How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 7:16
So many things rushing through my mind. Images. Snapshots. Snippets of songs, videos, visual/audio clips. Words. Kind of a kaleidoscope of thoughts - look through the lens - scraps of color and shape. Turn and the scraps become a quilt, a pattern, a stained-glass window. Turn and they move - change - reform - reorganize - repattern. Endless design, endless thoughts, endless outcomes to endless decisions.
Today I saw a video on Facebook. A video about self-image. You can see it here. I recognized myself. Not literally, I wasn't part of the making of this video. Figuratively. How many times do I look in the mirror and only see what I consider my faults? How many times to I push and tug at wrinkles and bulges. Pull to stretch things out that were smooth thirty years ago. My head knows that I'm getting older, my heart knows it doesn't matter. It's a struggle. Outer - what I see, what others see, versus inner - how I feel, how I act, how I think. And the people around us - the people who know us - see that inner us.
The woman fussed at her clothes, pulling the gathers to the back, adjusting the scarf. She loosened the belt to sit lower on her waist. Her brow furrowed at her husband in the mirror; she tugged again at the waist that was a little too tight. She was getting to that decision point in her weight - eat less, exercise more, or give it up and start buying a new wardrobe. Ugh.
One last flip of the hair, turn and check out the back...she continued the turn to face her man - her partner and best friend.
"You look fine." She could see it in his eyes - appreciation, admiration - a little bit of that come hither thing she got such a kick out of. "You look better with a little more umpff on you," he put his hands on her shoulders, purposely eyeing down, then up, stopping at her eyes and smiling. "Really. You look healthy."
She shrugged his hands away. She was never going to see her goal if he kept this up. Couldn't he tell how unhappy she was with this body - this lumpy-extra-chin-cottage-cheese ick? The weight had been slowly gaining on her for the past couple of years, but she hadn't really noticed the difference in her clothes until recently. It was like everything had just - pouf - exploded out on her. Another ugh.
"You don't really listen to me," her husband was talking again. "I see it in your face." Now he had his hands on her waist, turning her back to him. Intimate space. Close. "I know, you think you're fat - I'm telling you, you aren't." He tilted her chin up. "You are beautiful - just as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside. And I love you." He kissed her - a quick good-morning peck - just a brush of the lips. "And I want you." He kissed her again - longer this time - lingering.
She smiled. "Then I'm either going to need a new wardrobe, or I'm going to have to go naked - because these clothes don't fit..." She was enjoying the attention - undeserved - but nice.
He laughed. "Do I get to choose?"
I have a friend in Texas who is stunningly beautiful. I don't think I'd like her very much - just out of jealousy - if she weren't so darned nice. Her inner beauty shines from her - it shines from that God-place inside of her that holds Jesus delicately and reverently. She is one of those people who become lovelier over time - more beautiful in the knowing.
My eyes see a different me than my heart sees - than you see. Unless we are only looking at the surface - we end up seeing a person's heart. Through that God-place, the one that holds Jesus delicately and reverently. You know, God made us in His image - He is beautiful and He is ugly. He loves us all. As a teacher, we have pictures taken a couple of times a year. I remember one, taken a couple of years ago, where my colleague said "Nice picture - they caught your friendliness."
Hmmm...a new wardrobe doesn't sound half bad...
Thank you, God, for my husband, and for men who tell their wives they are pretty. Help me to shine with your beauty and joy - to live up to the inside - the heart that others see.