I think I’m in the 80th percentile of nose length for humans.
Okay, maybe 85 percent . . . I’m definitely helping bring up the average.
So, you can imagine my excitement as I see my daughter grow up and realize that I think she’s inherited her mother’s genes for that particular part of her facial structure. Either that or my genes have just been diluted with the smaller nose genes of my wife, which has some how diminished the long-nose genes I was contributing. Kind of like going on a long, healthy run and then indulging in a deliciously caloric Chick-Fil-A binge; they just cancel each other out.
Or, Paytyn is adopted. But, if that’s true, I wanna know what that heck that thing was I saw come out in the delivery room!
Anyway, it seems as though my daughter is not inheriting at least one unfortunate part of my physical makeup. Now she just needs to find good teeth, sturdy tendons and a little more height from some other branch in our family tree.
It’s funny the things that we pass onto our kids, isn’t it? I was watching Paytyn laugh and play the other day, her golden curls bouncing in her face and her eyes alight with joy and I could see in her face the beautiful outline of her mom. In other moments I see the slightest resemblance to her Nana (grandma). And, I’m told that she has a certain sarcastic expression that looks like me (figures).
She is made in our likeness.She looks like us. But not exactly. Paytyn is a strangely inimitable mixture of my features and the elegant characteristics of my bride. And that’s the thing about “likeness,” it’s not a photocopy. It’s a likeness. She looks like each of us, at various moments, but at the same time she is her own unique recipe of person. Like a blend of coffee that tastes so familiar and yet has traces of flavor you can’t quite place.
So, in the first book of the Bible, the writer records that God made us in His likeness.
“When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man.’”
Created in the “likeness” of God.
Think about that for a moment. Every one of us carries in us some sort of divine imprint or substance. We are made of God-stuff. From day one, we are inherently birth-marked by the beauty and goodness of the Creator. Knowingly or not, we exist and move and breathe with what amounts to the DNA of God that gives us life. It is with God that all our genetic material finds its origin and it is His genes that flow freely through all the family trees of humanity.
Try remembering that next time you feel ordinary. To be human is to truly be more than just a mundane collage of cells, but to be made in the image and likeness of God.
We are not God. He is unique and strange and wonderful. But we are “like” Him. And His icon in us makes every one of us beautiful, exceptional and invaluable.
Now, my worry for Paytyn is not this amazingly divine heritage, but her more earthly one. Because you see, it’s not just that she inherits the “likeness” of God in her genetic makeup, but also the “likeness” of me in many areas of her life and personality. Read the very next verse in Genesis:
“When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.”
For better or worse, for long or short noses, we also create our kids in our own image. The things that haunt us, often haunt them. The things that plague us, frequently make them sick too. And the many inadvertent examples we live-out become their learned patterns for life.
You can be sure that Adam already knew this. Because of Adam’s big mistake, his first two sons learn the art of sin and the one kills the other in the first murder in the Bible. Seth, whose name means “appointed” or “compensation,” is born as a “replacement” for the lost son. Talk about a lot of pain and hurt to inherit.
Made in the image of God, but born into the fallen pattern of Adam.
Such a strange mixture of beauty and tragedy we all are. Like an otherwise beautiful and healthy body that is dying from cancer. We are like God. But, we are also like Adam. At least for now.
Often times now, I find myself wondering which Paytyn will inherit from me more. The beautiful goodness and compassion of God? Or the messed up, mistake-driven selfish patterns of me?
You see, I know God is re-making me. Almost as if He is, through Jesus, working to re-write the uncorrupted file of His DNA back into my life. For though I am made in the “likeness” of God, Hebrews states that Jesus is the son who is:
“the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation (image) of his being.”
Jesus isn’t the “likeness” of God, He is EXACTLY GOD. He is the purest expression of God.
And though he is working to help me unlearn patterns of my selfishness, I still struggle in my paradox; struggle that will inevitably bleed into the inheritance of my daughter. I just hope that Paytyn grows up seeing the incredible progress He is making in me and not just all my mistakes along the way.
Though I will try my best, unfortunately for Paytyn, she might have been better off with a long nose than some of those other characteristics I’m sure to pass on.
Somebody asked me the other day, “So does your daughter look more like you or Tania?” And really, I’m not sure. There seems to be a good compliment of us both in her.
I guess until she gets a little older we won’t know for sure which nose she actually inherited. I don’t know which of us she’ll end up looking like more.
But, just between us, I pray she looks a lot more like God than either of us.