Mama, Be The Light

My husband took this pic while on our hike through Watkins Glen State Park in New York and I’ve been mesmerized by it ever since. Not just because he captured the beauty of this magnificent gorge and one of the 19 waterfalls gleaming in the distance, but I’m captivated by the “light”. How the brilliance streams from above, dances on leaves, and outlines me with a golden glow.

The scene reminds me of my life journey, and perhaps you can relate. I’ve always been able to see the Light in others with perfect clarity. The way their splendor beams down on others, glistens on their surroundings, and hovers around their being. Standing in the presence of such a person leaves a tangible residue on your soul.

But up until a few years ago, I never believed I was capable of emanating such a light. My self-esteem clung more to the shadows of weakness and failure. I spent decades cloaking myself in protective armor and self-preservation. Hiding my brokenness, imperfections, and insecurities with blackout shades, hoping the world would have to squint to see the real, unworthy me. All the layering up with make-believe masks to hide the worst of ‘who I thought I was’ only prevented me from lamplighting the best of ‘who I am’ to the world around me.

Seeing the aura surrounding me in this picture reminded me of how far I’ve come on the road towards self-love, self-acceptance, and authentic freedom. For too long I didn’t know my true identity was who I am in Christ: a beloved child worthy to shine. Now I believe I can emit light without needing help from the sun. Being a luminary from within is possible because God placed the Light of Love inside my heart.

This same Light is in all of us. But how many of us believe in its power?

Over time, I’ve learned to let myself crack and let go of the restraining orders. To stop projecting pretend personas so my authentic self—love at the core—can push through the seams and out through my pores.

Isn’t that why we’re here on this spinning blue ball? As Light-bearers and ambassadors of LOVE to help illuminate the way for others? To journey together, in relationship, and enjoy this grand gift of life?

When our kids are little they take on this role like little bosses. Light and love define their existence. Maybe because their limited experience isn’t tainted enough. They haven’t faced hardship and brokenness, so not much to hide.

Although I didn’t believe this until forever, we don’t have to have it all together, be pain-free, or present as porcelain containers free of any scar or blemish to radiate a transformative glow. God created Light to shine through the darkness. Light bends through all kinds of brokenness. And love is always the source.

May we all find the courage, resolve, and strength to be both light bearers and love ambassadors by wearing a wardrobe of transparency so the truth of who we are can bring life-giving hope and healing to the world around us.

Shine on, friends. Be the light.

Shelby Spear
Shelby Spear
Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories on her blog at, around the web, and in print at Guideposts. Shelby's new book, co-authored with Lisa Leshaw, is now available: How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.")

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