beau·ti·ful /byo͞odəfəl/ adjective pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically.
A tomboy who could run faster than most boys, I could hold my own in the weight room and the classroom. I was strong. I was smart. I was many things, but I was definitely NOT beautiful.
I can’t honestly say I ever thought or was even told I was beautiful growing up. Not by my parents and certainly not by a boy. I can’t actually ever remember that word being used in the same sentence as my name even as an adult. And that is not to say I was ever disappointed in not being considered – by others or myself – as beautiful. And while I wasn’t what the world would call ugly, I was also never considered beautiful.
Being beautiful was never something I even aspired to be.
Smart? I could do smart.
I could do it because I had some degree of control over being smart – or at least as being seen as smart. I didn’t even have to try that hard at it. I could also do sporty. I could do cute, creative or funny.
I could even do ugly. Fat, angry, mean, selfish or even uncaring about what I looked like or said.
I could never do beautiful.
It wasn’t because I ever believed beauty was merely physical. Beauty, like ugly, is more than bone structure, hair color, shape or facial attributes. It is definitely more than skin deep. But it is also dependent on someone else – someone else seeing something I never felt.
If you had asked me then, back in high school, college or even as a young adult, married to my high school sweetheart, it would never have occurred to me that me – we – everyone – was beautiful. Beautiful was a title reserved for the exceptional. It was unavailable to most people, me included.
It was an affirmation that your exterior, both your body and your heart, met an objective standard descriptive of being universally desirable. It was something I could see in others – at least in part – but never myself.
Then my children were born.
They are beautiful. Inside and out. They are beautiful when they are dressed up in their best outfits. When they are happy. When they are sad. When they are confident. When they are shy. When they try and when they just be.
They were beautiful when they cooed at just one day old. And they were just as beautiful when they threw up hot dogs and milk on me at three in the morning.
They were – and are – beautiful. They are beautiful because they are God’s creations, not mine. I’ve always known that even when I’ve believed I was not beautiful because I was not thin enough, tall enough or even nice enough.
That’s the lie. It’s the lie our children are being told as much as we were. That beauty was an unobtainable standard based on physical or internal perfection few could achieve. Really, if that were the requirement to be considered beautiful, not even Jesus would be beautiful. Some said He was unremarkable in appearance by man’s standards. In fact, not once is He described as beautiful in the Bible.
Yet there is none more beautiful than the beaten, broken man who was Christ who died a humiliating death on the cross. He is holy. He is perfect. He is life. He is truth. He is the way. And He is beautiful.
While there is comfort in being chosen by God, there is also beauty. We all are beautiful because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are works of God and His works are wonderful. We are beautiful because we are holy through Jesus – we are forgiven from the ugliness of our sins and made beautiful in Christ. Beauty is a process… not one of make up, clothing, styling our hair, but one of God’s love clothing us in redemption, mercy, forgiveness and grace.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:14.
We are beautiful because God is that someone else who sees beauty in us. And that’s enough for me.
Face.me was a challenge to celebrate the beauty of God’s creativity in creating us with intrinsic value – intrinsic beauty – both inside and out. No make up – no curling iron. Just you – raw and beautiful several years ago. I changed sites and decided in the world where beauty has become an asset for all the wrong reasons, I decided to post this as a reminder it has everything to do with God.
Read more stories on beauty – God’s way at:
Emily Anne Hendryx
Andrea ‘Dia’ Nell