Finding Beauty

I’ve been feeling ugly, lately. At first, I blamed it on the way the hairdresser cut my bangs too short. Then, I blamed it on how my winter thighs look in the light of spring. But even after a few weeks of bang-growth and the elliptical, the ugly feeling not only lingered, it grew.

I’ve had worse haircuts and been in worse shape. Why now? Why do I feel so unattractive? Where has the old confident, energetic me gone? I’m sure my family wants to know…

I sigh a dejected sigh and flop open my Bible, hoping to find myself there. Instead, I find Him:

And Jesus said, “Father, <sup class=”crossreference” style=”line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;” value=”(AR)”>forgive them, <sup class=”crossreference” style=”line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;” value=”(AS)”>for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

It’s as if I’m seeing it fresh and the contrast overwhelms me. Innocent and on the cross, He is concerned about the soul of His enemies who put Him there. He looks outward from the shame and injustice to forgive.

My gaze lingers and my heart stirs. I read more…

When Jesus saw his mother and <sup class=”crossreference” style=”font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;” value=”(B)”>the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, <sup class=”crossreference” style=”font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;” value=”(C)”>“Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” John 19: 26-27a

Again, living words fresh on the page. The Sufferer’s hands are nailed to a cross, yet His gaze goes out to His family and friends, reaching outward from His suffering to serve them.

So very beautiful. 

In these words, I see my own reflection and where my ugliness lies. And it’s nowhere near my thighs or my bangs.

The enemy knows the true source of beauty and he doesn’t want me to have it. He’s distracted me with my own pain and has turned my gaze inward, blinding me to the needs of others. He’s convinced me that I can’t serve because my hands are nailed to the cross of my own life.

What paralyzing, discouraging, and grotesque lies. 

My hands aren’t bound. I can reach farther than I thought, and somehow, the pain lessens with each outward stretch. 
Father, forgive me… Humble me…. Change me…
How are you feeling today? Does your reflection show that you need to spend some time at the foot of the cross?

There, His Mercy will brighten your eyes and give you vision to see others before yourself.

There, His Power will release your hands and give you a desire to serve others in love.

There, His Love will transform you into the beauty that He created you to be.

There, at the cross, you will see for yourself that service and compassion for others is gorgeous, and humility is breathtaking…
…especially when it comes pouring from the pain of life. 
His Grace reminds me anew. I check the mirror and smile. My face glows with gratitude, and I’m feeling prettier already. 


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