Looking in the mirror I barely recognize the woman looking back at me. She looks tired. She looks big. She looks insanely happy.
The changes my body has made over the past nine months are nothing short of extraordinary. That the human body can change and adjust to provide a safe haven for another growing human is simply beautiful.
The woman looking back at me in the mirror – her belly swells with the growing life of a precious child. Her back bows to compensate for the extra weight she carries in her middle. And her smile is one that testifies to anticipation, exhaustion, and sheer exhilaration.
And I see the imperfections, the “less than beautiful” changes: the swelling, the stretch marks, the lines and curves and acne. Society tells me these flaws are “less than beautiful.” And some courageous mamas proudly own their imperfections and claim them as battle scars and beauty marks that signify their rite of passage into motherhood.
But when I look in the mirror, I see something different.
I look in the mirror and see stretch marks that remind me of the countless ways the Lord stretched and scarred me as we hoped and prayed and waited for this little miracle baby.
I look in the mirror and see swollen ankles and fingers that remind me how my heart swells with thankfulness and awe when I think that we are just a few short weeks away from meeting our little man.
I look in the mirror and see new lines and curves that once were absent, and they remind me that whether through infertility, pregnancy, or motherhood, Christ is constantly reshaping me to become more like Him. And yes, sometimes it is uncomfortable.
I look in the mirror and see acne - blemishes – and not just on my face. And I am reminded that I constantly stand in need of God’s unrelenting grace to erase every blemish and stain of sin.
But mostly, when I look in the mirror at the woman staring back at me…
When I look in the mirror I see answered prayers.
I see every flaw and each imperfection as an exquisite testimony of answered prayer.
And though society and culture may identify those imperfections as “ugly,” when I look in the mirror I see beauty. The beauty of answered prayer.