To discover a flaw in our makeup is a chance to get rid of it, and add a new line of beauty to our life.
Many years later, on a stroll through a boutique, I saw the lipstick quote once again. This time it graced a small, square gift book. It was irresistible to me now – I bought a copy. The author, Jodi Hills, pays tribute to her mother in a few places throughout the book. She thanks her mom for giving her courage on the credits page, and she closes the darling little book with this:
No matter what this world throws at you, you will thrive, believing mother’s simply brilliant words, “Slap on a little lipstick... you’ll be fine.”
We all get ushered into the world of adult life with a piece or two of advice we acquired on the journey through childhood – advice that molds and shapes us. The most significant ones are often spoken to us by our parents or grandparents. Some offer precious gems that give life and hope for the years to come, while others leave great wounds and obstacles to conquer.
I spent half of my life trying to overcome a single sentence that my mother shared repeatedly throughout the days of my childhood ... “You keep your backpack closed.”
I followed it. I kept my true self hidden inside my protective layers. And it robbed me of so many things. Sharing my story is living proof that I choose to rise above that advice. I decided to let the gentle whispers of God drown out the voice of my mother – but more deeply, the voice of the enemy of my soul who tried so desperately to keep me silent.
I share this from a heart of humility. I share it because countless others who were willing to share their stories have helped me find hope in my own story. Opening up about my pain and struggles – giving up on the cover-up – made a way for God to heal the broken places.
A flaw in my makeup for a very long time was to doubt God’s love for me. I am most grateful that He kept on loving me in spite of myself. His word tells us that He makes beauty out of ashes and turns mourning into joy. He can change a spirit of despair into a garment of praise. He will meet us in our desperation and bring healing and hope. We have to believe that He loves us to be able to receive the bounty of His goodness and love. I wanted it so desperately.
In addition to purchasing that aforementioned compact powder for me during my brain surgery, my sister and son bought me a new lipstick. It was a beautiful pink shade that resembled a much-loved pair of ballet slippers. I packed those items into my backpack along with my Bible for the journey home from the Mayo Clinic, with a new resolve to trust implicitly the Father’s love for me – to lay down the ashes of my life and ask Him to make beauty with them.
On special occasions throughout the first few years, I slapped on a little bit of that ballet-slipper-pink lipstick before going out. I kept it on my dressing table. It reminded me of the journey and my desire to live a beautiful life. The hopeless romantic in me wanted the tube to last forever, so I slowed down on its usage to make it last as long as possible. The final application was dug out of the recesses of the tube with a cotton swab to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the first day of the rest of my life.
God has been adding beauty to my life ever since that journey home—beauty that can’t be bought or applied with a cotton swab. He loves us!