Do You See What I See?
Do you see what I see? She’s beautiful, isn’t she? This is a mere reflection of today’s contemporary woman; modern and chic, wearing all the current trends, showcasing her sophistication and style through vibrant colors and patterns. She misses nothing; with her beautiful blonde locks highlighted with pink hues along with the subtle drapings of accented seashell jewelry weaved throughout, it is all neatly tucked underneath her wide-brim hat and matching rose-colored sunglasses. I personally would love to see her sandals; but……. This facade and appearance would attract anyone’s attention and sadly mirrors today’s typical woman which is why many of us can relate to and are drawn to her; but what about the distraction that she is covering up and what is being masqueraded over?
Did anyone notice the apparent sadness coming from her gloomy and black-stained face beneath those rose-colored glasses? It’s obvious she’s been crying for a great length of time due to the discoloration and permeation from her mascara, but there’s also redness and puffiness in her eyes. She may look like she has it all together, but underneath that facade of perfection is today’s modern woman who has just spent some time battling and crying over hurts gripping her heart! But why is she hiding under the masquerade of having it all together? Is she too ashamed to admit she doesn’t have it all together? Is society teaching us that we have to be perfect humans in an imperfect world? How often do we go through life juggling the dozens of hats required in being a woman of today through the competing demands placed upon us by our families, careers, and our perfected appearance that we forget about the one essential ingredient in our beauty regime: Our relationship with Jesus Christ!
I’m an imperfect woman trying to navigate through a world that demands perfection and screams denial no matter the cost! I have been successful in many areas while I have failed at others. The failures almost defeated me, especially through the ugly words of my harshest critics; but then when I realized I could claim confidence with authority throughout all the struggles while still holding onto my integrity and character did I find my Source of Strength. That was achieved through the love and acceptance found in a relationship with Jesus Christ!
There’s a reason the Lord tells us in Matthew 6:33 and Luke 12:31 to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” because God knows what we need daily (or for us high-maintenance women like me, minute by minute) for what our hearts are going through and how to better prepare the heart and mind for battling life. This relationship, our beauty regime, will empower us with not only confidence and lasting love, but it will equip us with His thoughts and peace, remove and help us heal from that nasty latching viper that continues to suck us dry, and quickly align and adjust our attitudes and character that will be spilled over and into others that is reflected by and remembered throughout our lives forever in an unforgiving world; one that we will never be able to take back, you know, those ugly words spoken in rage and fits of anger and/or actions that will divide. I’m the first to admit, I will and do forgive because I have been forgiven by my Lord, but I don’t forget and stay optimistically alert. I do turn my cheek numerous times, but that does not give you the power to abuse me and walk all over me; just saying! My forgiveness releases me from the ugly effects of bitterness, but enables my loving spirit to continue to love! That is empowerment and freedom at its finest!
Knowing God’s Word helps us to develop an understanding and peace that when others do hurt us, our hearts will be shielded by remembering it is just the other person’s own hurt and junk spewing out onto us and not to take it personally. Sure, it will still hurt, but the effects won’t be as damaging because we know the Source to go to immediately to vomit the adverse effects and we will know the Truth in where our worth derives from. This equips us with that protective helmet and breastplate armor protecting our hearts and minds that the Word announces in Ephesians 6:10-18, which deflects their ugliness so it won’t fester and permeate our hearts and turn us into bitter and uglier people than the person that harmed us to begin with. Ooooooh, let me tell you, as hard as this may seem to conquer, if I can master this trait of self-control, anyone can! Trust me, I have the genetic disposition to nail anyone to the cross with one eye closed, but I am learning daily the blessings of self-control! Letting God have the vengeance has so many perks; especially peace and joy that would otherwise rob us of every blessing! Plus, if you claim to be Godly, then act like it! Stop gossiping and love more; act like you read and apply the Word to your life and not everybody else’s. We are representatives of Jesus and we need to remember how we reflect that through our character and conduct!
Oftentimes, the hurt we’re burdened with is brought on by ourselves through the way we expected others to know what scenarios were going on in our own minds through lack of communication, or maybe even how we received the hurt from expectations not being fulfilled, or even the infamous and deadly effects of the women versus women syndrome, you know, that comparison we do when sizing up another woman due to our own insecurities and reflections (the viper attack of something latching on; give me a break and embarrassment to all women) which robs us of all value that was completely ours to begin with. Woe to us for bringing on and allowing these ugly traits to strip us down to the bare truths of brokenness and despair. It’s time to throw off these facades that so easily entangle us from what society expects and demands from us and be the women God so gently and lovingly tells us we are; His Beloveds, loved just the way we are!
The only way to save ourselves from these harmful traits screaming in our ears by our own junk and from the enemy (he gets way too much credit for our own doing), is engaging in a relationship that is everlasting, free, and one that pursues us right where we are; one that will sustain and strengthen us with peace and love; one that requires our own dedication and responsibility to nurture and grow (can’t cast blame on anyone but yourself here); and that is, our daily relationship with the Lord. This requires spending time opening up the Word and applying it daily to our lives (not just going to weekly church services); living and understanding what being pursued after is really like with the Mary concept of sitting at the feet of Jesus and being still (Luke 10:38-42). We spend so much time and money on what we look like on the outside forgetting that beauty is fleeting and only skin deep (superficial, hello!), and that our permanent makeup and true beauty is found and derived from our worth and value that will never flee which is based upon the Truths found only in what the Word says. It is not in how successful our careers are, how great our kids are, or how big our behinds look in the jeans (wish I had some of that bass) or the diamonds we wear or even how trendy and glamorous our clothes are with our matching shoes. I know a lot of beautiful and educated women, some who even say they love the Lord, but what comes from their mouths is anything but pretty, you know!
I’m the first to admit that I love beautiful clothes with matching jewelry and fun and stylish shoes, so I guess that makes me trendy; but I have realized what good is all that when we’re depleted on the inside and hiding our hurts from the world? Why can’t we just agree and admit that we’re all hot messes and none of us were meant to be perfect and we’re loved just the way we are? The amount of money and valuable time we spend making ourselves “appear” perfect and have everything together in the world’s standards is futile and misleading, and it gives birth to sin that the world is condemning of Christians, giving the enemy full rein to a life filled with nothing but deception. When we have a right-standing relationship with God, He will change us through transformation, but that does cost us time and require commitment; time spent in the Word, time meditating and believing in the Truths, and time spent being absorbed and cleansed by the inside out. All of this requires being humble, transparent and honest with other believers to receive His blessings, encouragement and power (Ephesians 3:16-21) that make up the true church and that’s not only hard to do, but it requires complete surrender. Sadly, I have seen too many people refuse the latter.
When we’re cleansed from the inside out, we are the beautiful, radiant lights that draw others near us and gives us a childlike perspective to receive and give that unconditional love. That’s where our beauty comes from, it comes from within. Jesus reconciled us to God so we would have the Word to teach us who God says we are: Beautiful Beloveds who are pursued, cherished and loved just the way we are!!!
Let’s stop pretending we have it all together and just embrace our lives through the way we were created, together, without adding the additional burden of pretending to be somebody we’re not. If we want to understand this Great Love, we can start by opening up our Bibles to 1 John 4. Read the short book that reveals so much about God’s great love for us and His motivation for pursuit. Pressing into God will not only clear your mind with peace, but it will allow Him to speak His purpose for your life and the pain and frustration you’re walking through, and you’ll be surprised to learn that it has a lot to do with unity throughout the community (Colossians 3:12-14).
That trendy and sophisticated woman in the beginning that was hiding her true self behind the rose-colored glasses; well, that woman is me, or was me. I still struggle with sharing my pain and hurts and this forum is challenging that stronghold, but since I know there’s nothing I can do to change the past, knowing I did the best I could with the tools I was equipped with each and every trial, it has developed and made me the strong and courageous woman I am today! I have asked for forgiveness for my part in any problem that existed or still exists, I know I am forgiven through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ; it is then up to me to forgive myself and cease walking in shame that guilt and condemnation developed. Forgiving ourselves is the hardest thing any woman can accomplish, it seems! Lord knows, I have to remember this often, especially when I revisit hurts from over 30 years ago. I’m not perfect, but I am striving to become a better woman, a better mother, a better daughter, sister and friend in Christ; that’s all that can be expected! All I know is, I’m set free and it feels incredible to not be bound by all the shame and guilt that once directed my life.
One thing I pray you receive: Embrace the Beautiful Beloved that you are! Don’t be afraid to be who you are; you are pursued by the Most High, God Almighty! Don’t be afraid to focus on the Light because that is what is nurturing and feeding you to shine and blossom into the Beautiful Beloved that you were designed and created to be; with every imperfection and flaw! This is what sets us apart from the others! When a beautiful rose blooms and joins the bunch to bring beauty, it doesn’t worry about what color or design its beauty is going to bring to the bunch or its blemishes and imperfections, it just naturally trusts and reaches toward its Sustainer and focuses on the warmth and love the Light offers. It is so overwhelming, and that is why there is Divine beauty in the bunch! It takes a community of colors and shapes and sizes to bring out the beauty of the bunch!
The beauty of a rose; when it blooms, its natural reaction is to open up and share with creation the beauty that lies within; that includes every battle scar and imperfection because that’s how it was created! It never worries about how fast the other roses are blooming or what color they may be or what they will look like; it only trusts by reaching out towards the Light and allowing the beauty of the bunch to emerge!
Never forget the development of the beauty of a rose: When it blooms, its only natural reaction is to open up and share with creation the beauty that lies within; this blossoming of beauty includes every imperfection because that is how it was created and designed! It never worries about how fast the other roses bloom or what color they are or what they will look like, it only reaches out towards the Light and allows the birthing of Pure Beauty to emerge! Let it bloom, girlfriend!!! Let’s focus on Whose we are and shed the layers of lies and condemnation and guilt we have constructed to cover up our imperfect lives. Being honest with ourselves and our Creator is the only way to live, and when we embrace we’re all hot messes, the unraveling of beautiful women will give birth to a generation of Beautiful Beloveds who know they’re loved and they belong!