I was getting ready this morning.........taking the five minutes to brush back my still wet hair, swipe some mascara on my lashes, a swipe of color on my lips and I laughed. I laughed, thinking back to the hours spent getting ready for school each morning, twenty long years ago.
Twenty years ago.
Have I been alive that long?
Thirty-five sounds so young but when you can say, with crystal clear memory, twenty years ago this happened.........well, it seems not so young.
But, twenty years ago............
I use to sit in front of my mirror meticulously curling each strand of hair in my huge permed bob.
I use to sit and catalogue the faults on my face, hoping to cover whatever blemish was found.
I use to stand in front of the mirror, turning this way and that, looking to see where there were any bulges or bumps or unflattering angles. Should I change? Does this look ok? Would people notice me? What would be worse - noticing me or not? Probably noticing.........
I use to spend hours on my appearance.
What I would tell that girl now is that being comfortable with who you are is so much more beautiful than any clothes you could put on.
I would tell her that all those hours spent on self would have been better spent on others because back then every else wasn't thinking about her, rather they, too, were thinking about themselves - their own fears and anxieties and futures and the achingly, seemingly important present.
I would tell her that years from now the boy she had a crush on for so much of her childhood, that constant boy-a-few-streets-over.......well, he would grow up to be just as kind as he always was and one day you would walk into his parents house and there he would be a husband, a father wearing white socks with sandals, drinking a beer, watching sports with his dad and you would giggle inside remembering the days of swooning over this now grown man.
I would tell her that the girls that seemed to have it all together and always appear flawlessly made up and perfectly dressed at school - oh, those girls - they would be the same girls that you would see at the park, at the store, at your child's school and you would share a glance with those now grown girls. The glance had in it a nod to the past with an eye to the future. Those girls that once seemed so different, so knowledgeable about the ways of women......well, now they are wives and moms and the knowledge is the same and the heart is the same. We have walked the same path and have all emerged beautiful and better for the experiences that life has given us.
I would tell that girl of long ago that beauty, true beauty, comes from within - it's a light, a joy, a sense of self that is unshakable in the face of a blemish, an uncurled hair, a curve that you want flattened. Beauty comes from loving others rather than loving yourself. Beauty comes from contentment. Beauty comes from knowing yourself well enough to know what works, what fits, what you love - even if it's not what is shown in magazines, in catalogues, on the right people. Beauty comes from God and beauty is found in knowing Him, feeling His love and joy at who He created, feeling His delight in you.
And so as you look in the mirror today..........marvel at who you are. Marvel at the person you have become, marvel at the path you have traveled, marvel at who God has made you.
Waste not one moment more wishing for something other than what you have, who you are. For you are a gift. You are amazing. You have so much. You are so much. Take the time today to see that and then encourage others in who they are, in what you see in them.
Because today, today is a gift.