“His mountains are misshapen yet stunning; His canyons broken yet whole; His blotches of clouds resting on a pink sunset sky imperfect yet breathtaking.”
There are some moments of mothering that I wish I could hold in my hand forever. Moments that are the perfect snapshot of imagery, words, and emotions. Moments that are impossible to capture on film, yet remain indelibly imprinted in my memory.
I’ll never forget one Saturday morning as I sat nursing our newest baby. I was dressed in sweats, wearing no makeup, and my hair was in a haphazard bun. I have to admit I was feeling like the definition of frumpy: tired, dirty, and a little blue. Suddenly, my two year old looked at me and said, “Mommy’s pretty!” I looked at him and smiled, and a ray of sunshine broke through the clouds of my little pity party.
“Mommy’s pretty.” Those two little words sum up a child’s ability to spot true beauty–their ability to look through the messiness of this world and see the work of God shining through.
My son had it right. It’s in the little acts of love that real beauty resides. As mothers, our bodies are ever changing, ever working, ever sacrificing. We don’t fit into any mold of earthly beauty. We wear battle scars of pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing as our badges of honor. Our hands are rough from hours in dishwater, diapers, and laundry. Our feet are neglected as they stay busy playing with our children, walking our babies, and driving the car pool. And we all know what happens to our waistlines after bearing new life into this world.
We mothers may not be perfect in appearance by the standards of this world, but we only grow in glory in the eyes of God. He created beauty. He knows what inspires a sense of awe and a stirring in our depths that confirms to our souls there is, indeed, a great and glorious God. His mountains are misshapen yet stunning; his canyons broken yet whole; his blotches of clouds resting on a pink sunset sky imperfect yet breathtaking.
True beauty is the physical manifestation of authentic love. Was this never made so clear as by the body that was bloodied, bruised, and broken for the sake of our sins? Do we not look into that exhausted, sorrowful, bleeding face underneath the thorn-pierced brow and see something beautiful beyond words?
Mothers, you are magnificent! That stretch mark? Beautiful! Those dry, cracked hands? Lovely! Those crow’s feet and gray hairs? Stunning! A body given to the service of God is a body worth celebrating. Let us turn our focus from what we know betrays this truth, and focus on the little moments of beauty we encounter every day: a mother nursing her baby, a child being carried by loving arms and a strong back, a womb that is nearly bursting with the next priceless gift to our world. Cover and protect your bodies, not out of shame, but out of a sense of growing in sanctity as your temple of the Holy Spirit matures gracefully with time.
Did the Virgin Mary have stretch marks too? I’m guessing no one really knows the answer to that question, but she was God’s masterpiece, the new Eve, the one worthy to carry His Son. I believe her soul was housed in a body that did, indeed, carry physical reminders of the days she spent bearing and caring for our Lord. She was, after all, perfect.