All the way to California; that’s where my pen pal letter was going. It would leave my sixth grade colorful classroom and land in Los Angeles to a girl named Celia. I made sure to use my best handwriting, dotting all my i’s with hearts and adding extra curls to my cursive.
Mrs. Pendigo, my fiery red headed English teacher waited impatiently for each student to bring their letter to her desk. I scanned the room, as other students licked their envelopes and placed their stamps in the top right corner; I reached into my purse and pulled out a picture. I quickly stuffed it beside my sticker filled letter. But the school photograph wasn’t of me.
It was of Angie Taylor, a prettier, kinder, thinner, and more popular girl at Bryson Middle School.
Celia from California never knew I didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyes. Or that I didn’t own a silk tangerine colored dress.
My thin place was in a little brown wobbly desk where I wiggled back and forth, uncomfortable in my own skin.
I remember it clearly.
I’ve since settled into my long stride and highlighted brunette hair. I no longer daydream of looking like Angie Taylor.
But insecurities sometimes rise to the surface of my half full glass of diet Coke.
In the stillness of the night as my house sits quiet with only dim lamps lit, I turn on my computer and glimpse into the lives of other women; women who are far more talented than me.
Women who seem to master motherhood while decorating pristine homes, women who craft and cook and take breathtaking photographs, women who write, using their imaginative words to connect the dots of their lives.
And I quietly want to reach into my purse and pull out a prettier picture of myself.
But instead of wiggling in a wobbly brown desk, my tender-to-the-touch bruised heart aches to be more.
In those raw moments of doubt I hear the whispered words of Ps 139:14:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Yes, I know that full well. I know who created me. I marvel at His pastel promises written in the sky after a rainstorm and I tilt my head in wonder at the tall wild flowers that bloom in a nearby field when I least expect it.
And I will praise Him for His wonderful creation of me.