Glimpse of Beauty

Edit: This post was originally written a couple of weeks ago. *secret: Sometimes I write posts and don’t actually post them. This is one of those. But I decided today that I wanted to share it.

Last night after my run I was getting something out of the cabinet in our bathroom and I briefly caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I smiled and then started laughing, because in my brief glance I thought, “Hmm, I’m actually kind of beautiful.” Now, you’re thinking that I’m a little narcissistic and vain. That’s cool. You may think whatever you want of me. If I’m being honest though, that brief encounter I had last night was a rare moment. It’s one of a few that I could count on both hands if you went through my twenty-one years. I believe from experience that I’m not the only girl who rarely feels how beautiful she really is. The funny thing really about all of this is like I said, I had just finished running. It was a solid 80-something degrees with probably 100% humidity because well welcome to Louisiana. My hair was in a disheveled ponytail. I was in an oversized tank top with mismatched shorts and even more mismatched socks and shoes. My face was flushed from running and I was drenched in sweat. (Probably more info than you wanted but let’s all just be honest here.) Probably nobody else would consider me in that moment to be “beautiful”. In fact it wasn’t a gorgeous face that made me see beautiful there in the mirror. But all I saw was beauty. In the mirror I saw strength. I saw perseverance. I saw passion. I saw freedom. I saw someone who was alive. I saw love. Everything I want to be, I caught a glimpse of it in that moment. So cheesy, I know. But I think that’s one of the things I can appreciate in my struggle to always see how beautiful I really am. The moments I see it, they are fleeting moments that come at just the right time to remind me of how intricately and uniquely made I am. Sure, there are other strong girls, other girls who love running. Other girls who feel so alive. But they don’t have my eyes, matched with my stubborn hair, or my stubborn attitude. They don’t laugh the same way I do, or make the same faces. All of those things, they add up to me. And for just a moment I see the big picture of who He made me to be and it’s kind of stunning.

And none of that is to say that I shouldn’t feel beautiful all the time or whatever anyone wants to tell me. I absolutely agree that we should all feel beautiful and know that God made us that way. We should never doubt that. In this culture that we live in though, it is a deeply rooted battle inside of every girl. “You are not enough,” is all that is thrown at us. It’s said outright, it’s hinted at, it’s suggested, it’s screamed from magazine covers to TV shows. And I’m just a broken record here, but all of it, it’s all lies. And all of us ladies, we know that. We have been taught that. But still…. I think it is one of those struggles that many of us will face over and over until finally one day, we just get it and we no longer feel like we have to measure up to anyone’s standards. To all the ladies fighting that battle still though, fight it with grace. He has shown us grace upon grace and poured out His love for you and I, so preach the gospel to yourself. Every day. The truth will set you free. The truth is the gospel. It is His word. It is His redeeming love.

Copper Runs

Back to my fleeting moment of beautiful. Tonight my roommates and I went for a walk. This week is VBS week. VBS is truly so delightful and a highlight of the summer. To explain to you what it feels like for me sometimes though is to call it finals week. It’s my second time working VBS as a head boss lady if you will and it straight up feels like finals week in college. I have only hydrated with coffee and Mountain Dew for the past 48 hours. I have slept less the past two weeks than I did while actually taking real final exams. Needless to say, it’s been tough {overwhelming maybe?}. I’ve been a little emotional which is absolutely not like me at all. I’ve also just felt like a couple of days, one being today, are just hard. They have just hit me hard and honestly by the time I made it home I was just done. So my roommates (+Aron) and I went and ate Mexican. Food is the best. Then the girls and I took a walk. As we walked and they talked, I just kept thinking about how all of the hard turns into something beautiful. I can always rest in the hope that these hard days end up creating the most beautiful things. I don’t know how. I couldn’t tell you what me driving thirty minutes the wrong way to a baseball game is going to produce or turn into beauty, but surely something right? So I took a refreshing walk with two girls I adore and a puppy that never ceases to make me smile. I meditated on the beautiful work of God in our lives as I admired his artwork in the setting sun.

There’s so much more struggle here. So much fear. Too much hard sometimes. In all of it though, I’m finding moments of beauty. Little glimpses of the big picture. Tonight it was in the setting sun and the love shared between friends. Last night it was my own reflection. I’m thankful for the reminders of beautiful, of how beautiful He made me and how beautiful this life is.

Jon Foreman says it best. I promise it’s worth your time to read it all.

“We learn to wear these masks so young

Like a prison that keeps joy from gettin’ through

And an angry silence grips our tongues

These weapons and our walls become our tombs

Yes, we’re the kids who’ve seen the darkness

Always looking for the light

You fall in love and then the rains come down

And only part of you survives

Come surrender your hidden scars

Leave your weapons where they are

You’ve been hiding

But I know your wounded heart

And you don’t know how beautiful you are

I’m tired of hiding who I really am

Underneath these alibis

I wanna know who you really are

I wanna meet you here tonight

Yes, we’re not born with these defenses

We’re not destined for this pain

We hide ourselves and put the fig leaves on

But a mask could never cover up this shame

And where we’re headed is a world apart

From where we started, we’ve come so far

I’ll take my chances

Honey, you can have my heart

Cause you don’t know how beautiful you are

Love surrender

Future gardens from all this rain

Future flowers from present pain

We’re bound together and our lives are bound to change

You don’t know how beautiful you are

And all the ashes of all these dreams

I’ve seen the beauty of fallen leaves

And someday maybe we’ll find out what it means

And you’ll find out how beautiful you are

You’ll find out how beautiful you are”