Beauty and the Beastly World…Part 2

“The essence of a woman is beauty.  She is meant to be the incarnation – our  experience in human form – of a Captivating God.  A God who invites us” (Stasi Eldredge in Captivating, pg 130, italics original).

Here we are again discussing a topic that many of us want to discuss and yet are fearful to.  We long to be the beauty.  We deeply desire to be the one who enters the crowded room and makes all the heads turn to gaze at our loveliness.  But we are all fearful that we’ve missed the mark.  Or passed our prime. Or never had a prime at all.

My dear reader, I would like to tell you that you are indeed beautiful.  You haven’t missed the mark.  Beauty, as we began to discuss in the first installment, is not mere looks or make up.  It is an essence, it stems from within and is unveiled.  Is beauty purely “inside us”.  No I wouldnt say that.  Nor would I say it is all exterior.  I would say that it emanates from inside us, and illuminates our whole selves – think of yourself with this incredible light that is glowing right about where your heart is and that is so bright it illumines your whole body and makes the whole room glow.  THAT is your beauty and it is a part of you as real as your precious feminine heart.   It is that real because God made you that way.

As we visited before in part 1, God wants to reveal something of Himself in woman – therefore, you cannot remove or ‘not have’ that aspect of God in yourself.  God wanted to reveal His awesome beauty, so He created woman to reveal it.  It would logically follow, then, that if you are a woman then, you are created to reveal His beauty, so therefore, you must HAVE that beauty to reveal. Whew!  That read more like a mathematical proof than a blog about femininity!  For fun we shall call it the Proof of Beauty   🙂

Beauty – deep beauty – the kind that we long for is so difficult to grasp for us because our perception of what beauty is has been distorted by our ‘beastly world.’  If you took a poll of your average American woman and asked what beauty was you would most likely come up with an answer that reflected what clothes, make – up, waist size, and hair dos were the most ‘sexy’at the time.  Then you’d get some cliches such as “a really great personality” and “a good sense of humor,”  or “its whats inside that counts.”  These things are meant to somehow appease those of us who feel less than beautiful, or who cant afford plastic surgery and $200.00 shoes!  The problem with these ideas of beauty is that none is accurate.

Beauty can’t be so easily defined.  Beauty, our very essence as women, is mysterious.  It is meant to be unveiled, pursued, and enjoyed!  It is not meant to be neatly categorized and put in a five word definition.  Where is the mystery in that!?  No, part of the mystery of a woman’s Beauty is that it reveals to us the mysterious Beauty of God.  A mystery that we are to pursue and understand more deeply all our lives – until we enter Heaven and the Glory of God is revealed Full.  The mystery of a woman’s Beauty gives us a glimmer of this Heavenly reality awaiting us.  That is why Beauty is so powerful.  It is God inviting us to pursue Him!

Beauty has the power to move us.  To transform us.  To heal us, calm us, comfort us, inspire us, and stop us dead in our tracks.  Beauty is mighty powerful indeed – which is why it is so vehemently opposed by the Beast.

An incredible example of beauty’s power is illustrated by the work of a man named Bill Strickland.  http://www.popcitymedia.com/features/strickland0206.aspx

He grew up in inner cityPittsburg during a tumultuous time.  He is now the founder of Manchester Bidwell (and its subsidiaries).  http://www.manchesterbidwell.org/ B

Bill’s vision was of a huge Arts Center in the middle of run down industrial Pittsburg where all people – at risk youth, and wearied adults – could come to experience and learn an art.  He so believed in the power of Beauty that he insisted that the center be beautiful, and filled with art.  Art of all kinds adorns walls and windows.  It is reflected in the architecture, the furniture, even the plants and gardens.  Bill understood the power of beauty to transform.  He knew that it is crucial to the human spirit to experience beauty and that is what he allows people to do.  because of this, he has helped transform thousands of lives.   Bill understood the power of beauty so profoundly that he also grasped the respect that it commands.  For over 40 years Manchester Bidwell has operated without a security system or metal detectors in a rough part of the city.  It has never experienced vandalism, or theft.  Nor have there been problems with the students who go there.  Beauty, dear friends is indeed powerful and transforming.

Beauty is also inviting.  Think of a magnificent garden path…doesn’t something just beckon you to walk down it?  Or think of the majesty of the Ocean.  Couldn’t you stare at it for hours?  What do you do when you see a gorgeous bouquet of roses in a vase on a random table?  Smell them.  When a room is decorated and made lovely – don’t you want to sit there for a while enjoying its peace and loveliness?  Beauty invites us.  Beauty is inclusive.  It beckons us, engulfs and receives us.   Beauty calms us.  Its soothes us.  Beauty brings us peace.  This is also what we do as women.  Our very bodies are meant to “invite.”  The nature of  femininity is inviting, receptive, inclusive – as evidenced in our very bodies!  We are made to invite (our mysterious beauty is alluring and inviting), we are created to receive (our wombs wait to receive the seeds of life), we are formed to include (the body of a woman is created so that for nine months it includes another life)….these characteristics – our very biology speaks volumes about Beauty.  Beauty, our very essence, our uniquely feminine beauty is indeed powerful.   And don’t you feel a sense of calm when you are in the presence of a woman who just exudes peace and serenity?  Isn’t it soothing to be with a woman who is comforting you?  Isn’t this also beauty?

I know a woman who, when she was younger, was a model. She had what many would refer to as a “great body.”  She modeled swim suits and strove to improve her “lustability.”  As a result she had many intense, yet shallow relationships.  She was never at peace.  She was often anxious.  I would not say she was happy, and she exuded a sense of frustration.  After a few years she had a deep conversion.  She married and became a mother.  Nowadays her body does not look as it did when she was modeling.  Her days of improving her “lustability” are over.  Yet she is more beautiful now then she ever was.  She exudes a grace and a confidence that can only come from Faith.  She appears to be glowing.  To be in her presence is calming and soothing.  She is always inviting and never leaves anyone out.  It is obvious she is at peace, with herself, and with her God.  Her beauty just flows out from within.  Pictures of her “modeling days” show a hollow woman, a woman  with a beautiful body, but no real lasting beauty.    Now, she is a changed woman – brimming with Beauty.

You see, she found the final piece of the puzzle.  We all have the essence of Beauty, yet in order to truly unveil it, we must unlock it first.  Our Heavenly Father, the creator of Beauty, is the One who holds the key to this mysterious Beauty of ours.

Picture a table. On it is a lovely vase.  Next to the vase is a bouquet of gorgeous roses.  Next to that is a pitcher of water.  All the ingredients are there to make a truly stunning display.  They just need to be put together.  This is what God does for us.  We are the lovely vase – lovely to look at, but empty.  All vases are not made the same – some are short, some tall, some very skinny, some more rounded, but all are beautiful, made by the Master Craftsman.  They are all beautiful because they hold His Grace – the waters of Grace, for our analogy.  The Water  in the Vase nourishes the Roses – God’s Love.  Together, all three make a breathtaking display of beauty – a trinity of Beauty.  So it is with us.  Without the Grace of God, and without His Love, we are unable to fully reveal the Beauty that we have.  “No one is as beautiful as a woman in love, who knows she is loved” ~anonymous.

Perhaps we should contemplate a new “Beauty Regimine…”   in fact….that sounds like a great topic for the next post!

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