God’s Handwriting

FTI pin Beauty Emerson

I have some of my best childhood scribblings and doodles and other handmade “art” stored away in a plastic box – scrapbook evidence of a mother’s love and the fact that beauty truly IS in the eye of the beholder.

Don’t we all tend to prize most those things created for us, crafted by the hands of those we love? Maybe that’s because we know that the time and thought taken to give us that gift is an expression of the heart, the purest form of affection.

Like this new day we’ve been given.

When we understand that every bit of beauty we see is a letter from God, in his own handwriting, to us – His beloved children, we begin to understand His heart.

And when we rejoice in the blessing of His good gifts, we bless the Giver. Our “thank you” to Him is in the cherishing of all these keepsake days.

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
Psalm 75:1

When Who You Are Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

We may be embarrassed to admit it, but there are three, little words we women long to hear.  And it may be different than some might think.

From our earliest memories, we are aware that we were born with this desire – like a seed planted deep in the heart and soul of us – to know we are loved and cherished.

And it’s like the unfolding of a flower opening to the sun when it happens – When we feel those things being expressed through this secretly-coveted affirmation.

You Are Beautiful!

But it takes more than hearing. It takes believing. And that can be difficult.

I chuckle now at that time in high school when a classmate told me I could be pretty if I just used more mascara. She whipped a tube out of her purse and began to work on my lackluster lashes. I don’t think she achieved the transformation she envisioned. 

Then, there are those glamor magazines, filled with models and Hollywood celebrities, all with perfect skin and straight teeth and well-sculpted bodies. We’ve heard about photography tricks and photoshop, but we can’t forget the images we’ve seen. Especially when we look in the mirror.

We have this snapshot of pretty painted on our brain and our own eyes speak the plain truth that no amount of makeup can cover over.

We are who we are. 

But if we don’t know who we are, our hearts can become targets for deception.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

The Seattle Times published a piece on human trafficking in which writer, Nicole Brodeur, reveals that “many of these kids go willingly, lured by attention and the affection they crave.” Even more shocking, the article goes on to quote Lt. Eric Sano of the Seattle Police Department:

“The victims would rather endure the beatings or the rapes for the times he tells her he loves her, when he tells her she’s beautiful and treats her like a princess.”

It’s important for us to understand who we are.

We are daughters of the King! And these are His words to us:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.
Song of Solomon 4:7

How can a dearly loved Princess of God feel anything but beautiful? But we do.

Because our culture is screaming the opposite.

I was watching a sitcom recently that actually touched on this subject. Two parents were lamenting over the negative messages our society is sending to young women. As we see them discuss their teenaged daughters questionable dating choices, the wife says to the husband in desperation, “They are expected to look and act like porn stars!”

Yes, sadly, the culture is screaming loud.
And not just at teens, but adults as well. 

Case in point: The overwhelming sales of a certain book that exploded on the scene this past year. When I heard about some of the content, I must have turned 50 shades of red. That was enough to know it’s something I won’t be putting on my reading list.

Even the author admits that she’s not a great writer and that she is “stunned” by it’s popularity. But, really, it’s not surprising at all. Her book is categorized as a “romance” and statistics show that romance novels are a billion (not a million, a BILLION) dollar industry, far surpassing all other genres.

And I get how a woman might turn to fantasy to try and escape from the weight of her own reality. How she might like to forget her own story and lose herself in one that offers some version of the love she lacks. But when the last chapter is read, she’ll still be looking for something to fill the pages of her heart.

Because that’s the way the enemy works. That slithering snake has a counterfeit version of every good thing God offers us. And, just like a predator, he lures us with the lie that he can supply what we need. But he can’t.

Christian women beware! 

The King of Heaven has called you out of darkness. He has crowned you with light. He wants you to know that His love for you is real. Not a cheap imitation. So, don’t eat the forbidden fruit. You are precious and beautiful treasure to Him. Believe that.

You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.
Ephesians 5:8

Look in the mirror and speak these truths out loud until all those other voices begin to fade.

Teach them to your children.

Remind every young girl you meet.

You are a child of God. Romans 8:16

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

You are loved with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3  

Let’s face it. We are who we are.

And that’s a good thing!

Do you think the media makes it harder for women today to deal with issues of self-worth? How has God helped you to accept the fact that who you are is enough?

The Beauty of Shadows

“Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even there, upon this winter’s day, how beautiful the shadows are!” Charles Dickens

March is a month of transition. And we can hardly wait for winter to turn to spring. 
Soon, the days will stretch wide, like the arms of a dear friend coming for a long-awaited visit. And we will be wrapped in light. 

But even the dark of winter serves it’s purpose, causing us to retreat and contemplate the goodness of our God. The One who created this season as well as the next.

Truly, when we look around there is beauty everywhere. And, today, if you are seeing shadows, be thankful.

After all, shadows can’t exist without the sun.

Praying your weekend is beauty-full!
Throughout this month, leading up to Easter, I will be writing posts about the shadows that shape us while focusing on the Light that saves us. I hope you will join me!


The Beautiful

Does the sight of a beautiful flower make you smile?

Do rainbows color your heart with hope?

Does a sunset get you all misty?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you are a fellow traveler with me in this grand adventure called life, where we see the beauty around us as an expression of our Creator God and we pray that same beauty be evidenced in our own hearts as grateful praise to the One who gives us breath.

As children of God, we crave beauty. We admire it in the world around us and we instinctively seek it out in other people as well. Which begs the question, “What makes us beautiful in God’s eyes?”

First, we need to realize that God does not judge the same as man. 1 Samuel 16: 7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

So, what sort of heart does God desire? 1 Peter 3:3-4 gives us a clue.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

This is contrary to what the world teaches. Here we learn that our beauty should come from our “inner self” and that God places great value on the UNFADING beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.

And let us remember that we may be prone, by circumstances or natural disposition, to fail to observe the beauty in and around us. I wonder how much we miss just by not looking?

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

We should be ever-mindful to pray for God to open our eyes, to allow us to see His handiwork and to “carry it with us” wherever we go.

I am praying today for God to enhance my vision. Will you join me?

Photos courtesy of Linda Moyer.