Even in my ugly
I love reminiscing on my faith heritage. My paternal grandmother dug deep wells for her five children and thirteen grands to drink from. It offers a certain flavor of both conviction and grace which provokes an even deeper pondering and reflection. Though as a child, her words were often received with the simplicity of her intentions, today I marvel at the revelations she offered.
Going to grandmas and grandpas house to visit was usually a full day, if not a three day event. I remember many times waking up rather early on Saturday mornings for the almost two hour drive to their place. As most teenage girls might allow the extra time of preparation, we rarely did. As we’d shuffle into the house and greet the grands, one us would confess, “I’m still in my ugly” as if wearing our natural, unmasked, God given face were akin to going to Walmart in our underwear.
But, with every visit, every confession, every bare faced smile, Grandma was there with open arms to assure each of us girls saying, "Grandma and Jesus loves you, even 'your ugly'." It was this statement we would find ourselves repeating over the years every time we jumped in the car to go to see her. It didn't matter what we looked like. Hair in a mess? That's ok. Last nights makeup still under our eyes? That's ok? Stained shirt? That's ok too.
I think back on these kinds of things often. I have brown hair with lots of grays, new wrinkles, bags under my eyes, and my face still has freckles dusted across my cheeks and nose. The wears of life and every storm I have weathered have not disappeared, though I can mask it quite well with any beauty product. I once hated the woman I saw in the mirror for all the wrong ways I handled myself over the years. But the truth in Grandma's words still remained.
I did not quite grasp the fullness of her words to each of us until much later as an adult. I kept going to Jesus with make-up on, pretending I had it all together. I didn't have it all together and eventually, all that make-up washes off.
Thankfully, I can still rely on and rest in the arms of my Grandmother's words. (PS-I love you Norma Jean)