Tuesday, July 24, 2012

black eyes. pink lipstick.

Listening To: Remedy by David Crowder
Quotable: "Restoration of intimacy was no afterthought to God. He'd planned for the whole thing. Hidden here is a powerful truth that has potential to revolutionize our thinking today; God is not looking for a cleaned-up version of us. He's just looking for us. No pretense. No game face. No Miss perfect. Just plain, ol' ordinary you and me." - Tammie Head, from Duty or Delight, LifeWay Press 2011 (I am loooving this study!!)

This lipstick is VERY PINK.
 But it is subdued by the wonders of Instigram.
Warning: this post starts out girly but don't give up! There is much funny to be had if you press on through my chatter about shirts. And lipstick. And shoes.

So. I got a new chambray shirt at Target, which I'm wearing for the first time today. I paired it with black skinny jeans. And these shoes: 

And I thought punchy pink lipstick would look cool with this ensemble. Now ... admittedly, this punchy pink lipstick that I'm wearing is PUNCHY PINK. It's full-on trend. And it does look cool with the shirt. 


I forgot, until after I'd arrived here at Starbucks, sporting the chambray, rocking THE PINK ... that I'm also wearing more eye makeup than usual. Like, a lot more. There's a(n unwritten?) rule for makeup that goes like this: if you decide to get a little artsy-crazy with color, you only pick ONE feature to trendy-fy. You do punchy lipstick OR you do artsy eyes. If you do both simultaneously, you run the risk of looking kinda wacky. I'm not sure why this didn't occur to me as I was putting the lipstick on. Maybe it's not as caked-on as I feel like it is ... but still. 

Usually I don't really "play up" anything; I like day-makeup that looks natural and pretty. (I rarely ever do punchy lipstick because that's takes a great deal of upkeep through the day.) But today I slathered on lots of "neutral" eye shadow before I applied the PINK. (So much that it's less "neutral" and more "cake-y") I'm pretty sure I look like Effie Trinket.

I think it's important that I tell you why the heavy eye-makeup is in place. 

Last week, I dog-sat my brother's dog, Kramer. Kramer is sweet and crazy and he's mostly nocturnal. Also, Kramer finished off an entire half-full bag of my brother's fancy air-popped jalapeno-flavored potato chips. And some granola. And a couple of cherry cokes zeroes. That silly dog! 

Anyway. My mom came to pick me up from my bro's apartment the next day so we could go to my favorite Greek restaurant downtown and partake of the most amazing hummus ever.

First, we had to stop and get gas.

And - I kid you not - when I opened the door to get back in the car I hit myself in the eye with the car door. Sometimes the door sticks just a little bit, so I had really put some effort into the opening process.

Plant my feet. 

And I'm not ashamed to admit it ... I cried like a baby. Bawled. I hit myself so hard that the world blurred. As I think back on this incident, I'm not even sure how, or why, my face was in the direct trajectory of the edge of the door. Short girl problems, I guess. But it was the thump heard round the world, for serious.

As sparks fizzled across my line of vision, I faintly heard my Mom say, "Oh, baby. That's going to swell ..."

And she was so right. Except "swell" was a very polite way to describe what actually happened. 

Immediately, the general region of my eyebrow began to BALLOON. Think: Quasimodo. Hawt. 

I could see it in my line of vision as it happened; the bubbling and the morphing and the general monster-ing. I touched my puffy eyebrow and felt blood, which I assumed was a GUSH (which was, actually, barely even a droplet).

As I was holding a can of Diet Dr. Pepper against my brow bone to stop the puffing process, a man in yellow suspenders came up to the window, waved his arms frantically, and hollered, "HELLO! I need this spot! I need to get gas!" 

Like, I nearly gave myself a concussion and all he's worried about is getting gas. 

Life goes on, I guess. 

Thankfully, the swelling went down fairly quickly. But I'm still sporting a serious black eye underneath all this eye makeup. Actually, it's more of an ombre-eye - yellow and purple and gray. It's a pretty fade, I guess. The stuff of poetry. Thanks to some help from Bobbi Brown foundation and a lot of Revlon "chic neutral" eyeshadow ... I've mostly chic-neutralized the darkness. Hollywood should hire me for makeup, because hiding a black-eye takes some skillz.

On the same day I hit myself in the eye with my car door, I thought of my most favorite Caedmon's Call song, "Table for Two". They're responsible for this gem of a lyric: 

This day's been crazy but everything's happened on schedule
from the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt. 
But you knew how you'd save me before I fell dead in the garden. 
And you knew this day long before you made me out of dirt. 

And you know the plans you have for me. 
And you can't plan the ends and not plan the means

Here's the thing with my ombre-eye; it's no big deal and it will look normal again in a week or two. 

But at the risk of overworking a metaphor, I'm still thinking about the Caedmon's Call song.

And I'm thinking about how, sometimes, maybe the bravest thing you can do when life throws you a black-eye ... is to put on your favorite pink lipstick and get back out there. 

I realize some days are just meh with no real reason to lose heart - like, you hit yourself in the eye with your car door, you get a flat tire, you ended up with Friday class on your Fall schedule and it's at that awkward afternoon time when everybody else has already left campus. Those are all non-issues; just little annoyances. Without perspective, it's easy to make stuff like that out to be a much bigger deal than it is. (What we think is a gush is barely even a pinprick.) 

But there are plenty of legit suck-days when you really do feel like the world is trying to smash you flat; when the people you miss seem further away than ever. When the dream you've worked hard for is not nearly as close as you'd hoped. When you get a crazy health diagnosis. When you can't untangle yourself from regret over old mistakes. When you fall really, really hard. When the word tries to convince you that you're used, worthless, unwanted. Or that you used up your opportunity for a second chance fifteen chances ago. 

On those days, too (those days most of all) - God is for you not against you.  His mercies are new every morning. His forgiveness is permanent. And - thank GOODNESS - He restores, redeems, and rebuilds. His promise to complete the good work He started in me is a constant source of encouragement for me.

And so is this verse:

"The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145:14

I've been hiding my heart in Psalm 145 a lot lately, because it describes the character of God: gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, good, trustworthy, faithful, comforting, protective, and near to all who call. And that's just a few verses.

Author/Speaker Tammie Head says this: "Here's the revelation: God deeply, deeply loves you. He loves who you are right now. The broken you. The one who wishes she was perfect. The one who beats herself up because she's imperfect. The woman who desperately wants go to up that mountain she's been circling for years." (From Duty or Delight, LifeWay Press, p.12)

Not to sound like a goofball or anything, but lately God's compassion, kindness, and love have made me frequently teary. Grateful too; grateful in a rejoicing-jumpy-claps way, most assuredly. But I've been getting so teary over it, overwhelmed by it, and I think that's good. It's good to be moved by God's goodness. 

I'm trying my best not to cry right now though. Because I'm sitting in Starbucks and, if I cry, this eye makeup is gonna smear and probably so will my pink lipstick and then I'll look like some hipster circus clown. 

You knew how you'd save me before I fell dead in the garden.
You knew this day long before you made me out of dirt. 

Maybe you don't need the following reminder. But just in case, please know: your Hero does not grow tired or weary. He's for you, not against you. He delights in you. He's working everything out for your good. He loved you before the World-story started (Ephesians 1:4). He loved you at your darkest. He loves you now.

If you are brave enough to open your front door, walk outside, pursue what you love, put your heart on the line, try to overcome whatever it is that tangles you up -- if you are brave enough to live -- you're going to get a few bruises. Rest in God's permanent love, forgiveness, and freedom.

Then put on your favorite punchy-pink lipstick. And get back out there.

How's your week going so far? :)


  1. Oh, Natalie! What a story.

    Incidentally, that's my favorite Caedmon's song, too. I haven't listened to it in years but I still have such an emotional response. Thank you for this.

  2. YES!!!! *jumps up and down*
    I so needed this today. I, too, have become teary when I think of God's love for me. I put on some purple eye makeup on Sunday, and the first thing I heard when I came upstairs was, "Wow, Sis, where'd you get the black eye?" But it was classy and dramatic and I liked it, so I wore it, to church, and out to lunch, and everywhere I went that day.
    Today I want to wear my pink lipstick. I want to wear dramatic eye makeup, and I want to get back out there. And I want to remember that whatever happens, God loves me.
    Thanks for the reminder, Natalie.

  3. Oh Natalie, first of all OUCH! The eye story had my own eyes tearing up in sympathy! And secondly...I needed to hear this. It is too easy to listen to that little voice that tells you to not bother with the bright pink lipstick and NOT try sometimes! Thanks for the encouragement my friend!

  4. I needed this. I registered for college classes today and I thought I could handle it all but once I got my schedule I guess it all became more "real" and I am freaking out. I would really appreciate your prayers.
    Also, your painful story remindsme of an experience of mine quite recently. One day a couple of weeks ago my family went to chick fil a, we parked on an incline and when I got in the car I was lazy and didn't open it up all the way and also slow I guess, and it slammed into me leg, right at the knee bone. It hurt bad. Then the neck week we had to go back to chick fil a for lunch with a friend, parked in the same place and I slammed my leg in the car door again. So. now I have this crazy huge bruise of a million colors on one side of my leg and an ugly yellow bumpy bruise on the other-during shorts weather. Awesome. Long comment, but just had to share, you are not alone in the beaten by the cardoon department. They can be evil.

  5. Lovely, inspiring post. {As usual!}

    P.S. Sorry about your black eye and hope it's feeling better! At least you have an interesting story to tell, right? :)


  6. Lovelovelove this post, per the usual.

    Just wanted to drop by to share a quote that's been sitting on my heart this week (and month and year), because it seems like the sort of thing you'd really love.

    "Paul knows the secret, and even when I think I learned this lesson already Jesus teaches me again: we can live a full life wherever we are – even in the days that seem to small – when we live in communion with the Savior. We look up, praise on our lips, and as we worship Him for all He has done our hearts open wide to more. We wait, expectant, for all that He is doing and this is it, this is life to the fullest." -- Katie

    (I don't know if you've ever read the blog Kisses from Katie, but you should check it out. It makes my heart turn cartwheels. God is SO COOL.)

  7. "It's good to be moved by God's goodness." Yes! and amen.

  8. If you're ever in Texas, we must have coffee! Because I feel like we're kindred spirits and like we could sit and talk about the incredible, overwhelming, beautiful, make-your-heart-goo love of God. Mkay? Mkay! :)

  9. I needed this so, so badly this week.

    My best friend is kind of the most incredible person ever. He's funny and clever and sweet. He always knows exactly what to say and when to give me an extra long hug. We like the same music and books; he's the most Augustus Waters-ian boy that I know. He makes people happy, and where he is, there is laughter. Really, his only flaw is that he doesn't like oreos.

    His 18th birthday was on Monday. He had texted me earlier that week, saying that his dream was to have his 18th birthday party at Chucky Cheese's. (those are the sort of cute + funny things that he said on a regular basis.) And then, at 9:00 on Monday morning, 15 minutes after getting a normal good morning text from him, I found out from another friend that his cousin had just died. She was 16. And he is heartbroken.

    It's been one of the hardest weeks of my life, trying to find a balance between giving him space and not abandoning him, trying not be overwhelmed in secondhand heartbreak for a girl who I barely knew, but was loved by so many people I love. And today, Psalm 145 is exactly what I needed.

  10. This is seriously one of my favorite posts of yours :) So much truth in these words...