Words spoken by a complete stranger at a picnic yesterday while Isabelle sat next to me eating corn off the cob and potato chips. I told her she'd say the opposite if my husband was present because most people see him in her before they see me. Either way, though, there's no denying she's ours.
Have you had people tell you that about your kids or your parents? I used to get it all the time growing up. Either they'd say, you look just like your mother or you must be Rich's daughter, depending on who they knew. As a kid, when you just want to be an individual, it's not always a compliment to be told you look like someone else (unless it's a movie star, of course!) and as a girl, being told you resemble your father can be devastating. Fortunately, we get over such childhood devastations and realize that people were being kind, not cruel. As a parent, it's a huge compliment to hear that people can see you in your child. To me, it was just neat that someone who didn't know us could tell that Isabelle was my daughter. It adds to the amazement of God's miraculous work of using two people to make another person.
As Christians, we can have no higher compliment than for someone to tell us we look like our Father, or that they can see Jesus in us. Romans 8:29 tells us that's God's purpose in our lives: "For those whom he foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren." (NASB)
Ideally, then, the longer I walk with Christ, the more I will look like Him. Most days, I feel like I have a long way to go. Do you know people who exude the likeness of Christ? I can think of a few, and they challenge me by the way they live their lives.
The tricky thing about this is that I want to look like Christ in the way I live my life, but if I know how much I look like Him, it may become a source of pride and then I'm back to looking less like Him.
At this stage of her life, I'm not sure my daughter has any idea she looks like me or my husband, and sometimes, even when we're older, that's hard for us to see. So, we rely on those around us to tell us what may be plainly obvious to others but not to us. I think it can work the same for our Christian brothers and sisters. It's easy to get discouraged and think that we in no way resemble our Father. After all, the world certainly doesn't make it easy or fashionable to look like Christ. So, maybe what needs to happen is that if we see someone doing something Christlike, we encourage them and say something like "You look like your Father," "You must be a child of God" or "I see Jesus in you."
Maybe that sounds kind of cheesy, but I think it could go a long way in lifting each other up and helping each other get through one more day. I'll look for more opportunities to tell people that, and in the meantime, I'll ask God to show me how I can be more like Him.