This is from a talk I gave today at a ladies tea…
I am a writer. I write what God puts on my heart, but when I speak, I want to say what is on HIS heart.. and today ladies, that is you. Today he says, “Tell them they are beautiful.” Why is it so hard for us as women to believe him? He is not talking about when you lose weight or when you manage to break some bad habit you have…he means today…now…you are beautiful. Look around this room. Look at the wisdom sitting among us as grandmothers. Look at the energy of the little girls and the passion of the mothers. Do you see what I see…what HE sees? It is beauty in many different forms. Like the flowers in a garden, one does not outdo the other. They are harmonious in the bigger whole, but each is individually exquisite. Each offers its whole face to bring color and to add dimension to the garden.
We are not simple creatures ladies. God made us complex, so much so that we do not even understand ourselves sometimes. The hormones, the emotions…they bubble up unexpectedly catching us, and anyone who surrounds us, off guard. Our men joke about it and we laugh, because we know it is true. I mean, we sit in tears at a Hallmark commercial. We rage about the dryer eating socks. Yet, we will reach out and hug a stranger in need because we FEEL deeply. We are like hurricanes of emotion some days and calm as a summer day others. Somehow, in our culture we have been taught to fight these moments…that if we do not have it together all the time we are somehow less.
We are bombarded with images and opinions on what makes us beautiful everywhere we look. I know that I will never be a supermodel. In fact, I learned my biggest lesson about true beauty in a dressing room during the time I was undergoing cancer treatments. I looked in the mirror at my overweight, scarred body. A hole in my gut where the incision had come open, stared back at me. My port created a hump over my left breast. I was completely bald…shiny bald. No eyebrows, no nose hair, no arm hair. Gray/white almost translucent skin. My eyes were sunken, dark circles underneath…making my eyes appear to be holes in my face. No sparkle in my eyes…they were totally flat. No red inside my lids, all was white…like a corpse. The only color was the green/black bruises on my arms from the attempts to get blood from a turnip. The melt down came hard and fast, but in that hurricane moment, God spoke peace to me. He told me I was beautiful, even then, and I started to believe him. You see ladies, he does not look at the outward appearance, neither does he look at our activity level…he is after the inner beauty of the heart.
Even in the church, there are unrealistic expectations. That Proverbs 31 woman has haunted me for years. She is perfect. Her arms are strong, not flabby. She doesn’t eat the bread of idleness, meaning she is not sitting around eating all the time. It is the first recorded low carb diet! She can feed, clothe and parent her children, and keep her man happy all while working and doing community service. She has a sense of humor, and is strong. I know she must be beautiful too, otherwise they wouldn’t talk about her at the gates of the city. She is the church’s example of what a Godly woman should be like. How many of us have tried to follow her example only to end up spread too thin and exhausted? Our husbands and children to do not always call us blessed. Sometimes they don’t even like us, because we are constantly pushing, trying to fit into this mold that someone, somewhere told us would make us…and them… Godly. Are you tired of trying yet? Have you given up?
I hope so. Because God says you are already fearfully and wonderfully made. He says you are the apple of his eye…now. He says you have stolen his heart with one glance of your eyes. You look his way…just glance…and his heart beats faster. HE says that about YOU. You move him because he made you beautiful. He wants us to believe that ladies. He wants us to rest in the fact that we are enough, as we are. It is his job to change us, not ours. The gardener is the one who feeds and waters. He is the one who uproots and prunes. The flowers simply respond to his care. They each bloom in the correct season. A master gardener knows this and arranges them accordingly. The end result is a fragrant garden… a place which pleases him. The beauty of the flowers…our beauty…is a joy to him. It brings him great pleasure to see our faces turned upward towards him, instead of drooped over because of our perceived inadequacy. We are the king’s garden…the place he loves to be… is among the beautiful flowers. You are beautiful.