How does one define beauty? I think you can appreciate something in a deeper way if you know what it is like to not have it. There is truth to the fact that you can fully know something through its absence.
Finding my beauty was through the absence of it.
Like most teens, I struggled with liking my body/looks…Personally, I had a harder time finding something I liked about myself more than I did with things I didn’t. I dated jerks, not that high school was supposed to be full of mature and perfect gentlemen but alas, they were not-so-pleasant individuals. I attributed my magnetic ability to attract jerks to my lack of beauty. Within months of graduation I married a guy that cared nothing for me, spoke down to me, yelled at me, degraded me, and essentially controlled me. I was pregnant and terrified and dropped out of college after 1 semester. The time I spent in that situation felt like an eternity; each day was as if my self-worth was whittled away to the point of frailty. When I went through the separation I thought I had been broken beyond repair. Discarded like yesterday’s trash. I recall being told by my ex that no one would ever want me. I was confused, degraded, and afraid – with an infant to care for and I was not even sure how to care for myself.
But something happened.
When I found myself a new believer in Jesus Christ, I was broken and confused and I felt so alone. Yet deep within, hope began to well up like a spring…hope that I cannot explain outside of the sweet existence of my Savior. I was like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. It wasn’t overnight but over time my self-worth was restored, by the grace of God. Over time I began to feel new. Like when I looked in the mirror and I felt pretty. I began to realize and believe that I was worth something. That I had purpose. That I mattered.
I struggled with guilt because I didn’t want to be proud but there’s a difference in being proud and being gracefully aware of beauty. It is ok to feel beautiful. We are beautiful. In so many ways, we carry beauty that is uniquely our own. I personally think our greatest beauty is deep in our souls. That the gentle beauty from a heart that desires to be pure is worth far more than any physical beauty could ever offer. I also love imperfections. My nose is slightly crooked, my teeth are a dentist’s Mercedes, and my toes have scars – but I love those things about me. I’ve struggled with hating my teeth so I used to cover my mouth and didn’t like to smile and show my teeth… But I don’t care about that anymore. When I laugh, I feel like I can light up a room because I can laugh freely. I am not worried about what I look like or sound like when I am experiencing joy. I honestly can say that some of the moments I feel the most beautiful is when I can laugh with others and share joy. When God restored my self-worth, I discovered my passion for spreading joy. I was no longer ashamed of my looks or my heart – I was free to see myself as He sees me and to experience and share His great joy with others.
Something wonderful about grace is that despite my shortcomings and daily failures – I don’t have to feel unbeautiful anymore. I can embrace what God sees when He sees me. What’s better is that I can share with others what He sees when He sees them as well.
Psalm 139:1-18 talks about just that. This passage of scripture discusses how God knows us in the most intimate of ways. He knows our every thoughts and the deepest parts of our hearts, and He knows us in the most lowly of places we ever go – and He is still crazy about us. His positive thoughts about us are so numerous, even the sands of the earth outweigh them. Sometimes I cry out of humility and gratitude that God would know me in that kind of way and still desire to be in relationship with me. I also feel that way about my beloved husband.
After years as a single mom, I met a wonderful man. He has treated me like a precious jewel and makes me feel as though I am a worthy of the deepest kindness, the sweetest joy, and the most precious love. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. He believes in me and my crazy dreams. He supports my heart’s desires and stands by me. I have accomplished some of the greatest things that my heart has ever longed to do with this wonderful man by my side – he makes me feel beautiful. I am not beautiful because of him, but I am reaffirmed by him and that is something I have cried many times over because he knows me so well, and he still thinks so highly of me and loves me so deeply.
My beauty is defined by the One who made me. He has taken the messy parts of my life and like a piece of art He has brought them together into something beautiful. Because of my Creator I can feel beautiful.
Because of Him I am beautiful.
Amy is a full time professional, grad student, mom, and Army wife. She loves to sing, write, craft, run, and read. She’s a member of the praise team at City Church of Chattanooga and resides in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. She loves to share her story and to share her heart. Follow her blog at amyeaton.wordpress.com. Watch a brief video of her testimony at http://comeonletsgo.com/amy-e/