Submitted and written by Kylie D. (Twitter: @soRANDOMsoME)
Beautiful. One word. A word that has changed me. That has times I felt eluded me. That has haunted me. That has shaped me. That has emptied me. That has filled me. That has built me. That has broken me. That has made me do crazy things. That has made me see how precious I am to my Creator. It is a word that has taken on a million different meanings in my short twenty three years on earth. A word that the Webster dictionary gives a definition to as – Having the qualities of beauty.
But, what are the qualities of beauty? What makes someone or something beautiful? It’s more than just a word, beauty is a perspective. It’s the way you see things and I’ve watched how my view of it has changed over the years. From child to teen to adult, it’s varied as much as one word can be...
At three you ask the bubbly little green eyed and curly headed girl what she thought beautiful was, and she would have told you her mommy. I was sure she was the most beautiful lady in the world and I still think the same of her today, because I’ve seen how strong through Jesus she has been in life’s trials. I remember being little and watching her put on her make-up. I wanted to watch every move she made, because I wanted to grow up to be JUST like her. I thought she was simply beautiful.
Ask little five year old me what I thought was beautiful and I would have said, me, when I was with my friends playing whatever game we cooked up that day. The laughter, the fun, the running until our sides hurt, to a little kid it was beautiful. Being with my friends was beautiful. Life was perfect; life was beautiful in my eyes. Nothing could have been better.
Ask seven year old me what was beautiful and I would have smiled and would have shown you my little sister. She was so precious, so tiny, and so perfect. I thought God never created anyone or anything anymore gorgeous than her. I was pretty sure she was a living baby doll. She was adorable. She was mine. And I loved her more than life, I still do. She was and is beautiful.
Ask nine year old me what was beautiful and I would have said being me. I loved being me, every single part of it. I had no question of if I could do something, I just did it. Because, I loved doing whatever I put my mind to. I loved life. I loved being me. It was beautiful.
Ask twelve year old me what was beautiful and I would say my little baby brother in my arms. He was precious and even though it wasn’t always easy, I loved helping take care of him so very much. I cherished those nights of waking up and feeding him his bottle. His tiny breath against my cheek as I burped him. After several years of helping care for my sick Grandpa, who would go on to be with Jesus the next month when Levi was only a month old I knew the pricelessness of the moments with those we love. Though he frustrated me at times and he still does, I adore my little brother. He’s beautiful.
Ask fourteen year old me what was beautiful and I would have smiled with tears in my eyes as I said the days that my Grandma Darlene was like herself. She was beginning to have her memory claimed by ahlezhimer’s disease and over the next four years those days would become less and less. But, she was still my Grandma and she was still beautiful to me. She always will be and I will always cherish when people say things about me remind them of her. It’s beautiful.
Ask seventeen year old me what was beautiful and I would have laughed and said not me. Somewhere between sixteen and seventeen I had bought the lie that beautiful was perfect. That beautiful was a size two. That beautiful was some unachievable goal that I would never reach. Beautiful girls always got the guy. They never got their heartbroken. Beautiful girls were not me. I’d never be good enough, skinny enough, smart enough, just enough to be beautiful. Somehow the lies that I heard day after day had begun to sink in. Maybe it was true. Maybe, I really was annoying. Maybe, I really couldn’t sing. Maybe, I’d forever have to starve myself to feel half way okay. Maybe, I was crazy to think it had ever been beautiful to be me. Maybe... maybe, maybe haunted me. Beautiful. It was just a word. A word that I was sure I never could be.
Ask nineteen year old me what beautiful was and I would have smiled and said my kiddos at youth group. I would have said singing on the praise team in youth. I was helping Josh and Jana with the youth group and I loved it. Fresh out of heartbreak, God was using this time to mold and shape me. And those tears had brought beauty, a beauty that I never knew I could find again. It brought healing; it brought a healthier body image. It brought strength for the struggle; Jesus was restoring the me I had been before only better. A me who wanted to serve Him wherever He led me, no matter how scared I was. Serving others with my life and being head over heels in love with Jesus was BEAUTIFUL.
Ask twenty one year old me what was beautiful and I would have told you LIFE. After having almost lost my Grandma to a burn accident, my mom having cancer, and also having a very scary car wreck myself, I had a new appreciation for life. It could be gone in an instant and I knew that. So, every moment that the good Lord granted me here on earth was a gift and a blessing. Not one second was to be taken for granted. Life was a gift from God. Life was to be cherished, because life was BEAUTIFUL.
Ask me today what is beautiful, I will look you straight in the eye, smile, and tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, my SAVIOR. Anything good in me, anything beautiful in me is HIM. To be able to look in the mirror and see an amazing creation that no matter how imperfect she is, no matter how many bumps she has in all the wrong places, and the fact she has to at times jump around to get in her jeans, she is beautiful. Not because she is perfect, but because she is made in the image of God. Her creator took the time to make her UNIQUE, to make her PRECIOUS, to make her PRIZED. And even on the days she does not SEE it, on the days she feels so much LESS than she SHOULD be, it does not make a SINGLE one of the lies TRUE. Because, her Jesus Christ made her BEAUTIFUL. Even when she cannot feel it, it still is true. She is beautiful and that beauty can pour from her heart and she can share it with others. Because, true beauty. The beauty God creates is made to be SHARED with the whole wide WORLD. Yes. I am BEAUTIFUL. Because, I belong to JESUS.
See, beauty isn’t what the world would have us believe it is. IT’s not what they show on the TV shows, it’s not your size, and it’s so much more than just physical. It’s who you are; it’s who you’re becoming. It’s the love you share with the world; it’s the Jesus in You. That’s true beauty. That’s the kind of beauty I want to possess. Something so much more than skin deep. I want to ooze beauty.
Let me set the scene that beauty was created in a way that the world would turn their nose up at. A place where death and destruction looked to be all it was, but there was a beauty in the making. A young man was condemned to die in the most horrible way that you could in those days, by hanging on a cross. He was young, only 33 years old. The kicker? He hadn’t even done ANYTHING wrong. He was INNOCENT. He was dying for people who would SPIT on Him. Who would MOCK Him. Who HATED Him. He was dying so they could LIVE. As He hung there with the weight of the world’s sin on His back, His father in Heaven had to turn His head away because it was too much for Him to bear to watch. It broke His heart, He could not look on the sin His son carried on the cross. Jesus hung there, a bloody, a torn apart, a broken MESS, and in his dying breath said to His father of the ones who had KILLED Him, “…Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) He FORGAVE the ones who KILLED Him. That my friends, is BEAUTIFUL. My Savior DIED for me BEFORE He even knew I would ever give my heart to Him. He LOVED me before I ever even gave a thought to love Him. He WANTED me, before I knew Him. That is BEAUTIFUL.
It says in 1 Peter 3:3-4, “It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.”
Don’t get me wrong; I like make-up and pretty clothes just as much as the next girl. But, if how I look, if how skinny I am or whatever else on the outside of me is what DEFINES me then I’ve got this being beautiful thing all wrong. The media’s twisted ideals of beauty do NOT define me. My relationship status does NOT define me. If you love me or you hate me does NOT define me. The ONLY one that defines me is the CREATOR of the UNIVERSE. The LOVER of my SOUL. My Heavenly FATHER. The great I AM. The SAVIOR of my LIFE. The ONLY one who DEFINES me is none other than JESUS CHRIST.
So, it is my challenge to myself DAILY to see myself through HIS eyes. Even when I do not FEEL beautiful, to know I am beautiful. Not because of ANYTHING I have done, but because I am HIS. I challenge you to see your life in this light everyday as well, to know you are so much more than what this world sees. You are BEAUTIFUL. Because, you are HIS…
Much love in the Author and Finisher of our faith,