Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jewels He is preparing for His Crown

This is Yubelina.
She loves Jesus.
Because of her love for Jesus, she was severely burned at the hands of those who hate Him.

does this image offend you?
do you wince & turn your eyes away in disgust?

many people did when viewing this image and wrote to VOM asking to cancel their subscriptions. they called her 'wretched', 'disgusting', a 'nightmarish, ghoulish vision'.

mind you, these are Christians we are talking about. those who (say they ) love the Lord, go to church, attend Bible study, follow the laws of their communities and pay their taxes.

have we, as a society, been so conditioned to think that - in the words of Tom White, President of VOM - "those with a remarkable Christian faith [somehow] cannot have marks inflicted upon them? was Jesus described as attractive or beautiful in the Bible? No. He was depicted as a man of sorrows, rejected, and one from whom men hid their faces (Is. 53)

many well-meaning parents and pastors said they would NEVER show this image to their children. Tom White received permission to speak with a number of Sunday School clases of 5-8 year olds. He shared how he knew of a young lady named Yubelina who loved Jesus so much and wanted to live for Him. He shared how she was attacked and burned. Then he showed them her picture. He says: "No one cringed; on the contrary, they were intensely curious. Their comments were, 'Pray for her...Help her...What happened to her eye?...Jesus told the blind man to go to the river....This makes me feel sad, how can we help her?"

Later, Tom's 2 1/2 granddaughter saw Yubelina's image on the coffee table, put her chubby little hand to her chest, and said, "Oh, I feel her better."

...from the mouths of babes.

i want to have a child's heart towards suffering, pain, ugliness, disappointment.

instead of trying to cover it up, turn my face away, run from it. i want to ask questions, pray, and put my hand to my own chest and weep for those who are truly in pain.

Yubelina is a beautiful young woman.
The joy she experiences from her walk with Jesus cannot help but radiate from her scars.
No amount of plastic surgery can make someone truly beautiful.
What's inside of us is what counts.

What is radiating from you to others?

lately, i've been so convicted in my heart of how i crave man's approval.
i love recognition and accolades. my heart lusts after them.
i love to look good. to be thought well of. to be liked.

and then i see a picture like this and my world seems so small and petty.
my desires, so stupid and shallow.
my sin, so ugly and offensive.
i want to be so caught up in Jesus like Yubelina is.
God, forgive me.

like i often do, are you trying to live in a nice little world, insulated from pain, ugliness, & hurt?
do you strive and claw after order, physical beauty, control?
how does it leave you?
content, satisfied, radiating with joy & peace?

i know how it leaves me and it's certainly none of those things.

below are some words written in response to Yubelina's photo that brought tears to my eyes:

"Praise God that VOM doesn't water down these atrocities. This woman's beauty doesn't lie in what you physically see; it's in the joy of the Lord!" ~ David W.

"What will they see when they get to heaven and see the scars Jesus received in order that we may be saved?" ~ Candace W.

"When I look at her "wretched" face, i see a transcendent joy and beauty that thousands of dollars of cosmetic surgery or makeup cannot accomplish." ~ Becky T.

"I recall that the early church considered it a privilege to suffer with Christ." ~ John H.

"These people featured inspire me like nobody else can. These people are truly the rare exquisite jewels He is preparing for His crown." ~ Julia A. (emphasis added)

"My very first thought was, 'Oh, what joy!' She knows her real daddy!" ~ Tim M.

"At first I thought, 'That poor little girl'. Now I realize I'm the one who is poor because she deserves praise not pity. Yes, she is beautiful; she has beauty of the spirit that can never be taken away from her." ~ Cathi M.

Peering back at me
A single eye staring at me
What some men should see
Horrors of a violent world
Is very beautiful to me

Beyond the scars
Behind the blazing marks
Heaven can be seen
I see Jesus looking at me

-poem by the Leggans Family

"This newsletter happened to arrive on a day when I was facing a lot of struggle, and Yubelina reminded me of the strength and joy that God gives us. I am grateful for this sister!" ~ Ruth S.

"My heart's desire it to know more about the lovely Ms. Yubelina. It really touched me to see her face on the front cover of the January 2011 VOM magazine. My heart goes out to her and the pain that she had to endure. I am a firefighter who was also burned in a house fire, and I can almost feel her pain; I will continue to pray for her and her loved ones. " ~ Tony D.

that last quote got me. i melted into tears.

if you would like to send a note or letter of encouragement to Yubelina, it will be hand delivered to her:

Letters to Yubelina
c/o The Voice of the Martyrs
P.O. Box 443
Bartlesville, OK 74005

click HERE to find out more about Yubelina and others like her.


Mary said...

I am so convicted because I get caught up in my little world. Because I AM offended by the picture. I hope that she never knows that I am offended. I hope that God will make Himself so strong in her heart that all she can see and hear is HIM.

Lizzy said...

Mary, thank you so much for your humble transparency. I too was initially offended and at one point turned the magazine cover over. the Lord was gracious enough to convict my heart. Thanks be to God that we - His precious children - are a work in progress...and ALL by His amazing grace! Blessings to you...

Jess said...

What a beautiful post...I love VOM. They bring a wonderful reality check to our home every few weeks with their mailers. My heart aches for Yubelina's physical pain, but looking in her eye...what joy! She is a trophy of God's amazing grace.