When I met my husband, Brad, I should have been in my prime as far as beauty is concerned. I was 17 years old with all the benefits of a teenager’s life—and certainly free from the life of a hard-working missionary wife living in the hot, sticky tropics.
We married five years later when I was 22. Again, life was certainly easier than it is these days, as I now chase around a toddler and am pregnant with my second child, while trying to keep my house clear of mice and lizards.
But when I think back to my life at 17, I think of myself in all its awkwardness—zits, frizzy hair, round face, a few sizes bigger than I am now, and I cringe. I was insecure, unsure of myself, never having been loved by a man, having spent a lifetime of moving around, losing friends and trying to gain new ones. I certainly didn’t feel beautiful.
Now at 32—though still sometimes insecure and unsure—I feel beautiful. Sure, I have a few wrinkles and gray hairs (which can easily be covered by my hair stylist). I’ve lost weight since I was 17—perhaps due to working hard in the heat here in Indonesia with none of my favorite restaurants or foods to comfort me. But what I mean when I say I feel beautiful now, in my 30s, is that I’ve heard my husband tell me I am beautiful almost every day for 10 years—and for the years preceding that while we dated. And it is sinking in.
The latest way he tells me this is when he prays before our nightly dinners with our 2-year-old son watching. This is how his prayer goes pretty much every night:
“Thank you, God, for Evan being a good boy, for Mommy being so beautiful and for Daddy being safe today.”
His prayer chokes me up many of those nights.
We are getting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I am amazed at how fast those 10 years have passed. I imagine time will go even quicker now that we have kids.
But as I look to another 10 years, then another 10 on top of that, I can’t help but know that I will feel more beautiful as long as I’m with Brad. He has spent these last 10 to 15 years learning about my heart, then working on healing the damaged parts, and bringing out from hiding the parts I didn’t know were beautiful. He has spent those years convinced that I’m beautiful and convincing me to believe that about myself. I am so loved.