Some days just defeat me. Today was one of those days.

I'm visiting with family right now for a particularly joyous occasion: my sister, who is a missionary in Peru, has brought her new husband to the States to meet the family. And so we are celebrating their marriage with a big family get-together and a Blessing of the Marriage service at my grandmother's Episcopal church tomorrow.

This is a happy time for a number of reasons: we are welcoming an awesome person into our crazy family; my sister is actually HERE, in the United States (I probably won't get to see her again for at least a year and a half, if not longer); my other sister is pregnant with her second baby; and family members who haven't been together in years are coming together this weekend to celebrate and reconnect.

Happy times, happy times.

But also a wee bit stressful.

We are all dealing with less elbow room, summer heat, lots of bodies crammed in one house, different ideas of how things should happen...typical issues when planning big gatherings.

And so, on occasion, a random, stray phrase - said with no harm intended - might slip from an unaware mouth.

This is what happened today. Something was said that seemed (to me) to make an inference about my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof). Now, I'm normally a pretty sensitive soul anyway, but when you add that to crazy hormones and a houseful of different, occasionally conflicting personalities - well, let's just say it wasn't pretty.

Of course, I'm not the type of person to blow up at someone on a whim. No. I'm the kind of person who sulks and mutters and cries, secretly hoping that someone will come down and see me and pity me and ask what's wrong, only for me to bitterly say, "Nothing, I'm fine."

(Come on, I know some of you have been that person too...)

So I went downstairs and I sulked and muttered and cried while picking up things and folding the laundry I had done earlier but left in a pile so that I could spend more of my precious little time with my family.

In reality, I *knew* that no harm was meant by what was said earlier. But in my fragile emotional state, I allowed it to eat away at me. I allowed it to dredge up all the hurtful, negative, degrading, demeaning things that had ever been said to or about me. I focused on those things. I *believed* those things. Things like, "You're less of a woman because you're not as neat as your sisters." Or "You're less of a person because you couldn't even get scholarships to college." Or "You aren't good enough at music to pursue it as a career." Or...fill in the blanks.

Many of these things were, first of all, complete falsehoods. I *know* that my value and my worth does not lie in my ability to keep a house spotless, or to get perfect grades in school, or to sight-read music the first time I see it. I know that my value is not determined by how others see me, but rather by how God sees me.

But many of these hurtful things have been said over the years by family. Family who is supposed to love me no matter what. Family, whose opinions I highly value. Family, in whose eyes and heart and mind I have placed my worth.

It is unhealthily easy for me to get tangled up in worrying about what others think of me. I have spent most of my life worrying about what my peers thought of me, and I have placed my value in their (often presumed) ideas of me.

And today I did it again.

But I am so glad that what matters most (or rather, the only thing that really matters) is this right here:

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.

(Zephaniah 3:17, 19)