It was a transition year.  You know, the first Christmas, when you get underpants in your stocking instead of twenty-five feet of emulsified corn syrup, rolled up with a fun fruity name?   Toys and trinkets no longer have the power to wake you at 4:00 in the morning.  

Bacon and biscuits, now we’re talkin’!  The boy has become a man!

For me this year it was the fifth dimension of gift-getting.  The timeline of gifts goes something like this. Snuggly baby products, toys, toys, toys, and more toys, obnoxious beeping things with buttons, clothes, and body beautiful products, home goods, and then…maintenance.

Seasoned, wise, and well-lived, there’s no way around it, we all grow old and start to sag.  Happy New Year!

According to the New York Post, research reveals that American women spend nearly a quarter of a million dollars on their appearance throughout their lifetime.  Well, not me. Not that I don’t need to! It’s true, thousands are spent on age-defying lotions, potions, and promises of lifting. It’s a multi-billion dollar business.  But if you study the wording, many of the smartly marketed bottles of whipped and frothed fountain of youth dreams merely “reduce the appearance” of ugly or “cover-up” (for fourteen hours or so).   It’s still there, we just live behind the smoke and mirrors.

On Christmas morning my best gift (the one I would have squealed about if I were eight years old and opening a Holiday Barbie) was a bottle of Face Tightening Serum, “Face feels tighter and firmer.  Face feels smoother and more toned.”  Yes!  I say let’s buy it by the gallon and fill the bathtub!   The next best was a tiny tube of Under Eye Cream, “Guaranteed to reduce the appearance of dark circles and crow feet.”  Last year, the it gift was a tub of neck cream with promises to tighten the décolletage of the neck area.  The nifty persuasive advertising on the side of the box really brought it home:  “No More Turkey Neck!”

Slather and moisturize.  Don’t miss a day. Keep up with it so we appear how we wish to be seen.

The thing is, it’s easy to keep the surface shiny and bright, it’s the condition of the undersides that tells a different story.  The crevices and shadows of the corners where we hide, where others won’t notice unless they’re really looking.  

Often times, those who look like they have everything together are falling apart inside.  People we work with, live next to, and those who sit in front of us at church. We might catch a whiff of it but all too soon we’ve swept away into our own world and discernment fades into our busy-ness and personal details of living.

The spirit tap.  The nudge. The notice.  The call to be His hands, His eyes, His voice, His love.  Seeing through spirit eyes what others miss (adapted from “Upon This Rock” – Gloria Gaither/Donny McQuire.  1989 Word Incorporated).

When our focus is cued to see depth rather than surface, this is where honesty gets its name.  To stay long enough for the smoke to clear and the mirage of having it all together dissipates and melts into raw reality.  As the lyrics sing:

This song is for the people who have rescued me.  

Who see and taste the good and do the nourishing.  

Life would leave me lonely, 

Without those who come along-side and lift my focus to the reasons of life.

Living love loud.  Naming the need. Plunging into troubled waters, saving the weak

Bursting through chains to be side by side.  A love that is alive.  

You are the image of Christ.

(Live. Love. Loud.  Journey of Faith Music.  2016 BMI. All rights reserved)

In her book, Uninvited, author Lysa Terkeurst writes about honesty and what our words reveal when we’re in-tune to care enough to care.  

“Honesty isn’t trying to hurt me.  It’s trying to heal me. If you want to know what’s really inside a person, listen carefully to the words she speaks.”

– Lysa Terkeurst, Uninvited

Look and listen.  Resist comparing hurts.  Love those who trust enough to invite you into the depths of their pain, insecurities, and suffering.  You may be the only light they trust.

Have the confidence to love.  No fear in trying. Knowing we are so loved by the One who wore the many faces of love.  

“There is no fear in love… love drives out fear…we love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:18 & 19

I said if you knew you wouldn’t want me

My scars are hidden by the face I wear

He said my child my scars go deeper

It was love for you that put them there

I am loved, I am loved

I can risk loving you

For the One who knows me best loves me most

I am loved you are loved won’t you please take my hand 

We are free to love each other we are love.

(Copyright 1978 William J. Gaither)
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