Sunday, March 14, 2010

Beauty Marked

circa 2008

The year was 1992. I was all of 20 years old, having a chat with Patrick and some guy friends. The topics of discussion with these guys usually ended up including theology, politics... and girls, not necessarily in that order. Somehow in the course of our conversation, Olivia Newton-John was brought up. During the events of that summer, Olivia had been diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a modified radical mastectomy. The gorgeous singer and actress' body had been assaulted by a deadly disease, and her beauty had been altered because of it. My heart was heavy for her, and I wondered if she was struggling with the results of the operation, or if she was simply thankful to be alive and able to see her daughter Chloe grow up.

And then the guys, minus Patrick, opened their mouths. They didn't hold back their brutal honesty and unfiltered feelings.

"That's just gross. I will never be able to think of her in the same way again," was a paraphrase of the harsh reponse.

"That is so mean! She is still a beautiful woman... and a cancer survivor! I can't believe you would say that," I replied, my feathers obviously ruffled. I had to defend this sister.

"Ya, but it totally ruins my attraction to her," one of the guys countered.

Within the months that followed, I had some doctor's appointments of my own. You see, I was born with a "beauty mark" on my chest, a mole that had grown and changed in appearance and texture over the years. My mom had always kept tabs on it, knowing it could become cancerous at some point. Finally, it had peaked concern in a physician, and he recommended its removal.

He described the relatively simple procedure, and he described the effects. Because of the location of the mole, it wouldn't be an unnoticeable scar. It would initially be about an inch of stitches, but then it would stretch out with the weight of my breast as it healed.

Olivia came flooding back into my mind. Patrick and I were getting close to marriage, and all I would have to offer him was a damaged, scarred beauty. He would be repulsed and wouldn't want me anymore. Tears come unexpectedly and easily as I remember the feelings I wrestled with over 18 years ago.

Tenatively, I shared my troubled thoughts with the man who held my heart. We had always shared our struggles before, and I didn't want to keep this from him, especially since I felt it would be of such concern to him on our wedding night.

My love embraced me and reassured me with his calm, soothing voice. He couldn't believe I was so worried. He cared that I was alive, and no scar was going to affect his attraction to me or what he perceived about my beauty.

Patrick loves me. He sees beyond my many flaws to see a woman made in the image of God.

As much as the infommercials tell me that I can be flawless and airbrushed, toned and tanned, I am a flawed person. I am scarred for life. I am pear shaped. I have cellulite. The parenthesis around my mouth are becoming more pronounced and plentiful as I am fast approaching 40 next year.

I am flawed on the inside, too. I lose my temper. I have mean-spirited thoughts. I am impatient. I'm too sensitive. I make some poor decisions. I am prone to isolate myself. I'm selfish. Where does the list even end?

Yet, by the grace of God, I am being refined and renewed day by day. He is polishing my flaws so that I shine for Him. I want to reflect His image and His glory, so that when others look at me, they don't see my flaws, but a reflection of a flawless and beautiful Creator. A Creator who loves me and sees Jesus in me. He is my beauty.

The King is enthralled by your beauty;

honor Him for He is your Lord.

Psalm 45:11


Click on this link to read more stories about beauty
at Sarah Markley's website this coming week


going kiwi said...

What a beautiful story. I had a similar situation with Eric that I was concerned about too. He reassured me too. We are so lucky to have such amazing husbands. Even more so, how blessed are we to have our Heavenly Father above! Amen sister.

Jamie said...

beautiful thoughts linda, thats what this flawed girl thinks. oh and you aren't pear shaped!

Colleen said...

Great post! That's a sweet story. I feel inspired, and will hopefully write a post of my own this week about beauty. It's such an ever-present theme in our lives as women, isn't it?

Chrissy said...

This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it!

Julie said...

This is BEAUTIFUL! It makes me think of the scars that won my freedom... He wears them proudly.. they are such beauty to me!

I can't imagine what HE sees when He looks inside each one of us. I'm blessed to know that He doesn't see my sins defining me. He sees ME.. in who He made me to be. Now if I can just see what He sees.

Thanks for sharing this! I found you from Sarah's blog,

PS. I understand the aging process. I'm 52 years young... my body has been affected by menopause and my hair no longer shows the deep brown it once held. Instead I wear my "crown of splendor"... heavenly highlights of grey. : )

Nikkie said...

thank you for sharing this!

Kristine said...

What a beautiful story and loving husband! We are all in a process of daily working to find that inner beauty God so desires shine from our hearts. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Jennifer said...

Oh yes... by the GRACE of GOD! You are certainly blessed to be married to a man who is able to see the woman made in the image of God.

Here from Sarah's beauty link list! :)


Simply Sara said...

I love how your husband reaction is a perfect reflection of God's.
Acceptance. Love. Want.

Thank you for sharing your heart. It is truly beautiful.

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