Monday, August 5, 2013

Confessions of a Red-eyed Monster

It seems that since getting married, once a year I've been plagued with some sort of disfiguring malady. Last year it was a severe case of cold sores complicated by an allergic reaction to a topical medication that left me looking like the Joker for an entire month. It was particularly frustrating when the sores were full blown during a trip Will and I took together. I remember how miserable I felt curled up in the bed of our New York hotel room, nauseous both from my sickness and the overwhelming feeling of disappointment that somehow I had ruined our long awaited New York vacation. I couldn't eat. I couldn't stand for very long. I had an ugly, oozing sore, the size of Texas on my face.

Thankfully, Will and the fantastic friends who hosted us managed to salvage my experience with lots of fun, understanding, and care. And thank God for Photoshop-- all the pictures that captured my transformation into the Joker can now be edited with just a few simple brush strokes. Today, all that remains from the whole cold sore ordeal is the faintest scar under my lower lip that is only noticeable in very good light.

Then this year came the mysterious eye rash. It started as a dry patch on the corner of my left eye and steadily erupted into an itchy, bumpy, bright red rash. My entire eyelid began to swell so heavily that it began to weigh down on my eyelashes, which started getting in my eye and irritated it even more!

"I've become a red-eyed monster!" I wailed to Will the other night. He stopped to take a good look at my eye and then hugged me tight and said, "No you're not, you're still beautiful." Those words have never meant so much to me.

Looking back, I believe God had in mind an important lesson and reminder for me about my misconceptions of beauty. I hate being sick as much as anyone else I suppose, but I believe these two bouts of illness hit me particularly hard because of the way it affected my appearance and dealt a heavy blow to my vanity. I must confess that often times I can become pretty fixated on outward appearances, particularly my outward appearance.

But I know God could care less about the clothes I wear, the bag I carry, or the way I style my hair. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Your beauty should not come from the outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth if God's sight." Skin-deep beauty is fleeting but God sees into my heart and I want to make my heart and spirit clean and beautiful for Him.

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