Join your senses in experiencing Jesus first-hand

Have you heard
Him, lately,
calling you?
He’s been
whispering His favorite
name for you,
Have you taken
a look, lately,
inside His heart?
There He hides
the treasures
you’ve been looking for
everywhere else.
Have you breathed
the aroma, lately, of His
delight in you?
The scent will
change everything
once it
fills you.
Have you tasted,
lately, a morsel
of His grace?
It will awaken
desire for Him
in your mouth, your soul,
your life!
Have you touched,
lately, the scars
that have made you alive?
They are the very holes
that endure in Him
to make you

You were wondering what “beautiful” looked like for you?

The carefully conceived model-representations of beauty that surround us, calling out for us to conform to their image in order to truly matter, can make many of us ache for beauty that is worthy of proper recognition. We feel compelled to become models ourselves, copies of who we already know to be winners in the beauty-pageant that life has become. Competing simply as ourselves is inconceivable and absurd. Should we attempt it, we must answer all manner of questions about who we think we are.

If we will not accept the beauty protocol the world gives us, and the personal supports it lends us, we are under obligation to find another source of identity. You may not think that another one exists. I used to agree with you…until my beauty, according to worldly standards, fell below the mark qualifying me for beauty-candidacy. When I had reason to believe my hopes of beauty in the world’s eyes were over, finding a new way of viewing myself was essential.

The mirror, the scale, the complements I received (or failed to receive) could not determine who I was anymore. Whether I was beautiful or not had to depend on an absolute standard more consistent with the real me and what I could reasonably expect to become. I didn’t know it at first, but what I was looking for was the Person who made me. I needed Him to tell me–loud and clear–who I was, and what made me beautiful, in a way that was unchanging and true.

I wanted to be able to recognize beauty as a gift that I didn’t have to try to control; a part of me that I didn’t have to prove the existence of or try to adjust to the form of beauty that was popularly acceptable for the moment. I was no longer willing to pay the price of straining to be beautiful. I wanted God’s work in me to reveal beauty on the inside in such a deep way that it couldn’t help but spill out to everyone on the outside. I didn’t want my looks to be the only thing that defined me anymore. I wanted to trade in my long-standing resentment of God’s design for me and discover, for the first time, why He thought I was a cool idea.

If this sounds like something you’d like God to uncover in your own life, may I encourage you to let go of the slim ideas the world has sold you about beauty? Let God enter your life in a rich new way and positively surround you with beauty. When He introduces you to beauty as it really is, you will never be the same, girlfriend!


Finding beauty…anywhere?

Beauty is a difficult thing to handle. I don’t think, as humans, we do so well in defining it. We get caught up in its trappings and so quickly lose our understanding of its essence. Maybe this is because we forget that beauty is not something that can be created so much as it is something that can be found. Beauty is a revelation of the imprint of God. We can miss this reality because we live in a world over-populated by mock-originals. We are surrounded by examples of beauty that has missed its point. Woman after woman diminishes the beauty God has given her with attempts at meeting the wishes of men rather than uniting herself with the Giver of her beauty.

This is a type of self-atoning, as she tries to make herself lovely while rejecting Christ’s loveliness that is offered to her. She wants to have her own beauty–she thinks such a thing is possible by becoming her own person. She does not realize that her own person was lost upon the exit of Eden. She cannot recover it unless the works done at Eden are superseded by a great Redeemer: One who can reconcile her origins and who she is now with the God who made her.

Nothing we do to ourselves can add to or take away from ourselves. Only what we do with God will determine what version we become of what we were originally meant to be. Beauty is not an isolated quality. It tells something of where its possessor comes from and to Whom the object belongs. Beauty is like a price tag that communicates value, but this value does not stand alone. It is determined based on the value that the proprietor gives it. This is based on what the proprietor has invested in it and what he expects to receive from it.

The only difference between us and the object for sale, that I give in this illustration, is that we were never pieces of merchandise put up for sale. In the days when our Proprietor first unveiled us to the world, we sold ourselves against His will. We sold ourselves to sin and worthless living. Now we live with the consequences of this sale in our bodies, minds and spirits. But, one thing that we have not been able to discard through all of our personal mismanagement is our price tag, or value card.

Sometimes the world tries to pretend that because it is stained and torn, that it no longer holds legitimate promise of who we are. Others will go so far as to try to convince us that there is no such tag. They either ignore it or, when we confront them with it, they disregard it as something that we affixed to ourselves because we are really very hopeless wretches.

The problem with all these methods of removing from us our sense of value is that the Master Proprietor is still mindful of our value. We do not have any value of our own left, having separated ourselves from Him, but to Him we are still objects He wishes to make recipients of His tender mercies. Regardless of what’s happened to your card, He is still after you! The one affixed to your person may have been lost, but the one He connects with your soul has not been lost.

He went to your new task-master and has bought you back at the cost of inestimable loss. He paid far more than you were worth to your enemy-master. He considered your value to be worthy of His death. He did this not because your value tag looks so spotless or because you’ve maintained your value so well. The condition of you, the object He came after, is not what drew Him back–it was love. He still loves the one in which He invested His time and attention. He is not giving you up without a fight. You are His and He will have you back.

The only question now is, will you go back? You are free to go, but you can choose to live as though you still belong to your sin-master and that nothing has changed. You can ignore what’s been done for you and spurn your old Master with fresh animosity. Or…you could raise your voice with a grateful, “Yes, I’m coming with You, Lord!” And He will accept you into the place that He has made for you back home. He will call you His own and once more you will bear the tag He gives you, only this one will be monogrammed with His name, and the value on He possesses. Yes, you will be treated as though you are of infinite worth, for your identity has now been permanently linked with He who is of infinite worth.

Beauty is being everything…you’re supposed to be!

Beauty is being everything God wants you to be today!

(I know it’s simple, but somehow I think it’s something we need to be reminded of repeatedly if we’re to live it.)

The Free Dictionary: To a previous place, position, or state: left home but went back again.

Beauty is in the “I” of the One we behold

What kind of woman are you? Do you like to be a person who builds up people and things? Would you qualify yourself as an activist? If so, what type of activist would you be? Do you support entertainment, the arts, academics, athletics, advancements in humanitarian aid? What is it that takes up the most area in your heart? What issues in life make your heart tick?

Is it an unflinching desire to right wrongs, or maybe a strong longing to share the good that you have received with others so that they might move along and experience significant progress in their life?

Well, let me just say that for me, righting wrongs is definitely what makes my heart flourish with ideas and strategies and just pure joy. I don’t want anything else but what will build up others (and myself) in what is good, what is of God.

But you have your own desires. Maybe you share the same goals I do, but you have a different way of going about making them reality. That is wonderful!

Do you realize that having hearts that want so much for the world around us is a beautiful thing? Do you recognize the internal beauty God has so specifically placed in you? Do you understand that the very things you live to do and hope most to see are the very things that God has given you to contribute to the world–that is, beauty?

You might not think you’re very beautiful–especially when you look inside. You may be discouraged by the damages you’ve incurred to your heart and try desperately to keep its burdened-form hidden from view. But, do you realize that these are the very parts of you that hold your only chance for real whole-person beauty? This is not to say that if you hold them in forever that you will never be beautiful, but you will certainly not reach your full potential of recognizable and effectual beauty.

You see, our beauty is supposed to accomplish something. Like a great piece of art, it is supposed to point to some great truth: to enlighten the heart as it looks through the eyes and listens through the ears and smells through the nose and comprehends through the touch. Real and striking beauty is supposed to do something to us; to awaken something within–to stimulate desire. But, where we often get bogged down is when we look at ourselves and decide that we are not worthy of stimulating desire. We think that we should be bringing desire back to ourselves if we were really beautiful.
What we don’t realize is that real beauty is a thing too big to be focused around one person, if that person is someone other than Christ. Yet, surprisingly, if that beauty is centered around Christ, it includes everyone else who beholds and draws near to Him–everyone who holds Him in their hearts.

This may explain why the condition of our heart’s does not matter so much as the Conditioner of our hearts. If He is there, we can be assured that beauty is sure to emanate from Him and out of us. This is beauty–knowing Christ and making Him known through every part of who we are.

We must realize the extent to which God wants to be involved in who we are and what has happened to us. We must realize that our relationship with Him is the ultimate definition of who we are. The condition of our connection with Him reveals more of who we are than anything else. If we want to be freed from the sin-filled, brokenness-occupied self-definitions we have, let us reach out to God. He alone transcends what we see of ourselves yet extends Himself into it at the same time. He makes something new of who we are simply because He’s involved at our core.

The very parts of ourselves that we have most despised can become a part of our beauty–they may even become the most stunning part of us. Why? Because  beauty cannot be separated from God. What is not beautiful about us are the parts of us that still witness to our separation from and opposition to Christ; not the parts that have been ruined by what others have done to us or said about us. But something that belongs to God, while at the same time belonging to us, is something that is now capable of God-filled beauty: revealing light, demonstrating exquisite form and offering awe-inspiring revelation. That is what beauty is all about.

This is what our lives can be, my sisters. This is what our hearts ache to be! We are already candidates for incredible beauty–the matter yet to be decided is whether we will recognize God as the One who brings out beauty in us. Will we let God show us what beauty looks like? Will we let our hearts be transformed?

I think we can each say yes. I think we can afford whatever it requires. I think we can consent to the invitation with fear still lurking in our hearts. I don’t think we have to know we are beautiful to take the plunge, neither must we be convinced that we are significant enough to attempt such a thing, we need only hope that we could be beautiful and trust that God does think we are significant enough to receive His grace.

If you can hope and trust these things, you can come and see how God makes radiant a woman in His care. You will learn to love the Lord your God with longing and delight–simply because You have seen Him with all the hidden places of your heart.


In case you ever wonder who you are…

Good afternoon, Princess Beauty! Where do you find yourself today? Are you afraid that you might not be beautiful? Are you burdened by unsightly blunders or domineering circumstances? Do you want to get out? Do you want to be free? Do you constantly wonder who you really are?

I must admit that I’m with you there. That’s why I’m here. Not because I have all the answers for you, but because I have hope that we can find the answers together. I believe that God has the answers to who we are and where we belong and He wants us to know them. I also believe that it is difficult to find these answers for ourselves so we are best-served if we will seek them alongside others.

What a delight it would be for me if we could share the journey together: That the insights we find and the identity we learn to embrace may not be lost on only one of us, but may become the enrichment of all of us!

I hope and pray that this blog may be a blessing to you just as I know it will be for me. Come, Lord Jesus, teach us who we are in You!