I’ve become somewhat preoccupied with the lines on my face this year.
I’d like to tell you I’m incredibly self-assured, graciously embracing the changes in my skin and my body year after year.
But that would be a lie.
The truth is, I stare at myself for a shameful amount of time. Inches from the mirror, inspecting the changes in my skin, my body. Ruthlessly critiquing my appearance.
Crow’s feet… brow lines… laugh lines… migrating body parts…
Evidence of my aging skin, my aging body.
(As if I know anything about truly aging. I’m 35. I know, when I am 60, 70, 80, I will read this and smack myself.) Look, I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m just trying to tell the truth.
For the most part, thirty-five feels much younger than I imagined in would ten years ago. It just LOOKS older than I was ready for.
But as I stare myself into a pit of irrational despair, a deeper reality beckons me back up to the light.
These marks? They aren’t merely evidence of age. They are evidence of LIFE.
Crow’s feet from smiling and squinting on a thousand sunny days. Brow lines from poring over countless books, thoughtful conversation, earnest prayer. Laugh lines from… laughing. A body that has changed shape from carrying, birthing, and feeding two babies.
Beauty, depth, laughter, new life.
How could these things not leave their mark?
Why wouldn’t I want them to?
How about you? What marks do you carry? Lines, wrinkles, stretch marks…
While we’re telling the truth, let’s acknowledge that not all the marks we carry were made in joy. We carry marks on our bodies and within our hearts that we would wish away in a minute if we could.
I know mine. You know yours.
God just told me to tell you something. I don’t know who, but one of you reading this needs to know:
Whether your marks were made from something good or something bad, heartwarming or heart wrenching… they are all evidence of LIFE.
You’ve loathed some of these marks, seeing them as evidence of your unworthiness or God’s unfaithfulness.
But no. These marks? ALL OF THEM. They bear witness to a life LIVED and a life PRESERVED.
Because YOU’RE STILL HERE.
Whatever you’ve been through, whatever you’re going through, and whatever is yet to come: the God of the universe sustains your life. What happened may not be good. But He is good. And He loves you more than you think.
He has preserved your life, and that is no accident. You are here for a reason.