August 7, 2012 by A Girl Like Me
*** To you, dear girl, who feels like a soiled dove. This letter is for you. ***
Dear Soiled Dove,
There is an old Cambodian proverb that says that women are like white cloth. If white cloth is dropped in the mud, it will forever be stained, soiled and ruined. This idea that once we are soiled we can never be clean again is exactly why I am writing you today. Because like you, Soiled Dove, I too am soiled.
I find it so strange when I look back to all my many stains. Some have faded over time while some seem just as fresh as the day they were made. There are some, though they seem faded, in almost an instant come flooding back to the surface, and it is as if I am stained all over again. Sometimes my stains make it hard to look in the mirror. I’m unable to see anything beyond the blotches of ugliness that cover me, almost as if I am looking at someone other than myself. And no matter how long I stare into that mirror, I only seem to get a glimpse of that once pure and spotless bird that I was. Do you like what you see in the mirror Soiled Dove?
Sometimes my stains also make me unable to ever get close to people- to let them in. I wonder if they can see the mess all over me, and if they can…..what do they think of me? I try to cover myself up….give myself new feathers and hope beyond all hope that they won’t see what’s underneath. Surely they would know I’ve tried to get cleaned. I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed till my fingers bleed, but the stains just won’t go away! So I hide. I hide because I can’t be exposed. If I’m exposed, everyone will know that I’m a soiled dove and they’ll reject me. I’ll be even more alone than I already am. I can’t take that risk. No, I’m just going to sit here and hide. Hiding is safe and I like safety. Do you hide too, Soiled Dove?
It’s lonely being a soiled dove. I often feel like I’m not really living life at all. And even when I try to be happy, try to see past all my stains, I can’t let go of the thought that they’re still there- haunting me. I want to be free, I try to fly away, but my wings have been clipped and I’m doomed to roam this world on the ground. Never flying. Never fully experiencing freedom. I’m stuck. I’m void of hope. I’m soiled. I’m ugly. I’m all alone. Do you ever feel that way too, Soiled Dove?
But take heart my beloved friend because there is hope to be found! The God of this universe sees you. Yes, YOU! And not only does he see you, but he wants to be near you. Hosea 2:17 says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Do you see that Soiled Dove? God sees you are a stained woman, lost and alone. So what does he do? He leads you into the wilderness…into that place of quiet loneliness to do what? To speak tenderly to YOU. To whisper those words that you can’t even begin to believe to be true, but really are: “You are beautiful.” “You are treasured.” “You are loved.” “You are mine.”
I know what you’re thinking Soiled Dove…”How can this be? You have no idea the stains I bear. They are too much. Nothing can cover them. Nothing can make me beautiful.” But that is where you are wrong my sweet friend. You see, when Jesus died on that cross thousands of years ago, something magical happened. His blood, well, it covered you. It didn’t clean your feathers and remove your stains. No, instead it poured over them, covering them up so that all that was left was not a dirty soiled bird, but a new, bright colorful one. One covered in a crimson blood as magnificently beautiful as a shining ruby. One covered in a love so powerful that even all the powers of hell itself cannot shake it. And one that is no longer bound to the stains in which it bears, but free to soar through the heavens sharing it’s glorious color to the world. That bird, my dear Soiled Dove, is YOU.
Now you are free to look in the mirror without fear or shame. Because when you do, you will not see the Soiled Dove. Instead you will see HIS face and the blood he spilled out so that you could be made more beautiful than you were before. And when He sees you, he does not see your stains. He sees the love of his son and the sacrifice he made so that the two of you could be together. He sees beauty. He sees hope. He sees himself.
There will be days you will forget. You’ll forget that you have been made new. You’ll forget how beautiful you truly are. But in those moments, remind yourself of what He did. He did not leave you that day on the cross. He chose to stay. He stayed because he knew you’d be soiled and in need of a rescuer. He stayed because you are worthy of his love. Did you hear that Soiled Dove? YOU ARE WORTHY! Worth as much to him as his only son. Remember his love. And remember that no stain you bear is ever too dark, too big, or too ugly that his blood cannot cover it. Because it can..and it HAS.
I love you my sweet Soiled Dove. I pray that we would come to live as these new vibrant creatures that we’ve been molded into. Birds free to soar, no longer bound to roam the earth in despair. Birds tucked safely under the protective wings of our gracious Jesus who sees past our stains and loves us without limit. May we fly with him and rest in knowing that even if we falter, he is right there, whispering to us in the distance..”I love you. You are so beautiful to me. “
Heather- A Fellow Dove