Beauty Hacks for 2020

I wore jeans this week. Real, official blue jeans with a button and zippered fly. Am I wrong, or has 2020 just killed off any likelihood of people wearing real pants again? We work and play from home via Zoom and we only see the top halves of people anymore, am I right? Not that I was much of a fashionista before the national pandemic. If I really wanted to dress up I put a little lip gloss on… and a special, special occasion warranted a dollop of mascara. I’m quite the plain jane when it comes to make-up.

photo Unsplash

Nonetheless, I do love a good make up tutorial video. It fascinates me what true artists can do with powder and gels! Blending, contour, sparkle. My social medias force me to dabble in the unknown and I am drawn in for fake eyelashes … even the odd drag queen makes me marvel. It truly is art. Especially at this time of year. Whatever you think about halloween or drag, one must agree that painted faces can be cool to look at. Which had me musing…

Who comes up with these things?! Have you seen the latest “trend” of using glue as a fashion accessory? Truly! Superglue on upper lips for that “pumped up look” and a kid’s glue stick for eyebrows! You know that purple glue stick we all used in kindergarten to paste our fall leaves on paper? Apparently it works wonders on the finer points of eyebrow definition… or making them disappear in the case of cover up Halloween displays. Seriously. Dollar store glue sticks. Fascinating.

Interestingly enough, the Bible chats often of beauty and fashion. Frequently referring to vanity and being cautious not to let beauty become “a hindrance”, shall we say. Yet, I read anew some passages in Esther this week and it struck me just how serious our biblical sisters took to such things as beauty — and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with. Let’s read Esther’s first few introductions to her life at the palace:

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. 13 And this is how she would go to the king: Anything she wanted was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. 14 In the evening she would go there and in the morning return to another part of the harem to the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She would not return to the king unless he was pleased with her and summoned her by name.

Esther 2:12-14

Perhaps I’m reading too much into the story and missing the point of God’s plan for Esther to save her people, but verses are included in the Bible for a reason, right?! Look again. A full year of spa days! Six months of oil drenched massages. I get it. Girl, I’m sure living in the desert does a number on your skin…cracked heels and parched lips. Apparently oils like myrrh and olive were mixed with fragrant fruits and left to sit in the sun until they had infused into “essential oils”. Anyone heard of those today?! Yup, another beauty trend toting wellness and health benefits.

photo by chelsea shapouri

I recently visited a friend’s bathroom and was a little taken aback by the sheer amount of soaps, creams and lotions she had in there! I’m sure many of you can attest to trying out this or that only to find you need another this or that to work with the first one. I’m lucky in that beauty products are not my weakness. (Now pretty paper on the other hand… but we are not talking about that!) Some of you, I know, have drawers of the stuff… half used lipsticks and cakes of powders. It was on sale. Perhaps you are searching for the fountain of youth and are willing to try anything new to cover up the latest wrinkle. No worries. Embrace the lines! We all have our flaws. Yet, I can’t help but wonder … was Esther’s beauty queen status all for not? Obviously King Xerxes thought she was pretty hot. He picked her out from all those other supermodels.

Alas, my friends, I’m not sure I’m ready to raid the piggy bank just yet and go crazy buying pallets from Sephora, or infusing every room in the house with Thieves and cardamom, but it is an interesting thought. Can God use beauty to weave the web of His grand plan? Should we embrace it? Or is it all a worldly ploy? The verdict is out on this one … but I think I may pull out the lipgloss next week, just for fun.

For Just Such a Time as This

So, my beloveds, you will forgive me if I go off the rails a bit and get a little philosophical with you for this post. It’s just the way I have been feeling these days. Have you ever considered what on earth are we doing here? What is the purpose of life? How do we explain the very reason for our existence? Okay — that’s even too deep for me.

What I have been wrestling with, and musing about lately, has been this whole idea of being in the perfect place at just the right time. I am happy where I am… but wonder if there is more. I know God has a plan, but what do I do about it? What is my role in this big, wide universe? How do I fit?

There is a philosophic consideration out there called the “Anthropic principle” that basically says (and don’t hold me to this as I am neither a cosmos expert, nor philosopher!) that the universe’s fundamental parameters must be absolutely perfect for life to be possible here on Earth for us to survive as human beings. A little closer to the sun, we fry. A little farther, we freeze. A force like gravity, or nuclear push and pull, is one iota off, and we all secretly implode or spontaneously combust or something… which leads many to believe that there must be a Creator out there who designed it that way…

But let’s hone in a little closer to home, shall we? I was reminded this week of many summers ago when we were up enjoying the Kawartha regions, and a particularly fierce summer thunderstorm hit. The ones where the sky turns that evil looking green-grey and the sheets and sheets of rain pour down in curtains of water. Violent lightening had struck an old tree and split the large trunk in two… we only heard the resultant thud as the split branch fell — exactly inches — okay a single inch— away from my brother’s brand new vehicle! A vehicle he had purchased about a day or so before! Was it luck? Was it God’s great providence? Was it simply a co-incidence? We were left amazed that the limb had been split exactly in a spot where the pieces would fall exactly perpendicular to the car, in exactly opposite to the other tree half, etc. etc. etc. Much like the philosophers, we contemplated the “what if’s” of the situation.

photo via Michael Bratton Toledo, Ohio… i.e. NOT our tree…

Perhaps you are like me, and think about the “what if’s”. Or the “what now’s”. Or maybe you spiral down into the even deeper realms of the “oh Phooey’s*” (* insert whatever word you deem appropriate here for your own thoughts) and you call out in desperate prayers to God and ask the hard questions. I got your back on this one. I’m here with you, musing about all that holds the balance of the universe together and the philosophical orbits of what is our place, right now?!

Coincidentally, (or maybe not), our topic for Sunday’s sermon was the providence of God. We were encouraged to seek out the examples in the Bible of how He time and time again provides. My thoughts settled, today, on Esther. A woman (strike one) with a lost identity, caught between a rock and a hard place, searching for answers. Answers that would not only shape the future for her as potential queen, but for an entire nation sentenced to death and annihilation. And then she is prompted: “… who knows if perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Mic drop. Dab. Boo-ya. Whatever current gesture you wanna throw out there. God has you (and me) smack dab in the middle of the pit (or King’s palace as it may be) for some reason. Exactly not too close to get burned up by the sun, and not too far to freeze, but exactly within one part in 10 to the power of 55 as to not be pulled apart by the expansion of the universe! (my apologies to every physics teacher I ever had). It’s not our job to debate it. It’s our job to believe and place our trust in the One who placed us there… for just such a time as this.