Beauty Defined by The Beholder

IMG_4968He looks up at me and says, “You look pretty Mom.”

I chuckle to myself.  I know what I look like.  Hair half curled on one side, half crazy frizz on the other.  A clump of hair sticking straight up on the top of my head in a clip, waiting to be curled.  I’m in the middle of my very methodical hair refining technique with a curling iron to make it look like I have beautiful wavy hair, and not the kinky mess it really is.

No make up on yet.  My eyes red and puffy from crying already this morning, partly because this sweet little being has been waking up in the darkness at 3 to 4 a.m. crying loud with fear… a developmental stage I think.  Whatever it is, it has this weary, pregnant momma tired and raw from interrupted sleep, so emotions are running a bit free this morning.

Pretty, huh?!  You are sweet son, I think to myself, but you really don’t know what you are talking about.

I go upstairs and continue my methodical refining technique on my hair with my curling iron, his words run though my mind, “You look pretty Mom.”  I look in the mirror.  I don’t feel so pretty this morning.  I know what I look like, raw and undone, and I wouldn’t exactly call it pretty.  I see the discolorations on my face from age, the ones I hide with cover-up, the wrinkles I have gotten through life and kids, my eyes that look plain without mascara.  How can he see pretty in this?  But he does, this sweet boy, only 3, who hasn’t been told yet by the world what pretty is.

“You look pretty” these words run through my mind.

And then I hear, “Yes beautiful, my child, you are beautiful, raw and teary eyed, hair a mess and undone.  You. Are. Beautiful.”

These words, no longer from my son, but from my Father, the One who knows me through and through.

I think back… but look at me?!  I am a mess.  And now I am not just talking about my undone face and messy hair, but my undone heart and my messy soul.   One who is tired and weary from the journey, one who is wrestling with God right now, struggling to see hope.  Beautiful, God, really?  You see beauty in this mess?

My mind begins filling with Scriptures, Words of Truth that reveal God’s heart, what He sees when He looks at me.  Words that tell me who I am…

Genesis 1:27, 31
So God created man in his own image
 in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God saw everything that he had made,
and behold, it was very good. 

Psalm 139:13-14
 For you formed my inward parts;
 you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works.

Is 43: 1,4
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine….
you are precious in my eyes,

    and honored, and I love you.

 Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Very Good.  Fearfully and wonderfully made.  Precious.  Loved.  Delighted in.  Rejoiced over.  All these truths of how God sees us, they add up to one thing.  Beautiful.  When God beholds us, he beholds beauty.

Because what is beauty?  What is the definition of beautiful?  Beautiful is defined as possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, or think about.  Beautiful is that which delights the senses or mind.  Beautiful is that which is pleasing to the beholder.

And when God looks at us, we bring Him pleasure and satisfaction.  When He beholds us, we bring Him delight.  When He looks upon us, He is pleased with what He sees.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But when it comes to God, I think it goes deeper than that… I think beauty is defined by the Beholder.  When the Beholder is God, He defines reality.  He says what is true, what is real.  When the Beholder is God, He looks at us and says to us, You are Beautiful.  And it is true.  It’s not just an opinion or a perspective, but it is who we are.  Beautiful.  We are beautiful because He made us and all that He makes is graced with beauty.  Beautiful is the very essence of our being.

We can forget that in this world.  Who we really are.  That the grounding of our very existence is one who is marvelous, wonderful, beautiful, simply because God made us.  In this world where we often feel we don’t measure up, where we feel we don’t quite fit the standard.  In this world where we think we need to add to, or slim down, or fix up to be deemed beautiful.  We forget, that with nothing added, with nothing to be done, with nothing to prove or improve, you are beautiful.  God looks at you as you are, and he is so pleased, and His very pleasure illuminates you with beauty!

What would it look like if we really lived into the truth of our beauty?  What if we believed the reality  that God delights in us? What if you believed that when God looks at you, he is pleased?  That he quite literally lights up with a song and dances over you?!  What if we really believed that regardless of what kind of hair day we are having, or how many wrinkles keep popping up on our face, or what the state of our life is right now, whether we are feeling blessed beyond measure or mired down in the muck of the hard and painful, no matter how we wake into the day, what if we believed, what if we claimed, what if we lived the truth: You. Are. Beautiful.  Because you are His.

Not with more make up, or with fewer lines, or with it more together, but right now, as you are, Beautiful.  Would it lighten us a bit?  Would it free us to see our day, our life, ourselves differently?  Could we hear the words, “You are pretty,” and think, yes, yes I am, because I am a child of God, and He beholds me beautiful.

You are beautiful not because one looks at you and decides you are the right shape or the right proportion or you fit some standard of beauty defined in the magazines or on the red carpet.  You are beautiful because The One, who made you, who created you, He looks at you and says, Very Good. Marvelous.  Wonderful.  Delightful.  Precious.  Beautiful.

Maybe my son, he understands a deeper truth.  Maybe in his state of innocence, he sees more clearly.  Hair a mess, no make up on, feeling undone.  “You look pretty Mom.”  He sees me, and he is seeing with the eyes of God.

In his words God whispers… This is who you are.  You are Beautiful.


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