It was five days before the Club 31 Women writer’s retreat in Oregon, to which I had been looking forward for months. But I stared at the email from our lovely host, Lisa Jacobson, in which she said, “Bring clothing for the photoshoot.”
So I did what any 50-year-old woman would do: cry. Of course, I’m going to tell you flat out that I also had started my period that day, so I might have been emotionally unstable to begin with.
I’m just not going to do it, I said to myself. I practiced saying, “You know, I’m just going to pass on the photoshoot. Thank you, though.” But then I could picture all of the other ladies saying, “Oh no, but you just have to join us.” And then I would start blubbering about how I’d put on weight, and I don’t wear makeup and have never known how to do my hair, and how they’re all young and skinny and beautiful. And they would try to convince me that no, I was just beautiful. And that would make me cry even harder, and by then my eyes would be so puffy that I for sure would look horrible in pictures.
You see my dilemma.
Drawing an Instagram Crowd
A truth from Scripture came to mind, which was good considering that I mentally was going off the rails. In Proverbs 31:30, we read this description of a noble wife:
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. (NIV)
Beauty is fleeting. Truth.
I am a woman who follows hard after God, but let’s just be honest and say that being a God-fearing woman doesn’t seem like it would draw Instagram crowds. People with perfect eyebrows and extended lashes draw Instagram crowds.
So I was praying about this because we should pray about these things! And I was saying, Lord, teach me how to let go of beauty but still be able to stand in front of a camera without feeling blah.
You’re going to love this. Just after praying, I was scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, when an old Club 31 post by Lisa Jacobson came up –a post about beauty! Oh my word. Now here you just have to see that the Lord has quite a grand sense of humor when you really get to know him. See how he used the very woman who set up the photoshoot to encourage me about true beauty? It was like she was right in the room with me, with her soft but firm voice telling me that I could make the most of my looks and that I most certainly would be in the photoshoot. (Lisa is bossy that way.)
Have Fun With It!
So you guys, I went to Target and bought some Cover Girl eyebrow powder (because I plucked my eyebrows nearly to death a few decades ago, trying to tame the very eyebrows that would be photo-worthy now) and some eye shadow –nearly nude shades, because you can’t go from no makeup to color. People will talk.
And the day before I left, my daughter came over and quietly handed me a tube of lip gloss. “For your photoshoot,” she said. *sniff*sniff*
I’m sharing a few of the photoshoot pictures with you here, and I want you to see that I’m in the pictures, and my body is not perfection. But I love Jesus and I did try ever so hard to do something with my eyebrows.
Beauty IS Fleeting but…
And all this to say that we’re going to get older, and beauty is going to “fleetly flee and fly” (Yes, I sang this to the tune from The Sound of Music.) We have to figure this out with God and with our sisters. We have GOT to figure this out, and it’s a spiritual exercise. The Bible has something to say about beauty, which means we have something to believe. Something to think about.
So let’s buy a little bit of makeup but not so much that it becomes a lie to ourselves, eh? Let’s never forget the lovely truth that those of us who follow Jesus are going to get new bodies one day, so we mustn’t get too set on making these ones perfect. Join me and these other beeeeaauutiful Club 31 writers, in putting our attention into loving God with all of our hearts and not worrying so much about the camera.
(By the way, they poured so much love and affection on me when it came time for pictures that I wondered how I ever felt insecure before. This is what we can do for each other -love and affection. Makes a person feel pretty every time.)