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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Am I Beautiful?

Am I beautiful? The woman wonders. She studies her reflection in the mirror before her. No one is around to interrupt. Now is a time she can think freely. In this moment of stillness, her thoughts can wander and delve unhindered in realms wild and frightening.
No, I am not beautiful . . .  I am not ugly, but I am certainly not beautiful. My skin is not smooth and flawless. My hair is too dark. My shoulders are uneven. My lips are plain. My skin is too pale. I am not thin enough. I am not exotic or mysterious or stunning. I am just me, simple and plain.

Her mind lingers on the word beautiful. What does it mean?
What is beautiful? Beauty to me is uneven tree lines, their jagged silhouettes black against the darkening sky. It is weathered wood, on boats and barns and buildings, with the paint chipped and faded. It is books, old and yellowed and marked-up and loved. It is my mother, my father, my loved ones, with all of their uniqueness and imperfection. It is stories, journals, memories--these records of people's pasts. 
Uneven. Jagged. Weathered. Faded. Marked-up. Imperfect.
Why can't I be beautiful with all of these attributes? Why does the world's standard disqualify me from the category of beautiful?
The world does not see as God does.
Father, what is beautiful? The woman asks, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
Beautiful is the heart clothed in My righteousness. The heart redeemed and set free from the bondage of sin. The uneven shoulders that ache from the Master's work. The worn hands that serve others for My glory. The faded color in the cheeks of the lady in the wheelchair--that daughter of Mine who has followed Me for decades of her life. The fair, flawed skin of the woman I created. The stories, unique and wonderful, that each of My children carry in their hearts--the stories of their redemption. The aching, the wounded, the homeless, the terrified, the ugly, the odorous, the poor that love Me. They are beautiful.
By now, the woman's gaze has retreated from her own reflection to her Maker. I am beautiful, she whispers. To God, I am beautiful. 
Let us spend more time in ministry than at mirrors. Let us seek to please God rather than the ungodly who directly oppose His truths. Let us drink daily of His grace and love. Let us share with the world His beauty . . . the TRUE beauty they unknowingly seek.
It can be hard, this learning to accept again and again. But far more important than outward beauty accepted by man is inward beauty cherished by Christ. And far more fulfilling. Let us cling to HIM every day of our lives.

~Miss Emily Elizabeth


Tarissa said...

"Let us spend more time in ministry than at mirrors." ... beautiful phrasing, Emily! That is worth quoting. Great article!

Emily said...

Thank you, Tarissa! It's a challenging thought to me for sure.