when you’re worried about your appearance

appearance

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

July 23, 2013

appearance

 

I’m pretty sure my wedding dress is still in there–though I can’t be totally sure since I haven’t opened that box since the cleaners sealed it in 1971.

They buried my husband’s grandmother in hers. If I passed on today, there’s not a chance they’d be able to squeeze me into mine.

Not. A. Chance.

I can’t say it doesn’t bother me.

I notice things that maybe others wouldn’t give a second thought.

Like how that MSU shirt seems to make things that roll and sag more prominent—that I didn’t see until I saw a photo. That shirt’s in the goodbye bag now.

Like how much broader my shoulders and how much wider my upper arms seem, along with the back-of-the-hand crepe.

Like how my waistband slides up. We won’t mention the bunions or the skin tags.

I can definitely say it all bothers me.

I don’t remember ever judging my silhouette, and if my weight crept up a couple pounds, I simply avoided dessert for a couple days.

I never was one much for exercise, but then that didn’t matter much while running hospital and public health department halls.

But now that I’m more sedentary…

I’ve tried various exercise and diet plans and simple clean eating, and even a trainer for a short time–not just for appearance, but also for health—and was never disciplined over the long haul. But this past Saturday, I watched runners and walkers line up at Alpenfest, and realized I’ll be 65 by this time next year. Then my sissy reminded me I’d be 70 in our next family decade birthday year. That sealed it. I want to be around for that party, so I’ve decided I’ll be lining up at that line next year. That means I need to do some serious training.

I also want to look good, maybe even better than now.

I’ve been thinking all week about Jesus—how we really don’t know what He looked like. He must have been in good shape considering His line of work and all the walking He did. But the only real hint we have to His appearance is how Isaiah described Him.

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
 and like a root out of parched ground;
 He has no stately form or majesty 
that we should look upon Him,
 nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. ~Isaiah 53:2 (NASB)

The Bible, my pastor says, does not tell us what Jesus looked like because looks don’t matter.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. ~1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

Because the external is extinguishable, but the internal is eternal.

God doesn’t care about muffin tops or age spots or wrinkles or warts. He doesn’t care if we’re disfigured or disabled. He favors the forlorn and forgotten, the fearful and the faithful.

He loves the beautiful, too.

But the good news is that His eyes behold us all beautiful.

A perfect fit.

And we’re going to make a beautiful bride.

 

 

25 Comments

  1. Patricia W Hunter

    Amen to that, Sandra. I’m right behind you on the way to 70. It’s one of the hardest places I’ve been, I think, so I’m guessing it’s hard because it’s a place of testing and refinement. It would be great to have the wisdom of our age with the vim and vigor of youth, but that’s not in God’s plans. My choices are to be miserable or joyful in submitting to the test. At a conference this weekend, Christine Caine defined a testimony to be: “when you live the story (that brings God into full view) and it’s proven by the fire of testing.” I want to be joyful in submitting to the test, so I’m guessing I’m just growing my testimony. I know that’s true for you, too! xox

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Sigh…I feel so far from wise. I love, love that definition. Here’s to growing up and into. And yes, so much of growing into our testimony involves choice and submission.

      Reply
  2. Kris Camealy

    Sandy, I just read this after huffing and puffing my way through an almost 2 mile run. Thank you, for reminding me that Jesus doesn’t grimace at my squishy mid-section, and jiggly upper arms. I NEEDED that this morning as my recent weight gain has been nagging at my thoughts. YOU are beautiful, and I believe you’ll be on that line next year 🙂

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Couch to 5K, here I come. I’m holding you accountable to hold me accountable, Kris. 😉

      Reply
  3. Diane Bailey

    I have thought about being buried in my wedding dress…can they just lay it across me? I hit my mid-fifties this year, with my daughter and I being same height and weight, however,somehow it looks darling on her and sad on me! Go figure!

    But I have learned that a smile and gentle confidence goes a long way. And that one day, we will be without (age)spot or (body)wrinkles! Whoohoo!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I never thought about that–just laying the dress across me. 🙂

      You’re right, you know. A smile and gentle confidence–that confidence that comes only from Him–go a long way. It’s more about how our spirit ages–or matures–anyway.

      That whole thought about the Bible not finding appearance all that important (unless it’s a boy against a Goliath) won’t let me alone.

      Reply
      • Sheri Bennett

        Well, not to be morbid but rather informational: I actually lived next door to a mortician and the local funeral home. (He was not morose at all–actually very friendly and FUNNY!) We actually talked about this years ago–wedding dresses and military uniforms. (Many veterans have also long outgrown their youthful uniforms.) They cut the dresses or uniforms in the back and put them on, tucking and fitting as needed. A mortician actually has more skills than most of us realize. In most cases, you can hardly tell.

        Reply
        • Sandra Heska King

          Ha! That’s good to know. I’ve already given my daughter orders about hair and makeup. 😉

          My husband used to work for his uncle who was a mortician. I’ll have to ask him about that. I should actually write about some of his stories between sleeping nights in the funeral home and going out on ambulance runs…

          Reply
  4. DeanneMoore

    I don’t fight my weight. But I will say I like “cute.” I do get excited on cut and color day. I have the “back-of-the-hand crepe.” And there are other signs reminding of what is wasting away….your post makes me wonder what I should be thinking about at 50 to be ready for inevitable realities of 65, 70….??

    I haven’t “seen” you Sandy, but I know your beautiful. Just sayin….

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I like cute. 🙂

      When we’re young, most of us tend to live in the moment, for the moment. We burn ourselves to a crisp (I had a doctor who actually told me to get sunburned to treat my acne–I even bought a sunlamp.) We think we have all the time in the world to repair the harm we’ve done to our bodies, to recoup from bad choices.

      But as we get older, it seems we often tend to fret about the future, regret how we’ve treated our temples, and have to almost force ourselves to live in the moment.

      Balance. How we need balance at every age.

      Have you ever noticed how light enhances that crepiness? I see it especially when the sun shines on the steering wheel…

      Reply
  5. Sheri Bennett

    Amen and amen! And Sandra, I would have NEVER guessed you would be 65. Maybe that’s because your spirit is so young…”The internal is external.”

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      64. I’m still 64. 😀

      I’m probably going to be like my dad who doesn’t want to move into a retirement community with “those old people.” He’s 86. His mom refused to accept her age, too…

      I could just hug you. 🙂

      Reply
      • Sheri Bennett

        Lol. I said WOULD BE 65.. Meaning that 65 hasn’t happened yet.

        Reply
        • Sandra Heska King

          See? You get to be my age, and you don’t read so well any more. 😉

          Reply
  6. Elizabeth Stewart

    I’d have never guessed you’re going to be 65! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Marilyn Yocum

    Thank you for this, Sandra. Getting over the hurdle of it can be a challenge, some days more than others, esp the “seeing favorite shirt in photo” experience!

    I applaud your new initiative! Go for it! An inspiration!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      My niece said she’d run with me. I could walk 5K easy, but running… that’ll take some work. (Maybe the niece actually said she’d walk.)

      Reply
  8. pastordt

    Well, I’ll tell you what. I’m sitting in bed with an ice pack on my dang heel because I walked a lot of uphill today (saw a magnificent view which sort of evens it out) and I fear I’ve got a rip-roaring plantar fasciitis goin’ on. But that happens at any age, or so they tell me. I could NOT run a 5K to save my life. Walk? Yeah, that I could probably do. I opened my wedding box. Big mistake – the silverfish devoured it – only the bodice left. And I never could fit into it after that day. Never. Sigh. Blessings on your work this year, Sandy. I’ll bet you’ll get there!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      GASP!! I’m going to have Dennis open that box–out of my sight. Just as soon as I can clear a path to its storage area.

      You know, there has to be something of spiritual significance in that–something about being destroyed from the inside when we think we’re safely boxed away.

      I’m so sorry about your foot. I’ve never had fasciitis, but my sister has. So painful. Praying it will ease so you can enjoy your rest. And yeah, I could walk it easy. Running–not so sure. But only because I’m so horribly undisciplined. The want is there–the will weighs in like a feather.

      Reply
      • Sandra Heska King

        Note: Diana informs me that the silverfish did not snack until AFTER the box was opened.

        Reply
  9. floyd

    Great reminder of what our Father sees. It’s a fine line between being healthy and vain. Wisdom tells me the wearing outside doesn’t matter near as much as the eternal inside.

    My wife says the same thing, “Once a nurse always a nurse.” Now our oldest two girls will be saying the same thing… Sooner than I realize.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Time flies, doesn’t it, Floyd? I’m betting your wife and girls carry big hearts.

      Reply
  10. Hazel Moon

    Wait until you reach 80, then you wonder how long God until this beautiful person comes to live with you!

    Reply
  11. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Oh, Sandra, this made me smile….I’ve been trying to get rid of 10 pounds for a long time (I guess the bowls of ice cream at 9 o’clock at night don’t help.) Great message. Thank you.

    Reply

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when you’re worried about your appearance

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 3 min
26