But then, I realized it was something else. As I looked at it, I could hear myself say:
“I know some things that you young women have yet to learn. See those wrinkles between my eyes? I earned those.”
I don’t say that to be snooty, but as an encouragement.
You see, when I was in college, I used to look at the women in their thirties and think they had it all together. When I got to be their age, married with children, and all “grown up” in the Lord, I might have it all together too. Then, as I began my thirties… ahem, 7.5 years ago… I wondered why I still felt like a floundering child?
And then, I took this photo. From my phone. In a car on the way to a wedding. And when I looked at it for the first time, I was taken aback. I immediately saw the two squinty wrinkles between my eyes, the uneven skin (BEFORE Instagram), laugh lines beside my mouth, dark circles under my eyes. And then… “What IS it in those eyes?” I asked myself. And I couldn’t help but stare at it. It seems vain, I know, to stare at a photo of myself incessantly.
24 hours later, I know what it is. It’s the beginnings of wisdom. Not of my own doing; inside, I am still a floundering child. But through the trials of life, God has begun to let me glimpse His glory, His faithfulness, His love for me.
After 37 years, I realize I will never “have it together” on my own. And I’m OK with that. I’m just on the other side of one of the most difficult years of my life. Although during the depth of the pain, I didn’t know how I would get through to the other side, God knew. My faith was built. It doesn’t mean I won’t fight depression the next time pain comes. But I’ll know- a little bit more- that God will bring me through.
When I look at that photo, I’m proud of whom I’ve become. Whom God has made me. Of what I’ve accomplished, and what He has accomplished through me.
The next time I flounder, I want to look back at the woman in this photo. She’ll say to me,
“Remember what you know. Remember who you are. Remember whose you are. You will be OK.”
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding ; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding ; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures ; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom ; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2: 1-7