It was six a.m.
I was barely coherent.
But as I leaned my fuzzy eyesight closer to the mirror, I saw them.
A myriad of channels, working their way across my face, from my eyes down into my cheeks. A preview of what's to come.
Gasping, I smeared lotion on my face and then looked again. They were a little smaller, but they were there.
I've resigned myself (in holier moments) to the deep grooves on my forehead (it's not fun when worry marks itself permanently on your face, even when the sin is long gone), and I had noticed that my healthy eating post-baby hadn't resulted in the quick body-bounce-back that it once would have. But let's be honest, they were just two little worry wrinkles, and I never had what could be labelled a "slammin' bod."
So, I was okay with it.
But for some reason, on this morning, as I looked down at my chipped, blue nail polish, a sink full of beauty products, and the newly constructed "age canals" that were working their way down my cheeks, it hit me.
It's going away.
I never imagined myself a knock-out. But youth was always in my favor. Sure, I may not be gorgeous, but my skin was smooth and my hair grew crazy fast, and my energy levels were through the roof.
That's all leaving.
And while I'm not horribly crushed to see my twenties disappear in the rear-view window, I realized that I'm creeping steadily towards the true test of beauty.
I was warned about this... I'm not supposed to rely on creams and accessories and a fantastic hair-do, I can chase all the fads, the perky cheeks and the perfect body, they're not going to last. The world will tell me beauty satisfies, that each new treatment can return youth, but they're lying. Crazy, big, fat lies.
And even if they could promise eternal youth and beauty, that's not what I'm supposed to be chasing... I'm supposed to be manicuring myself with grace, clothing myself in gentleness, styling a soul of quietness.
And if you think obtaining a perfect coif is tricky, try grooming a soul...
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit
As my outsides breakdown, wear out, and wrinkle up, I have a chance to see what's been going on inside. And God has a way of creating a gorgeous, translucent beauty. There is a beauty that shines through the wrinkles, the tired eyes, and the bigger-than-size-6 body.
It's the beauty of a woman who in God's sight is very precious.
And just as the beautiful outfit, the manicured hands, and the perfect hair are testaments to the hard work and diligence of their wearer, so the works of the soul will be paraded for all the world to see. Youth covers a multitude of soul flaws. Perhaps this is why God makes us most beautiful when our hearts are least groomed. But as the "beauty" begins to dissipate, the soul is brought to the front.
Now, I'm still slathering on anti-wrinkle cream (and some of you older ladies want to laugh at me for my wrinkle phobias... trust me. I would mock me, too), but I know that the days are drawing me closer to the test of true beauty.
"Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." (Prov. 31)
And when the wrinkles are everywhere, and my body is falling apart, and my grandma-chicken arms are softer than my hair, I want to shine with the translucent, triumphing beauty of a woman who is precious in God's sight.