Seriously, Krista?! “A time I felt beautiful”…..ugh! I have been in many women’s book studies with you, Girl. How I wish the topic could’ve been about strong women, overcoming bitterness, or even “Bad Girls of the Bible” (Oh, how I relate to those?!!!). I still have the “BE-YOU-tiful” poster hanging in my closet from one of our groups. I look at it every morning as I am agonizing over what to wear…a task that is becoming more difficult as things are wrinkling, sagging, and turning gray right before my eyes.
I have struggled for days about what to write. I was tempted to even back out. It is easy for me to see the beauty in others, but thinking about my own beauty is hard. It wasn’t that long ago that a friend took a picture on my phone of me and my fiance, Tim. I remember that when I saw the picture of the two of us for the first time, it took my breath away. I kept staring at it because I was in awe of the happiness of my own smile. It was the first time in a long time that my smile didn’t look forced in a photo…it was beautiful.
To help me with my story, I decided to ask my loved ones about when they think I’m beautiful. Just asking them that made me feel uncomfortable…like I was fishing for a compliment. I was hoping that their perspective would spark an idea for me. Even though my kids are in their twenties, I was anticipating comments about how pretty I look when I’m dressed up for a special function. I was dumbstruck by their responses:
Emily, my beautiful daughter, ~ said that she loves me without any make-up, wearing my fluffy pajamas, and all snuggled up in my comfy chair. It makes her want to pretend to be little again and cuddle up into my lap. To her, I’m most beautiful when I am helping people, like when I’m working with my students in my classroom or when I’m serving dinner at the local food pantry. She said my smile is most genuine then. (1Peter 3:4-6) “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Nick, my beautiful son, ~ thought that I was the most beautiful the day I purchased our new home on my own after an ugly divorce. He said, “I looked like I finally owned my own destiny and was in control of my life. It was the biggest symbol of shaking off years of hurt and bitterness to build my own, happier life.” When did this young man who never knows where his car keys are become so observant? (Prov.31:31) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I am blessed by these two. Their comments took me by surprise… made me feel loved, and….beautiful.
Brandi lives in Warrensburg, MO. She’s a 3rd grade teacher and a single mom of two busy college students. She recently filled her empty nest with a lively yellow labrador puppy, Eleanor “Ellie” Roosevelt. She’s looking forward to her October wedding and starting a new chapter in her life.