It's been almost a year since I wrote a blog entitled "Defining Beauty." At the time, my heart was full of emotion--wanting Jenna home instead of thousands of miles away in China and feeling concerned about her skin condition.
And now, nearly a year later, my heart is still full of emotion though the feelings are a little different since Jenna is home.
I can now carry her in my arms, sing "Jesus Loves Me" with her at bedtime, and hear her giggle.
But I can't fix her skin.
And I can't fix society's definition of beauty.
Yet I can help Jenna learn about true beauty and a unique gift she can embrace.
Last weekend, we spent a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend with great friends at a lakehouse in Tennessee. After a good night's sleep on Friday night, all seven kids were pumped and ready to get out on the lake.
Jenna obviously enjoyed her first boat ride...
but after five hours, she was one tired, little girl.
And after five hours of being in the heat, Jenna's skin had had enough.
My previous post was about the fact that Jenna doesn't sweat. Thankfully the breeze from going 20+ miles an hour on the boat helped keep Jenna cool. However, no sweating aside, the heat alone did a number on Jenna's skin. And honestly, I haven't seen Jenna's skin look so poorly in the 6 months since she's been home. Out of respect for Jenna, I'm not posting pictures here. However, I did take a lot of up close shots of her skin to show her doctor when we see her in July.
I have to admit this was the first time since bringing our sweet girl home from China that I really felt concerned about the long term effects of ichthyosis.
The second time I felt this way occurred earlier this week while enjoying our first day at the pool.
Jenna's skin tolerated being in the water for a couple hours at the pool much better than sitting on a boat for several hours. In fact, immersing Jenna's skin in water is GOOD for her, so I am very thankful she enjoys swimming. However, I did notice a few adults at the pool look at her with suspicious eyes, probably wondering what was wrong with her skin.
Concern from a momma's heart.
Concern for how Jenna will feel about herself in a few years when she realizes her skin looks "different" from other people.
Concern for how Jenna will handle other people's looks or words that may be hurtful.
Concern for how I will handle all of this as her mother.
But I'm choosing to believe this...
The American Heritage Dictionary defines "thick skinned" as "not easily offended;" or "largely unaffected by the needs and feelings of other people; insensitive."
I do NOT want Jenna to be insensitive. In fact, I hope she'll be extra sensitive to others' needs and feelings because of what God has done in her life and the story He continues to write.
I DO want Jenna to have thick skin so she's "not be easily offended" but...
Knows that she is loved by Almighty God who created her and wants to know her in a personal way.
Knows that she is loved by her family that pursued her and wants her.
Knows that what other people think of her does not matter.
Knows that true beauty emanates from a person's heart.
Knows that true joy is found in relationships--first with God, then with people.
Knows that the skin condition she has is minor compared to the diseases some children deal with each and every day of their lives.
Knows that she is a gift to be treasured.
Now that's some thick AND wise AND beautiful skin...a unique gift indeed!
Thank you, God, for all that you are teaching me through the journey of motherhood. I pray that all four of my children have "thick skin" so they are not easily offended by others but rather find their value in You. Help me to model for them what truly matters in this life and teach them embrace the gifts You've given each of them. AMEN.