the topic on the radio today was beauty. all day long the station played songs and talked about our beauty and value in the Lords eyes. i do not know a single woman who does not struggle with the issue of beauty every now and then. i tend to struggle with this more in the winter, with the weather's curses of pale & dry skin, dull hair, and blah blah blah. but winter or summer, i am most beautiful when i believe that i am truly beautiful.
i have been studying ezekiel chapter 16, an allegory of unfaithful jerusalem. it talks about how God sees a woman (jersualem) lying in a heap of blood (her sin). he then tells her to live and enters into a covenant of marriage with her and lavishes all kinds of love on her. he feeds her the finest food, clothes her in beautiful dresses, and puts jewelry on her neck, wrists, ears, and nose. he puts a crown on her head makes her the most beautiful queen. she is certainly beautiful, but i think considering where she came from, poor and dirty, practically dead, she is all the more beautiful. the woman's beauty "was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Sovereign Lord" (ezekiel 16:4). the passage goes on to explain how the woman uses her beauty to allure other lovers and commits adultery and idolatry against the One who loves her so perfectly and sweetly. it is sad...but i cannot get past verses 1-14. read them for yourself. it explains the kind of lover the Lord is...how he took us out of our ugliest sin and made us beautiful simply because he made us his. he is so lavishing with his love...he certainly does not hold back.
ladies, we help make the world beautiful, simply by being women. women are beautiful. we just are. if God is beautiful and we are created in His image and belong to Him, then we are undoubtedly stunning.
now there are many other things to consider about our beauty:
1. think about the kind of ugliness, darkness, sin, and brokenness that God has redeemed you from. how has God changed you? how is he currently shaping you? compare who you were before you knew the Lord to who you are now. if you are any different than who you once were on account of Him, then how could you not be beautiful?
2. psalm 139 says that the Lord knit us together in our mother's womb, that we are each fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are a marvelous work. God created every little thing about us...our unique laughs, the shape & color of our eyes, our ability to be mothering & nurturing to others, our smiles...everything inside and out that makes you who you are. celebrate these things and praise God for them just as david did in his psalms.
3. having talked about psalm 139, i want to mention that we are beautiful inside and out. yes i know God looks at the heart and not outward appearance (1 samuel 16:7); yes, i know that outward beauty is fleeting (proverbs 31:30); yes, i know that God does not delight in the legs of man (psalm 147:10)... but we are women and we need to know that we are not only beautiful inwardly, but that we are outwardly as well, because just as God created men to pursue beauty, he created women to be beautiful. He made us beautiful on the outside and it is to His glory. read how solomon praises the shulamite woman's outward beauty in song of songs...and she seems to be described with very dark skin (which was not culturally considered beautiful at the time), a round midsection, and a large nose... hmmm. i dont think the women i know in my life would exactly want these physical attributes. but this woman is beautiful because God created her, because she calls herself lovely, and because her lover praises her outward beauty.
4. now let's talk about inner beauty for a second. think about a woman who is refreshing to be around. she is gentle, kind, and at peace with God, herself, and her life. 1 peter says a gentle and quiet spirit is precious to the Lord and the type of unfading beauty every woman should strive for. a woman at 90 years old can be beautiful if her spirit is beautiful and refreshing to others. this really separates us from men. there is something about a godly woman's spirit and inner-self that makes her beautiful and inviting...men can also have peace & contentment in their hearts, and have a comforting spirit to be around... and while these qualities make them attractive, i would not exactly use the word beautiful. i think that word is reserved especially for us women. even the dictionary defines the noun form of beauty as "a beautiful person, especially a woman" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beauty).
5. a woman's joy and smile makes her the most beautiful. there are two quotes that i love: "ive never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful" and "joy is the best make-up."