Many of you may wonder, “What’s up with all these swan pictures you take, post, share, and others send you?” It began when I was 21 and my mother came to me and said, “You know that Ugly Duckling Story?” (The Hans Christian Anderson one about the little duckling who is rejected and considered ugly because he is different from all the other ducks and then when he is grown sees his reflection in a pond and realizes he is not a duck, he’s a beautiful swan.) I said, “Yes…?” and she warmly said with tears in her eyes, “That’s your story. You’re not an ugly duckling anymore”, as she handed me a little glass swan. Then I cried.
I had just completed my last round of major dental work, and six months prior had a final surgery, finishing years of corrective surgeries, dental work, and speech therapy to repair a cleft lip and palate birth defect. When my mom handed me that glistening little swan, it was an affirmation of the physical change that had slowly been taking place throughout my life to that point. They were happy tears we were sharing. We had been on a long, arduous journey together that challenged life itself and rocked me to the core with relentless teasing, rejection, and depression. We felt as if we were finally coming through the other side of a very long, dark and ominous tunnel. I was not so repulsed anymore when I looked in the mirror, finally looking somewhat “normal”. Some even said pretty. But what I saw on the outside was only a glimpse of what God had been doing on the inside.
Being born with this birth defect not only had a long list of physical ramifications, but also emotional and spiritual. Most of my life I felt like an outcast, second-class citizen, garbage- a reject. I hated myself, my life, and all those who made fun of me. I constantly questioned why a so-called loving God would allow something like this to happen to me. I had little hope of things ever improving to the point where I would not be terrified to step outside my front door, to actually have friends and feel comfortable and confident around people. To genuinely laugh and feel free. To embrace life and not feel as if it were a torturous existence to daily endure.
Little did I realize that God had not only divinely ordained my birth and situation, but had intentions to use it to bring Him glory and help many others come to an awakening of His love in their own lives. He was slowly changing me to be more like Him; from a sinful, ugly duckling to a beautiful, sanctified swan. HIS swan.
It was when my eyes and spirit were fully opened to this truth, and I surrendered my life to Christ, that I was set free from the dark, slimy pit of depression and self-hatred. Now every year when the dead winter landscape transitions to spring with new life bursting forth-colorful tree blossoms and sunny daffodils, I am reminded of this amazing promise. As God’s daughter through Christ, I am a NEW creation. God didn’t do a makeover. He doesn’t try to make something old look new; He makes us completely new. We come to Him as sinners and through His transforming, redeeming love, we emerge a new creation in Him, forgiven and free!
The journey of ugly duckling to swan took twenty-one years on the outside. That same journey took forty-five years on the inside. Understanding how God made me and that I was not a mistake. Writing God’s Word on my heart and knowing and believing how much He loved me. Embracing God’s truth about me, letting go of the past and rejoicing in all I was in Christ and Him in me was all part of the process of being set free in my TRUE identity, in Christ!
So on some of those off days when I am tired and more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks, look in the mirror and still feel “ugly”, I remember I am beautiful in His sight (Isaiah 43: 4), a new creation, changed – His treasured swan!
by Jennifer Brommet
My life was on a lonely path
So full of hurt and taunting laughs
I longed for love, to be embraced
Accepted into a special place
But all I heard was you’re not enough
You’re damaged goods, unsightly stuff
I hated life, hated myself
Always felt like I was put on a shelf
Wanted to change the playground rules
Only the cute and talented reign at school
The different, unusual, don’t belong
They’re bullied, teased, and always wrong
I wanted out from this tortured place
So sick of being teased about my face
The models on the magazines
Their perfect smiles always mocking me
Striving for something I could never be
Escaping the pain was all I could see
But You came and rescued this shattered soul
Lovingly mended life’s burdensome toll
You changed me from the inside out
You gave me hope, drove out all doubt
Gave me strength to carry on
Showed me I was your treasured swan
Because you died on Calvary
My sins are cleansed, the captive free
You showed me my TRUE identity
Beautiful daughter, precious, and loved
Kissed by my Heavenly Father from above
Free to be all you designed me to be
In your loving arms for eternity.
We all have an “ugly duckling” story. We’ve all been hurt, wounded, rejected, or suffered from life’s crushing afflictions in some way. But as you experience the fresh, new joy of springtime, be reminded of how much God loves you and desires to set you free to new life in Him!
For His glory,
More of my transformation story from ugly duckling to sanctified swan is in my book, True Identity.