My body and I have been at war for as long as I can remember. “Voluptuous” was in vogue when I was a teen, but back then, I was as skinny as a bean pole. But by the time “thin” came into style, I had gained a lot of weight. And on and on it has gone for years. I never seem to have the body that matches with the “ideal” being promoted. When I was younger, I wanted to look more mature; now that I am older—well, I wish I looked younger!
All my life, I made discouraging remarks to myself every time I passed a mirror—“My hair never stays combed!” “This dress looks horrible on me.” I wasn’t really conscious that I was having this internal conversation with my image in the mirror, but I would just throw a mental dart at myself in passing.
A couple of years ago when I was lamenting my appearance in the mirror, I had a thought, God needs grandmothers! And it dawned on me that I look the way I am supposed to for my age and for the life I live. Young people like to meet my husband and me, a couple happily married for well over 40 years and who are at peace with God, themselves, and their fellow human beings. Apparently, our plump faces and smile wrinkles make us look rather jolly!
So it was time to come to grips with the feud I had with my image in the mirror. I decided that instead of throwing insults, I would give me a compliment every time I would pass by “myself”—“Love that gray hair!” “Nice smile!” “I like the earrings!” I was able to finally lighten up and have a good laugh! Especially whenever I caught a look at myself in my scruffy garden clothes and had to really search for a compliment! But the breakthrough came, and a lifelong bad habit has finally been broken!
Instead of looking in other places for a model to follow, I’m learning to look to God alone to cultivate my spirit and my inward self to be “conformed to the image of Christ.”1 I take that to mean to “walk just as He walked”2 and to let His light shine through me.3
When I relax and smile and have a good laugh, it makes all the wrinkles dance on my face. I’m happy to be the grandmother that God needs, and I hope to spread a bit of His love and light in this confused world. I’m glad I’m me—the way I am, the way He created me.