"When we stop believing that good men exist, we lose the desire to be good women... To believe that you were created to be the masterpiece of God's creation, the height of beauty, an imitation of your Maker's heart; that you hold value by simply being a woman: To begin believing that in the same way you would die to be an incredible woman, there are men that would die to be incredible for you."
When I first read this quote five months ago I was afraid to believe it. Afraid that it was mildly sacrilegious. But I wrote it down on a sticky-note and kept it beside my bed, painfully unaware of how desperately I needed to believe that this is truth. At the time I had no idea how deep insecurity was rooted in me. I have been surprised to discover in the last 3 months that I am much more insecure as a 22 year old young woman than I ever was as a teenager. For years, without even realizing it, when someone has paid me a compliment I have graciously accepted it, but inwardly identified a reason that person feels obligated to say such a thing and dismissed their words. Without a second thought. Without realizing that I was essentially making my well-meaning friends and family liars in my eyes.
God brought this thought process to a screeching halt one afternoon while I stood at my bathroom sink. When I looked up into the mirror I heard Him speak to my heart so clearly, "You are beautiful because I have made you that way. And you cannot dismiss that." My mind froze. I could not find a reason to dismiss His words. I knew that He spoke truth. He cannot lie. The weight of His words were so precious and sobering that I fell to my knees right where I was, crying. Grateful tears. Thankful that truth was finally penetrating my heart.
This work in my heart continued as I read Captivating (by John and Stasi Eldredge). I began to see how women are uniquely created to reflect God's beauty in this earth. My beauty is not something I should be ashamed of or try to hide. I have struggled with this for years. After all, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain", right? I didn't want to believe that there is anything of beauty in me. The lie that says I am not enough was easier to believe. Growing up in the church, I have heard "You are created in God's image!" until I thought I might puke if someone repeated that tired phrase to me again. That is, until I heard it from my Heavenly Fathers own mouth;
"My Dear Child, you admire the beauty of the sunsets that I paint. Yet do you ever stop to realize that you are more beautiful than these? Because I created you in My image. Am I not more beautiful than a sunset? Who are you to say that my beauty is not in you?"My Father knows my heart better than anyone else. He knows that sunsets take my breath away, mountains make me stand in awe, oceans strike me speechless with their thundering. God showed me that in the same way that I marvel at His creation in the earth, He marvels at me because I am a reflection of Him. He is pleased with what He sees. For the first time in my life I understand how He sees me. And I am learning to finally see myself through His eyes. I am learning to embrace and even celebrate the beauty that He's bestowed on me. Not for my own sake, or my own pride. But because I know that I represent the beauty of my Heavenly Father in the earth.
I was ashamed. He called me Beautiful.