Monday, October 14, 2013

beauty{full}: scars

Hello, third trimester.

You guys, this belly doesn't mess around. I'm knocking stuff over left and right, I'm having to get creative in order to fit through the shower doors, and the boys are finding less and less of a lap to sit on. It happens. Littles and Tiny are, however, keeping themselves entertained by adorning their unborn siblings with stickers at every turn. I then forget to de-sticker before going out in public, probably because half of the stickers I can't even see as they are on the literal bottom of my belly (the underbelly of my belly?). Regardless, hurray for making it to the homestretch, even if it's just the beginning of the homestretch. Let's get this thing done.

Since we're already talking about pregnancy and I'm still supposed to be blogging about beauty (are you guys bored yet? don't tell me if you are--I'm committed to sticking this out), I thought I'd write about stretch marks, a subject with which I become more and more intimately acquainted by the day.

So, did you know that "stretch marks" is just a slightly more genteel way of saying "scars"? Yes.

I will be honest and say that, in general, I find scars to be pretty cool. Each one is a story possibility, and no, I don't always mean completely factual stories. Ask me sometime about the scar I got from wrestling down the tiger I had been riding to school through the untamed jungles of Indonesia. That's a great one.

Amusingly enough, I don't have the same affection for my stretch marks as I do for my scars. I know I should look at them lovingly, each one a sign of the soon-to-be-four wonderful children that I love dearly, but in all honesty: they're just ugly. The stretch marks, not the kids. The Man and I have a policy that we send all the ugly babies back. We've been lucky so far.

Anyway, point being that I'm not mature enough to find my stretch marks beautiful. I hope I can get there one day. Right now: it galls me that I'm not even thirty and my belly looks like Tiny took a shiny red marker and scribbled all over it.

Here is what I want though: I want to look at my stomach and see, not ugliness, but the beauty of four kids and three healthy pregnancies. I want to look at my stomach and see God writing a story that is absolutely fascinating (when I am tempted to think my storyline is on occasion a bit trite and sometimes mundane). I want to look at my stomach and see God not just stretching me physically with the swelling of pregnancy but God stretching me emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually (pregnancy brain aside). I want to look at the stretch marks scarring my stomach and see God.

I guess this too is a form of selective viewing, perhaps one that is a bit more difficult for me. In this case, instead of looking for the beautiful and blocking out the ugly, I am looking my version of ugly right in the face and asking God to help me rewrite my definition, rethink my story. I'm learning that sometimes I just need to learn how to see all over again.

And this doesn't just apply to my stretch marks. It applies to people too.

When I see someone whose behaviour and choices are "ugly" to me, do I look away and try to ignore them? Do I write them off as lacking? Do I keep my distance so that I don't become ugly by extension? Or do I ask God to change the way I see them so that instead of "ugly stretch marks" I begin to catch a glimpse of the ones God made in His image, the ones God called beautifully and wonderfully made, the ones for whom God sent His son to die?

I need to learn to see again. I need to ask God to remind me that there are always stories behind the stretch marks.

{If you're looking for the rest of this series, all the links can be found here. Thank you so much for joining with me this month.}

1 comment:

  1. How true! There are always stories behind the stretch marks. The story behind your literal stretch marks is eternally wonderful -- giving birth to babies who will become adults, who will glorify God because of his grace in your life and in theirs!

    C. S. Lewis said "It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors." Your blog made me think of this quote.

    The scars we bear sometimes make us ugly and unapproachable, but perhaps the story behind them will help us understand and bless that person. Keep blessing!