When You Don’t Always Like What You See in the Mirror

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30 NIV

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel

I know sometimes you look in the mirror and don’t necessarily like what you see.

My daughter wrote these words in my Mother’s Day card.

A pang of shame and guilt rose in me as I read them. I thought of how much that stupid piece of glass has succeeded in its power over me. And worse, my girl knew. What I thought was a private struggle had found its way into the open after all.

Would she take her cues from me? Has she learned my ways too well? Would the mirror become her enemy too?

Apparently, I have little need to worry.

But Mom, charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. The worldly view of beauty isn’t what you should focus on, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Cue the tears.

Out of all the verses this child could write in a card, she chose this one. So compelled was she that she also painted the verse on canvas so I would always see it.

How far down have I gone in my battle with the mirror? How much power has it spoken over who I am and what I’m worth? How much have I blindly conveyed it’s lies?

How have I come to fear the mirror more than the Lord?

It’s easy, I think. We see the mirror as some kind of truth-bearer. We stand before it and see. See every lump, every bump, every wrinkle and fault, and believe what’s reflected is the whole of who we are.

But mirrors cannot show us our inmost parts. It’s like telling a story with half a plot and no ending. We’re left wanting and unsatisfied. When we stand at our mirror, we cannot forget the rest of the story. A book doesn’t become a classic or a masterpiece by its cover alone. It’s the story within that brings it to life.

Scripture tells us over and over that God is a within God. His mind is not on the flesh, but the Spirit within us, and his eye is ever aimed at our heart. Matthew Henry once said:

Fear of God reigning in the heart is the beauty of the soul; it recommends those that have it to the favor of God, and is, in his sight, of great price.

So I’ve decided mirrors are useless for looking at yourself. The you that counts anyway.

My daughter left me with some advice I’d like to pass along to you:

I know you fear the Lord, and because of that you are beautiful. Not only to me and others, but to God. The next time you look in the mirror please remember what you see is temporary, but the beauty you hold inside is eternal. I love you and you have always been beautiful to me.

8 Replies

  1. Angie Rose

    What a wise girl being raised by a wise & beautiful Mom!

    1. Raye Wortel

      So sweet my friend, thank you!

  2. Kevyn

    So very,very true. You have a very insightful daughter. You did a great job Mom!

    1. Raye Wortel

      I do indeed! Thanks so much.

  3. Jan Hardesty

    That is so beautiful and so precious.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you Jan, so glad you liked it.

  4. Lori perez

    The paragraph at the end Raye is beautiful and it says it all. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Raye Wortel

      You’re welcome!

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