She looks like me! It was my first thought when I saw the little face still spattered with the stuff of child birth. My heart swelled with love.
I have rarely been able to recognize family features in a newborn baby, peering at each feature as someone calls out, “He has his father’s nose.”
“Her eyes are just like her mother’s.”
“Look! His chin is just like Uncle Jim’s.”
I once truly saw a child who was the spitting image of her grandmother. But that’s the only baby I have ever recognized at first glance, until now.
I must admit to being pleased. My two older daughters had mostly looked like little wrinkled, crying babies when I first saw them, one with blonde hair, one with dark, both beautifully perfect, but otherwise no distinguishing features. Most everyone else saw their father’s side in them, and as they grew, I too recognized his features emerging. Which is not a bad thing, they are both beautiful, but there was a little thrill in knowing that this one, without question, looked like me.
And so it began, the constant comments on the resemblance between us. As she grew, it only increased. When the one feature she could really claim as her own, her straight blonde hair, began to curl in fourth grade, her fate was forever sealed. She was utterly dismayed at the curly hair and increasingly irritated at the comments that came her way, “You look so much like your Mother.”
While walking in the mall one day a completely unknown woman, who apparently could not contain herself, stepped into our path and exclaimed, “Wow! You two look so much alike!” We looked at each other, then at her, and said, “Yup,” in perfect unison. We walked on down the mall, arms linked, laughing. Occasionally she still laughed about it.
In Junior High a flat iron came into her life and she learned how to straighten her beautiful curly hair. Finally! A way to change the way she looks. In her excitement she foolishly offered to straighten my hair and show me how to use the tool. Now I occasionally straightened my hair as well.
We had also developed an uncanny knack for choosing to wear the same colors. Frequently we would meet in the hall as she emerged from her bedroom looking like the identical cousins from the old Patty Duke Show, dressed in the same colors, hair styled the same. With a screech she would declare that she had decided to wear green first. That seemed a little unreasonable, but she was certain, as 15 year olds tend to be.
While helping me clean up the church kitchen one Sunday a lady happened in and cheerfully commented, “You look so much like your Mom.” When she was gone the stewing pot boiled over. Hands clenched into fists, brow furrowed, my daughter, who at that moment I’m sure did not look anything like me, declared, “I can’t stand it anymore!! If one more person says how much I look like you I don’t know what I’m going to do!”
“Sweetie, it can’t be that bad,” I soothed. Actually, I thought I looked fairly attractive that particular Sunday and encouraged her with a chuckle, “It could be worse.”
She looked distraught, “Mom, seriously, how would you have liked to know what you were going to look like when you grew up?” I wondered, “could it really be that bad?” But I let it pass with a shrug.
That afternoon she came up from her room looking happier, relieved almost. Leaning on the counter she said with a smile, “Well Mom, there is one good thing about knowing what you are going to look like when you grow up.”
Ah, here it comes. She will tell me I look good, that she is glad she will look like me when she grows up. “What’s that Sweetie?”
She replied, “You know the things you need to change.”
Looking back on that moment, I think of Jesus. Unlike my daughter who didn’t want to look like me, Jesus wants us to look like Him, to be like Him, when we grow up.
I hear Jesus saying to me, “You know the things you need to change.”
”Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
1 Peter 2:2 NIV
Ephesians 5:8 NIV
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