Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Make Her Beautiful


We listen to a song often that was done by Hillary and Kate.

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

It's such a lovely song, with such a simple truth.
And I think of the scripture that tells husbands
to love their wives as Christ loved the church:
how He gave Himself for her,
sanctifies her, 
and washes her with the water of the Word.
The church does not come perfect to the Savior's arms.

Sometimes I read Christian marriage advice and it's so cardboard.
I get especially annoyed by the advice to wives
that tells them how to be perfect.
To get perfect hair and exercise more and wear lipstick.

I'm a tomboy at heart, and not a trophy.
And I have never wanted to be a glossy beauty.
I wanted to be loved.
I wanted to be wanted.
But not wanted because I looked like someone else's idol.

When I met my husband, I was going out of my way to not be glossy.
Imagine this beauty, (which was a regular ensemble):
overall shorts and a t-shirt,
a braid pulled through a baseball cap pulled down low,
and thick socks with work boots.
I had some assets I could play up,
but I wasn't exactly in the frame of mind to catch anyone.
In fact, I was tired of being noticed physically.
It felt more like an insult than a compliment to be thought pretty. 

The first time I met him, I wasn't quite so off-putting in my dress
as described above.
I was wearing a hippy skirt with the work boots.
I guess in a small way, the skirt said 'feminine'.
We were praying in a group for a mutual friend
who was suffering from LSD flashbacks.
He openly stared at me through the prayer.
He didn't look away when I looked at him.

One day, a couple of weeks later,
I got off duty in the kitchen
when everyone else had eaten their dinner already,
and he sat down with me while I ate my dinner.
He asked me what I was going to do that evening.
"I thought I'd go up to the cafe and read poetry," I said. "What are you doing?"
"I thought I'd go up to the cafe and read poetry," he answered.
It was just plain -- I'm going to hang around you and be with you.
No pretending to run into me.
No begging to join me.

My husband makes me feel beautiful.
I am 32 and a half weeks pregnant.
I'm big.
And I'm older and tired.
My skin is drying out, and my lips have faded.
My hands are getting kind of papery.
My hair is frizzier than it used to be.
But he treats me like I'm beautiful.
It's my sixth child I am pregnant with.
He doesn't say things like,
"Have you thought about maybe getting a gym membership 
and getting back what you once had?"
Or, "Maybe you could get laser treatment 
for some of those scars that are marking you up now."
I cannot imagine that he does not see these flaws.
They are glaring realities to me.
But he doesn't seem to see these flaws --
even though he packed the wounds that left them for me.

I think I'd even rather have the scars that mar me
just to see how he looks at me like I am beautiful anyway.
The reality is that I am not more beautiful than I was
in my young, strong, healthy, unmarred body.
But weirdly, I feel more beautiful to him now than I did then.
I'm more confident in his love than I was.
I don't feel like I have to hide from his eyes,
in order to maintain the illusion of perfection.
If, in his eyes I am perfect, I will accept his verdict.
And where perfection was lacking,
he helped bring it about with his own hands.
Not the perfection of an airbrushed photo,
but the perfection of healed flesh and whole skin.
Of function where there was brokenness.
When I first saw the damage, I cried.
I couldn't look until it was nearly done healing, and I still cried.
But he saw it in every stage, and he never recoiled.
He didn't cry, and he didn't criticize, and he didn't complain.
He changed bandages twice a day.
And he did the dishes while I laid there.

Husbands:
if you want to be married to a beautiful woman,
let your love make her beautiful.
Don't compare her to the unflawed women you see.
The ones who haven't borne your children in their bodies.
Don't shame her for the thing that she is.

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

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