Saturday, May 1, 2010

Blooming















It's been awhile since I've blogged, and I've actually started a few different entries, but haven't been able to wrap them up yet. My experiences over the last couple of days has lead me right back to thoughts on "blooming."

In my recent attempts to keep my aging brain sharp, I've read several Jane Austen books. One concept she often mentions in her main character's quest for the ultimate fulfillment (-marriage-), is the idea of a young lady 'in bloom' when her complexion glows of health around the age of 16 most likely in Austen's day, or 'past the bloom' when the face begins to thin and lose its radiance.... Lately, I recognize that by Austen's pen I would be considered past my 'bloom,' In the mirror I often only see the increasing quantity of gray hairs on my head, the lack of bounce back from my dimples after a smile, and many other issues that any mother who has housed four children would have unless she's Brooke Burke.

In my growing desire to turn back the clock, to better my image, improve my physique and self-esteem, I have begun to make some small changes in my life. My wardrobe (and my confidence) was given a boost when my sweet mom took me shopping on a recent visit. This week trying to take baby steps to better health, I switched to fat-free half and half and a natural sugar substitute in my coffee - that didn't last because my taste buds revolted! I was pleased with my latest "Great" chain store haircut and thought the finishing touch would be some highlights in my once sandy blonde turned dingy brown hair. Ever aware that our family is on a shoestring budget, I am a bargain hunter, not cheap, but thrifty, buying store brand foods, using coupons, and always perusing the clearance racks for clothing bargains.

When I passed a home highlighting kit on clearance, I couldn't resist. I had somewhat successfully pulled this off in the past, so the next morning, after I got two of my children off to school, I began the process (with my two little ones running around my feet). I proceeded through the process, realized I totally left out one entire bottle of ingredients. I attempted to correct the problem, but when I removed the cap from my head, I was stunned by the skunk meets leopard effect from my bangs to my crown where the bleaching agent had leaked through the holes in the cap..As the panic began to rise, my sweet husband lied to me, telling me it didn't look bad. My despair grew when the loneliness of having been in a new city for less than a year and not knowing anyone off hand to help me fix the problem hit me. I called the number on the product's box and was instructed to purchase two separate products, combine them in a certain formula, apply, and my hair would be restored. As soon as my kids were home and playdates were over, donning my hat, we raced out to buy the solution that would make my hair my natural color again. Putting off my children, I speedily opened the products and began the process. What should have taken 30 minutes, ended up stealing away an hour and a half and resulted in a lovely (insert sarcasm here) shade of brassy red! Ugh! On a good note, I no longer looked skunk-like and was able to go out into public with my hair in plain view - yet was still convinced that everyone was looking at it in disgust.

This morning I ran into a salon that a friend recommended and got a reasonable quote that I could afford (this week) and scheduled my appointment.

While I could not hit 'redo,' 'undo,' or 'control z' to rewind and start this whole event over, making the choice to bypass the big $5 bargain that was now costing me WAY more, I sat in the hydraulic chair at the salon enjoying the quiet around me. The sweet stylist restored me to a much more flattering look (I'll still probably have to go back one more time to get closer to my original hair color) that I am presently content with.

Reflecting on this whole mess I created, I see how pitiful I felt when I was responsible for my ridiculous appearance, and wasted a whole day nearly in tears, unable to wholly respond to the needs of my children, consumed by embarrassment and shame. While my kids and I had been in the store, I began to see growing discontent in them over things they wanted but didn't have. By the time we got back in the van, I was in mommy lecture mode explaining the need to be thankful for what we do have. In mid-sentence I was hit with the realization that all my mess stemmed from my own discontented heart. I removed my cap to show them this very tangible example of where my own discontented heart had led.

For months, one of the verses I've posted in our home is "...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) It's obvious I hadn't hidden it in my own heart while I was preaching it to my children.

I'm not saying I will stop attempting to present my best, but I do want to be God's best from the inside out. I won't get that on the clearance rack or the department store, in the makeup aisle or the beauty shop. I'll only get it through the sanctifying work of Christ blooming in me. THAT's what I desire for my children and my husband to SEE. That's how I want to age, in a growing grace and love for my savior, every day more and more....


Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus....Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. I Thessalonians 5:16-23