Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Looking in the mirror

This morning, as I stumbled down the hall, I stopped short.
This is my life. This stumbling, limping gait is my external life.
Yet inside I feel so whole. How can that be? It isn't merely that I look in the mirror and am shocked by the wriinkles on my face and the gray beginning to streak through my hair, thinking they're the mask on top of my true self. My true self feels 26 years old, newly married to a tall, straight, almost-black-haired Beve.
It's this shell that is wrong. It's a Halloween costume with scars and bumps and all these afflictions put on over my real self. I don't need that external frame (which is what I call my large back brace/belt), I don't need the cane. Only the costume does. Yes. it's just part of the costume.

Then I get to thinking about how God sees me. He doesn't see this external stuff, either. He doesn't care one iota what I look like, what my body's made of. He sees my true self. Always has. I don't know what age that is because chronological age is immaterial to Him. I am only whole in His eyes, When He looks at me, He doesn't look at this mask of age, of stumbling infirmity. He looks at my heart.
So when I look in the mirror, do I see as He sees? Can I look past both the mask of age and disability, and even the 'real' me I imagine myself to be, to who HE sees? Can I see Him in me? Do I see the made-in-His-Image self He created?

Is this the essential, true me?

Or this (I'm the one in the middle, though I'm the oldest sister) goofy, silly me?

Or this supremely, happy me?

Or this me? Letting you see what I usually keep covered to make a point.  These are all me, and not the whole me. As much as this brace is going to be my external frame for the rest of my life (though hidden by loose-fitting outer clothes), so all the things we put on are simply coverings for our true selves. And God sees through all of it. Accepts all of it. Loves us through all of it. Says, YOU are precious in my sight, no matter what you looks like on the outside. 

We all have masks. I know this. You do too. When you look in the mirror, I bet it's easier to see the flaws of age or whatever else you think is wrong with you, than t
o see that you are not simply beautiful, but perfect in the eyes of God.  
That's what I see when I look in this mirror. It's what I'm reminded when I have to 
put on this belt every morning. 
God loves me. 
In His eyes, 
at every age, 
I'm precious and perfect.
And I hope you're reminded too.


Pamela M. Steiner said...

Oh my dear friend! My heart goes out to you. I did not realize that you had to wear "the belt" for the rest of your life! I've had to wear that belt before, but thankfully not now. I am praying for you...for your strength, for your continued courage, and for your healing. But I am most thankful for your spirit, your attitude, and your honesty. You are a marvelous woman...one whom I am blessed to know...and I wish I could really "know" you in person and sit down with you and share the joys and concerns we both have. But for now...we will continue this way...and now that I have a clearer picture of what you are living with it helps me to understand you better...and to feel your heartbeat more clearly. You are a beautiful person, Carolyn. Thank you for being YOU> May God lift you up and give you joy in each new day. Praying here. Your friend on the other side of the country, Pam

Carolyn Wiley said...

Thanks, Pam. Thanks for your compassion and understanding. I don't usually feel sorry for myself because we're all given something. You've had your own cross--as deep and hard as any I can imagine. This is what life in a fallen world is made of. Disease and affliction and financial worries and attacks from the enemy and all kinds of things I don't think I could live with. But God doesn't ask me to live with all of them. He asks me to live with this. IN this. This body. And so--most of the time--I do. Gladly. By faith. Without faith, there's no possible way I'd be the person I am. Never in a million, as my younger daughter likes to say.
Thank you for your prayers and friendship and faithfulness in commenting. It's a blessing.