This morning I looked in the mirror and immediately started weeping. My eyebrows are finally (almost) completely gone, and my eyelashes are following quickly in their furry friends’ footsteps. Then I cried harder when I tried to pencil some eyebrows in just like they had taught me at the Image Recovery Center, and instead of eyebrows, I had brown blotchy streaks above my eyes. It seems so shallow, I know, but one of the funny things that I clung to during my treatments was that I hadn’t lost my eyebrows like I thought I would. Seems the taxol and taxatere have had a gradual loss effect on my face. It was one more realization that this is all ugliness, this pain and this struggle.
I want to look at my face in the mirror and be thankful that I have a God that still brings me smiles in the midst of hardship. I want to look in the mirror and see dignity, courage, strength. I do not want to look in the mirror and be shallow. I want to look in the mirror and see Christ. It all comes back to the Gospel and the Cross.
Amy Carmichael once wrote:
There is only one place where we can receive not an answer to our question, but peace–that place is Calvary. An hour at the foot of the Cross steadies the soul as nothing else can. “O Christ, beloved, Thy Calvary stills all our questions.” Love that loves like that can be trusted about this.
He can be trusted. He is the only One Who is completely trustworthy in this life. Think of all He has done for His people, for this world. He gave up the beauty of Heaven to come down and live as a man. He experienced our sorrows, our joys. He never once failed to fulfill His promises. He lived a perfect life, that we might find perfect freedom. He suffered false accusations and willingly surrendered His life when He could have called down legions of angels to destroy the whole earth. No other god can do this. No one but Christ!
Yesterday was an amazing day for me. For the first time in four months, I was actually looking forward to chemo. My childhood friend, Monica, drove down from Maryland to be my chemo buddy. When I walked into the cancer center lobby and saw my dear friend, everyone in the room watched while we hugged and wept. Nothing like making a spectacle of ourselves, but then again, we were always good at that. I had not seen Monica in 10 years! Childhood friends for 19 years, then our lives went different paths, and we lost touch. But our gracious God brought Monica back into my life when she heard of my cancer, and those ten years of absence have only deepened our relationship.
The thing about it is, Monica has had her own tunnel, a very, very dark tunnel to travel through recently. I look at the life of my friend, and I am amazed at how God has sustained her and spared her very life. She endured far more pain than I can even begin to imagine, and yesterday as we talked about our recent hardships, Monica was always quick to point it back to the Cross. Jesus was real about who He is, why can’t we be real about who we are?
Jesus needed his friends in Gethsemane and they abandoned Him by falling asleep. He wept and begged His Father to be released from the path ahead, to the point of blood. Yet He was submissive to His Father’s design and He humbly and willingly gave up His life. He was real. A real man. A real God. And He still is… very real, and He longs for me to be real with Him. That gave me great freedom this morning when I looked in the mirror and wept. I could be real with my God and weep over something as shallow as eyebrows. And in that realness I found freedom. Freedom from guilt and sin. Freedom that I’ve always had in Christ, because He gave everything for me.
Truly, “love that loves like that” can be trusted with something as simple as eyebrows.