(Guest post by Naomi Johanson)
Last week I stepped in front of a mirror.
My eyes filled with tears as the image in the glass
Stared back at me:
An image I've struggled to love and accept for most of my life.
An image I've hurt and tried to change, depriving it of the necessities to grow, feeding it handfuls of hunger, losing pounds of motivation with each bite, never fulfilled or satisfied — stuck in between wanting more and letting go.
An image I've spoken unkind words to over and over again, hoping to convince her that the lies are truth, that her worth is based on a number displayed on a small screen, clear skin, toned muscles and tamed hair.
Nothing more than just that, skin-deep.
I stood in the mirror continuing to stare.
I wiped away the tears that blurred my vision, that told me I would never be good enough,
Even for me.
For beauty is seen with pure eyes.
Not with eyes that lust after things that wither away, but with eyes that see the heart — deep within the ribcage of honesty.
Real beauty is found in kind words spoken to a loved one.
It is found in laughter and in tears.
In the raw quiet moments when no one is near.
Beauty has many forms — it does not just live on the surface of our skin.
It builds a house within us,
Calling it home.
Our eyes can often be clouded by lies, causing us to lose sight.
But when these moments arise, we must remember that we are not the Maker,
For only He decides.
He determines our worth and puts a price on our sleeves.
He is the One that shows us the beauty within you and me.
Do not hate on His masterpiece, for beauty is deeper
Than what the eyes can see.
Hi, my name is Naomi and I have been a born-again Christian since I was eight years old. I grew up going to Sunday school, and learned the importance of living a Christ-centered life at a young age. When I was younger, I started to battle depression and felt utterly alone; that difficulty developed my love for writing. I would write in my journals about how I was feeling and write prayers to God for comfort and help. I would hold fast to the verses and Bible stories, and keep them as a mustard seed of hope when times were tough. Over the years, I experienced various trials: heartbreak, loss and grief, depression and anxiety, addiction and temptation. I found that writing really helped me see the bigger picture - to see the value in heartbreaking experiences, the beauty and purpose in the mountain tops and deep valleys, and the hope God gives through all of it.
I write to help others who struggle to see the bigger picture, too; I write in a way that is vulnerable and raw, so others feel like they can relate and be encouraged by it. Life can be really difficult, but if we encourage ourselves in the Lord (like David did), life can become manageable. Our day-to-day life becomes watered with truth, no longer a desert of lies. I'm excited to keep sharing things I've been thinking about that have encouraged me as well. Being vulnerable is hard, but when we bring things into the light, healing begins. May we all remember that lies grow in the darkness, I pray we all learn to be the light that casts out darkness. To love like Jesus and to have a heart for His children.