I met Crystal five years ago. She came to live in the same huge, foreign city where our family was living and we got the chance to walk through life together for a few short months. As I was home most days with a new baby, I can’t say we got to spend all that much time together during those months. Since that time, however, we’ve stayed in touch and I’ve followed the journey she’s been on. And it’s a pretty awesome one.
What I find significant about Crystal’s story and who she is as a person is her response to life. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve written that life is beautiful, not when everything falls perfectly into place, but when our heart falls perfectly into place with what is going on in our lives. With what God is allowing in our lives. When, no matter our circumstances, we let the tears, laughter, and true conversations come. Because this is what makes for a beautiful life.
And as I read Crystal’s words on her blog and as we’ve stayed in touch here and there, I see that she is right in the middle a beautiful life. She writes honestly about momentary feelings of wondering if she has fallen behind in this whole adulting business. She writes about a unique port wine birthmark she was born with and she is rocking her corner of the world with awareness about these birthmarks. And beyond her specific and unique situation, she is an advocate and speaker about being confident in who you are no matter what interesting turn your life has taken.
For Crystal, a very significant incident took place not long ago and it was definitely an interesting turn of events in her life. Her personal image was stolen and used without her consent. The image has gone viral more than fifteen times. Her face has been around the world, but her story has not gone with it. This is what was upsetting to Crystal because her story, her take on life, is what makes everything come together. Her picture was used, for someone else’s gain, to say that everyone is beautiful no matter their physical appearance. Crystal already knew this to be true. She knows and shares that we are all significant and that our value is found not by looking at the surface, but by knowing each other deeply, celebrating life together, and finding the joys in each journey the Lord has given us to walk. And out of this experience, she actually got to share the stage with Natalie Grant! Wow! You can watch the video of Natalie surprising Crystal here. Crystal says she has several God-sized dreams, and this was one of them. She faced a challenge that rocked her to her core, she made a choice to respond positively and even had a dream come true out of it!
I, personally, have been inspired by Crystal. Not only by the content of what she shares, but by her attitude. By her outlook on life. As I watched her story in video, I had tears by the end. She gives a voice to those who haven’t yet found their own. She encourages all of us; with a stain we can see or one that is invisible. We all have something that marks us. We all have challenges or insecurities. We all wonder if God might have made a mistake in some particular area of our lives. We all wonder if our life would be significantly different if we didn’t have our one particular hang up.
Crystal has reminded me that our God is not one who makes mistakes and what he makes is both good and beautiful. And beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder. Because the beauty of a person is not actually subjective. It is real and deep and true. It is there whether someone else sees it or not. And at a time when I feel like my life, and maybe me, are not all that beautiful, this truth stirs something deep in me. Something that reminds me to be grateful for all the beauty in my life. In me.
As I finish reflecting on this beautiful life that Crystal is living out, I am looking a little deeper inside myself. Looking to find contentment with who I am, looking to remember who it is that God says I am, and thinking about how I want to live out the definition of beauty in front of my children. My oldest is just starting to notice the differences in people she sees. I want to teach her that their differences are part of the beauty in who God made them. And that beyond what she sees, there is a wonderful story there.
Maybe I’ll have to start by sharing Crystal’s post about 10 Things I Want Kids Who Grew Up With A Physical Difference To Know. She has a lot of insight and wisdom about these things.
And, you can look forward to hearing much more from her as she is writing a book. Exciting!
Crystal is definitely an awesome woman. I’m so glad our paths crossed half way across the world from home and that I get to follow her beautiful life. I’m quite sure I won’t be the same because of it.