Looking down: Baggy sweats, stained t-shirt, if I could see my waist it would disappoint me.
Looking in the mirror: Dark circles, pale skin, wrinkles multiplying as I watch. The price of staying at home to raise children is paid in the physical deterioration of a once lovely human being. I should just cover up all the mirrors.
Looking in my children: My hopes, my past, my failings, my humor, my joy, constantly in front of me. But what I see most is more grace than I deserve. More than the mistakes I’ve made, I see the reflection of God in their hearts.
Looking up: Where do I find the reflection of God? Not in my mirror. In two small hands reaching toward each other to clasp in prayer. In gentle expressions of concern for another. In a heart that can hurt over someone else’s injustice and pain. In the peaceful sleeping of a litle girl, arms and legs outstretched to each side, mouth open, trust complete.
Looking back: Children are a better mirror than reflective glass. When I was young and unscarred by time, my appearance was the sum total of my worth. Now that I have lived, that sum total has become the grace God is giving to my children. His worth reflects off my tarnished and wrinkled armor and shows up in the gifts I have to offer now. Trust, faith, humor, peace, laughter, love, time, and me. As I am. As all I have become from years of lessons from God.
The heart of a mother’s work is revealed each moment in the lives of our children. No wonder I look like a refugee.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll brush my hair. Maybe then I can walk by a mirror without seeing everything ugly and everything unimportant. Today, I’ll go see what my children are up to and look for the reflection of God there.
Now: 11 or so years later and I still can’t pass a mirror without harsh judgement on the person reflected. When does this end? Whatever. My girls are in junior high and dealing with braces, boys, friends/clothes, changing bodies and yet, they still see a mother who loves them. They are good people, believe in God and tell me all about, braces, boys, friends/clothes and their changing bodies. That seems like grace to me. Amazing.