On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve I dashed out to the Dollar Tree to grab some noisemakers for my girls to cheer on those Clemson Tigers as well as to ring in the New Year. I had no makeup on, and I don’t remember if I even showered that day. My idea of ringing in the New Year involves jeans and a t-shirt, fuzzy socks, a good meal, and a good book (if I can manage a few minutes of reading in between diaper changes and breaking up fights). I’m a party animal! Be jealous.
I did promise my girls noisemakers (woo-hoo Mom of the year!) sigh…you know it’s love when you will endure endless hours of auditory torture just to see your kids smile. Thankfully, I got lucky with the noisemakers this year. They sounded like kazoos muffled by twenty pillows…dull and non-startling. Just my kind of noise.
So, when I, “Mom of the year,” made my way to the Dollar Tree, I was approached from behind by a sweet, black girl of about nine or ten years of age wearing pretty pink eyeglasses. She said, “Excuse me, Miss?” I thought maybe I dropped something, or looked lost. I was a bit confused trying to figure out if noisemakers would be in the party favor section or in the toy section, because there were no New Year’s decorations anywhere to be seen. I said, “Yes, sweetie?” And with a serious earnestness the girl asked me, “Do I look pretty with or without these glasses on?” I was taken aback. I could have cried. I told her, “Sweetie, you look beautiful with and without the glasses.” Her face lit up. “Thanks, Miss!” I might as well have told her she looks like Miss America. And she did. Her smile could light up New Year’s Eve. She told me I was pretty. And fighting back tears, I thought about how ugly I felt walking into the Dollar Tree that day. A bleary eyed, weary mom, smelling like salted pork and collard greens. I was just like that little girl.
I finally found the noisemakers, but I lost an opportunity.
Sure, I told that little girl that she was beautiful, but I never told her why she was.
I love how Sally Lloyd Jones writes about God creating man and woman:
So God breathed life into Adam and Eve. When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God’s face. And when God saw them he was like a new dad. “You look like me,” he said. “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!” God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.”
~from The Jesus Storybook Bible
They were lovely because he loved them.
I should have told that little girl that she was lovely because God loved her. He really does love her. I think the Lord through His Spirit gently corrected me that day for not only missing an opportunity to share God’s love with that girl, but also for doubting God’s love for myself.
I can get so performance-driven. As a kid, school, sports, and even Christian “growth” was measured in some way. There were report cards, games, memory verse recitations. And then there were boys. And the girls. You had to look a certain way, dress a certain way, talk a certain way, know certain things in order to fit in. And then you grow up and apply for jobs, look for a spouse without looking desperate, and try and keep a good credit score while looking good.
It’s all too much.
But God never designed life to be this way.
We were not designed to perform.
We were designed to be loved.
And to love.
I have to remind myself often of this, and New Year’s Eve was a brilliant reminder that I am not through hearing God loves me. I wish I could go back to that little girl and tell her God loves her. She may not even know there is a God who made her and loves her. I pray for God to intervene in her life and lead her to Jesus. I blew an opportunity, but I learned a lesson from it.
Maybe you need to be reminded God loves you.
He showed us most splendidly by giving us His Son, Jesus.
“But God shows His love for us in this while we were still sinners, Christ died or us” Romans 5:8
Let that sink in the next time you ask yourself, “Am I beautiful?” Our beauty is not contingent upon performance, how the world defines beauty, or what we think the mirror tells us on any given day or year. We are beautiful because God made us that way…with or without glasses.