Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

by Lisa Leonard January 30, 2019
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)
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Years ago, I sat in the newborn intensive care unit gazing at my tiny baby. He was only two days old with a full head of curly hair, beautiful blue eyes and perfect skin. He had just been diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

A few days earlier, I went in for my regular 38-week appointment. That’s when everything began to unravel. I was admitted early to the hospital, and my tiny baby was born. Cornelia de Lange syndrome can affect many different parts of the body. David weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces and had only two fingers on his left hand. After an easy pregnancy, everything was falling apart.

The baby we anticipated didn’t exist, and in my arms I held a baby I didn’t know … with a future that felt uncertain and scary. My husband Steve and I were devastated. We were grieving. Every beep and buzz from the machines around us was a reminder of our new unknown. I could hardly make sense of what was happening. 

And yet, I sat there holding my precious son David, gazing at his adorable face. Verses from Psalm 139 popped into my head, reminding me “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (v.14a).

I couldn’t understand what was happening or how it would unfold, but I knew deep in my heart that David was created by God. I took a deep breath and let the comforting words of Psalm 139 speak to my heart.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

My baby was not a mistake. He was precious and loved, created by God, known by God. As I internalized these truths, I began to fall in love with David and accept him exactly as he was. I could see he was amazing. 

But while I could see that David was precious, I rarely saw the same truth about myself in the midst of life’s competing demands. My mind was constantly focused on my many shortcomings and flaws:

Why can’t I lose 10 pounds?
Why am I so tired/disorganized/grumpy?
Why can’t I be a better wife and mom?
Why am I never good enough?
Why can’t I do better?  

I felt inner conflict with these opposing truths. If David was loved just as he was, I must be as well, but I sure didn’t feel it. Instead, I felt inadequate. I felt less-than. 

I had tried so hard for so long to prove I was good enough, to prove I was worth loving. I tried to be needless and want-less, believing my needs and wants weren’t as important as others. But all the trying and working and proving never changed my heart.

David taught me what brave love looks like. Brave love starts with me, and it starts with you. Brave love means being honest about what we need and want. It’s allowing ourselves to be whole people with thoughts and feelings and moods. Brave love is messy and complicated, but it also brings peace and creates space for intimacy in our relationships.

Just like David, we have all been fearfully and wonderfully made, known and loved by God to love bravely.

Father God, thank You for creating me to be ME. Your creation is good and beautiful, and I am part of that. You didn’t make a mistake when you created David, and You didn’t make a mistake when You created me. Please help me to know, deep in my heart, that I am precious and loved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” (ESV)


Read more in Lisa Leonard’s brand-new book, Brave Love, a journey of figuring out what it means to love bravely and realize there is space for you to be you. It’s full of tender, beautiful moments and broken, desperate moments and silly, crazy moments. Honest and real, we hope your heart resonates deeply with Lisa’s story. Get the details here.


Find more encouragement to find beauty, even in the midst of brokenness, when you follow Lisa on Instagram.

Could you use a reminder of what it means to be human, how it feels to be broken and afraid, and what happens when we dare to love deeply? Enter to WIN your very own copy of Brave Love. In celebration of this book, Lisa’s publisher is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here in our comments section. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, February 4.}


How can you nurture your own heart today? What does it look like for you to live as a whole person with needs and wants?

© 2019 by Lisa Leonard. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a divison of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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