I entered Girl’s Camp with a somewhat skeptical and cynical attitude and exited with joy, gladness and gratitude. It was a fabulous four days….I ate food I did not have to cook, I participated in activities I did not have to plan, I slept in a tent I did not have to erect, and, best of all, I connected with some of the greatest women in God’s kingdom.
One of the camp’s activities was a Mirror Walk. One at a time the girls walked from one mirror to another along a path that led them to a campfire and a huge portrait of Christ. At each mirror the young woman was asked to read something aloud as she looked at herself in the mirror. At my mirror the girls read the statement “I am strong and beautiful and worthy of blessings.” After I had the girls read the statement I asked them if they believed it. Then I asked them to tell me something strong about themselves.
Standing on the path, as I waited for the next girl to arrive, I looked in my mirror. MISTAKE. We’d been camping for several days. My too-short gray hair was very flat, thin, and tired-looking. My eyes, devoid of makeup, appeared rimless and almost disappeared into my face. My skin was chalky, pudgy in places, and very, VERY wrinkled. Worse of all, my face was long, like a horse. (Horse faces look good on horses but not on people.) I looked in the mirror and saw an ugly old lady.
Yikes. YIKES! I looked again. Yep. An ugly, old lady.
I was appalled. Shamed. Embarrassed. Absolutely mortified. And puzzled. To that point, at camp, people had been very nice to me. How could they be so nice to someone so ugly?
It was then that I realized several things:
- Being ugly hurts. All my life I have been taught that physical appearances are not of primary importance, that it is our inner beauty that is what really matters. And I thought I believed it. Until I saw myself as ugly. Suddenly physical appearance was very important and being ugly was very painful.
- Others were used to me being ugly. It was not a new thing to them. They had seen me this way for days. Maybe even for as long as they’ve known me. I certainly hadn’t gotten a new face. The face in the mirror was definitely mine and, somehow, others had gotten used to it and had been able to love me in spite of it. I had better do the same, both get used to it and to love myself in spite of it.
- Lance thinks I am beautiful. I experienced a huge surge of tender feelings for my husband. It is his fault that I thought I was attractive. He tells me I am beautiful all the time and he really believes it. And he led me to believe it. On my lands, my sweet man!!!! Thank you for thinking I am beautiful!!!
The mirror walk continued. I was careful not to look in the mirror as I held it in front of the girls and asked them to read the statement. The last girl to come through was Maggie, a friend of Miles’ whom I’ve admired since she was a wee one in elementary school. “Hello sweet girl,” I said as I gave her a hug. “Will you please look into the mirror and read this aloud.”
Maggie, a seriously lovely young lady in all senses of the word, looked into the mirror and read “ I am strong and beautiful and worthy of blessings.” Then she turned towards me and said, “Will you read it too please?”
Slowly I read the words.