and watch the looks on so many faces when you share yourself in the dc videos its like God himself has opened the knowledge of brokeness and love, you have been appreciated over many a session for us and your appreciated now as you share His love and your growth. thans ever so much Elsa. We have prayed for your healing so many times I am so glad you up and running and beating the devil at his game.

  10. Alice says:

    Better than any devotional I’ve read in a long time. Keep ’em coming, please! You inspire me all the way to my toes.

  11. Ardith says:

    Elsa, you are much missed here in NWA. I am honored to be among the 700-ish!!!!!

  12. ROC Women's Prison Ministry says:

    Isn’t it great that we are loved and in the ultimate relationship? But this aside, please, know I am very blessed to be one of your 787 (and counting) fb friends and I would have enjoyed seeing the photo…any chance you would bring it to class? 🙂 PS. My daughter was born after four brothers and had another one follow her. She is one girl among five brothers and she climbs with the best of them too. I will share your story to let her know she will survive.

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