Makeup Miracles

by Joanie Butman

When I woke from my prama nightmare that I described in a recent blog, I was hungover with guilt. I felt awful about my behavior in the beauty salon and even worse when I remembered how much I spent in that frenzy. Who knew the cost of insanity was a mere $200 worth of makeup? Not a bad deal until I returned to apologize a week later and found myself another $200 in the hole. This tipped the scale from insanity to dementia. Add to that my current read, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, and you have a strong case for commitment.

The owner of the beauty salon could not have been more gracious when I arrived to apologize for my obnoxious, demanding attitude of the prior week AND to return much of the $200 worth of makeup I had purchased. She didn’t even remember me. All I had to do was offer two clues: Friday, prom? I saw the light bulb go off; BUT surprisingly, she didn’t kick me out. Instead, she laughed and said, “Oh, I could feel your pain that day!” That’s an understatement, as I was sharing it liberally with everyone in my vicinity. Misery loves company, right? We got to talking, and before I knew it I was having my makeup done again and buying yet another $200 worth of makeup that I will NEVER use. I didn’t have to buy it, but have you ever noticed it is easier to accept someone’s grace and forgiveness if it costs you something? I felt like I owed her.

So it is with God. His grace, mercy and forgiveness are offered freely because Christ has paid our debt in full. Yet, how many of us continue to try and earn it on our own? It doesn’t change the fact that we have it, just that we feel unworthy of it, which brings up my next point. That woman couldn’t have been nicer, and I could have left after having a good laugh over the absurdity of prama. However, out of gratitude, I chose to buy more products. Not because I had to, but because I wanted to show my appreciation for what she gave so freely – her graciousness.

As a Christian, that is the role of good works. We do them not because we have to, not because we need to earn God’s love or a spot in Heaven. We do them because of what we already have: God’s love and forgiveness and a room reservation for eternity. By doing so, we share a bit of Him with others. More importantly, we do them out of gratitude because of what Christ did for us. The best way to show our appreciation for his sacrifice on our behalf is to show the same love, grace and mercy towards others. And I would much rather be doing that than dragging everyone around me into my own suffering. When you are sharing the best God has to offer, people want to be around you and won’t be running for cover when they see you approaching.

The interesting thing about the entire experience was that it created so much angst. Initially, the buyer’s remorse, then the guilt and embarrassment; but even worse, I discovered an interesting side of myself I didn’t know existed – vanity. I am not a worrier. I don’t worry about anything I don’t have control over. Now I found myself worrying constantly about my makeup. Did I apply too much? Was it running? Was there black under my eyes? I was afraid to smile. It was awful. I felt like a phony trying to present something I wasn’t.

I cannot deny that I enjoyed the initial makeover and the result when I looked in the mirror. I stared at my reflection and wondered, “What happened to that old hag that walked in here an hour ago.” This woman was a magician. She made me look and feel beautiful, younger, revived, renewed. I definitely walked out with a skip in my step. Same result as my time with God.

So you might think now that I am the owner of $400 of makeup I’d look like a new woman, which I probably would if I bothered to apply it, but that would take some time and effort on my part and more than a little unwanted angst. Honestly, at 54 there’s only so much you can do without professional training, and I was never able to achieve anything near what that beautician was able to accomplish. Given the choice between marginally better and the $400 deficit, next time I’ll stick with my original What You See Is What You Get approach.

Conversely, even though I won’t bother to take the time to apply makeup, I diligently protect my morning ritual of choosing to take time to spend with God because it has the same effect at no cost. It’s foundation for the soul. I start each day feeling beautiful, renewed, revived, and eager to share the same with others without feeling like I am pretending to be anything other than whom He created me to be. There isn’t a beautician alive who can compete with that.

For me, the most important choice (and probably the wisest) I make each day is to keep my standing morning appointment with God for a divine makeover. By doing so, I start each day with love in my heart and a skip in my step. You can’t find a more effective beauty application.