Beve, while cleaning the carport (mostly Grampie and Thyrza's stuff that we agreed to take, no matter what it was, just so it would leave their small space), found some refrigerator magnets the kids and I had made for the grandparents when those kids were in elementary school. E had very long hair, but a whole lot of it was pulled on the very top of her hair with a scrunchy. It was quite the look, let me tell you. E always had a flair for fashion. The next year, we (she and I) inexplicably had her hair cut so short her 5th grade teacher thought she was a boy, as did people at restaurants. "Thank you, sir!" isn't exactly a compliment for a ten-year-old child. Especially at ten, probably. And that was in her pre-braces day, so her teeth might have been a bit protruding (something she got from me, sad to say!). In middle school, E went through a phase where she wore a green plaid flannel shirt/jacket every single day. Yep, another great look for her. Yep, she had a year or so that weren't so great, poor kid.
J, as a small boy, didn't like the feel of jeans, so wore sweatpants to school every day. And some of those were multi-colored, worn hiked clear up to his waist. He also didn't like to have to tie his shoes. That just took too long and that boy was always, ALWAYS in a hurry. Of course, there was one day when he was in such a hurry (or I was, we often ran late in the morning) that we got all the way to school and he was about to get out of our van when he admitted he didn't have any shoes on. When he was in middle school, even the first couple of years of high school, J was rather short and squatty. It was like he grew out before he grew up, poor guy.
SK, small and thin, got something called a 'lip-bumper' in the third grade. I don't really know what it was meant to do, but it gave her the appearance of having a large under-bite. And she couldn't quite close her mouth completely. Poor kid. She was goofy enough in elementary school that she was awarded the "Most Hyber" of the whole sixth grade (This shocked me, since she so often played quietly by herself at home. Since then I've learned that she needs that quiet/down time, in order to power up for social events). Glasses, braces with her hair in long braids, that was SK. And she looked about ten when she started high school, poor kid.
The thing is, it's only when I look back that I realize these things about my kids. As they were living their awkward stages, I was so crazy in love with them, I never noticed the externals. To me, they were the most beautiful, most amazing people on earth. That's how most of us feel about our kids. We're so in awe that such beings were given to us, came from us, we don't see straight. Even at their worst moments, these three people continue to enthrall me, to bless me, to make me feel astounded at God's amazing graces. Even when I see their weaknesses (which I do. I absolutely see them), I never stop feeling this awe that they were given to me. Just the way they are, I love them. No matter what, I love them. Even when they blow it...well, you get the idea.
You know where I'm going, don't you? I need to hear this today. I need to know deep inside that God loves me exactly as I am. Lately I've been feeling weak, fat, ugly inside and out. Now I know what I look like...and trust me when I say I'll never win any beauty contest. I've been going through an awkward stage for about my whole entire life. And, within, I won't win any saint contests either. There's just too much self inside myself. Too much sin. So I need to know that God looks at all of that, looks at my weaknesses and sin, and says, "Worthy. You are worthy!" Me, worthy of His love, worthy of His salvation, worthy to be saved. Again and again. I am a 'being-saved,' one, a One for whom He died, one in whom He dwells. It doesn't matter how ugly I look, how much uglier I feel, He looks at me and says, "Beautiful." Me, beautiful? Yes, even me. And even you. Together, we're the apple of His eye.