He Loves Me When I Don't Feel Beautiful


I couldn't have been more surprised. I mean, am I not the one who courageously chose to stop coloring her hair, and in so doing, bravely embraced the aging process?

Then why did I suddenly feel like I'd just handed over a one-hundred dollar bill and only received back change for a ten?

It started with a quick trip to Target. As my daughter and I approached the glass entry doors, I grimaced at my reflection. I was wearing my frumpy at-home clothes and looked...old. Ugh. As we shopped for a few quick necessities, I hurried into the fitting room to try on a pair of high-tech shorts and a t-shirt that promised to keep me cool on my daily walks. Let's just say the rear view wasn't what it used to be.

Later that day I a good friend alerted me that the dress I'd chosen for my official author photos wasn't flattering--it made me look old. And that evening when I looked into the mirror to check my make-up, I gasped. My crows feet were now stretching down onto my cheeks...more like imposing ostrich feet.

So I sat on the edge of my bed and cried, surprised by the emotions welling up inside me. I've never put much stock in my looks. I try to eat healthy, exercise, take good care of myself. Turning 30 never phased me. 40 was a piece of cake. But apparently the raw, undeniable reality of growing older finally hit me--like a boulder slamming full force onto an unsuspecting Mini Cooper on a mountainous country road.

And I felt crushed.

As I approach the big 5-0 (in July), I'm facing the fact that my body cannot do things it used to do with ease, my neck is beginning to frighten me, and there is nothing I can do to stop the natural aging process. There are moments it feels as if any beauty I once possessed is evaporating away like the whistling steam above a tea kettle's spout.

It's slightly scary, this new reality, but the good part (yes, there is a good part) is that God is not only helping me begin to gracefully accept the inevitable, but He is coaxing me to believe Him when He whispers you're beautiful.

It's not easy. But I'm willing to drink in the words every woman desperately longs to hear, regardless of her age. And on the days when I struggle, it's okay. Because the truth is, He loves me, even when I don't feel beautiful.

He exclaimed, O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!
Song of Solomon 4:7


This is my first time linking up with Finding Heaven's Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood!

20 comments:

stephanie said...

Oh Julie, I turn 30 in June...ughhhh...so this getting older has been on my mind too! Glad to hear God is whispering sweet words to your heart! And just so you know, your profile pic is gorgous!

So glad although the grass and flower fades, His word endures forever :)

Karen said...

Julie I know from where you talk! I'm older, much...and the years tell my "age." But I had a friend who in his 70's said, "you're not old until you get wrinkles in your soul." :) My soul is eternal!

Ha, take that earthly years!

Cheryl Barker said...

Julie, I know what you mean. Turning 55 last year was the hard one for me. Fifty didn't bother me -- I just felt incredibly blessed to have had 50 years of a good life. But 55? That one felt like an insult :) Darn mirrors! :)

Mining for Diamonds said...

You are beautiful! I'm hitting a milestone in July also, the Big 4-0! (Mine is the 3rd! When's yours?) I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've had a pretty rich life thus far, but I do feel that the best is yet to come! I've already resorted to covering the gray...I started out with a few gray hairs but now it's getting past "a few gray hairs" to straight up salt and pepper! I'm way too young for that, lol! I know I look a lot younger than my age, but I still can't wrap my head around the thought of being 40. 30 wasn't too bad, but 35 was not easy. Praying 40 will be better! My prediction is that my 40s will be my best decade yet. I pray the same for you!

Bonita said...

I can so relate! Just turned 47.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Love this very real post. I have been thinking a lot about aging, as well. I am tettering close to the big 60. How did this happen? :)

Fondly,
Glenda

Courtney said...

Oh, wow. Your timing is amazing. I am 33 (still young, I know) but just last night I told my husband that I am starting to notice changes to my appearance in photographs. Nothing major, but certain lines are appearing and the shape of my face is changing. I have been surprised by how much it bothers me! Also when someone recently looked at a 10 year old photo of me and said, "You look so young!" - I was surprised to think "I've changed?" But yes, of course I have and isn't that wonderful? I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck at 23. I thank God for giving me this years and pray that there are many more to come, even if every one brings a new line!

Thank you for sharing!

ginny said...

Julie, um...I am 64 and feel the same way. Some days, I look at my wrinkled hands and think of my mother as she aged....Even makeup does not help anymore...it just disguises what I already know is there....
I know God loves me and accepts me wrinkles, fat rolls, moles and all!
I love what Karen said about not being old until you get wrinkles in your soul....that's it!

Linda said...

I am fifty-two and I can emphatically say that my fifties have been the best years so far. Sure there are things I don't like about what is happening to my body, aches and pains I could do without, but there are so many more positive things that outweigh the negative. I feel more settled in who I am, I feel like I'm allowed to be silly and eccentric now and then if I choose to, and I am closer to being retirement-eligible when I can retire from my corporate job and focus full-time on my writing.

Trust me, it only gets better!

Sweet Magnolias Farm said...

Julie my heart is with you on this. When I was young there was always tomorrow.....tomorrow I would be thinner, prettier, my hair would look better, I would exercise more, etc, etc. The years moved on until I turned 60 and that was my magic number. I painfully...But accepting, realized that this WAS my tomorrow and this
WAS my best for this time in my life. So I laid aside all the worry over what I could be and learned to focus on what I am today. I realized I could not turn back the clock nor stop time and the inevitable was at hand. So I make everyday as beautiful {for me] as I can without thought for tomorrow. This is a new chapter in my life, as my heart is as young as the girl I once was, my body is not. Each year grows more precious and is valued much more than when I was young as my spirit grows closer to Jesus and my next big move....Heaven. It is a time to exhale and stop thinking of self. The time in life when you will be known for your spirit and not your looks.
Young women cultivate your hearts while you are young so your spirits will grow old gracefully.
Sweet Blessings, Abbey

Janice Johnson said...

At 55, I have these same conversations with myself often. I let my hair grow out white just so people did not expect so much of me! It is the early-age arthritis I have that gets me down the most. It takes concentration not to move like an old person when all my joints hurt...But my husband claims I look as good as ever--he sees no decline he says! It is hard to believe that is true, and that he doesn't see all the things I see...but he has never wavered for some reason, and says I am as beautiful and desirable as I was at 17! Oh well, at least that helps a little, true or not...

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm with Linda. I'll be 52 and have a "full deck" this July and am finding this decade to be my best ever. I'm old enough to have learned a lot and young enough to enjoy life.

Kim said...

40 found me excited and energized, 41 found me bald and breastless,
42 finds me living a life of no regrets! I have always been one that struggled with low self esteem in the beauty department, but something about experiencing baldness and breastlessness made be see how beautiful I am!!
We will be celebrating with you when you turn 50! Ps. Your profile pic has you looking mighty beautiful!

B His Girl said...

Let's just keep going Julie. I feel your pain girl. See you at She Speaks! B

Jen said...

Welcome to SDG! So glad you are here -- I see that we know some of the same people and I love it!

The thing that came to my mind as I read this post (since my daughter was just talking about her memory verse) was the verse that says, "Men and women look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." And somehow, no matter what someone looks like, when they start talking about Him or just walking out in who they are in Christ, that inner beauty transcends any physical appearance. Wonderful!

Loved hearing about your journey and would love to read more! I hope you will continue to link up. LMK if you want to be on the SDG email list!

Amy Sullivan said...

Julie,
So glad you linked-up today! There are loads of fun woman. First let me say you don't look anywhere close to 5-0!

I like your writing style, and hope to read more soon about your book with Harvest House!

Nice meeting you.

Deb said...

My wrinkles don't bother me too much.

But my double chin--now, that's a different story.

Oh, and guess what? I finally changed the weight on my driver's license the last time I renewed them.

However, I couldn't bring myself to be totally honest even then.

Shame on me!

Sweet dreams.

Shopgirl said...

Oh those changes you are writing about sounds familiar. I loved this and a few other verses I love are from Isaiah 61:10. I feel like a princess whenever I read it, partly thanks to a Beth Moore study. Also, my friends are always telling me how stylish and beautiful my mom looks, even in her sixties she gets more compliments than me!

Tea with Tiffany said...

I've never met you in person but I think you are beautiful. :)

Hope to see you at She Speaks in July if you are going.

Enjoy celebrating Easter.

Love,
Tiffany

esss said...

Karen i love your friend's wording..
You have posted wonderful posting..Great job..
Essay Writing

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