Since before they could walk or talk, I have hoped my babies would grow to understand and believe the truth about beauty. The Enemy is brimming with lies on the subject and he has a mass marketing agency in our culture, through which to sell them. He’s good. He’s really good.
A few days ago, after a two and a half hour procedure, my middle-most girl met me in the waiting room of our orthodontist’s office. There was a a river of tears welled in her eyes and when she tried to speak, the dam broke. Tears spilled, rushing down her cheeks, finding their way to the floor. It was a river.
My girl was devastated and had not an ounce of clarity. She was ugly. She would never get married.
I will laugh about this soon. My girl will laugh about it one day. I should note, for perspective’s sake, that my daughter did not come out with braces on her teeth. No. That would have been “normal” and she would have been less stunned by the change. Instead, she came out with an “I-can’t-believe-that-fits-in-your-mouth” sized shock absorber-looking contraption that we have come to call *shocks* (pun intended). For the sake of time, and lack of words, I will just say that the *shocks* altered my girl’s facial structure, smile, and chewing ability (try chewing only up and down, no side to side jaw movement…we chew a lot like cows, I’ve realized, but that’s not my point). Her reflection was not her own. The girl in the mirror was strange and distorted.
The whole way home she cried and I prayed. My prayer was choppy and desperate. Lord, use this in my baby’s life. Help her to believe Truth. Forever change her. Help her to see herself through Your eyes. Lord, teach my 15-year-old what has taken most women a lifetime to learn; that true beauty is unfading, eternal and comes from within. Lord give me wisdom. Lord have mercy.
When we were back to the safety of home, we talked. I talked. She listened between sniffs. I said nothing new. I’m hoping, however, that what had once been just words, now had more meaning.
God says that our lives on earth are but a breath. One breath. How long, according to our culture, does a woman get to be a beauty? Through youth and into young womanhood at best? After that, it’s all about procedures and products. For a small fraction of her life…a fraction of a breath…a woman gets to be beautiful. The conclusion I draw is this: cultural beauty is skin deep and no one gets to keep it. IF you were “lucky” enough to be born cute, you get to be beautiful for a little while, until the next group of cuties come in to replace you. But still our culture urges us to chase after physical beauty and hold onto it for dear life. Even as our physical beauty is fading at a rapid rate, The Enemy says, “Don’t give up! Compare yourself to the younger more attractive woman, critique her, compete with her!” But we can not win. Whether lost naturally by aging or abruptly through an accident, beauty, according to the world’s definition, will not last. Period. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting…” Proverbs 31:30.
Contrast that to a woman’s true beauty, which is poured out by God into the human heart. It is unfading and grows more beautiful with age and wisdom. It is the mark of a woman who fears the Lord. True beauty comes from within and radiates out. 1Peter 3:4 tells us that beauty doesn’t come from outward adornment, 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.” Did you hear that? It is of “great worth in God’s sight!” AMEN AND HALLELUJAH!
My girl sat through my ramblings like a champ, as I poured out my heart and soul and everything else to her. Then she decided she was ready for Mexican food. A day or two later, my middle-most beauty came out with duct tape over her mouth. It said, “Under Construction”. Maybe we’re going to survive this after all.
There is a road ahead. We have not arrived. But I’m hoping that, in the end, our girls will know that the physical beauty our world holds dear has no eternal value; that real beauty is on the inside and never fades. It’s the truth. BELIEVE IT!