Unrejected – Guest Post by Jen Ferguson – Painting Prose


Jen Ferguson has become a real live friend…our friendship has gone so beyond “virtual”. She is one of the sweetest kindest women that I know. Her writing always makes me want to know two people better; her, of course and Jesus. The relationship she has with Him is tangible, and she makes me hungry to pursue Him more…and that is the greatest gift I could find in a relationship.

Jen has a wonderful and caring community called Soli Deo Gloria. They meet on Tuesdays over at her place, Finding Heaven. It is the first linkup community I ever participated in, and I had no idea what I was doing, Jen walked me through. Please make sure to visit her place, you will so much be the better for it.


Sunday was the marathon and on Tuesday, I got an email from the race organizers that the race photos were up. And so I clicked on the link…

As I perused the pictures, I focused not on the fact that countenance of my face revealed that although most of the miles proved hard, they were not impossible. I focused not on the fact that there were thousands of people running and thousands of people cheering. I focused not on the fact that the victory picture of me crossing the finish line showed that I not only finished, but I finished strong.

I focused on none of this. Instead, I had a breakdown about the size and shape of my thighs. Yes, those same legs that carried me through 26.2 miles, I now looked upon with disdain.

Not good enough.
No matter how hard I try…
Why in the world would I buy the pictures that show nothing of my hard work?

This is not the first time that instead of being grateful, I have become a babbling torrent of negativity. Instead of being thankful that my husband has a job, I complain that he has to work late. Instead of being grateful that I’ve sold eight pieces of art, I grumble that business doesn’t seem as busy as it used to be. Instead of building myself up with the truth of God’s word, I let the self-inflicted, injurious barbs shred my perspective, and ultimately, my heart.

With many things, I have been satisfied only when a certain level of perfection is met.  If it is imperfect, even mildly, such as a stray line on a drawing, improper grammar in a belabored sentence, dust in a deep crevice, I have difficulty finding joy in the finished work.  I am compelled to erase, rework, dig deeper, train harder, even if I have been mildly rebuked to simply let it go.

God has been working in me to find the beauty and joy in these imperfections, though.  He teaches me, slowly but surely, how to move on after He has forgiven me of my sin.  He teaches me that the blue painted mug with a few errant strokes of paint that I created still has the capacity to hold my hot tea and that the blemishes hold no baring on its purpose. 

Can He teach me the same about my imperfect body?  My legs have parts that are too fleshy.  They like to store fat in places I really wish they would not.  Cellulite, yes, they have allowed it to reside in that place just below the skin, and right on the front of my thighs for everyone else to see.  The beginnings of spider veins begin to spread their tentacles over my muscular calves.  They do their job, they go above the call, but is this enough for me?

When I search my heart, looking for God’s perspective and not society’s, not my own, I come to this conclusion: Although they are far from perfect, I cannot reject them. 

And this gives me hope. If I, of all people, can learn to love something like my cellulite-ridden legs, God can love me despite my own character flaws.  Because although I am far from perfect, He has promised not to reject me.  He does not stand by and scoff at my short-comings, but rather He fills me with His grace and makes perfect my weakness.  He knows that I am surrendered to Him, that my allegiance is with Him alone.  He knows I have been tried.  I have been tested.  I am fighting the good fight and together, we will win the race.

Isn’t she wonderful? Please take the time to comment and let her know how much this piece blessed you!

If this is your first time here, let me explain what we are all about. We are a community started by Emily Wierenga. It was called Imperfect Prose. She is on a bit of a vacation as she has some extra responsibilities at the moment.

If you are new, please check out Emily’s blog. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and you need to be acquainted with the woman who made all of this happen!

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43 thoughts on “Unrejected – Guest Post by Jen Ferguson – Painting Prose

    • If it’s not our thighs, it’s something else. There is a reason we are imperfect, and from those imperfections, we learn good lessons, wouldn’t you say?

  1. Love what God is teaching you, Jen, about His love and how He looks at you with such love…I am thoroughly impressed that you ran a marathon 🙂 Thanks, K.D., for hosting 🙂

  2. Ladies, ladies,
    You have a good thing going. Both of you.

    Jen, I can relate to this more than I’d like to admit, but where I never admit, you toss it out there. Love that about you. Think your thighs rock and now that we are on the subject, you’ve got a good butt too.

    Love you, girl.

    • Amy, you do realize that I can now never, ever get rid of you? I need more people in my life to remind me that I have a good butt. 🙂

  3. Lovely post! I struggle with the temptation of dwelling on the imperfect, so I know this well. Just couldn’t have put it into such poignant words as you did, Jen! : )
    Striving to see me through God’s perspective!

    All for Him,
    Nikki

  4. I wish Jen could be my friend in real life too. 🙂 But I’m thankful I at least get to know her through her writings. Such an authentic woman.

    “God has been working in me to find the beauty and joy in these imperfections, though.” Amen. Me, too. (And I bet your thighs look much better than mine, Jen. Mine couldn’t carry me 26.2 miles.)

  5. Congratulations on your marathon – Life isn’t about being perfect – that is the great misconception – it is about loving through imperfection – and that is when we discover the great beauty. Your mug made me think of my favorite pottery. It’s speckled blue and white – even the white pottery cups – they’re not perfect – and that’s maybe why they’re my favorite. They’re like me:)

  6. I’m with Amy–nice butt–:). Seriously, you are such a beautiful woman, Jen. Inside and out. Last year and the year before, the Lord asked me to give up running for Lent to teach me a valuable lesson. It was the hardest Lenten sacrifice I’ve ever made. As I felt my body soften, my heart panicked and I began to fear. What if I gained X amount of weight? What if my husband didn’t find me attractive, What if, what if…And He answered the what if. He let me know that He would always love me. That I am loveable–no matter what my appearance. It was the most tender affirmation. I think I’ve got it now. Sounds like you are getting it too. Proud to be on this journey with you, Jen. Thanks for hosting her, KD!

    • I remember that, Laura. I think I must have found you about half-way through Lent and I remember thinking what a challenging task that would be for me. The lesson though, I’m sure, was worth the softening. To know that you will be loved and held forever despite…what a gift.

  7. I love your honesty here, Jen. I’d be guilty in all of the same respects…noticing what I am not happy with. But you’re beautiful and your strong and courageous! And we love you here!

    I love how you tied in fighting the good fight and winning the race to this reflection of your marathon! Nice play on words.

  8. For Jen, I think we need to hear this message over and over, as I believe the enemy of our souls whispers the message of “you’re not enough” constantly! It is a good habit – the one of choosing to focus on what is good, noble, true, worthy of praise…etc., and not the places of failing…

    Thanks for sharing such good words, and congratulations on finishing strong – both in the marathon and each day!

  9. That those same thighs that carried you weren’t good enough….
    How often do I do that even to Jesus. — That same cross that carried my sin, miraculously off of my permanent record and secured a place for me in heaven just isn’t enough for me when I’m scared, or hurt or feeling lost…. That he would be enough. Thank you Jen, for sharing this honestly…
    I now have an 8″ scar down my belly and another on the side of my leg… I currently walk with a limp and have to wear practical shoes. I’m so quick to complain when just months ago I was breathing on oxygen and trapped in a hospital bed. I’m so quick to judge my limitations and then think God failed somewhere along the way, when really, he’s saving me all the time.

    Awesome, that you ran an actual marathon! Woot!

  10. Pingback: {Honestly} Adoption: It doesn’t get easier the second time

  11. Such honesty here Jen. And that is what I love most about your writing. . like Amy said before me here, you just “throw it all out”. You painted a picture of recognition here for me. I recognize myself in your thoughts and in the moments when I realize that I am harshly judging myself. Yikes. I also recognize that God loves us in all our imperfections and even though I know I know. . it is good to hear it thrown out in this piece of writing. . so I can remember. Again.
    We have to remind ourselves of this a lot, don’t we? Or at least I do.
    Thank you Jen.

    • Yes. I continually need reminding. I’ve gotten better at recognizing when I start to do it and all I can say is “take every thought captive, Lord.” Step by step!

  12. Oh yes, those thighs. They can undo just about anything. The sad and funny thing is that in 10 years, you will look back at these pictures and wonder why you found fault in those beautifully muscled thighs. You are gorgeous.

      • My grandmother, who had bird legs, always told me I blessed with legs like tree trunks! What young girls wants to hear that. She was always self-conscious about her skinny legs. Why can’t we just be happy with our bodies?

  13. oh…wait..just wait…with age comes more thigh issues:)…just last night I notice what looks like cottage cheese on my inner thigh…uck…never have my “muscular legs” seen such a thing…have had a bum knee…so running has been our for a while…and just plain laziness too…
    But even though age brings smushy thighs…my prayer is that with age…I will continue to find joy and thankfulness in the smallest of things…not bemoaning what I can do or what I don’t have…my goal is to be gray and gracious…I often wonder why I am graying so slowly:)
    Thank you both for providing a place for sweet community….blessings to you both…

  14. I just love your honesty! wow it is like sitting talking with you over coffee when I read your writing. I once decided to learn how to quilt. A good friend won national awards in quilting offer to teach me. FRUSTRATION!!!! My stitches were uneven, I couldn’t cut exact pattern and in short failed in this craft. My friend in her gentleness and remember she was nationally known for her quilts – told me every quilt in imperfect – only God is perfect. I have never forgotten that.

    By the way, I am so proud of your marathon and love that winning smile!

  15. oh Jen,

    my four year old asked me to come play “ballerina” with her {i think i’d better go–who could resist that?}, but first i had to leave a comment for you.

    oh, this had me teary-eyed, threatening to brim over. you looking at yourself in disdain, despising those beautiful, strong legs that carried you, what is it, 26 miles? i know this critical mind and torture–i put myself through it too. but God is concerned with my *inside*–so cliche, i know, but so true. the older i get the more i realize i was told a lie, and i have believed it too long, and have missed the point this entire time! HE LOVES ME–JUST THE WAY I AM! i am His *beloved*–He waits for me, watches over me, loves me with a passion, wants to infuse me with His beauty, His kindness, His tenderness and gentleness, His patience, His righteousness {a free gift}, His love, faith, hope, and joy. i look in the mirror and i don’t like what i see–examples in my little girl life taught me to do that–BUT then in a grace-filled moment, i look into my heart as if through His eyes and He shows me the fruits He is growing there and i treasure it.

    so proud of you, woman! you look awesome–gorgeous and muscular and strong! thanking God for the strength He has given you, the able body to carry you through and to finish strong! what an accomplishment! i love the photo of you waving–it made me cry–and look who is behind you–all those men! you did a great job.

    love to you! off to play ballerina now.

  16. Yes, Jen, we all have at least one thing. Your thighs….my twin belly. You are so right, though. I complain about my tummy not being as flat as I’d like because it is stretched from my full term twin pregnancy, and nothing I do besides surgery will fix it. How can I complain about the fact that I have beautiful healthy twin girls (now 10 years old)? I feel like I’m complaining to God when I complain about the fact that I must always keep my tummy covered (especially when I see a cute bikini I’d love to buy). It is a struggle. Of course, I don’t love my thighs either. I’ve actually hated them since I was a teenager. It seemed everyone had thinner legs than me. What can I do? I have the same thighs and butt every other woman in my family has! We compare instead of being joyful for what we have. I think you are beautiful in every way (inside AND out!). You know the women who have no butt and no shape complain about that, so be joyful for your curves! Also, remember how far you have come. Remember, those legs beat me by 6 seconds! LOL! 😉 Love you, girl.

    • So glad that we can keep each other accountable for these things on our long runs — to see the good and find the joy instead of lamenting what we don’t have.

  17. Yes, we all have imperfections and at times those imperfect things seem to overshadow our abundant blessings. Because indeed it is a blessings to not only run a marathon, but to finish it well. You are an amazingly gifted writer. And every time I read your heart felt words I am blessed.

  18. Jen is always wonderful – love seeing her work here. I bet every woman can identify with this . . . that darn cellulite! I have it and hate it, too. But my cellulite has never carried me 26.2 miles, that is for sure! Still, I get what Jen is saying about imperfections and I just love that we can fall into God’s grace. It is so comforting.

  19. I am the photographer in our home, the one who avoids being in the photos, because I rarely like the way I look in a picture, always quick to point out my imperfections. I can imagine there are very few that cannot relate to what you say here. And I have to say that I am so proud of you for running 26.2 miles. That is a huge feat. Lovely post from your lovely heart Jen.

  20. I think we can all relate, Jen. Thanks for being so beautifully vulnerable about your journey. We are cheering you on in more ways that one!

  21. Thank you to everyone for your sweet words and encouragement. Thank you, KD, for hosting me and this wonderful new Painting Prose community!!

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