About the Author

Shannan Martin is the author of Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted, wife of a jail chaplain, and mom to four kiddos. She's a big believer in community and salsa, and blogs at ShannanMartinWrites.com.

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  1. Shannan,
    I’ll never forget the day that my son, the youngest, described my eyes as “mud brown” in a paper he was writing about his family…I can relate :).

    I was always a very sensitive and emotional child. I would get chastised for “wearing my heart on my sleeve”. But it’s that sensitivity that can look into someone’s eyes and see if they are happy or depressed or faking it. God, I believe, has used my eyes and my sensitivity to truly see what is going on with people and to truly care. What I once thought was a weakness in my character has turned out to be one of my greatest strengths. What a beautiful and encouraging post this morning!! Thank you…
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I love this so much, Bev. “What I once thought was a weakness in my character has turned out to be one of my greatest strengths.” YES!

      Thanks so much for adding to the discussion this morning.

      Have a great weekend!

  2. Shannon, this was beautifully written and brought a tear to my eye. We have not adopted, but we have nine children and I am very familiar with the skepticism and need to know details from perfect strangers. I have five daughters & it is my sea green eyed daughters who have dealt with self hatred, to the point of cutting themselves. My chocolate-eyed daughter (only one & is my middle child) is extremely at ease in her own skin. Those large brown eyes are amazing & yes, very sensitive to the needs of others and full of amazing expression. She has been such a testimony of God’s grace and wisdom with both her sisters. We are on the healing end of things, but are now looking to the two youngest daughters to ensure that they do not fight the same battle or that they at least have a strong support if it’s God’s will that they do.

    • Oh, isn’t it wonderful to know you’re on the “healing end of things”? Not that all the days are perfect (or even close) but that progress and healing is happening?? I’m with you there.

      Thank you so much for your comment. Saying an extra prayer today for your green eyed beauties – for all of you!

  3. This is a wonderful post. I like it. We all have clear blue eyes here at home. Except the youngest ones. He has green eyes with brown around the pupil. We have told him he is our dear son. And his eyes are so beautiful. Now he is proud on it. We all are a masterpiece of God.

    God bless you!

  4. That quote from Ephesians hits home with me. Thank you for the reminder! For me that quote is about not losing myself in things I’m told by the world I should be doing but rather focusing on the good work he has sent me to do. I needed a realignment and that verse sums it up for me!

  5. Shannon, I loved this today. I always thought my own eyes were muddy brown. Today, I have 11 beautiful children. Some with blue eyes, some with green, some with chocolate color and some with what we like to call, the oh so cute color. We have dealt with many things in life, self-esteem being one of the hardest for the girls. I love how you found a common denominator in all things. We have tried to do the same. We are all made in the image of a loving Heavenly Father and our truest beauty is within Him. Thank you for sharing your gifts today.

  6. I was born into a mostly brown-eyed family. My dad, 2 of my siblings…me. My Mom had beautiful green eyes. Later, when they adopted my sister, guess what color eyes she had? Green…just like Mom. 🙂 God is so good.

    When I was younger, I would dream of having beautiful blue eyes. Now I have 4 children with my blue-eyed husband. That recessive blue-eyed trait? Three of ours have it. 🙂 God is so good.

    And the brown-eyed child? He’s our first born, our 28 year old man-child…he has Down Syndrome. Sometimes he feels like he is different from everybody…but he always reminds me, “we are the brown-eyes, Mom.” God is so good.

  7. I am browner then my family. And whiter then my friends. I remember lupita who begged God to change her color from chocolate. A beautiful girl i never quite saw myself as such. I wanted to be rich and not brown like my peers. Brown girls cant get married, brown girls were poor, vanilla boys rejected me bc even tho i was vanilla on the inside at times i was indeed brown. Being biracial has been a quandary in life i havent quite come to peace with. But i suppose everything God creates is w purpose. I battle feeling like im a mistake at times a freak of nature..an oops. But i have to believe God knows.

    • As the mama of a bi-racial daughter, your words really hit close to my heart.
      Yes, everything He creates is with purpose. I don’t know you, but I can see your beauty from here.
      I wish my Ruby could meet you!

  8. I’ve often been made fun of for openness and my rather unfeminine quality of speaking my mind in any situation. It has helped me always to tell people things that many people find awkward, untoward, or uncomfortable.
    I use this gift of plain speaking to tell people what i love about them. Right now, i use it most often, to my mother’s embarassment, to get her the care she needs when she’s too shy or confused to ask it for herself.
    It doesn’t often make me popular just effective.

  9. O but but but ………

    JESUS has huge baby brown eyes.

    I have lovely baby brown eyes.

    What’s wrong with having the same baby brown eyes as JESUS.

    They are a deep deep deep deep brown. They are beautiful like us.

    🙂

    Enjoy our inheritance in the image of JESUS.

    🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing your story. This brings to mind two stories. My mother was a light skinned as was my sister. When we were growing up people used to ask me who my friend was which always offended my sister and they never believed that we were sisters. I am darker skinned like my father. My mother passed away before I had my son so he only saw pictures of her but he had a good relationship with my father before he passed away. When my son was little he asked me how come my mother was white?? I had to explain to him that she wasn’t and that God makes us in many shades of color and sizes. He looked at me as if to say that’s not your mummy so I told him to look at his grandfather on his father’s side who had blue eyes and his dad who is also fair skinned with hazel eyes and then look at me who has brown skin and brown eyes and how God blessed us with him who has light skin and hazel eyes. Well he looked up at me with those beautiful eyes and gave me a big hug. He was satisfied with what I told him and I was fine with the hug. ☺

  11. Shannon,

    This was exactly what I needed to read this a.m. Having raised my three boys and 2 stepsons & 1 step-daughter, I was ready to be done. Ready to relax. Then God brought a foster son unexpectedly into our lives. We are going to be adopting him soon. Here’s the thing…I feel inadequate at times. This middle child who spent her life keeping everyone at a safe distance, guarding her neglected heart, now has to open up to a 14 year old hurt boy. The Lord has worked miracles in my life, in my view of myself, but I still struggle with closeness. Closeness is exactly what are neglected new son needs. It’s in those moments that I know I need Jesus to fill me up. More of Him and less of me. His perfection flooding my imperfection. Thanks for this post. A beautiful reminder that God knows EXACTLY what He’s doing!

  12. Shannon, this was awesome! I loved reading all the comments too. You stirred something in many of us. I myself am . . . green? eyed. Not really sure and that kind of bothered me. They seem to change color as I change clothes. But I didn’t realize how very icey-blue-eyed my family was (Hubby’s are that white-blue), not until our oldest daughter had her kids. And there, looking back at Grandma were deep, dark, chocolate eyes. How beautiful they are to me!

  13. That story of Amy Carmichael gets me every time. I adopted too and people see what they want to see. I hope in some way my children take my heart not my eye color. Just a thought. Blessings ~ Chris

  14. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! So wonderful for all your children!
    Bless you all!

  15. My oversensitive nature along with depression and anxiety made for an easily bruised and scared little girl. But at 56, after the guilt of raising 2 daughters like me, I have started to see the flipside of my “faults” Sometimes what makes you feel different or less than or picked on as a child can be a positive and beautiful gift as an adult. My sensitive and sometimes fearful nature gives me great sympathy and understanding of the children I work with at school. there is always the other side of the coin! Just look for it!

  16. I don’t have her dark eyes, or her brown skin, but both my daughter and I are short. Just under 5 ft if we stand really straight! And we have both lamented our shortness and laughed at it and embraced it. Awesome things come in small packages I’d say.

    Loved your story. Thank you for sharing…

  17. Shannon

    I’m jealous. You’re beautiful and I’m ugly! If I could upload a picture of myself to this website I think you would agree. I’m ugly as sin!! Hate this wicked, evil, disgusting woman I see in the mirror!!!!! Hate hate hate hate hate HATE HER! Why did God create me this way!?! I’m so ugly and disgusting!

    • Angela,

      You are not ugly! God doesn’t create ugly…He creates beauty! You must have beautiful traits inside and out! Don’t look at your appearance, instead think of some of the good things you do!

      God loves you and thinks you are perfect just like He made you!

      Blessings 🙂

  18. I was born with a port-wine birthmark on my face and neck. I was always teased by children on the playground at school and I didn’t want to get close to people as a result. I was shy and timid as I grew up. But God!!!! I asked Jesus into my life and He began to tell me who I was and how much He loved me. I’m celebrating 43 years of marriage to a man who really loves me! I’m a mom and grandmother. I have brown eyes, by the way, and all I truly want is to have My Father’s Eyes for others in this world and not judge them by how they look on the outside. Angela, if you are reading this—look to Jesus and let Him tell you who you are. You are beautiful and He really loves you!! Shannon–your words are an encouragement to all who read them. Thank you!

    • My nephew also has a large, dark birthmark across his neck and face. He is still young, so hasn’t face much teasing yet, but I hope that he grows up to be strong in the knowledge of his identity in Christ like you.

  19. Out of 5 kids, I am the only one with brown eyes….and I’m the middle child!:-)

    My hubby made my ringtone “My Brown-eyed Girl” cause he loves them!!!!!!!

    GREAT post!

  20. Less than perfect for His glory? Well, I have the most heinous-looking shoulders you have seen. They carry the appearance of certain breakage.
    Throughout my life, I have kept them covered through every alley, at every turn. Once, three years ago, I exposed them to a friend to allow her the visual experience. In so doing, she saw something I did not, and began a barrage of questions about the history of my health. You see, she is a doctor. Little did I know, my “less than perfect” shoulders would unlock the key to a medical mystery I have held since age six. Upon exposure, my friend was able to diagnose me with an extremely rare medical condition that my own physicians had never caught. Though they may not have “saved my life”, they certainly opened the door to a lifetime of misunderstandings and released a future of understanding.

    Praising God for my “heinous-looking shoulders”!

    BTW, I now proudly wear spaghetti straps! 🙂

  21. I have five children and the middle girl has brown eyes, her siblings blue like her Dad. Her half brothers blue as well. My mother has green eyes, my Dad brown, my brother green.

    I have dark hair, my husband light and I found my youngest two blond with blue eyes kept my mil happy. I never got a baby with dark hair like mine. My daughter’s brown eyes are darker than mine.

  22. Oh, I hear you, loud and clear…but the outworking of is was a true Romans 8.28 story!!

    Nothing about me was good enough for my Mum…..nothing at all.

    BUT I’ve fostered 39 teens who thought I was the bees knees….they all gave me unconditional love and acceptance, as I am sure your children do……God takes our broken pieces if we surrender them to him…and turns them into something beautiful and good.

    Loved this post beautiful brown eyes….there is a very old song called that.

    God bless you and your brown-eyed family.

    Mary, New Zealand

  23. A wonderful example of why it is so necessary to celebrate how God created us. So glad I took the time to read this.

  24. I loved that so much. It made me teary when you said when you first described your brown eyes as “chocolate”.
    I remember being teased constantly as a kid about my freckles. I hated them so much. I started wearing makeup at such a young age, trying to cover them with powder. Then I got teased for all of the makeup I wore, in the 7th grade. Most of my freckles have since faded. But whenever I see a little “freckle face” girl, it makes me smile. I love freckles so much! I love the quote. “A face without freckles, is like a sky without stars”.
    I have blue eyes. I vividly remember staring at my ABBA album cover back in the 80’s. (hehe). The blonde female singer had brown eyes. I remember thinking how much I loved brown eyes with blonde hair, like she had. I thought it was so unique. I used to pray for brown eyes.
    I wish all young girls (and boys!) knew that they are God’s masterpiece. Why does is usually take until we are grown to figure it out. Although I believe most women still struggle with something about themselves, sadly.
    Thank you so much, as always for your wonderful writing! 🙂

  25. Shannon,

    The one thing I have hated about myself is my hearing loss and speech impediment. For years I had to take speech classes –even in high school. I felt and still do that held me back in getting a job. I always felt as though I couldn’t do anything that involved phones, most clerical positions use a phone.

    God has shown me over the years that my hearing loss could be used to enhance our worship services. Several times a year I do sign language to music. Everyone just loves it when I do that.

    God uses all that we see as “bad” to His Good!

    Blessings 🙂

  26. I read your reply to my comment, Beth Williams. And yours too, Maria W. Thanks. Realizing I need to surrender to God daily not just one time.