I’ve been planning, writing, re-writing, deleting, and editing this post for over two months now.
In case you didn’t know, I majored in English when I was in school, and I always loved creative writing. Sometimes, I dream about short stories, children’ books, and professional essays that I would like to write one day. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, jot down my thoughts, and ponder on what it would be like to actually publish those ideas. This blog post is one I dreamed of a long time ago, but I never allowed myself to put it to paper because I never knew the way I would put what I truly meant into words.
On February 14th, my preacher, Taylor Sandlin, gave a sermon titled “Never be Put to Shame.” He focused on Romans 10: 8-13, but verses 11-13 truly stood out to me.
“For whoever believes in Him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
After hearing this sermon and crying tenderly in my closet by myself while my children slept a few hours later, I knew that God was calling me to write this story and share why makeup saved my life.
Okay, I know that saying “makeup saved my life” sounds so crazy and shallow and lame and self-centered and COMPLETELY Un-Godly. But hear me out…
When I was in high school, I was unbelievably insecure about my image, my abilities, and my relationships. I poured my heart and soul into my school work because I knew that at the end of those four years, I could hold onto the fact that I did well in school. When you grow up worrying about what others think of you, and when you’re a girl surrounded by other girls, you have to cling to something. I clung to the fact that I could graduate with all As. I knew that that was ONE THING no one could take away from me. It was a plain, black and white thing.
During my 9th grade year, I began to feel the pressure to fit in and be “pretty.” I tried so hard to make myself look a certain way, talk a certain way, act a certain way, and be someone who God didn’t intend for me to be. I searched for ways to make my body look different than the way it was created. I starved myself to look like others, and I spent hours trying to fix my hair and clothes in a way that was trendy and made me feel like I belonged. It was during this dark, dark time that God used makeup.
It was in this freshman year of high school where I was forced to grow up when I didn’t really want to do so. My beloved sister and best friend moved 5 hours away, and though we kept in touch as much as we could (cell phones, texting, and social media didn’t exist!), there was still a hole that couldn’t be filled when she was in college. My best friend for almost 10 years moved 6 hours away and began a life that was something I knew I’d never attain. The person who filled her role moved several states away, and I don’t even know what his life is like anymore. My life as I knew it slowly chipped away, and I was forced to be an individual. I couldn’t rely on my sister to show me the ropes and allow me to follow her every step. I couldn’t hold hands with my best friend and face hard tasks with her by my side, and it seemed like I turned several corners only to be left stranded.
Let me interject and say that this year made me who I am. I am stronger because I was forced to make my own life and pave my own path. THIS year was at the hardest year. But THIS year was THE year I’ll always point to as the year that made me a Christian. I’m glad to say that 10 months later, I welcomed Jesus into my life at a Chrysalis retreat, and I’ll forever be grateful for the road that got me there.
Because I was so confused and young and scared and INSECURE, God used makeup.
When I was a senior, I was victimized in so many ways. I struggled IMMENSELY because again, my best friend and boyfriend at the time was in college. I was alone in high school, and I had to rely on girlfriends who I had never had to rely on before in my life. I looked forward to starting every day JUST to get it over with and move on to the next. There was not a single person in my school who wanted graduation to come more than I did. This year haunts me in so many ways. I was a victim of so many unfriendly and mean acts. I was broken, and I don’t remember a time when I cried so much. I still struggle with forgiveness because of this year. I know that if this year had been erased from my life, I would be a different person. God knew that I was in a hard moment and phase of my life where I had to decide that being alone and being an independent person, despite how FOREIGN that was for me, was my option and ultimately my saving grace. I had become a Christian and accepted Jesus into my life the summer before my sophomore year of high school, but it was during my senior year of high school that I realized that no matter what happened…my Christian walk was my own. I had to do it alone, and no matter what people said about me, what people did to me, and what people would ultimately scar me with for years to come….I could be a Christian still. I could rely on God because even through one of the most challenging years of my young life, I would survive because God used makeup.
College was truly (up to this point) the best time of my life. I feel like my college years were really fast. I was unmarried and in college for only two years before I married my high school sweetheart, settled down in our first home, and graduated early because again….my studies are what I had always clung to and knew I was very VERY good at doing. Three months after I graduated college and only three and a half years after high school, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We by no means expected our sweet girl to come this soon. We had a plan, but in my life, I knew plans were incredibly temporary and most always ditched really quickly. When we found out I was pregnant, neither of us had a job; we were totally broke; we had no insurance, and my husband was over two years from graduating with his degree. TALK ABOUT A SCARY POINT IN MY LIFE, but despite everything I wrote above….THIS was the HARDEST 9 month period of my life. The. Hardest. Not because I was pregnant and nauseous and scared and terrified and experiencing body changes and FREAKING TERRIFIED…but because I was totally confused. I didn’t know why God had brought me through the hardest four years of heartache, bullying, insecurity, and failure only to put me in a situation that now affected not only myself but those around me that I loved the MOST. It was truly at this point in my life that God used makeup.
I was fortunate to land the BEST job ever, and I began teaching at Central High School when I was six months pregnant. Julianne was born in November, and I only had 12 days of maternity leave, which actually ended up working out well because after the 12 days of leave, we went to Christmas break, so I ended up having almost 5 weeks home with my baby girl. I always wanted to work while I had children; it was something I felt strongly about, and I was driven and dedicated to continue my career while I had children. However, my mind and my heart suddenly took a turn, and going back to work in January and leaving her at home (though she was well taken care of) was a VERY huge heartbreak for me. I struggled every moment of every day I was away from her. I was so blessed to work in such an understanding environment and with people who worked so well with me during this time. Every morning when I woke up, I cried and dreaded getting in the car to leave her. I know I’ve said it before…but this is when God used makeup.
During one summer, my husband and I moved to Mansfield, Texas while he was in Physical Therapy rotations, and I lived with my 6 month old daughter in a house with some relatives. We mainly stayed upstairs by ourselves all day long, and I raised her basically on my own while he was at work and while we were 5 hours away from family. She learned to crawl in Mansfield; she learned her first few words; she learned to eat food, and it was during this time that we became best friends. She and I did everything together because I didn’t have time to make friends there, and I truly knew less than 5 people in this town. She and I would travel to the local Sephora every day; I’d buy a new product every day, come home, and while she napped, I would experiment with 3-4 different looks. I watched YouTube constantly and learned how to apply it on others. THIS was the time when God used makeup.
I worked for 18 months after having Julianne, and at that time, I was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her and be a mommy to her and the second little girl that was growing in my tummy. I felt so fortunate for this opportunity, and it is still something I never take for granted. My second little angel was born in December of 2014, and it was a rough first three months. She and Julianne both caught several bugs and viruses that caused some intense heartache and terror. When you have a Winter baby, you try everything you possibly can to protect them from the world. When you have a Winter baby born into the worst flu and cold season in the past decade, try as you might…you will not be able to protect them from everything. Throughout this time, I was still recovering from delivery, and I sunk into a very deep postpartum depression and anxiety-driven life. I lost all of my baby weight plus 10 pounds in 2 months. I didn’t have the energy to eat. I didn’t leave my house for 27 days straight, and I stayed up for HOURS every night and counted the coughs that each of my children made. I was completely driven by the sicknesses that had infested our household, and I could not pry myself from the terror that one of them could get very sick…very quickly. It spiraled out of my control, but because I was SO FOCUSED on getting them better and being the stay at home mom that I had dreamt so long of being, I couldn’t recognize the sickness that was so GREATLY affecting me. Thank GOD for my family, my doctors, and my sweet friends for caring, talking, and loving me through this time. I truly know that God placed each of them in my life early on so that when this point came, I would not be alone. After an intervention with my loved ones, I took care of myself first, which made me a better wife, a better mom, and ultimately, the best version of my Christian self that I’ve ever been. And believe it or not….this is the time when God used makeup.
You’re probably wondering HOW IN THE WORLD God used makeup to save me from all of these small, mini life disasters. The truth is….God instilled a love and a talent with makeup in me when I was very young. I never knew that it was there, and I never knew He was the reason it was there until I started to think back at my life and how I was able to “pull myself out” of the dark holes that body image, bullying, depression, and anxiety had drug me into. When I thought back, I realized that it was always at the turning point of these moments that makeup came back into my life in a NEW way that gave me inspiration, hope, and joy.
When I was struggling with body image and starvation, God showed me that makeup was FUN! I was absolutely terrible at applying it, but I would spend hours in drugstores walking up and down the aisles, learning the new products, spending a few dollars here and there to create looks that probably looked horrible on me. But God used that medium to give me joy and excitement when I needed it.
When I was struggling with being a victim, God introduced makeup to me again and showed me that through this medium I could grow in a way that I never knew was possible. He started blessing me with talents in certain areas that allowed me to use this makeup in One Act Play and other activities that called for this talent and gave me joy again and the respect from people who benefited from this talent.
When I was pregnant with Julianne and didn’t know how we were going to make ends meet, God showed me YouTube and makeup videos and gave me a glimpse of what my life could be like if I worked super hard and utilized the talents he laid in me when I was young. He introduced me to new brands and new people that would shape this part of my life and show me a way to use a God-given ability to help others feel GREAT and feel JOY about themselves on special occasions and every day life.
When I went back to work with Julianne, God re-introduced the use of makeup to me and gave me a reason to smile every morning when I woke up instead of absolutely dreading the next 8 hours. I SO loved putting my makeup on each morning that though I still hated to leave her, I at least had a reason to wake up and get the day started.
When we lived in Mansfield, God kept me company with makeup and spent months with me working on how to really perfect and hone skills that He had instilled in me a long time ago. This is the time He taught me how to apply it on others, and it was at this point that He started truly changing a part of my life that would end up being more than just a hobby.
When I was in a deep, dark depression, God knew that the talent and the excitement and the joy He used through makeup in years and moments past were tools that He could use to help me find the peace and the light again. He introduced me to YouTube again. He welcomed me to a world of makeup that changed my life…again. He made me more of a professional and gave me the strength and the courage to be my most vulnerable self and open myself up to suggestion, to criticism, and to PURE happiness. He gave me a part of my life that was just my own again. No one could take it from me. I didn’t need to depend on anyone to have this part of my life. THIS PART of makeup was my own, and He knew it was what I needed to heal the deep holes that had been dug so harshly in my heart, my mind, and my relationship with Him.
God used makeup to save my life. I encourage you to look at your life and try to find what God is using in you to save you…no matter how superficial the world tells you it is. When GOD uses it…it is so far from superficial, petty, or small. It is real. As Romans 10: 12-13 states, “The same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses those who call on Him. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” No matter how He chooses to save you…know without a doubt that when you are saved…it was most DEFINITELY because of Him, and when you truly allow yourself to think about it…this SAVING GRACE began long ago…I guarantee it.
I will never allow others to make me feel ashamed for my use of makeup. Many may find it superficial, and in so many ways, I understand that, but I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that God placed this talent and this joy in my life to save me from the evils of the world that haunted me for so long. He used it to remind me that BEAUTY…TRUE beauty in Christ…means more. It means more than the words that hurt so much more than sticks and stones. It means more than the sadness and feelings of inadequacy. It means more than anxiety of uncontrollable circumstances.
God used makeup. He used it to pull me into a happier and more trusting relationship with Him. And so all products and tools aside, I am grateful for His mysterious work. He’s a GREAT God, and for the rest of my days, in all that I do and in all that I am…I will forever give glory to Him. Amen.