During my prayer time last night, I found myself shaking my fist at God in frustration. Thankfully He didn’t strike me with lightning because He is merciful and full of lovingkindness. Plus, it motivated me to write this blog. I am open to the idea that what I’m about to tell you was part of His plan for me. It’s possible He allowed me to go through the events I’m going to share to help me grow and become more holy. And to think it all started with the failure of permanent eyeliner.
A few days ago I went to permanent makeup artist. Using tattooing techniques, she does things like add color to your lips, enhance your eyebrows, and in my case, add eyeliner to the top and lower lids. When I had it done, it really looked great. I came back to the facility and everyone said it made my eyes “pop” and I was so pleased. The next day, it got significantly lighter. The day after that, the lines started to disappear completely. I think my skin just doesn’t like the tattoo ink and spits it right back out. In her defense, she is a professional who owns her own business and has been doing this type of thing for over 30 years. She had great reviews. I don’t blame her at all.
I kept telling people I was not upset about the lines disappearing because God had tried to block me from going and I didn’t pay attention. Then I would kind of chuckle. My sister-in-law was supposed to take me but she got diagnosed with pneumonia the night before. A friend from church then came to take me but my wheelchair van wouldn’t start at first. Then I realized I didn’t transfer enough money onto my credit card to cover the cost. Nevertheless, I pushed the envelope and got the procedure done.
Then the ugliness came out during my prayer time last night.
Why, God? Why? Can’t I feel good about the way I look externally? What’s wrong with my eyes popping? I mean, I look so tired and plain all the time!
Before my injury, I wore makeup and had regular salon visits to cover my gray roots. I worked out and was fit and trim. In my vanity, I worked hard to meet a worldly standard and I considered myself to be attractive. Whether or not anyone else did, I do not know and it isn’t even relevant at this point.
But now in this wheelchair, I often despise the way I look. My spine is crooked and my neck is crooked, so my head leans to the right when I sit in my wheelchair. When I see myself on a Zoom call or look in the mirror, it hurts me to look at myself! Because of my scoliosis, one of my shoulders is much higher than the other which makes my leaning neck look all the more severe and painful.
So last night I complained to God about this issue. Why can’t I feel good about myself? It was just a little eyeliner! And that complaint led to a litany of other complaints that I had buried deep in my heart. It was quite the gripe session.
And what came to mind was what I prayed shortly before I fainted in my kitchen and my neck was broken. God… I feel like I just can’t connect with you. Do whatever you have to do to make things right between us.
Philippians 3: 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ…
When I compare what I had to give up after my injury to what I have now can I consider my past rubbish? I know that I can. I believe that my injury saved my soul. I was in a bad space before this happened. Although a 12-step program helped me stay sober for three years, my life lacked connection and meaning. I was always searching and yearning for more. This injury helped me see my deep need for God and how much fulfillment and depth He can provide in my life, although there are bumps and bruises along the way (like the eyeliner scenario that turned into “poor me” saga).
Is it really so important for me now to look a certain way? Jesus says I need to be a light to the world and that doesn’t require eyeliner and lipstick.
Matthew 5: 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The true treasure is not the way I look on the outside, but what is contained on the inside.
2 Corinthians 4: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
There are things going on in our lives that are bringing us down, like sickness, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, chronic pain, and so much more. If we worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24) we have a treasure inside of us that gives us the power to persevere through trials and grow from them. Our example of perseverance is what shines brightly for others to see. People don’t say to me, “I really like what you’re wearing today!” or “Have you thought about wearing a little mascara?” They say, “You have an incredible attitude in the midst of your challenges.” And that is the treasure that I want others to see.
Psalm 16: 5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
God is saying to me, “I am your confidence.” God is saying to me, “I am your identity.” God is letting me know, “My child, just wait, you have a delightful inheritance.”