Beautiful

My Dears,

I’ve been wrestling with the “if onlys” for the last couple of days. Does that ever happen to you, and does it catch you by surprise? Do you ever find that, when you least expect it, ghosts that you believed long exorcised pop their heads out of some dusty corner and whisper “boo” at you? And not only do you jump, but you let a little bit of something else creep back into your consciousness. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s regret. And if you’re like me, you let that little bit of creepiness control you for a while.

Sigh.

You see, I have this beautiful group of young girls that I teach on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. In these young faces, I see so much promise. I want to take all that I’ve learned in life and open their heads and just pour it in. I want to tell them about the hard stuff, the mistakes I’ve made, and all of my regrets. I want to warn them to guard their hearts above all, to stay true to their beliefs and stand firm.

But I know that it doesn’t work that way.

I never had someone to tell me those things, but, chances are, if I did, I wouldn’t have listened anyway. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way. So I have restrained myself. Instead of telling the girls the history of my world, I buy curriculum.

Yesterday, I went out looking for curriculum. We needed a new direction. I found this lovely series on inner beauty. It was about how we are all beautiful in God’s eyes. I got so excited just reading the lesson plans. I imagined us doing our nails and discussing Jesus (humor me, I have two sons). I so want for these girls to have an intimate relationship with our Lord. So, in the first lesson, I’m supposed to take a Polaroid of each girl, and we do a little craft with the photo.

I thought it would be fun to share a preteen picture of myself with my girls. After much scavenging, I stumbled upon a small snapshot of me at the tender age of twelve.

I was not prepared for the emotions stirred within me at that image of the little girl I used to be. The picture was taken at a very difficult time in my life. I was trying to make sense of some excruciatingly painful things with the wisdom of a twelve year old.

I was not a pretty pre-teen. Skinny, with long stringy hair, freckled pale skin, and big teeth.

Yet, I had these eyes. Big and blue. And in those eyes, this old version of me saw the same promise reflected; the same promise that I see in the eyes of the girls that I teach. But I knew that little girl’s future. I knew of all the mistakes she would make, all the wrong choices and concessions. And I let that grief and that regret creep in.

I needed to live with it for a little while, I guess.

The Lord tells us that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Tonight, when I was tucking my youngest son in, he asked me a peculiar question: If there was never a you, would there have ever been a me? Carefully, we traced all the requirements that came into play for my little man to be born, just the wonderful way that he is.

In the quiet of my mind, I remembered many more variables. Every wrong choice made, every missed opportunity, every hurtful rejection; all of these things have brought me to where I am today: tucking in my beautiful boy.

If I could tell my girls one thing, it would be this: You are loved with a love that is greater than anything in this world.

If we know this with every ounce of our being, we act accordingly. When we are assured of our value, we act as one who is valuable.

I’m holding that picture of the blue-eyed girl close to my heart. She is beautiful. And in her eyes, I see so much promise.

Originally posted on May 20, 2007

Comments

  1. says

    Yes, I’ve lived some “if only’s” as of late, but they have been painful ones. God is clearly showing me that it’s time to let go. To take all thoughts captive to him because there is absolutely no divine merit in the thoughts I’ve been dwelling on. Only destruction.

    And girl, I’ve got a closet full of photos that lead me down some bunny trails. If I were to trash all of them, there would be precious little of my past to show anyone!

    God’s grace covereth…simply covereth.

    Thanks for stopping by tonight. You’ve hung out a “good bag” of thoughts for my feeding in return.

    peace~elaine

  2. says

    Wow, dear friend.

    When I did Christ-Life Phase 1 we were told to pull out the pictures from the age we were on each week and write what we remembered. It was then the hidden pain would emerge for us to see.

    It’s amazing how memories get tucked away inside us, isn’t it?

    How beautiful that you are seeing them and seeing the truth. How beautiful that your heart is remembering in order to connect more deeply with the girls at that age.

    Bless you dear friend,
    Hugs,
    Julie

  3. says

    ~”I’m holding that picture of the blue-eyed girl close to my heart. She is beautiful. And in her eyes, I see so much promise.”~

    That is beautiful, Laura…..Just like you.:)

    I have had similar feelings looking at old pictures of myself. It’s painful sometimes, but I like what you point out as truth.~

    “Every wrong choice made, every missed opportunity, every hurtful rejection; all of these things have brought me to where I am today: tucking in my beautiful boy.”~

    Your group of girls is blessed to have someone like you as their leader…..with beautiful blue eyes that are so full of promise.:)

    God Bless,
    Amy:)

  4. says

    what beautiful words come from your pen and heart, yet again! This brought tears to my eyes, as I think on those younger in the faith, or in age who need to KNOW to dig their heels in and stand firm. If only someone had told me that years ago!! But praise Jesus, if He can lead me to walk the path He has for ME…then He can lead anyone willing to listen!!

  5. says

    OH Laura, this is so precious. I really needed to read this tonight as my “tell all” approach obviously has failed me with my oldest. 🙂
    God is so good and His timing is just wonderful as He knew I needed to be nudged in a different direction.
    18 years old. Know it all. Now Mom has new direction. And tears in her eyes and a lump in my throat.

    Thank you dear friend. You just don’t know…

    Love,
    Lelia

  6. says

    Laura, Thanks for sharing. Your closing remarks were quite powerful and oh so very true!! Thank you and blessings on your class with the teenage girls – God will use you even if they don’t get the whole story.

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