Am I beautiful? I think that question rings in the heart of every woman from the time they’re a small girl. Am I enough? I see it in my little girls as they dress up, spin around, and look to see if I’ve noticed. I’ve seen it in myself too.
Over the last year or so, that question has seemed more prominent in my mind. I’m not sure if it’s because I had another birthday or started pulling a greatly increased number of white hairs, but the question is there. Am I enough? Am I beautiful?
While I’m far from being an expert on this topic, as I’ve explored the scriptures, I’ve noticed that God seems to have a very different view of beauty than I do. Here are a few of the things I’ve discovered:
1. God Values Scars
Culturally, we tend to value the perfect. Those things that are blemish-free. But when I read Scripture, I see a very different picture.
I see Israel who walked with a limp after a wrestling match with God.
I see Jesus who comes to his followers after His resurrection and shows off the nail holes in His hands and the spear hole in His side. He is God after all. He could have resurrected with a perfectly healed body that had no traces of the crucifixion. But He didn’t. He purposefully allowed the reminders of what He went through to remain.
I see the early disciples who celebrated when they were beaten and scourged. They considered it an honor to bear the marks of following Christ.
God seems to value the very scars I would like to remove as the trophies of His faithfulness. They are the reminders that we didn’t die in the midst of the struggle. We made it. And we have a story to tell. We were changed.
Scars are a sign of healing. What was once an open wound has found restoration.
I don’t know what scars are in your life. They may be physical or they may be hiding deep inside your heart. Know that whatever form they take, God considers them precious. And know that if you have a still gaping painful wound, we serve an expert healer who specializes in broken hearts. He would love to take the pieces you don’t like and turn them around to bring Him glory.
2. God Celebrates Aging
My 22-month-old little one cried on my birthday this year. Not because I was getting older (why I wanted to cry!) but because it wasn’t her birthday. She wanted her birthday now.
Isn’t it funny how just like my little girl, we anticipate and plan for birthdays up until our late teens/early twenties, and then all the sudden we try to avoid them? We are so excited about growing up until we actually grow up. Then we want to stop. The importance of being five-and-a-HALF fades to not really wanting to admit to our true age.
I’m convinced God must have a sense of humor. I was reading in Proverbs and that little book says at least twice that the beauty of old men (or women) is their gray head – and even goes as far as to call it a crown of beauty and glory (see Proverbs 20:29 and 16:31).
Let’s be honest. I struggle with calling those pesky white hairs a crown of beauty. I’d rather dye them. But I think the heart of God here is amazing. What we look at with sorrow because “it isn’t what it was,” God looks at with delight because “it isn’t what it was.” We see the white hair and sore knees and He sees the wisdom, experience, and adventures we have been on together. Just like we treasure each new milestone our kids reach, I think He treasures our growth too.
Each time the calendar turns is an opportunity to celebrate another day, another month, or another year that we have the gift to be alive. It is another chance that we have had the opportunity to draw closer to the Lord. It is another chance to grow in dependence on Him. It is another moment to celebrate His faithfulness.
3. God’s Beauty Increases
We live in a culture that pushes the idea that beauty fades with age. Businesses make millions from that belief. Wrinkle creams, plastic surgeries, hair dyes – all to preserve the illusion of youth. They play on our belief that beauty peaks in our late teens to early twenties then we go downhill from there. There is a constant search for the fountain of youth that will restore a former glory or fix something that we don’t feel is beautiful.
I don’t think God feels that way about us. He isn’t looking at us and comparing us to a younger version of ourselves – or worse yet – a younger version of someone else. His version of beauty looks like a heart that is growing to look more like Him.
Second Corinthians 3:18 says it this way:
“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (NLT)
Another translation of this verse says that we see God’s glory as in a mirror and it changes us. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I am changed (say hello to my hairbrush and makeup!!) But that version of beauty fades by the end of a long day with hair all over, makeup smeared, and peanut butter traces left on my shirt from small sticky fingers. When I look into the mirror of God’s presence, I’m changed. And that beauty doesn’t fade with a long day.
My dear friend, I don’t know if you’ve struggled with this question like I have, but I want you to know this – you are beautiful. It doesn’t matter your scars or how old you are, God delights in you. And His version of beauty doesn’t fade with age or pain. It grows.
I’d love to hear your stories or thoughts on where God has healed your scars and made you enough! Come back for part 2 of this series – Am I Beautiful?