Beauty - Not a Matter of Appearance or Feelings
When I consider what's beautiful to me, I think of a dad putting his own project on hold to spend time with his children.
I think of the time I watched a woman slowly inch across the church foyer, helping a crippled young man hobble his way around. It took them forever to cross that foyer. Her patience and tenderness was absolutely beautiful and touched my heart.
I'm betting though that it didn't necessarily feel pretty to her in the moment. I'd also bet her journey to becoming patient was hardly easy or fun.
Then there was the time I had risked going to town makeup-less and with bedhead...
I prayed no one I knew would see me, and off we went to quickly run a few errands.
At the car wash, our son and daughter, nine and eight, wanted to help. It was the first time they'd offered, and I was glad to take the extra time to let them join in. (I was also glad we weren't in a hurry that day.)
Abby and I purchased some lemon wipes and made quick work of the dashboard while Ethan vacuumed. Then Abby waited inside the van while Ethan and I washed the outside.
I showed him how to hold the wand, and I held the hose while following close behind him as he washed.
"Top to bottom," I'd instruct. "And side to side too - all the way to the edges." I had to repeat this instruction almost the whole way around the vehicle. He slowly, methodically moved the spray of water across every last inch of the vehicle.
It was in this moment that a staff member walked through the car wash bays. We were the only ones there, and he looked at us with admiration. It's a difficult look to describe. He seemed to be beholding something beautiful.
It surely wasn't me. My mid-thirties face was makeup-less, and my hair oily and askew.
No, the beauty he was beholding was a mom patiently instructing her young son in a manly task, and a son lovingly helping his mom.
In that moment I felt God's approval, like that's how He feels when He looks at us. He loves it when we're just being us, and it's beautiful to Him.
Beauty isn't a matter of appearance or feelings.
When we think about what touches our hearts, we think of courage, patience, and kindness. These sacrifices of self are truly beautiful.
To be beautiful does not necessarily feel pretty. It is usually inconvenient, takes effort - great and painful effort at times. It feels like wrestling and work. It can even feel tiring.
And that's okay.
Keep going. Keep wrestling and giving and trying and relying on God.
You're more beautiful than you know.
"... the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight"
1 Peter 3:4