I have never been the kind of person who is incredibly concerned about appearance. I can go to the grocery store in sweat pants, no make up, hair crazy and not give it a second thought. I prefer to look well-groomed, but as a Mom of 3, I have learned that isn't always necessary. I am comfortable in my skin. But now my skin has these scars. They are WAY better looking than many pictures I have seen. My plastic surgeon is seriously a miracle worker. His stitches are about the cleanest thing I have ever beheld. But still, the fact remains, that I have these big scars going across my chest. For months, I have had a very misshapen,asymmetrical look going on and I KNOW it will look better after this next surgery. But still. It makes me sad.
So last night, I was lying there being all gloom and doom about my present state, but faithfully injecting little statements like, "but at least I don't have cancer anymore" and "but praise God that it's all almost done." And then I said, "but I'm never going to be the same again. I'm never going to be who I was. I'm never going to look normal or attractive for you ever again, Jarrod, and I know it's not my fault. But still, I'm SO sorry."
And he leaned up on his elbow and his eyes were trying to find mine in the dark. And then he said, "You can keep on playing this game for as long as you want. But when will you believe me when I say that you're beautiful?"
Whether you have been through a traumatic body experience such as mine with breast cancer, or you just struggle a bit with your view of your body for any reason at all, these are the words that you need to hear. Those words that my wise, merciful, loving husband spoke. Because he's right.
And those words aren't just coming from him, they are an echo of the voice of an even wiser, more merciful, more loving Heavenly Father.
We beat ourselves up. We hyperfocus on our imperfections to the point that we don't remember how fearfully and wonderfully made we are. We are tormented by those extra 10 pounds of baby weight and that mole on our face, or those grey hairs that multiply like baby bunnies overnight. The scars we see in the mirror remind us of awful things...but there is hope. There is acceptance. And there is love.
Jeremiah 31:3, The Message version says,
"You can keep on playing this game for as long as you want. But when will you believe ME when I say that you're beautiful?"
Let's end the game. Let's accept that these bodies are temporary placeholders for the glory and perfection that awaits us. I'm not saying we let them go to waste. We have a responsibility to treat them with utmost care. But let's go easy on ourselves.
When you've been touched by a love that oozes acceptance, understanding, and even appreciation for what you have endured, that's when image becomes less controlling. If you don't have a supportive person here on earth like the treasure of a husband I have been given, I am so sorry. But know that you have a heavenly Father who sees. Who knows. And who loves you just the way you are.
You are beautiful. I hope you will start believing it.