Wednesday, April 3, 2013

beheld in a different Light: Longing for beauty


There is beauty everywhere, but so often we look through the eyes of the world, and we simply miss it...or maybe dismiss this beauty because it does not seem to hold up to the standards that our society has created.  But what if we take the words of Romans 12: 1-2 seriously and we get serious about not conforming to the patterns of this world, but instead, we let our minds be transformed by the Spirit.  What if we allow God to bend and mold us, what if we allow Him to touch our eyes so that we might see again in new light, what if we prepare our hearts to be astounded by what He has created?  What if we become astounded by ourselves, not with a sense of selfish pride, but with heartbeats of gratitude?  What if we let God's Word lavish our souls with wonder and amazement?  What if we believe Him when He tells us that we are beautiful and that we are His?
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The timing is impeccable. I am pondering words to offer up for this post when she descends down the stairs looking for me. She is so quiet I don't even hear her until the doorway frames her little frame. She stands there and says nothing; the twinkle in her eyes says it all. 

She's all dressed up with a long flowing blue dress and stickers on her ears for sparkly earrings. Blonde wisps frame her face; some gathered up, but spilling down. The hand-me-down necklace from long ago that looks like diamonds drapes radiance about her neck.

She holds the folds of the dress in her hands and stands there in her splendor and looks up with her sweet face and lifts one hand and uses the back of it to wipe the falling tresses out of her eyes that match her attire.

I'm breathless with the beauty of my little one and I stoop down and I look right in her eyes. I tell her she's beautiful. I tell her she's loved.

Finally she begs the question, "You like it?" She's three and she looking for approval. She didn't even need to ask. I gather her in my arms and tell her again, over and over, that she is beautiful and she is lovely and she is loved!

She skips off, delighting, dancing with a calm and graceful assurance.

In a little while, she's back with her sister, who is eight years older. They're holding hands and the taller one is all dressed up with little, white pearls strung on her neck. A duet of beauty and I stand in applause.

They were just dressing up for fun, but they come seeking approval because they need to. They need to be told they are beautiful and they don't even know yet that they need to hear it.

We are raising girls in a time when beauty is distorted and at times I am at a loss to define it for them for I still fight this battle.

But, beauty and the battle to fight for it aren’t just for fairy tales. When you are three you can skip off delighting in the words of praise, but when evil has defeated you, where do you turn when you don't hear that you are the fairest one and there is no magic mirror after all?

We are all looking for someone to tell us that we are beautiful and lovely and loved because deep inside there is a longing to know this truth.

I have fought hard battles. I have stood facing my enemy and crumpled into a mortified heap right in front of her. The enemy was self and often I returned home defeated. Life leaves scars and who finds beauty in scars? We hide them, cover them up and wish they would go away.

Yet, how
we long for beauty.

"There is in the human heart an unquenchable longing for beauty. And I am persuaded that the reason it is there is because God is the ultimately Beautiful One and he made us to long for himself." (John Piper)

Ironically, the One who had this marvellous plan came and, "There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him"  (Isaiah 52:2He came and we left scars on Him. The One who formed me and said "It is very good' is the One who redeemed me and restored me and the scars remain on His hands and feet. He does not cover them; instead He has covered me. Our beauty is in the gospel.

“ . . . the gospel is a story about God and his Son and their conspiracy of love to overthrow the dominion of Satan and save the world. And out of this story shines above all else the glory of the God-man, Jesus Christ. And that glory, that beauty, is an all-satisfying beauty because it is the Beauty of God. It is "the glory of Christ who is the image of God." When we see Jesus in the gospel story, we see God and the very essence of his beauty." (John Piper)

When will we stop looking at mirrors and models and magazines for beauty when true beauty goes so much deeper?

Peter reminds us, in his letter, what is precious in God's sight and I preach it to myself:

"True beauty comes from within; from a heart that is humbled and at peace; a spirit that is at rest with its Creator; a soul that has been restored." 

I fight hard. I don't always believe that I am beautiful. That is when I need to go the One who is and ask Him what He thinks of me. It is where He wants me. I know I come with flaws, but He desires that I come just as I am, seeking Him, to stand in the Door and to listen to His voice and to dance before Him because He delights in me. 

I can rest in His loving embrace and know that I am loved and that I am beautiful and that He delights in me because He is Beautiful and I am being re-created into His likeness and in being made in His likeness I am full of beauty.

My girls need to know the truth about beauty and that they are loved and lovely and beautiful. They need to hear it over and over from the ones that love them the most. That beauty is far deeper than the world would have us believe, but beauty is the essence of who we are with the fingerprints of God lovingly caressed into our very image.

I need to believe this truth for myself!

For then, I will twirl like the three year old, and Christ's beauty will radiate from me all to His praise!

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Rebekah is a follower of Christ, a wife, mother, and is blessed to home educate her three children. Their days are filled with rhythms and routines of living and learning, curiously discovering about God and His world, renewing their minds, while learning to love and live authentically. As a pediatric cancer survivor, living with long-term effects, life seems to get overwhelming at times, but God has been and is and always will be faithful. His grace is sufficient and truly amazing. She easily spots the beauty that God has in His creation, but too often fails to see that God has created, in her, this same beauty. She writes her story at A Soft Gentle Voice. 



Linking with Jennifer, Emily, and Tracy.

8 comments :

  1. I love this! Such a struggle for me too! Thank you so much for this post...I needed this reminder today. I need it everyday actually. I need the reminder so that I can remind my little ones too, everyday! Blessings to you! Love, Rachael @ Inking the Heart (linked up after you at Winsome Wednesday)

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    1. I need it everyday too!! " . . . being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another."

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  2. Dear Rebekah
    Oh, dear one, you are beautiful! It shines through your words and your love for the Beautiful One and your little ones. You know the saying of beauty that is only skin deep!! Well , Friday is my 50th birthday and that skin deep beauty is fading quickly. Yet, I am becoming more beautiful by the day the deeper I learn to live in our beautiful Lord Jesus!! Found your post at Jennifer's.
    Blessings to you XX
    Mia

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    1. Mia, you are a beautiful encourager!! Thank you, thank you for your gracious words. Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!

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  3. I love how you painted this image of beauty and I think I will join you twirling with Jesus!!

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    1. Jean, thank you! Yes, all for His praise! And let us keep reminding ourselves where true beauty really comes from!

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  4. Beautiful, beautiful post. Twirling with you, Rebekah!

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