True Beauty

All beauty is only reflection.”  I read that today in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and it struck me as an incredibly profound but rarely verbalized truth.  Our culture worships beauty – never more so than now.  And whatever we were born lacking, we can purchase on a payment plan.  We can change shape, size, eye color and hair color.  We can dewrinkle, fluff up, pouf out, and pay to look like we kissed the back end of every bee in a hive.

This kind of beauty – the kind that comes from a bottle or a syringe or a surgery – is it true beauty?  What about the beauty of a not-so-perfect looking, exhausted mother, tenderly caring for her special needs child day after day?

What about the beauty of utterly impoverished folk in a Third World country, walking mile after mile with no shoes to gather with other villagers and worship in grateful adoration?

What about the beauty of those who suffer for righteousness, whose stories and tears we will never know this side of Heaven?

These, I propose, are the faces of true beauty.  And if “all beauty is only reflection”, as the moon is but a reflection of the glory of the sun, then of WHAT is it a reflection?  Or perhaps, of whom?

I believe the answer lies in a seemingly paradoxical ancient writing by the prophet Isaiah.  He writes prophetically of the coming Christ, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” (Is. 53:2)

Isaiah had not yet seen this God Man who, pierced and beaten, staggered under the weight of the sins of the whole world.  Under the weight of MY sin.  He hadn’t seen the weary trudging of dusty miles, the nights of no roof overhead, the aching loneliness.  He wasn’t there when this Man of no physical beauty gave life and dignity back to the woman with the issue of blood.  He didn’t get to watch as, with love in His eyes, He reached out and touched the shunned and miserable leper and made him whole.  Isaiah wasn’t there when the muscled back was laid open by a cat-o’-nine tails, only to then have a crude, heavy wooden cross placed on it.  The bleeding brow, the agony of slow suffocation…here, my friends, is beauty.  He endured that for you.  He endured that for me.  Oh, how beautiful He is!  Had Isaiah been granted just a glimpse, surely he would have asked how we could see anything BUT beauty in this consummate love and self-sacrifice.

Here is the beauty from which all other true beauty radiates.  And no matter what our past or our physical appearance, “We who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

So there you have it.  As you reflect the Beautiful One, you are beautiful.  True beauty – beauty of spirit that far outlasts fleeting physical perfection.

Beautiful friend, go do some reflecting today.  The world needs to see you shine.

Written by:  Christine Sakwitz
Christine is the author of The Beautiful Journey blog, women's Bible study writer and teacher, and homeschooling mom of two critter-loving children.  She has been happily married for 23 years and is passionate about equipping and encouraging women to live full, joyful, high-impact lives.

She would love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter (Live_Fully_Now), or via email at chris@thebeautifuljourney.com.

Explain

How will you explain the guilt, The secret eyes behind a secret door The mirror where a stranger always lurks The darkness where a boy is always hiding

How will you explain the need, The tremor in your haunted, lonely heart The terror that at night your mind is fraying The flesh for which your body longs with groaning

How will you explain the drive, To make your life work here and now, forever To grab a piece of heaven in your hand And never have it leave your grasp again To stroke and squeeze, and fiercely consume it And feed the worm that on your soul is feasting

How will you explain the pull, To be in love no matter how destructive To live as if your heart no hurt is bearing To run from home as if no home you needed

How will you explain the passion, Which chains you like a beast at night so black The urge so shameful, like fire that consumes you And shackles you, a slave of secrets dark

How will you explain the shadow, That inside lurks, behind a door that`s bolted Old nameless fear, ancient dread unspoken It terrifies a child in grown man`s body

How will you explain the madness, Voracious crows your sanity devour They take away the last enduring grain And leave you in a room, cold, white and empty There in that silence, sleepless voice resounds Your ravaged mind it fills with utmost horror It whispers that no peace you`ll ever have, No hope and joy will ever spring within you

How will you explain the falsehood, The mask your face so firmly that is gripping The laughter when you feel just bitter tears The silence when you want to scream with terror

How will you explain the shame, That friend unwanted who holds you in the darkness Caressing face so gnarled with searing pain And with a black veil guilty eyes it cloaks ‘I`ll care for you’ with poisoned lips it whispers And so the young tree ever crooked grows

How will you explain the bitter anger, The shame embracing, evil lie believing Your excellent and perfect heart you stomped on Believing that it only death deserved…

How will you explain the sorrow, Your glory and the beauty wasn`t seen An ugly soul you thought your lot in life was A twisted face and blackened heart to bear Received as your fate from cruel gods How will you explain the question, ‘Why was I made thus?’ little boy once asked A question in the withered soul that echoed And no one heard that silent, raspy voice The answer from the unseen lips that slithered ‘That`s who you are,’ the shadow then proclaimed ‘And never in your life will you be loved!’ ‘You are dirty, bad and rotten deep inside,’ ‘And all who know you will forever curse you’

How will you explain the lies, The wicked voice that echoed in your ears Sharp, deadly words right in the heart that stabbed you And doomed you to a life of endless torment

How will you explain the creature dark, The hand unseen, your throat at night that`s gripping The sharp and hungry blade your heart that pierced, Your beauty, hopes and dreams it cut to pieces…

Since you were little is your soul so shattered And you, my child, have not had too much joy Confusion, hatred, bitterness consume you, And shameful pleasure is your only friend But look, your eyes move to the horizon, And take your mind outside the hell within you A world is there, that you my friend will see That needs you, and the glory that`s inside you

A heart that`s darkened, rotting, almost dead, Might not seem much to you or to the others But long before the darkness draped your world That heart was made for paradise and glory

And how will you explain the glory bright, That makes you wish for world that`s somehow better A world without death, pain, and broken hearts Those places from your youth without the sorrows

Why does your heart for such world always yearns Why do you long so for a life that`s better And why does that glory, buried deep inside Death is refusing with a bitter cry?

It is because, child, such good world is true Too good indeed, to not have been existing And there is One who came to look for you Down in the darkness, a Hero came to find you Red blood once flowed, staining the wooden cross A young brave heart that day ceased to beat A sacrifice was offered to Death A price was paid then, a captive was released

That captive is your dear, eternal heart And you, my friend, for freedom have been ransomed Each tear from you, there in the darkness shed Is precious for the One that came to seek you He cares for you, that heart is loved by Him And God forbid that He should ever lose you…

How will you explain the guilt, The secret eyes behind a secret door The mirror where a stranger always lurks The darkness where a boy is always hiding

How will you explain the need, The tremor in your haunted, lonely heart The terror that at night your mind is fraying The flesh for which your body longs with groaning

How will you explain the drive, To make your life work here and now, forever To grab a piece of heaven in your hand And never have it leave your grasp again To stroke and squeeze, and fiercely consume it And feed the worm that on your soul is feasting

How will you explain the pull, To be in love no matter how destructive To live as if your heart no hurt is bearing To run from home as if no home you needed

How will you explain the passion, Which chains you like a beast at night so black The urge so shameful, like fire that consumes you And shackles you, a slave of secrets dark

How will you explain the shadow, That inside lurks, behind a door that`s bolted Old nameless fear, ancient dread unspoken It terrifies a child in grown man`s body

How will you explain the madness, Voracious crows your sanity devour They take away the last enduring grain And leave you in a room, cold, white and empty There in that silence, sleepless voice resounds Your ravaged mind it fills with utmost horror It whispers that no peace you`ll ever have, No hope and joy will ever spring within you

How will you explain the falsehood, The mask your face so firmly that is gripping The laughter when you feel just bitter tears The silence when you want to scream with terror

How will you explain the shame, That friend unwanted who holds you in the darkness Caressing face so gnarled with searing pain And with a black veil guilty eyes it cloaks ‘I`ll care for you’ with poisoned lips it whispers And so the young tree ever crooked grows

How will you explain the bitter anger, The shame embracing, evil lie believing Your excellent and perfect heart you stomped on Believing that it only death deserved…

How will you explain the sorrow, Your glory and the beauty wasn`t seen An ugly soul you thought your lot in life was A twisted face and blackened heart to bear Received as your fate from cruel gods How will you explain the question, ‘Why was I made thus?’ little boy once asked A question in the withered soul that echoed And no one heard that silent, raspy voice The answer from the unseen lips that slithered ‘That`s who you are,’ the shadow then proclaimed ‘And never in your life will you be loved!’ ‘You are dirty, bad and rotten deep inside,’ ‘And all who know you will forever curse you’

How will you explain the lies, The wicked voice that echoed in your ears Sharp, deadly words right in the heart that stabbed you And doomed you to a life of endless torment

How will you explain the creature dark, The hand unseen, your throat at night that`s gripping The sharp and hungry blade your heart that pierced, Your beauty, hopes and dreams it cut to pieces…

Since you were little is your soul so shattered And you, my child, have not had too much joy Confusion, hatred, bitterness consume you, And shameful pleasure is your only friend But look, your eyes move to the horizon, And take your mind outside the hell within you A world is there, that you my friend will see That needs you, and the glory that`s inside you

A heart that's darkened, rotting, almost dead, Might not seem much to you or to the others But long before the darkness draped your world That heart was made for paradise and glory

And how will you explain the glory bright, That makes you wish for world that`s somehow better A world without death, pain, and broken hearts Those places from your youth without the sorrows

Why does your heart for such world always yearns Why do you long so for a life that's better And why does that glory, buried deep inside Death is refusing with a bitter cry?

It is because, child, such good world is true Too good indeed, to not have been existing And there is One who came to look for you Down in the darkness, a Hero came to find you Red blood once flowed, staining the wooden cross A young brave heart that day ceased to beat A sacrifice was offered to Death A price was paid then, a captive was released

That captive is your dear, eternal heart And you, my friend, for freedom have been ransomed Each tear from you, there in the darkness shed Is precious for the One that came to seek you He cares for you, that heart is loved by Him And God forbid that He should ever lose you…

Written By: George Stoimenov

Not long ago Isought life whenever I thought life was to be found - like all others, I too have a hungry heart. But there was only despair and darkness. Sad is the life without hope, but even that sadness is only felt by those who know their hunger. It was in Africa, where He chose to finally meet me, after years of torment. I wept as received the only embrace which I truly needed. The years that followed brought strife, tears, and pain, but that was needed, much needed, if my heart was to be restored. He gave me a sword, a new name, and brought my old, old desires back from the world of the dead. How could they be dead, child? They were in the heart of the infinite God. Yes, we must become like children, for it is children that we are...

Old, long-buried hopes arose within me as the quest advanced. In His love, He restored, and is still restoring my heart which, as any other heart in this wonderful and terrible world, had been hidden in darkness and despair.

I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness...

You can find me on the web at https://storytellingandmore.wordpress.com/