Thank God he didn’t make me beautiful.

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I realised in early adolescence I was not to be one of those beautiful types with delicate bones, perfect features and bushels of shining curls. While I looked reasonably OK, my too round face and slightly saggy chin ruled out any such notions.
My self-perception, regarding looks, later became very confused. I was told often I was beautiful, but photos always brought me back to reality. Mirrors were the most confusing of all, a casual glance might depict me as surprisingly beautiful or jarringly ugly. It’s only in my latter years I’ve come to understand. You see it’s Jesus coming through, lighting up my plain face that transforms it – beauty of a different kind.
If I was naturally beautiful it wouldn’t be so noticeable. What is so nice about “my realisation” is it means anyone can be beautiful regardless of their actual physical appearance. How many times have you seen a plain (even ugly) person transform into beauty when they fall in love? I’ve seen it often, love itself, being a part of God, transforms. Not only that but this kind of beauty doesn’t fade, has no need of creams and face lifts (in fact these things tend to reduce it). If anything, it grows more apparent with age. So, if like me you don’t rate high on the physical looks scale, remember God’s love makes us all beautiful!
I chose this recent photo from my daughter’s 40th birthday party as somewhat of an example. My kids got so many compliments of how young and beautiful their mother was, some even commented directly. It all depends on how you look at the photo you see, the round face and “turtle effect” saggy chin are there, but I think the photo also caught something else. The couple I was talking to were wonderful people who I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with (as were many at the event). Forgetting my less than perfect self among such a glittering assortment of good looks I was fully engaged in conversation with them.

me party
Noticing the same effect in others, when happily relaxed with friends, or simply in love, I’ve termed a phrase, “their light’s come on”. Even more wonderful we can turn on other’s lights by sharing love, especially God’s love. Though I’d have liked to be beautiful I’m thankful God made me the way I am so I could understand this. There are no “ugly” or “plain” people in God’s eyes, because He loves us all. He even chose that kind of body for Himself – “there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isiah 53:2).

 

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Lifegiving Moments.

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Still and quiet, the whispers drift towards me, borne on placid lake waters.

Sunlit glimmers, pearlized soft blue and pink waters are picture framed in the squared wood lookout of the old bird watcher’s hide. Breathless, I gaze enthralled, the intense beauty unreal.

Startled I turn. I’m not alone. Joined by an old man, his face weathered as the wood beams. We speak in quiet tones of heron and egret, of terns and the ever-present grebe. We don’t look at each other as we speak, our gazes entrapped by still water, the play of light, and the gliding, skimming shapes of birds.

We speak of grandchildren, of I pads and smart phones, of the few still able to partake of the immense beauty of such golden moments.

Did God get it wrong?

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When I was young I envied my mum and sister’s movie star legs. Why did I get my dad’s short muscular ones I queried? Why couldn’t I have been beautiful instead of OK, brilliant instead of smart, talented but not the artist I dreamed to be, and most of all why wasn’t I one of those social types at ease in every situation, bubbling with small talk and confidence?

I got a clue on my first medical examination.

“You’ve got great legs!” the doctor told me. “Never going to have trouble with those legs.”

“But…” I mumbled, uncomfortable with the compliment.

Later it became clear as my mum’s legs soon grew subject to varicose veins, while at sixty six, in spite of multiple pregnancies and excessive use, I can still wear shorts without embarrassment  . Around the same time my friend, who happened to have the 36 double D bust I’d coveted, shared how she could never find a dress that fitted, found running painful and, most of all, wished guys would look at her face instead of lower down. Being more observant I slowly realised being “drop dead beautiful” had it’s down side. People too often judged by the exterior resulting in the beauty becoming vain and shallow or frustrated because she wanted to be loved for her inner self. If I’d not been dyslexic to offset my smartness I’d not have made a good teacher, have changed so many little hearts to believe in themselves. Being OK but not beautiful, smart but not genius, talented but never quite perfect, kept me humble but not despairing.

I now picture God with his weights and scales, his tweezers even, getting everything just exactly right and balanced for the role he created me to play. There were no mistakes. Much as I lament my inadequacies I see they are all part of my balance. Even the social awkwardness I still suffer means I draw closer to him in a way I never would have done had I been little miss popular. The only way I can conquer my social awkwardness is to focus on the needs of others to overcome my shyness. This has poured my life into a mould of happiness and fulfilment.  Those focused on others are rarely troubled by depression and tend to enjoy a depth of friendship the bubbling socialite may never know.

Though I was in rebellion, I see now with hindsight God didn’t get it wrong. Nor does he expect from me what I am unable to give. I am as he made me and in that is content and peace.

It’s the little things that make life wonderful.

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I woke delighted this morning to see lights dancing through my curtain (the sun rises behind a large tree outside my window). It reminded me of the beauty and diversity of creation, the small things God incorporates to make our lives more beautiful and joyous.

For me the infinite diversity and beauty of creation and our ability to appreciate it are some of the greatest proofs of his existence. Evolution cannot explain our appreciation of beauty. It has no practical purpose in our survival, but I’m so glad of its enrichment.

The joy of the morning.

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Sometimes I miss the wonder of it, immersed in plans and busyness, but leaning out of my window on a spring morning I pause to smell the freshness, the scent of nature outside my window, the gentle warmth of the sun on my face, bringing colour and light to the surrounding garden. I remember the beauty of it all and I’m so glad to be alive.