Hide Your Ugly Baby from My Mom!

person-1205140_640“That is one uuuuugggggly baby!” my mom would say.

“Mom!”

“Well, Lori, there’s no sense lying to those poor parents. Their baby looks like E.T.”

“Okay, that’s enough.”

“Like she fell from the top of an ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Uh-uh-glee!”

If we were from the South, my mom would be a charming character. But, we’re not.

If your baby is on the iffy side of adorable or if you’re sensitive, best to throw a blanket over her around my mom. I like listening to the comedian Rod Man talk about homely babies. He says those are babies that are “going through changes.” He refuses large photos of his sister’s babies because they’re not “living-room babies. They’re maybe keychain or wallet babies.”

Makes me laugh.

I, of course, had beautiful babies but they each went through funky stages. Before my son’s braces, his sister referred to him as “bucky beaver boy.” Likewise, before my daughter’s heavy, curly hair grew long enough to weigh itself down, my son referred to his sister as “big head.”

Neither of them likes photos of themselves from those awkward stages when they were, as the Rod Man says, “going through changes” but when I see those photos, I just see my kiddos. I’m filled with love for those faces even with buck teeth and wild curls. I see more than faces – I see a girl with spunk and a boy with heart.

We live in an incredibly visual age. We are the most photographed generation to ever walk the planet. Life in 2015 is like facing one long mirror and that brings out our self-conscious side to a pathological degree. I’m not a fan of photos of myself but I’m weary of the mental criticism and ego gymnastics I perform whenever I see a new image of me so I’ve decided to get over myself.

It’s pretty freeing. That’s me – flattering, unflattering, awkward angle, bad lighting – whatever. Other people see me all the time. The only person dismayed by my image is me.

It occurred to me that God knows exactly what I look like. When He looks at me, He’s not assessing my extra pounds, my boring shoes, my flat hair, or my lack of lipstick. In fact, I understand deeply what the Lord sees when He looks at me because I know what I see when I look at photos of my children or others I love. It’s similar except that God’s view goes even further than mine.

The Bible says this about God’s view: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

God looks on me with eyes that see my deeper beauty (or lack of it).

2 Chronicles 16:9a says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.”

Like superhero x-ray vision, God’s eyes pierce the surface to see into our souls. He sees a 360 of our souls and if we follow Jesus, He filters us through that cleansing lens.

My boy is like other boys, I suppose, when he’s far from home we get scant information from him. So, when he spent a year in Mississippi, I loved when one of the young women working on his Americorps team would tag him in photos on Facebook. I’d scan the photo of him looking – not at his appearance – but searching for signs of his heart. Was he well? Was he behaving? Was he happy? Was he at peace?

This is God’s eye on us. As we squirm through our personal discomfort with photographs or videos of ourselves, it can help to remember that God’s focus is on the snapshot of our souls. That’s our face. That’s our body. Move on. Don’t waste time on what will pass.

Invest less spirit in that will be returned to the earth. Instead, invest in what will rise, that which captures God’s attention, a heart, a soul made beautiful by loving Him.

MomHappy Mother’s Day to my beautiful, witty, smart, funny, godly, ever-loving mom! Isn’t she beautiful? I know that’s what God sees.

To every woman who reads this blog, Happy Mother’s Day! So many of you, whether you have children or not, nurture and care for others. Jesus sees you and celebrates you whether you’ve given birth to twelve children or you’ve invested in other people’s children or even if you’ve just made the planet a better place for the next generation. Happy mother’s day to you all. Here are the faces I love every day – my family!


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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. FYI I think this is an excellent fiction piece, at least the part about your Mom saying anything unkind to or about anyone or anything. It’s just not her. 😛

    The rest is spot on as usual. Nice work.

  2. Happy Mothers Day to you too. You always have a way of touching my heart. BTW the baby in the above picture scares me.

  3. Maxine D says:

    Thank you Lori – I needed it – and it reduced me to tears – healing tears! This Hobbit needs to remember it’s all about what God sees, not what/how I think.
    Blessings
    Maxine

  4. Judith Robl says:

    Had to giggle at the beginning of this blog. We had a physician friend of the family who didn’t like babies, particularly when put on the spot about how darling they were. He was a stickler for the absolute truth, but he came up with a very satisfactory reply. He’d smile and say with great feeling “My, that really IS a baby.”

  5. Carla says:

    I think that’s Mr Bean’s face on that baby 😉

    I wish every person in the world could read and understand what you’ve written. We have put so much emphasis on our physical beauty that our hearts and souls have been shoved to the back of the closet to be examined again at a later time, maybe when I switch closets around from winter to summer. The constant selfies make me wince. BUT, I was exactly like that most of my life. I was taught your worth was your looks, in FACT, I said something HORRIBLE to my youngest baby when she was about 14–‘you don’t have to be smart, you’re beautiful’. She said that wounded her to the core. Years later, as a wife and mother, employee, daughter, friend, she is smart, compassionate, friendly. She didn’t listen to me thankfully, and developed her mind, heart and personality to be one of the most awesome women I’ve ever known. She thrived in SPITE of my stupid remark. Solomon figured this out with his 500 wives and 1000 concubines. In Proverbs 31 he tells us what a woman should be and it WASN’T beautiful! In the Maybelline/liposuction/implant days we live in almost ANYONE can be attractive outwardly, but it takes God to make us beautiful on the inside. I didn’t figure that out until I was 50. I pray the women who read your blog today take it to heart and not take so long to get it.
    God bless, happy mother’s day!