Hearts that Find Beauty
This world is created to rejoice in beauty. We all love seeing a colorful sunset, a breathtaking mountain, a well-composed photo, or a cute child. Sadly, sin has corrupted even this thing that should be a beautiful way to reflect our Creator. When He saw the world he created and declared it “good”. In the corrupted version of “beauty appreciation,” we do not just rejoice in what we see as beautiful. We also reject what we do not believe to be comely.
An area that this tends to affect each of us as women is the area of how the culture defines and views female beauty. I have seen two extreme ways to side on this issue. Either embracing how culture defines beauty. Or declaring that everyone is beautiful and overlooking serious health issues. Brushing over obvious marks of sin upon the human body in a way that makes no sense.
Truth Hitting Home
All of this came rushing to my attention when I gave birth to our first son. I look down at my body and don’t recognize what it had become. Stretch marks run along my hips, stretched skin covers my stomach, Handfuls of hair fall out of my head. Everything used to instantly ascertain my worth in the eyes of others, has been ripped away from me.
Of course, people tell me I have “earned my tiger stripes”. Or say that I am beautiful for what I have created inside of me. Others tell me that beauty comes from the inside. I can’t help but notice there is no one lining up to have their skin stretched. No plastic surgery is out there to create bald spots on your head, or make your skin saggy. So the things that are being said to comfort me are at best paper-thin. Mostly though these lines made me feel even worse for feeling bad about myself.
We attend a multi-generational church. I have been observing something about all of us. All of us are becoming more broken as time passes. Each of us feels the effects of sin on our lives in a very real and daily sort of way. Our muscles get weaker, eyes dim, boobs sag, and stomachs grow softer. At
Preparing for Eternity
Finally, the moment came, when it all clicked. My grandmother died of an aneurysm, and Joseph’s grandmother developed health issues that caused her to lose her ability to care for herself. These two lovely, strong women moved from enjoying time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to having a passionate longing for Heaven! It was in this that I can find purpose in aging and brokenness. If the amount of character I have now is all I have to take me through the valley of death, I will crumble with the weight. Everything superficial is slowly being taken from my heart. That leaves me with only the need to turn to Christ in faith even more.
His Strength Becomes Stronger
My body weakens and becomes less beautiful, and the inner beauty strengthens. Godly character is being developed in my heart this way. As I become weaker it requires me to press more closely into the one who created me and will sustain me into eternal life. The weakness causes me to look forward. I can rejoice to know that His strength in me will become stronger, until the day when He calls me to Himself. I can find His perfect beauty forever in His presence.
“By our tribulations, God weans us from excessive love of this present life.” – Calvin’s Institutes