My toddler rolls over in bed and touches my face. “Eww,” he says, innocently observing the obvious outbreak of Rosacea (something I never had until this year).
He closes his eyes and nestles into my arm, sound asleep. Meanwhile I stare at the ceiling mourning the beauty I once had. It wasn’t so long ago I had a slim body, tan, and a flawless complexion. My stomach was free of stretch marks and hernias, my hair and clothes had more thought put into them.
I was radiant with beauty. Or was I?
My definition of outward beauty reflected the world’s. But how quickly we dismiss the fact that the world’s definition of beauty changes in time.
Pudgy used to be sought over slender so many years ago. It showed health and fertility. On the same hand, pale skin meant that you were wealthy enough to stay indoors and avoid the harsh sun that we now seek out all summer long.
No, I am convinced now that beauty isn’t a certain set of standards but an ever-changing thing. My husband taught me this early on…he liked my messy hair pulled back hastily over the meticulous styled look that was beaten into me during my teen years.
He didn’t mind me skinny, but preferred that I was healthy. (I was underweight for my size back then). The hernia’s never bothered him, even after they were surgically fixed only to return as I carried our unborn son in my stretching stomach.
He didn’t care that I had stretch marks, that my weight stayed, that I now have Rosacea marking my face in red.
He never cared because he loves me, the beauty within and surprisingly the changing beauty of my outer appearance.
Let’s face it women. You can only grasp on to this world’s idea for so long, eventually you will change and later you’ll find that the world is changing too. Just like fashion. Stopping chasing what you were never made to chase, because it’s mere vapor anyway, you’ll never catch it.
There are times like this, with my son poking at my face, that I feel a pang of sadness over the me I once was. But it quickly passes when I turn my gaze off of myself and onto the little being beside me. He will always be beautiful (handsome) and perfect to me.
Even when he hits those teen years and his flawless skin experiences the hormonal zits that come with it. I would still find him just as perfect.
If my husband finds me beautiful during my life seasons and I can likewise feel the same awe at God’s design when I look at my son. Why can’t I feel that same acceptance with myself?
God loves me as I am. And “as I am” will always change. Maybe true beauty isn’t what we think it is….maybe true beauty is change.
The scars, the rings under our eyes, the marks on our faces, the slight pudge around our waist…they tell a story of change. And as I hold my son I think…what a beautiful story that is.
It proves that I have lived. And that I have contributed to this world something more valuable than myself. And that work has left it’s marks on my temporary frame.
I’m pregnant again, and I wonder vaguely if my body will bear more stretch marks, more battle scars.
I smile at the mirror and shrug.