Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I am beloved!

Battling cancer for 4 years has taken a toll on the reflection that greets me in my bathroom mirror. Slowly and gradually the woman that looks back at me has changed and I've had to admit I'm not who I used to be. I don't mean to be shallow and too focussed on external appearances, but when I look at the "before" and "after" it's hard not to feel melancholy for the younger, cancer-free version of me.

My head, although friends assure me I have a "beautiful, perfectly shaped" bald head, still lacks the thick head of hair I used to have.  Now I look at women with long hair (or for that matter, women with hair at all!) and in my mind I calculate how long it took for their hair to grow. I have only white peach fuzz now and lose that every time they change my chemo medicine. The woman in the mirror is often drawn and pale. Eyebrows and eyelashes are long gone and when I go out in public, that is probably what looks the most freakish about me -- I turn heads for a totally different reason than I used to.

One night I told John about how I missed my old reflection and how I felt I now looked absolutely HAGGARD. The next morning when I walked into the bathroom, John had taped a large, cut-out paper heart to the center of the mirror, and wrote on it "To Erin, the most beautiful girl I've ever known." What a guy! He made me feel so loved! I have moved the heart to the side of the mirror, but it still greets me with every visit to the bathroom, and somehow I am less bothered by the reflection in the mirror. I know I am loved, regardless!

This past week my son shared with me a video done by Mike Donehey of the group Tenth Avenue North in which he shares his inspiration for his song "Beloved." We watched it together and I learned the most incredible and beautiful lesson about God's love for me. What beautiful parallels there are between Jewish customs at the time of Christ, Passover, the Last Supper, and Jesus view of us as His bride or beloved!

According to custom at that time, when a man offered a woman a cup of wine and said "This is my covenant," he was proposing marriage:
In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” I Corinthians 11:25
She could then accept or decline. If she accepted, she was then referred to as "one who was bought with a price" (because he had to pay a price just for the chance to propose to her). He would then go away to prepare a place for her, an addition to his parents' house:
"In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3
When finished, he would come to get her on an unannounced day and time, calling her with the sound of a trumpet. Does this sound familiar? Check out the video here -- it's amazing

So, as Mike pointed out, Jesus is metaphorically proposing to each of us (all we have to do is accept the offer!), even though we are not just unattractive, but scripture says we are a sinful and unfaithful bride. He is preparing a place for me and is coming back for me! Even though the reflection in the mirror is haggard and imperfect -- Jesus still loves me and wants me!

I am beloved.

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