Mirror and Sky

I didn’t use to be so worried  about wrinkles. Which made sense because I didn’t have any. I think for a very long time I was actually convinced that I would be the one person in the history of time who would grow old without ever having to buy wrinkle cream.

A few months ago I was getting ready in the bathroom and Ellie walked in and said something funny. I laughed and then gasped at my reflection in the mirror. Were those…? I mean, surely not. I’ve worked out all the details. No gray hair, no wrinkles, no belly fat, no stretch marks. And I accepted the latter two as payment for my babies. But the Lord and I had not come to any definitive conclusions about the rest of it.

Imagine my surprise a few days later when I found not one, but three gray hairs.

Clearly, it was time for intervention (and by “intervention” I mean “shopping).

I headed to Sephora because they are like a therapist but with more lipstick choices. I found a woman who seemed to have made the same pact with God about aging but apparently had better moisturizer than I did. She walked me to the back of the store and introduced me to an eye cream that smelled like dead fish. I wanted to embrace the dead fish because once my teenage skin came back it would seem like a small price to pay. I bought the fish stuff, along with a few other “must-haves” for the rewind process. I’m not going to say I didn’t give it a fair shot, but approximately 45 minutes after I put it on, I still saw some wrinkles and I gave a monologue that would have made Solomon seem optimistic in Ecclesiastes.

Stupid wrinkles. They’re just around my eyes a little and mostly when I smile. Actually, I’m not even 100% sure they are wrinkles. They might just be my face.

Whatever.

They smell like fish now.

My thought process for a few days went something like this:

“I’m old. I’m practically on the doorstep of death. I need to deal with it.”

“Who cares what I look like? I mean, the Lord doesn’t look at the face. He looks at the heart.”

“Well that’s good. But unfortunately, everyone else looks at your face and yours is old and freaky looking. And I would be much more concerned about your arm fat than your wrinkles. You can give up smiling forever but your arms are going to have to move.”

“I’m so vain. I need to get over it.”

And on and on. And then on a little more because why not go for broke, you know?

I know I’m not the only one who has been through this, and I also know that it’s inevitable. But I guess I never realized I was going to be included.

Truth be told, I don’t think it’s even about face lines or gray hairs.

I just don’t want things to be moving quite so fast.

I meant to take a picture of Charlotte’s tiny little baby feet hanging off the rocking chair the other day and I took at least 15 photos, bemoaning the way the angle was making them look so big. I scrolled through a couple and looked up at her again, and in an instant I realized they were wholly representing what existed. Her feet are chubby and delicious, and I kiss them every single day. And somewhere in the kissing and the shoes and the towel drying them after bath time, I missed the part where they changed.

The camera doesn’t lie, and neither does the mirror.

My heart says, “It will never change,”  but the reflections tell me otherwise.

I sat in the moonlight all alone that night and whispered to Him, “Why?”

Why do you let me love things as they are only to tell me they won’t stay?

And as the blushing bride, ever well-intentioned, I realized my mistake as soon as the words left my mouth.

All this dark night, and you sit in the moonlight asking why.

I’ve been holding it all too tightly. Shoving feet in tiny shoes and scrutinizing the way the hours are robbing me of what was beautiful. I missed the way He lit up the night for me.

His moon.

His love.

His painting of my hair and ticking of the clock.

His spectacular plan that I’m so tempted to forget in favor of wrinkle cream and doubt. I get the sense that I’ve been treading water for a long time, asking Him to give me something that feels better.

I spend more time looking for my reflection in a mirror, rather than in the night sky. I want to drink deep of the landscape He has blessed me with. Not from behind a camera, trying to clip and edit until it matches my heart, but as a woman who can see the stars spilled out and believe Him.

There is beauty in the believing, isn’t there?

It’s a warm summer day today, and I have a feeling my backyard will be full of noises and patches of light tonight.

And as it often does, the wind will pick up the swings and move them back and forth while I cry out for them to be still. Tonight I will watch them and I will smile.

And instead of worrying about the swings, I will thank Him for the wind.

Constantly moving.

Always nudging us toward our home with Him.

Jesus, You make it all unbearable beautiful when we dare to look. Thank you for the mercy that sets us all free to love you in return…You are Everything.

And also, Jesus?

I don’t want to smell like fish anymore.

Amen.


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  • Anne

    Angie, I’m going to read your blog post in a second. But first I need to ask a very important (ahem ;) question: do you remember where you bought that green jacket in the picture here on your site? I adoooore it. Off to read now…

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      i believe it was at ann taylor loft!!!!! good luck!!! :)

      • Anne

        Thanks, hope it’s still available…!
        And I l o v e the way you write. I was nodding yes the whole time. Thanks for using your words to point us to Him :)

  • http://mommyadventuresintx.wordpress.com/ Caitlin

    So I might as well have written this post because it’s pretty much what I’m going through right now. Yes wrinkles, yes grey hairs, yes using products that I formerly labeled as “old lady creams.” Basically I’m 28 going on 80. Also, I spent the morning sobbing like a nutcase while I put away my daughter’s 3-6 month clothes. Time is moving too fast and it’s so hard to be confronted with the fact. 
    p.s. conversations in your head are exactly like conversations in my head.  :)  I’m glad I’m not the only one!! 

  • Sarah Bendel

    Beautifully written and exactly what my soul needed to hear today. But speaking as someone who recently met you at (in)RL- you are gorgeous!

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    You hit the proverbial nail on the head, Angie! Daily I am missing breathtaking treasures because I have a strangle hold on this life. Thanks for sharing from your heart.

  • Lisa

    Angie,
    I just popped over here as I often do now since reading I Will Carry You.  I am currently 33 weeks pregnant with my baby who has no kidneys.  I have 2 sweet children, 6 and 2, and sometimes I feel like I just want time to stop forever.  I want them to be frozen in time….my sweet little babies.  But then I think about my baby who I will never get to see develop past an infant and I praise God for each new day and each inch grown and each wrinkle seen.  I am so thankful that time hasn’t stopped for them or for me.  Just today as my little girl called me from her crib I had that pang of fear of change…fear of time passing and I recalled Isaiah 43:18,19: “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!”  Thank you for sharing this as my heart needed it.  The time will pass and I need to constantly remind myself to be thankful for the passage of time!  Thank you, too, for writing I Will Carry You.  It has been invaluable to me on my journey.

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      I am praying for you right now…

      • Lisa

        Thank you, Angie

    • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

      Praying for you.

      • Lisa

        Thank you

    • http://www.dietcokeontherocks.com/ robin

      thank you for that verse, I needed to read it today. :)

      • Lisa

        You are most welcome :)

    • Casey

       praying  for you

      • Lisa

        Thank you, Casey

    • http://ourhappyhillhome.blogspot.com/ Ashley

      Before I move any further to comment on Angie’s post, I will pause to pray to Him for you and your precious family….and I will keep praying girl.  

      • Slimlisa

        Thank you, Ashley, we need it.

    • Cathy

      Praying for you and your sweet baby.

      • Lisa

        Thank you, Cathy

  • Amy Spiegel

    angie,
    i thought i was so mature when i embraced my thirties like a long lost friend! “look at me! i am going to be one of those grow-old-gracefully types.” sadly though, now that i am approaching forty, i have realized i only felt that way because i still had my twenties skin. my age spotted, wrinkly self is getting the silent treatment…maybe if i ignore it, it will go away. thanks for the reminder that change is beautiful.

  • http://brokenliving.wordpress.com/ Kelsey

    “Why do you let me love things as they are only to tell me they won’t stay?”
    Incredibly true. Letting go, allowing change to merge and shift our lives, is what we have been called to. It’s hard, but worth it. How will we ever know what’s beyond the bend if we don’t keep going? 

  • Natasha Grimes

    Beautifully said. 

    I’ve had the gray going on for quite some time. Never want to be the lady who looks like a skunk because she hasn’t colored her hair in so long! 

    My husband does such a good job encouraging me. He lets me know I am perfect for him, I am beautiful in his eyes. 

    Then Jesus reminds me of my beauty as well. I am beautiful because I am his.

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

    You are too funny and then you make me cry.  How do you do that?  I have a mama who is 65 years old and her skin looks younger than mine…almost.  She’s in the sidebar on my blog.  I always thought I would age like her, but I don’t only have her genes running in my blood.  So as my eyesight begins to fade (who knew older people wear glasses because their eyes get older, too), and wrinkles appear and those age spots from my sun loving days make my skin look freckled, I stop and thank the Lord that I have lived as long as I have.  I also ask Him to help me age gracefully even if I don’t do it as well as my mama. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/BFGOmelissa Melissa Irwin

    Angie,
    I’m 41 and I recently found… not a gray hair, but an all out silver one.  I mean, it is shiny enough to eat off of.  I almost pulled it out but quickly realized that even this season is worth embracing.  I’ve got little ones still at home, and one big one (age 23) who seems to have forgotten my phone number.  It all hurts, but it’s all going somewhere and accomplishing unknown precious things in the process.  It’s beautiful!  

    I loved this post!

  • http://thepartythatneverquits.blogspot.com Jen

    Anne Shirley set me up for failure.

    She didn’t get her first gray hair until Jem had been at war for a couple of years. She was FIFTY. I did the math. I full on expected that to happen to me. Maybe even later, because I wouldn’t have the stress of a world war. *sigh*

    Everytime I pull out a gray hair that I will never admit to Adam I have (I can’t deal with his gloating on top of the gray taunts… We all have limits) I am reminded of the proverb about gray hair being the crown of a righteous life. Sometimes I think Solomon was just trying to make his own self feel better, or at least stop his kids from pointing them out and calling him old, because I don’t think my life is righteous enough for a crown. Especially not just yet. I wonder if my pulling hair offends God? I mean, maybe He says “but you earned *that one*…”

  • Casey

    Oh Angie,  I LOVE YOU!  lol

    I had this exact argument with myself.  I have developed this ridiculous gray streak …I’m 35…WHY am I seeing gray streaks….So yes I colored it and just to be fun went with a whole different color.  and as for the crows feet.  I only look at certain parts of my face.  chin up or chin down..never all at once.  lol.

    But truly, I try to remember that I have the laugh lines…it is choosing joy in spite of such a difficult path I have been on the past few years. 
    You are beautiful…always and we won’t get into the fishy smells.  :)

  • Diane Killmon

    So far no other comments have offered you something that doesn’t smell like fish; I’m about to change that. I’m 54 and started seeing those eye wrinkles around the age of 40. I am frugal and unwilling to buy one of those $50-for-1-ounce-products. I have been using L’Oreal RevitaLift day moisturizer (drug stores and grocery stores carry it) for years now and it has kept the eye and smile wrinkles to a minimum. Don’t worry, I have had to embrace many changes of aging (gravity effects have not presented any easy remedies)! Just a little practical help from one mom (now a new grandma) to another :)

    • http://www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com angelac519

      you are my hero, diane :) my entire family thanks you in advance…
      xoxo

  • Jamie

    I love this. I had this realization lately except in a different way. For so long I wanted to have another baby so badly that I was missing the beauty of each stage with my 4 boys. I was sad that they were growing up & that there wasn’t a new baby to love on because for so long I had a new baby (every two years). I realized that there is more to being a mom than having babies. It’s the raising of those babies that’s most important. It’s delighting in every age & stage of their development. This life is so short. Thanks for writing. Once again, beautiful words!

  • Coby

    I just hit a crazy button, hope this doesn’t post twice…

    I’m simultaneously laughing and wanting to cry.  I, too, thought I would never age .  But I have 3 gray hairs (that I initially thought were dog hairs that somehow got tangled up with my own) that are being fruitful and multiplying, and the skin under my eyes has been puffy for a year now.  I’m 35, and I no longer look 25! 

    But you hit the nail on the head – I know the Lord wants me to live my life with an open hand, receiving whatever it is He brings to me, whether joyful or painful, and trusting that He loves me through it all.  So if He wants to bring me gray hairs and puffy eyes, or when my youngest son’s feet get too big to put in my mouth and have it not be weird – or anything else – I want my response to be “Yes, Lord!”

  • Yea81

    Hey

    Just checking to see if you will b speaking at the women of faith for long beach?

  • http://ourhappyhillhome.blogspot.com/ Ashley

    Angie, I have so enjoyed reading your blog in the past months, since a sweet friend introduced me to it!  You certainly have a gift and your passion for Him is contagious, inspiring and promising.  Keep on keepin’ on, wrinkles and all.

    And, by the way, Estee Lauder makes a correcting serum that feels like silk on your face.  It’s amazing.  

  • Michelle

    Isn’t it sad that our culture does everything it can to tell us that aging is bad?  That gray hair, wrinkles, etc are all bad?  Color your hair, treat your face, plastic surgery, and on and on…it is exhausting.  I was really challenged by this and am very determined to age and be OK with it.  Wrinkles, gray hair – bring it on.  OK, maybe not yet…but you know, 30 or 40 years from now :) :)  

    I have to remind myself over and over.  Every time I see a gray hair, every time I see a wrinkle, an age spot, my veins looking not so normal, my chest slowly creeping down to my waist…I am determined to thank God for it.  Thank him for every moment I have had, and every breath I have been able to take.  Thank Him for my eyesight as long as I have it.  Thank Him for my mind, however long I am able to keep it.  I just want to fight our culture as much as possible…and show my own daughter that she doesn’t have to be afraid to grow up.  That beauty is inward, no matter what the world tries to tell us otherwise.

    I am rambling here…but I guess this is a promise to myself that I am making here.  Another reminder to be thankful.

    Thanks for sharing – and for challenging me again!
    Michelle

  • http://kandilandblog.blogspot.com Kandi

    I don’t comment very often, but I thought this was beautiful.  It brought up all kinds of stirrings in my heart about different things in my life right now and my general attitude towards this beautiful life I’ve been given.  Hmmm, one thing about getting older is I find myself getting convicted more and more often!  :)  

    p.s.  I am about your age and can relate to your mirror story — I had the same thing happen to me in front of the mirror not long ago after my 7-year-old said something funny.  I couldn’t BELIEVE that was me, ha!  I’ve always had one of those smiles that is “wrinkly,” but all of a sudden those wrinkles were extending to places they never had before!  Must….Grow old…Gracefully.  (Maybe if I say it forcefully enough I will be able to fulfill it??!!!)

  • emilee

    Angie,
    Thank you for this post! How timely, I’m a teen girl(so hopefully no wrinkles yet!) and was just thinking how I was annoyed with a part of my body(curling/ingrown hairs, if you must know!) Thanks for always pointing to Christ!

    By the way, some one may have already said this but You radiate with the beauty of Christ, seriously! I was looking online for a picture to show my salon lady how I wanted my hair cut. Guess who’s photo came up?! But it was exactly how I wanted mine done(layers) and it was before I realized who it was. So, if you don’t mind, I may be taking your photo as a guide!

  • Amanda

    And sephora returns everything! Even used products, woo hoo! ;)

  • Melissabozek

    Just reading about this in One Thousand Gifts today. The part where she begs for her 5 year old to stay little. I’m so there too!

  • http://stillinwonder.blogspot.com/ annette

    this
    “trying to clip and edit until it matches my heart, but as a woman who can see the stars spilled out and believe Him.”
    beautiful.
    (me too). 

  • Inkling

    On a day when I sacrificed play time with my three year old to spend an hour to try to make a horrible haircut look good, this was the perfect post to read.  Some young hairstylist who didn’t know how to listen chopped 6-8 inches of my long red hair off when I told her “two inches max with a few very long layers”, and I paid for that privilege with money that should have gone to groceries and diapers for a little boy who insists he will be ready to potty train “yesterday”.  I’ve spent the last several days since that foolish decision grouchy, insecure, self-absorbed, and miserable.  This post was perfect medicine to correct that.  And now I’m going to go and hop on the elliptical and work on getting James 2 in my head and heart.  Thanks for peeling my eyes off my nose.  

  • http://www.faithfullyyours1989.blogspot.com/ Faith

    Well just for the record, I didn’t notice ANY wrinkles or ANY gray hair when I saw you on Saturday!!  :) 

  • Aharrison687

    I think that  whether we are young or older, at times we all get concerned about how our skin looks, our body, etc. even men! As a woman getting close to thirty, it has taken me some getting used to. But as you said, let us enjoy and appreciate the good things in life. Also, I think you look great! 

  • http://hoster777.blogspot.com/ jennifer ross

    You are so cute Angie! :O)  Besides your sweet mommy heart and huge love for our Lord, I thoroughly enjoy your humor! I try to make jokes throughout the day with my family and friends. It just seems to make the hard days go by a little smoother.

  • Mitzi M.

    Angie, you are a hoot!  Love this post… I can relate.  Turning 40 this year… gray hair, wrinkles and things that just won’t stay where they are supposed to!  I’m trying to embrace some it and figure out what to do about the rest of it all at the same time.  All the while, my boys are now taller than me AND their dad and have less time left in our home than they’ve already spent there.  All part of His plan, I know.  Thanks for a big laugh in the midst of it all!  P.S. I have no intention of embracing gray hair!  Wrinkles, maybe, gray hair… that’s a BIG NO!

  • http://www.itcouldabeenworse.blogspot.com Bella

    Angie. I just love you. And love the God who gives you these words. I love how you can make me laugh and cry. Your heart is amazing.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    I love the way you write–I fluctuate between laughing and sighing pensively with how much my soul resonates with the words you pour out through a screen.  My son told me I looked old yesterday, ha!  Mind you on 4’10″ so I will never look “old” lol!  You have to laugh. :)

  • KathyR

    “Jesus, You make it all unbearable beautiful when we dare to look. ”  This line makes me want to say booya.  That’s exactly it…but WHY in the world is it such a dare for me to look sometimes?  Thank you, Angie!  

  • Carmel

    I love this!    So true- A couple of weeks ago, I was Cold Creaming it like crazy, because I looked in the mirror, and suddenly looked old to myself.  I’ve always thought I looked young for my age, but my pores were big (I don’t remember that), the cute quizzical expressions of years gone by have left permanent lines on my now creased forehead!  So I lathered up and moisturized. (My husband DID laugh- the children just looked scared and confused!)  
    Thanks for making my laugh lines crinkle…. I’m okay with that…Really!  Thanks for the blessing that you are.

  • Stacie Nelson

    Oh, my….I just turned 35 yesterday, and I see lots of wrinkles and gray hair and age spots all over, so I’m completely with you. 

    But that’s not the reason your post made me cry.  Change is.  I, too, want to hold onto all of it.  I want to hold too tightly to things that are fleeting.  I don’t want the pain of change.  I can’t even put it into words.  I just know that I’m sobbing like a baby over this post — over fish (well, kind of!)….and the God who makes “the unbearable beautiful when we dare to look.”

    Blessings to you, Miss Angie.  And thank you for sharing your heart.

    • http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/ Stacie

       Oh, dear!  Somehow I posted the same thing twice?!!  I tried deleting this, but I can’t figure out how to.  Sorry about that.  :(

  • http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/ Stacie

     Oh, my….I just turned 35 yesterday, and I see lots of wrinkles and gray hair and age spots all over, so I’m completely with you.  

    But that’s not the reason your post made me cry.  Change is.  I, too, want to hold onto all of it.  I want to hold too tightly to things that are fleeting.  I don’t want the pain of change.  I can’t even put it into words.  I just know that I’m sobbing like a baby over this post — over fish (well, kind of!)….and the God who makes “the unbearable beautiful when we dare to look.”

    Blessings to you, Miss Angie.  And thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Cathy

    Your words cause me to think a little bit deeper. I love the light you shine on the world and His glory. Thank you for sharing, honestly, your experiences and insight with us. I often refer specific posts on your site to friends who are going through a rough time and I appreciate knowing that you might be able to speak to them in a way that perhaps I couldn’t. God has given you a rich gift! Thanks again. ~ Cathy

  • http://www.differentparent.com/ Wick Anderson

    I just hope my hair turns gray before it all falls out.  Great post, and encouraging words for young women looking up to those who are aging well.  Err…”aging” there seems offensive…but not sure what else to call it.  

  • http://espressoyour-self.com/ Malory H

    beautiful post :)   I, myself, am praying that the graying process doesn’t occur for a while (although..I have been guilty of “pulling” a couple of them out…I know…I am not suppose to, but it beats “coloring” it for now ;)

  • Sara174102

    Angie, girl, get rid of the fish cream. Gross. You are gorgeous, we all have to age gracefully..or try, to anyway. I am 45, I love that.  The night before my 30th birthday I stayed up to watch myself turn 30 in the mirror. I was going to stay there until midnight and then go to bed. 30 seemed traumatic for me, like the beginning of the end. So, from 11:45pm until 12:01am I stood in the mirror waiting for the ‘final’ moment or whatever it was to be. Watched myself turn 30 and at 12:02am went to bed, I was the same, nothing dramatic happened or changed. It made me realize that God made us teh way we are for a reason. I am okay with that. I have a few gray hairs, I don’t use wrinkle cream of any kind, and I refuse to let a shallow society mold me into something I am not and will never be. Congratulations on figuring out that one early on, friend.  Oh, and by the way, 30 was so emotional that turning 40 didn’t phase me.

    Love to you and your family, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!
    Love,
    Sara in San Antonio