Filtering and Hiding the “Ugly”

When I was young, I was startled and somewhat mortified by a comment my sweet grandmother (whose name happened to be Lorna πŸ™‚) made to me in a casual conversation. She had no idea that this conversation would be replayed over and over again in my mind for decades. One day she was reminiscing aloud about her mother, and she said that she remembered when her mother went to the nursing home, and she had made and kept a promise to her to shave her chin once a week. I felt violated. What was she even talking about? Why in the world would a woman need her chin shaved? The whole conversation was disturbing to say the least!

Fast forward to my life now. I get it…I mean, I REALLY get it. I travel nowhere without a good pair of tweezers and a “tinkle” tool. (See above picture) I never know when a stray black hair may want to debut on my chin. It’s annoying and ugly…and since this unwanted hair growth is no respecter of time or place, I must always be ready to slip off to the bathroom and take care of business. One of my biggest hopes now is that Mara will have the guts and grace to shave my chin once a week should I ever become unable to do it for myself. That’s a huge burden to put on Mara, but I truly believe Mara will be able to lather me up and cut to the chase (or chin) one day because of the heroic example set by my sweet grandmother!

This leads me to an unfortunate incident that happened earlier this week involving my tinkle tool. I use these tinkle tools about once a month to “dermaplane” my entire face. That really just means scrape the blade “ever so gently and carefully” across the skin of your face to remove fine hair and dead skin. It works beautifully…most of the time. But I had a slip of the wrist Wednesday night and accidentally shaved off the center of my left eyebrow. (See above picture)

I wasn’t surprised when it happened; if you are going to use these tools, you must know that there is always a chance for a tragic tinkle accident. I was hoping it wouldn’t be too obvious, but it was the first thing Jimmy and Mara noticed Thursday morning. Of course Ryan didn’t notice, but I’m not sure Ryan would notice if a woodpecker made a nest in my hair and laid eggs. (That is sometimes annoying, but one day if I’m ever in a nursing home with a full beard, I will cherish the fact that Ryan won’t even notice.)

Mara was quick to point out that I could not just walk around looking like I belonged in a gang until my left eyebrow grew back. That left me pondering what my options were and considering a pirate patch. Lucky for me, she volunteered to fix my left eyebrow with brow paint each morning for the foreseeable future. She is a real sweetheart, but mostly she just couldn’t run the risk of being seen with a woman whose left eyebrow was shaped like an S.

This event got me to thinking about how we always “hide” the ugly in our lives in some form or fashion. For instance, most of my friends have Snapchat. I can barely keep up with Facebook, so I don’t want to mess with another social media outlet, but I love the filters on Snapchat. I have even been known on occasion to take a pic and send it to a friend to “filter me up” to make me look younger, tanner, prettier, more presentable…blemish-free if you will.
I’m just vain enough to enjoy this…but just real enough to question what it means for the stains and imperfections in our lives that we can’t successfully hide.

Look at the big picture above and you will see an unfiltered snapshot of our house…but that is not what I see at all. Look again and you will see a dark stain in the road. That stain has obscured my vision for 440 days. That is the stain from the wreck. That is where my son took his last breath trapped under a Polaris. That stain changed my life forever. That stain cannot be filtered. That stain cannot be washed away. That stain cannot be hidden. That stain can never be made beautiful by man.

So what is a mother supposed to do with a stain like this in a world where we are programmed to hide or filter everything that is not beautiful or perfect? How will this piece of my life ever be anything but ugly?

And this is when I realize that God is never fooled by filters. He sees all, knows all, and has grace for all. He longs to help me deal with this stain. He longs to help you deal with your stains. I don’t think He ever intended for us to work so hard to hide them.

I’m not sure it is beneficial to be able to filter away every flaw and imperfection. It is unrealistic and therefore leaves us with no knowledge of how to cope when things in life are unfixable. God wants so much more for us than that! He wants us to offer these things up to him so he can make something beautiful out of the ugliness.

God is not shocked by your “ugly.” He has seen ugly before. He watched as the world crucified His Son because Jesus refused to be “filtered and fixed” to fit into this world.
Maybe there is much to learn from the “ugly” that Jesus endured on the cross.
Maybe, some of the most important moments of our stories won’t be pretty either.

We serve a God who excels in making beauty from ashes.
He does not use filters or encourage hiding; instead He teaches us that through being raw and real and WILLING to face the ugly in our lives, He can and will bring about restoration.

“For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for.”
2 Corinthians 13:9

It is always easier to hide or filter our junk than it is to deal with it, but there is no healing in that. Healing comes when we face the ugly, offer it to God and believe He is faithful to restore us and make beauty from ashes.

I doubt that I will EVER see that stain on the road in front of my house as beautiful, but I am trusting my Savior to make something beautiful come from those ashes. It is a promise to me from Him…so I will wait without hiding and walk out this grief without filters. Surely He can do something with this ugly stain that matters for my heart and for His Kingdom.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3

And great oaks don’t have to hide or use filters to be beautiful!

Meet me in the confessional
1. I am still going to use filters on some of my pictures. Especially since I will more than likely have a full beard one day…I need to look presentable while I can.

2. I am also completely unwilling to give up my tinkle tool. Some things just make life better for everyone when used carefully. 😜 No one, especially Jimmy, is ready to see me parading around looking like I belong on Duck Dynasty. 😊

51 thoughts on “Filtering and Hiding the “Ugly”

  1. Awesome!! This made me laugh and cry!!

    I had a mole removed from my chin but removal did not get rid of the pesky hair that still grows where it was….and that rascal grows in the blink of an eye, too!! I look in the mirror and omgosh, why didn’t someone tell me it was starting to wrap around my neck!! So I can relate to the chin hair!

    Love you!!:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cannot tell you the sense of relief I feel knowing that even Lorna has chin hairs. This is a huge revelation for me! I would’ve fancied you to be someone who escaped that 40+ “treat.” I mean, really…that should be info found in our sophomore health textbook. But no…the world stood silent, and I had to just endure the shock that comes with the first chin hair encounter and then the loneliness that follows in thinking you must be the only girl on the planet with goat hairs on your face! The truth shall surely set you free!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lorna, I laughed out loud! I cried. I thought about how Rhett would find a way to encourage your ” slip up” as he encouraged me one day when another student pointed out how awful my hair looked (Little did they know I hadn’t slept in days due to taking care of Devan who was on chemo) but Rhett told me it looked great!

    Keep this up my beautiful friend! Your writing is a gift to all who read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have no idea how much I miss his ability to see only beauty. πŸ’”
      He told me I was beautiful all the time, and something about how he said it made me believe it! ❀

      Love you!


      1. He truly had a gift for uplifting that is for sure! It’s easy to see where he got it. Love you!

        P.S. I feel so much better about my chin hair that grows out of a childhood scar now! πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A girl at work, a young 20 something girl, laughs when I pluck my chin hairs at work, with the tweezers I keep there for that purpose. Not to mention the pair in my purse, because God forbid one come up away from the house! I just laugh and tell her….call me when your 40 and get your first one! You have no idea how glad I am to know it is not just me!! You are good for the soul, Lorna!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is comforting to know that you have ‘chin’ hairs also. My great aunt lived with us when I was little. It was my job every Saturday morning to sit on her lap and pluck those chin hairs. I really never thought I would get them, but lo and behold, about 20 years ago, I happened to glance in the side mirror of our truck in the bright sunlight and gasped! Obviously I never looked closely in the mirror before or the lighting was bad in my bathroom and gee, don’t I have any friends that would have told me? Now, there are worse ugliness to growing old. Crepey skin, lots of wrinkles and flabby arms. Thank God, he doesn’t see all the ugliness, only our hearts. We all should strive to keep that beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I told my children years ago they must pluck my chin hairs when I get older and can no longer do it. I recall a reply of, ” oh gross, I can’t do that!” To which I replied, ” then for the love of Pete pay someone to do it, but don’t let me have a full chin of hairs!” Lorna, as always I have cried and laughed. I truly believe our greatest strength rises from the ashes of our most ugly moments in life. I look forward to your next post😚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish our greatest strengths could come in an easier way. I miss my boy so much.
      Love you, sweet Charla!

      And…I will tell Mara the same…either shave my chin or pay someone to do it! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


  7. Beautiful words! I love your honesty and sense of humor and willingness to share your soul (and facial hair tragedies) with all of us! Thank you for starting this blog. I know it will be healing for all of us. Prayers for you continue always. Love you! 😘


  8. Love your first entry. Dealing with unwanted whiskers is an ordeal we all deal with. Keep blogging, and save them all for your book. I refuse to give up on that.

    I will eventually get this box in the mail to you. We send our love from Maryland.

    PS. Showing your blog to our Friday night prayer group. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I always forget to check before I leave the house and I get a great glimpse when I am driving in my car. Learned to keep a razor in the car.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It was perfect! I just ordered me some Tinkles from Amazon. I plan on using them from just below the eyebrows down. I’ll use a filter on the top half of my head! 😜 Oh the lessons I learn from you!
    Gang life can be dangerous! 😳

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lorna, I am so happy to read your blog. As I have faced challenges most recently with my health, you have reminded me that this is nothing compared to what you face on a daily basis so gracefully. Your words give me strength when I feel that I cannot face another day and your humor makes my heart soar with joy. You are so precious to me and I love you dearly even though we’ve never even met….and we MUST CHANGE THAT FACT!!! Soon!! Keep writing my friend…you have no idea how many of your sweet words have led hearts to Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your sweet spirit, as you deal with your health issues, is such an inspiration. Your struggle is just as real as mine. I pray for you so often…and I’ve never even met you. I HATE to be in physical pain, so when I read that you are hurting, I always pray for God to intervene.

      We do need to meet, for sure! ❀


  12. Loved this beautiful story. You are so right. God doesn’t care about the ugly. God wants us to put all our trust in him and know that he never forsakes us.
    I can’t wait to read more of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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