Marriage is a mirror. And what do mirrors do? They reflect what we cannot see. If there were sins and shortcomings in your life that you had not faced before marriage, you’d better believe marriage will hit you right smack in the forehead with them. As you stare into the mirror of marriage, everything you thought you knew about what a good person you were will be challenged. There is nothing like choosing to do a group project for life that brings the ugliest parts of us right to the surface, made visible in that mirror of marriage. And self-reflection can be a hard thing to face.
But do you know what else a mirror does? It allows you to become more beautiful. It allows you to see the hairs out of place, the black speck of pepper in your teeth, the uneven lipstick application. The mirror allows you to see what is really there so that you can fix it, change it, modify it to make yourself more presentable to the world, to those around you. And while marriage may be a trial by fire, a journey in sanctification wrought with tears and frustration of the worst kind, if you are soft-hearted and willing to allow the mirror of marriage to tweak and improve your rough, sinful edges, I can assure you a more beautiful person will surely emerge.
Parenting is a magnifying glass. And what does a magnifying glass do? Why, it magnifies of course. It makes whatever object you are viewing through its lens much larger than its actual size. Did you think you were a patient person before you became a parent? Did you think you were self-controlled, didn’t need that much alone time, had no temper, no short fuse, were generally very kind with your words? Throw in a little sleep deprivation (ok … a lot), some intense attachment emotions, and a whole lotta immersion and you might see that what you didn’t think was really there – the lack of patience, self-control, or kindness – was indeed there and is now 10,000 times larger than it originally appeared. I feel like now is a good time to say, hashtag: the struggle is real.
But do you know what else? A magnifying glass doesn’t discriminate with what it makes bigger. And if there is one thing that has been true of myself as I’ve grown into my role as a mother is that I have never felt such great love, such intense joy, such tear-filled pride over these little people in my house. Laughter and smiles abound when children are near and every day my heart grows more and more in love with them. My kids make me want to live a big, beautiful, larger than life sort of life.
Mirror and magnifying glass, I couldn’t agree more. The self-reflection and magnification of both marriage and parenting provide such true, authentic beauty to the soul who isn’t afraid of being sanctified by them and immeasurable joy to all who are able to experience them.
*I think I heard it from an episode of the Mom Struggling Well podcast, but don’t remember which episode!! My suggestion is to just head over and take a listen … they’re all so good 🙂