Every morning I wake up, roll out of bed, and get in the shower. After showering, I stand before the mirror to go through my morning routine of doing my hair, brushing my teeth, and putting on makeup. As I stand before the mirror, I always have at least one comment that runs through my mind about how I need to start exercising more, look at that new wrinkle, my hair needs dyed because I see some new gray hairs coming in, my smile is crooked, my teeth are yellow, my neck is starting to see the signs of aging and gravity, my pants are a little tighter today than they were yesterday, I need some new bras (the current ones aren’t helping my sagging breasts as much as they used to) and so on and so on. Within the first 15 minutes of my day, I have stood on the scale, looked at myself in the mirror and judged everything I see as wrong with my outward appearance.
Yesterday, as I went for a walk in the woods asking God to reveal something to me, something I needed to change in my life, my walk took on a completely different path than I expected. As I walked through the woods, the beautiful red, yellow and orange leaves falling all around me, I could feel the presence of God. The cool breeze, the rustling leaves under my feet, the sound of water rushing over the stones in the creek, the faint sound of reeds blowing in the wind, and the sun reflecting on pond all reminded me of God’s love for the earth; His beautiful creation that He has entrusted to us.
As I continued to follow the makeshift map that had been provided to me, I decided to visit Vineyard Knob on this walk. The word knob made me think that this could become more of a hike than a walk, but I was anxious to see what would await me at the top of the hill. I made the right turn to follow the path and began what would be a very difficult climb to the top. At first, it started as a slow upward climb. My lungs were filling with cool clean air and it felt wonderful. With each step and breath, I began to thank God for my health and the ability to make such a journey. I was using using my God given strength step after step all the while taking in my beautiful surroundings.
As the climb began to become more difficult, I started to second guess myself. Would I be able to make it to the top? How can I focus on my beautiful surroundings when I can’t hardly breathe? What are my legs going to feel like tomorrow morning? I’m out in the middle of the woods all by myself, what if I fall? But then I remembered, God will never leave me. He will lead me gently through even the greatest suffering. I stopped, took a deep breath, and realized God has blessed me with two legs to climb, two arms to catch me if I fall, two lungs to breathe, two eyes to see, two ears to hear, and an able body that enables me to make this climb.
As I came upon the summit, it was breathtaking. A makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross to remind us of our Lord’s trials as he faced certain death by crucifixion. As I sat among the trees, the wind blowing, leaves falling, and squirrels gathering nuts, I realized God created me in His image and likeness. He created me to be perfectly me, exactly who He wants me to be. He will not let me fall.
My body, a temple of the Holy Spirit, has experienced laughter, sadness, anger, fear, surprise and the birth of three beautiful babies. I have played soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball, softball, and football throughout the course of my life. I have witnessed the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, I have played the slots in Vegas, I have laid on the beach at Waikiki, I have climbed the steps of the Eiffel Tower, and I have been to 40 of the 50 states and to many countries. I have jet skied, water skied, swam in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and I even swam with giant sea turtles. And I did all of this in a body that God formed in my mother’s womb. A body that He sees no imperfections with. A body that is perfect in His eyes. With this body, I have been blessed beyond measure. And the greatest blessing of all is that God has given me the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within me.
God always works in ways we never expect. The problem is, we are sometimes sleeping in our walk with God and don’t see the ways he works in us. I hope we will all wake up tomorrow morning, look in the mirror and see the goodness of God especially in the wrinkles, gray hairs, sagging breasts that sustained the life of our babies, rolls of skin and stretch marks from pregnancies, and the lifetime of happiness and trials we have experienced in our own temples, our bodies, God’s gracious gift.