All Together Beautiful, Part I: Joy Is The Best Makeup

Hey, everyone! I hope that you’ve had a blessed morning and a good start to your week. I can honestly say that this past week has been one of the best I’ve had in a long time. My sister-in-law and her husband came to visit, providing me with much-needed company. I got a lot of vitamin D, laughter, and quality time with my husband and family. After such a great weekend, I sometimes wonder how I let the previous week get the better of me.

I try not to complain a lot online because I feel like there are enough people doing that already. I didn’t post about it, but last week I ran a fever for 8-10 days straight and had a very bad migraine headache. All of that combined made for a pretty long, depressing and exhausting week. Finally, on Wednesday, even though I hate going to the doctor, my husband made me. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t excited about the IV medicine and fluids, but as soon as the drugs hit my system my headache went away, my fever went away, and I felt like a million bucks. The doctor concluded that my migraine was the product of the fever and dehydration. We don’t know what I had, but I’m thankful to say I’m much better. I guess the moral of this story is sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to but are good for you ultimately.

Sorry for that little aside about my life, but being ill and lonely has had a pretty big impact on how I think about things. It’s so hard to be joyful when you are sick, you look like a zombie from World War Z and you just want to lay in bed and cry all day. It’s easy to let the thief come and steal your joy when nothing goes right; when your dreams and plans don’t turn out the way you wanted them to. It’s easy to forget whose child you are, and lose sight of the bigger picture–which is exactly what I did this week. Not only did I feel disgusting and down (and slightly bitter), but I projected my feelings to Lee, which isn’t fair.

When we allow ourselves to be absorbed in everything wrong in our lives, we let ourselves become bitter. Eventually, it doesn’t matter how long we take on our makeup. All people see is our negative attitudes. We all know someone who is constantly talking about how awful their life is. They never have anything nice to say to or about anyone, they seem to always be in the middle of a personal tragedy that overshadows everyone else. Worse than that, they seem to want to dwell in this misery and bad situation. When we let ourselves dwell on the disappointment, bitterness, and anger, we become that person. This is something I particularly struggle with a lot. I have general anxiety disorder, so it is easy for me to obsess over all the things going wrong. It is easy for me to think of all the things I’m NOT doing, things I do NOT have, and the places I’m NOT going. All in all, a very negative train of thoughts. Most people don’t know this about me because I try very hard to hide it from my friends and family. I try to be bubbly and happy even when I’m really, really not okay. However, it isn’t uncommon for me to chew through all my nails and even chew on my skin on my fingers when something goes wrong, or I’m worried or scared. It’s disgusting, I know, and highly embarrassing when I’m unconsciously doing it in public. Lee is trying to help me break the habit, which I’m grateful for.

Remembering to be joyful in all situations is not something that comes easily to me, or to anyone for that matter. But when I have seen someone joyful in the midst of tragedy or trials, the results are so earth-shatteringly beautiful. My parents are the most prominent example of this in my mind. I haven’t written very much about autism on here yet. I want to begin by saying I love my sister, Kathryn, with all my heart and wouldn’t change anything about her. In many ways, her autism has only augmented the beautiful qualities that make her who she is. But autism can be a huge strain on a family at times. My parents were told that they shouldn’t keep my sister. That autism would ruin their marriage. That autism would negatively affect mine and my brother, Dylan’s, intelligence. My mom was so heartbroken my dad had to carry her out of the hospital; she was crying so hard she couldn’t walk. Satan robbed them of their hope, their joy and rocked their faith with a single, swift punch to the gut. I know there were hard times in my childhood. I won’t go into detail right this moment, but Dylan and I both bear both good and bad marks of autism on our lives, as do the rest of our family. But when I think about how my parents handled such a stressful and tragically painted picture, I admire them so much and I catch my breath at how beautiful Kathryn is, and how grateful I am that my parents didn’t give up on our family. I don’t remember the difficult days. Most of the meltdowns are distant memories that really feel like someone else witnessed them. When I remember my childhood growing up in what I’m sure was the most difficult part of my parents’ lives, the memories that are the most vibrant and sharp are all of the joy and love-filled moments my parents provided for us, Kathryn at the center of every one of them. Our family is anything but normal; they have it anyway but easy. But joy, hope, and love are evident in every crevice, making our lives as beautiful as a work of art. Now that I’m older, I know that autism simply helped us become better versions of ourselves and prepared our hearts for all the great things God has done and will continue to do in our lives.

The title of this post, “Joy Is The Best Makeup” is very true. There is nothing as beautiful as a woman who radiates with joy. Think women who have just had babies; they’re tired, most don’t have any makeup, and the joy spreads out from them like a firework in the black sky. Isaiah 61:10 states, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Our salvation and the joy we find in the Lord is more beautiful than any outward appearance. Finding joy in trials is even more uniquely beautiful. James 1:2-4 states, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I pray that today you are able to find joy in whatever your trial or circumstance is. I hope that you let the joy of the Lord radiate from you, and light up every dark crevice in your life. I pray that when the thief tries to rob you of that joy you hold on tight to it, instead of drowning in bitterness, sadness, and disappointment. I pray that you allow God to move in your life in amazing ways. I pray that you realize that joy truly is the best makeup, and is more beautiful than anything you can adorn yourself with. As Audrey Hepburn once said, happy girls really are the prettiest.

With love and blessings,

AW

 

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