Skin Deep

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I am constantly looking for a new makeup foundation.  Seriously, I don't think I have ever found a good brand that has completely promised to give me the coverage I've wanted.  I have tried the liquid, the powder, the minerals, the primer, the ones with sunscreen, the ones without, the mousse, the cream, the whipped and the tinted moisturizer...and all of them have left me with the same face on the same body with the same questions in my head about why I don't look more like Reese Witherspoon!?  Right???

It's frustrating.  Can't a girl get some glowing skin around here or what?  From Cover Girl to Clinique, I feel like I have shoveled out wads and wads of cash to try the next greatest thing out there to give me the perfect skin I desire.  Nevertheless, I cover up and cover up and dab dab dab and smudge and blend blend blend and then top it off with enough blush and smiles to get through the day without a criticism.

That is to say, I do not have the most perfect skin, so I cover up what I can and distract the rest of you with a flashy eyeliner or pop-of-color-lip.  It's not that I have "bad" skin, I mean, I'm not nervously sitting on hold on the phone watching a Proactive infomercial (though, the thought has crossed my mind many insomniac nights) but, I certainly show signs of weather and wither and the hormone roller coaster of my last two pregnancies left my skin looking more like a teenager than my adolescence ever did.  Harumph.

But, I love makeup.  I don't wear it every day, but when I do, I have to restrain myself from piling it on.  I admit it, I am about two pinky cheeks and a set of fake lashes away from being Honey-Boo-Boo.  Okay, maybe not that bad.  But, I do get all giddy when I see a tray full of eye shadows and a lip palate just waiting to be splashed onto my face.  It sends me straight back to my 12-year-old self standing in front of my sister's Caboodle, just daring to get in trouble if I touched anything.  It's exciting and fun and I can't wait to just "play" with color and feel fancy.  Even a 32-year-old mother deserves a moment of silly-frilliness now and then, right?

And so, every couple days when I gear up to see the public or get-together with girlfriends or head out to do some shopping or (hallelujah) get a date-night with the Mr...I slather on a good foundation, paint-myself-pretty and exit into the wild with my chin-up and my face-on.  It looks good, makes me feel better, and it's entirely expected by the outside world for me to present myself accordingly.  Win-win.

But, it wasn't until a couple months ago that I stopped looking for the perfect foundation.  It wasn't that I found it.  I didn't.  In fact, I had the same old-school version of liquid foundation that I had used in high school in my make-up bag (that is, the same brand and color, NOT the exact same bottle - ha!) and had recently settled on sticking with what was satisfactory for the time being.  No difference there.  But, I came to the realization that nothing was going to completely cover up my skin, nor did it matter, unless I changed my skincare regime.  (Hang with me, you will care in a minute, I promise.)

Since having babies, I had slacked off on my face-washing.  I used to be so good about it.  Never ever ever ever did I used to skip a thorough washing.  I would delicately remove my make-up, then scrub my face gently, then tone and pat dry, then moisturize.  I was a freaking Neutrogena commercial.  Then, babies came.  I got tired, distracted, and frankly didn't care whether I totally removed the last of my mascara or just let it smudge my pillow.  Whatever.  I would use those cheapie face-wipes and call it good for the night and hit the hay.  But, obviously, it wasn't cutting it.  My skin showed signs of wear and torment and nothing was going to make-it-up like Reese-Witherspoon-worthy skin could.

Let me just slice this with a knife for you so we can all understand what I'm about to get at....

au naturale 
Bad skin is like my natural self.  My sinful, disgusting, selfish, gross self.  My self without Jesus.  It seems so so incredibly easy and natural to keep covering it up.  I go to great lengths so that others don't see it.  I smile and show you how great things are.  I post hilarious tweets and capture amazing Instagram photos and all my friends think I am awesome and happy and totally have it all together.  I show up at Bible Study and update my status about how awesome worship was at church.  I quote Scripture and tell you I'm praying for you.  I write blogs about beautiful revelations in my life and encourage you to respect your husband.  I make jokes about motherhood and hug you when it gets rough.  It all looks so fantastic and it feel great when I think I make you slightly jealous about how wonderfully I'm living my life.

And it's all completely worthless without Jesus.

Do you get this?

It's not that I'm like's that we're like this.  You and me.  All of us.  Sinny sinny sin sin sinners.  Us.  Totally devoid of good without Jesus.

But, you add in get to the root of it all.  You dive deeper than even the foundation.  Jesus cleans the pores.  Jesus is that toner you wipe across your brow after you've already used the exfoliating cleanser and you find out that yep, there was leftover muck and disgustingness even deeper than you could ever see.  Whoa.  We can't even handle our own grossness without the grace of Jesus.  If we saw it we would just run for the hills while pulling out our hair, I guarantee it.

We can search and search for the perfect cover-up, for the perfect primer or foundation that will make us look better to everyone.  Maybe they'll even believe it.  But, nothing will ever replace the complete and unconditional redemption that only Jesus can offer us.  It's almost like, the more we can fill ourselves with Him, the more others see Him and not ourselves.  Seriously, think about that.  If you could swap faces with a supermodel for a day, wouldn't you?  (I mean, in the perfect-skin-sense-of-the-word.)  Then, why are we so resistant to the idea that Jesus perfect grace fills in the pock-marks and acne-scars of our soul so that we can look more like Him?

People.  I'm so over wanting to look perfect for you.  I hope that I project happiness and encouragement and total humility to you - but, please know that when/if I's completely Jesus.  I can't stress this enough.  I am constantly throwing my silly/sinful/sarcastic self on the throne of grace asking how I can be a vessel for His use.  Somehow, some way, words get poured through my fingers and I rejoice in the fact that hopefully they dictate God's truth to those who read them.  Beyond that, I am a ball of confusion that battle make-up versus transparency every. single. day.

It's time to put down the Sephora brush set.  It's time to lay down the cotton swabs and sponge applicators.  Maybe you don't even like make-up and you are cray-cray-over this analogy by now.  Fair enough.  Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, repeat.  Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus.

It's time for some exposure.  Let your skin breath, people!  It feels great.

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