Friday, September 23, 2011

The Innocence of Beauty

Little girls...
Sitting here trying to capture the perfect thought, I just let out a deep sigh. All sorts of images are vacillating around in my mind. Bouncy, swingy, swaying little figures, skipping down a sidewalk with a sweet little song. Pictures of frilly dress up clothes, pink tutus, and plastic strings of pearls--tiny little feet in high heel shoes. In their innocence I see them.

In her best dress, eyes wide and searching, she looks up, "Don't you like it Daddy?"

Or after the debut of her latest imaginative creation, be it a song, a drawing, or her best made-up dance, she simply wants to know... Do you see me? Do you delight in me? Do you think I'm beautiful?

No matter how it manifests itself, every little girl bears this question in the depth of her soul. No one has to teach it to her. She doesn't conjure it up. It is just there. Given to her by the One who created her in his very own image. 

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, underlining mine) 

One of the ways we bear God's image as a woman is in our desire to be beautiful, seen, and enjoyed.

Isaiah 6:3 tells us the whole earth is filled with God's glory. One evening last week I was driving westward with a couple of my kids as the sun was setting. Breaking through the trees we saw it, perhaps the largest, brightest hot pink sun we have ever seen. We couldn't take our eyes off of it! This summer we stood in awe at the shades of turquoise and deep blues saturating the ocean waters of south Florida. They were mesmerizing! From the delicate vulnerability of a flower, to the snow capped mountains in the Rockies, creation is bursting with the glory of God! And it is beautiful.

In Revelation chapter four, John describes what he saw in a vision as the Spirit led him. "The One who sat on the throne looked like precious stones, like jasper and carnelian. All around the throne was a rainbow the color of an emerald...Also before the throne there was something that looked like a sea of glass, clear like crystal."

David asks only one thing from the Lord in Psalm 27:4, "that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." 

God is beauty and to say he lavishes it upon us would be an understatement! He wants to be seen, and enjoyed. He longs to captivate our attention. (Jeremiah 29:13) Likewise, so does every little girl...and woman. She speaks something different to the world than a man, through her beauty (Eldredge in Captivating).

I've said before that a woman often despises the demand for beauty. Mostly because it has been mishandled, assaulted and abused, tossed aside, and trampled over. Our world has scared it into hiding with its insatiable appetite and gross advertisement for the physical. On the contrary, the church has often diminished it.

A woman is beautiful both in form and in soul/spirit. It is recorded in Genesis 1:31 that the Lord God looked at his creation when he was finished and, seeing all that he had made, said, "it was very good." Peter also writes, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

Though our dress up days and happy skipping are long past, we must recover the alluring innocence of beauty. Every woman needs to know that she does, indeed, possess a beauty all her own to unveil. And that it is wanted.

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