I have a birthmark on the end of my nose. It's not one of those cute, almost skin-toned, barely there, but shaped like a cool country in Africa, type of birthmark. No. It's a raised pimple-like looking thing, and it's red. It has blood vessels that seem to keep it fed, alive. And if I had a dollar for every time a person told me that I have a zit on the end of my nose, I would be a millionaire.
At this point you’re thinking; perhaps a visit to the dermatologist would help this poor woman with this awful thing on the end of her nose. Believe me, over the years, I have met with the best of them. Dermatologists, plastic surgeons, birthmark removal specialists; and the answer is the same; taking it off will leave a scar which is likely to be worse than the birthmark. You’re better to leave it as it is.
As a child it was something that some of my peers enjoyed teasing me about, this red pimple-like thing on the very tip of my nose. I remember my 8 year old experimentation with my Mothers makeup, hopeful for a miracle in the Mary Kay collection. The thing I learned about raised, red, blood vessel fed birthmarks on the end of your nose is that they are resistant to makeup. My attempts to cover it with Moms makeup only made me look jaundiced, or on another occasion, when I thought her blush might do the trick, I found myself looking sunburnt and scaly. Nope, it was a matter of self acceptance, and my 8 year old self was many years from that.
If you’re like me, you have things about yourself you would not define as wonderfully made; physical features, personality quirks, things that have caused you frustration about yourself over the years. I get that. But the last few years have had me looking differently at the woman in the mirror. I’ve had to wrestle hard with myself, and challenge my ideas of beauty, identity, belonging, success, and where my value lies. Thankfully, scripture holds important reminders for us when we lose perspective. If you write in your Bible like I do, I encourage you to have your pen in hand when you read Ps 139: 13-16.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Our worth and beauty do not lie in our looks, in our career, in our wealth, our marital status, or etc. We are not more or less special because of who accepts us or who doesn’t. We are valuable because God made us, and calls us His. God wove us together individually, His fingerprints are all over us.
If you have watched anyone weave, or perhaps you weave yourself, you know the upclose, personal nature of weaving. It's an intricate process, requiring attention to detail and intentional input from the weaver. I met a weaver recently at a local fair. This particular woman had piles of woven items for sale and as we chatted, I was struck by her excitement and pride as she showed me her workmanship. There were no two items exactly alike, and she had a special flare for combining colours in a way that made small flowers appear almost hidden in each blanket. Her work was unique, and she had a story to tell about each one. Weavers know what they’ve woven. They can identify their handy-work anywhere. Each item is unique, and each one has spent countless hours in the hands of its creator, designed intentionally, with love and pride; a masterpiece. It only takes a few minutes with an Artisan to know this is true.
Imagine how differently we might feel if we believed in our hearts that we are wonderfully made. How would you face your day if you considered yourself a masterpiece, made on purpose, with a purpose? For me, this changed everything. When I accepted that I was woven together and intimately made by the ultimate Creator, I felt differently about myself. There is something very special about being fully seen, and completely loved all at the same time. My flaws didn’t just disappear, and the birthmark still holds its own on the end of my nose. I still have quirks that from time to time need addressing, and areas I am growing. But I can look in the mirror with a sense of acceptance and even awe that God took time to weave me together, and He gets enjoyment from me, birthmark and all.
It's my prayer that as you study the reflection in your own mirror, you won’t spend time picking apart the areas you consider unacceptable, but rather that you would see yourself through the eyes of your Creator, and know that you are wonderfully made, and He delights in you.