“Detoxifying My Stinky Face”
“Let the light of your face shine on us.” Psalm 4:6b (NIV)
Enlightening strikes as 3-year-old Blaine watches me apply make-up:
B: What’s that stuff do?
Me: It’s blush; it makes me look less dead. Er, I mean, it gives me more color.
B: Oh. Why do you want to be pink?
Me: I don’t want to be pink. I just don’t want to look like a walking marshmallow.
[Silence while he contemplates this deep concept.]
B: Wha’chu doing now?
Me: Spraying perfume to make me smell pretty. See — [holding out wrist for olfactory inspection] — what do you think?
B: [Making stinky face] Ugghh. You smell like my Pull-Ups.
Not exactly the demure elegance I hoped to exude. But chuckling at Blaine-boy’s stinky face made me realize something: Many moms unintentionally make stinky faces, too.
When I pass the reflective surface of a microwave or window, I’m often floored by the toxic expression staring back at me. I’m not necessarily angry … or sad … or even displeased. I’m just preoccupied. So preoccupied that I’m unaware of what my face is doing. Apparently when ignored, my facial muscles default to the same scowl I saw on my own mother’s face as a child.
I used to think she was always mad at me. Once when I asked her what I’d done, she replied, “Why, nothing. I’m not upset with you; I’m focused on a million other things. Just ignore my face.”
Impossible. No one can ignore your face.
The face is the window into the mind; we read others’ expressions to discern what they’re feeling. For example, a slack jaw and glazed-over eyes shout fatigue, boredom, disinterest. How many times have our kids received this unspoken message when they’re detailing a blow-by-blow of the inchworm crossing the patio?
Body language often speaks louder than words — especially a mom’s. Which is why we must let God’s light be what we reflect, as today’s key verse reminds us: “Let the light of your face shine on us” (Psalm 4:6b).
We will make parenting mistakes, as there’s no getting around that. It’s part of the human package. But if we take every possible opportunity to communicate unconditional love to our kids — and use words — they’ll be better able to embrace Papa God’s love, too. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV).
There’s comfort in knowing we don’t have to be perfect parents to raise godly children, isn’t there? Our God is used to working with imperfection. Matter of fact, He can work with anything; it doesn’t even have to be human. In the Bible, Yahweh used a stubborn donkey (Numbers 22:27-31), a noisy bird (Matthew 26:74-75), and hungry swine (Luke 15:14-16) to accomplish His purposes.
So, if the Almighty can use a donkey, a rooster and a pig, He can surely use you and me! (I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt like each one of those at least once today already.)
Yes, living in the moment can be difficult to accomplish. Savoring and enjoying the fleeting hours we have is a challenge. Making time with our little buddy before he suddenly morphs into a Big Honkin’ Dude. Bedazzling our sweet little fairy princess before she pushes us away and crowns herself Drama Queen of the Universe.
I choose to be a beautiful mom, even if my kids and I are the only ones looking. It’s Papa God’s smile that makes me beautiful, and I can smile His smile because I’m secure in Christ. Smiling promotes trust, reflects positivity and helps us all relax. It connects people. It makes me more approachable. Plus it’s guaranteed to lift my own mood every time.
Hmm. Maybe I should tell my face the good news more often, make a serious effort to be more aware of my subconscious stinky face, and offer my countenance to the Lord as an instrument of praise.
Just don’t ask me to ditch the Eau de Pull-Ups.
Lord, help me stay present in the moment today and reflect the light from Your Face in my countenance. I want to be known as Mom, not Momster. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Numbers 6:25-26, “The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.” (NASB)