I hope I get to be with you in Heaven, he says from the backseat.
We are driving to church and I am lost in my thoughts as his little four year old voice pierces through the depths of it all.
I had woken up to gaze a monster in the mirror–a reflection of myself which I hate. It was just one of those mornings. You know the ones. Where your hair won’t curl just right and you have that pimple jutting out like a mountain and you don’t remember it until you’re in the middle of conversation and you realize she is staring at it. One of those mornings where all the blush in the world couldn’t cover up the hurt, the insecurity, the pride, the fat, the failure that you just can’t bear up under anymore.
I put on a skirt and match it up with a shirt–my hands find my hips and they wiggle too much, so I add a sweater. I walk outside to feel, and its too warm. I take it all off and start over. I stand staring more deeply into the reflection–the one I wish could be anything but this. The one no man could ever call good. I gaze at those thighs and I see them covered in cellulite. It juts out in the morning sunlight, all wrong. I try a long dress, one that covers it all. It’s summer and it doesn’t have sleeves. My eyes lock on those arms, those arms that sag and swing as I move. Embarrassed, I unzip and sit down.
Head in hands, I ask and beg and pray for eyes of grace. I repeat some verses and I wait.
Defeated and exhausted, I go to my go-to. Black and lacy, it covers the blemish and blends me in. Black has always seemed safe. I need a little safe today.
I primp and prod until there is nothing left to curl or cover. It’s funny how we spend so much time trying to cover it all up, make it all look nice when we know the inside is so messy, that we’re all messy and covered. But we do it anyway. Maybe that’s why we do it–something we can control, something we can clean up?
The studying for that test and the 5 boys and the cleaning and the cooking and and the breathing and the making it to church before the singing ends–its all weighing even more then I do as we sit at the stoplight under the fog.
That’s when his little four year old voice asks me where the world is. I tell him we are in it right now, part of it. He smiles real big and tells me how awesome the world is.
A few moments go by, just enough for me to slip back into the depths of my black dress. And then a new voice interjects. His eight year old voice is clear and concise as he tells little man, “Yeah, the world is awesome, but Heaven is way better.”
I sit and breathe in and out. I look at the rays of light coming through the fog over the trees and I remember.
It hurts at first. I don’t want to give up my sin, my selfishness. Hating my body, my inability to ever be good enough or please everyone or stay caught up with the laundry, my yearning to be as little and tan and flawless and free as the blonde in line before me at Walmart, my militant workouts and punishment for eating that cake last night, my need to just control something in this crazy life, my guilt and shame and girl that I will always be no matter how many black dresses I buy–those things I have somehow made home. Came in and got real comfy over these years.
I have been trained to long for them, to return to them, to hope there–becuase that’s all that will ever be.
And then I remember there is more. I remember that this body is temporary and this life a glimpse that is passing so quick. So quick I don’t have time to waste consumed by it. I remember the decade I spent enslaved to the binging and purging and starving and carving words of hatred into my skin, in case I forgot. I still haven’t forgotten. And as I get closer to seeing Jesus’ face, the battle continues to wage. Sometimes, it is so loud that I forget about Heaven. I honestly forget that something could be way better.
I put all my confidence in my flesh and forget what it feels like to glory in Christ. I forget that everything is a loss because knowing Him is the surpassing worth for which I was created. I forget that must press on, becuase Jesus made me His own. I think on what lies behind more then I strain for what lies ahead. I take my eyes off of Him and think on the false and the unlovely.
And that’s when little four year old responds to me by name. “Corney, I hope I get to be with you in Heaven,” he says from the backseat.
And that’s how I learn to look in the mirror and see eternity–because someday He is going to say “well done good and faithful servant. Only He won’t be talking to me. Only Jesus is worthy of such praise. So if not Jesus inside of me, then what? No matter what we do, we are never going to be good enough.
No number of miles or calories or digits on the scale could ever add up to that of Christ–and praise God that today, that is enough. Not becuase of me, but because He is sufficient, even here when I forget that Heaven is way better.
So let’s wake up tomorrow and look it in the mirror and when we think the same things, just count it all a loss because the surpassing worth of Him is greater…Heaven is greater.
Let’s look in the mirror and see eternity.