A couple of years ago, while strolling around The Metropolitan Museum of New York, I found myself drawn to a myriad of powerful and provocative images. I was entranced by the glorious hues of Tiffany glass. I was impressed by the wealth of ancient Egyptian tombs and relics. However, I was most intrigued by the haunting beauty of women. Although captured in marble, stone and paint, they seemed to breathe on their own accord. Who might this woman have been? Was she simply the figment of an artist's mind? Or perhaps she was a woman so beautiful, she captivated the attention of a creative mind and willing hands.
Beauty is often a word many woman are comfortable using to describe a picturesque landscape, the innocence of a child or a skillfully carved statue. Sadly, we are much more hesitant to affirm our beauty. And what is beauty anyway? Whether we are considering outward appearances or inner qualities, beautiful is largely defined through culture. What does beauty look like to you? As John and Stasi Eldredge point out, women are the "crown of creation." Can you believe that you are crowned beautiful?
I grew up in a religious atmosphere that admonished women to hide their beauty so as not to tempt men. Women were not allowed to cut their hair or wear jewelery, makeup and pants. While I believe in modesty, I have never understood the rational behind hiding beauty. In fact, I have witnessed the "healing, restorative power of beauty" through a woman known to many as Aunt Betty. She has a heart for women who, like myself, have been deeply wounded through the choices and chance encounters that our journeys often pass through. One such woman, Alicia was imprisoned in a federal penitentiary. Aunt Betty didn't just visit Alicia. She wore her cutest outfits matched with her finest jewelery. She beautifully made her face up and spritzed on her best perfume. Alicia's eyes feasted on Aunt Betty's beauty. Through one woman's beauty Alicia's soul was giving a vision of life outside the drab prison walls. Beauty brought hope! I bet you too have a story about the power of beauty.
There is a fiery resilience that resides in the heart of women. Perhaps we show our determination as did the beautiful model for this sculpture. Or perhaps, our resolve shines through our diligence to keep an immaculate house. I know this does not describe most of us! We may not cook gourmet meals every day. We may dribble BBQ sauce on our blouses. Nevertheless, we are"desperately" desired and altogether enjoyed by living and loving God. We were created in His image, not as afterthoughts but an intentional act of creation. What did the artist desire to convey through this sculpture? Why did the artist use a woman? Why not a man? What is it about you that spoke to God's heart? Indeed, there was something very special about you that drove him to create you. The world was not complete without you!
Much like this sculpture, as the image bearers of God, we bear a message for the world. When your co-workers see you, perhaps busily working away behind a desk, what do they see? Are you authentically representing his essence? Or, are you trying to be somebody you think you should be? What are your children learning through your beauty? How are you impacting your friends? We encourage you to keep reading no matter how vulnerable you may have begun to feel. Pick up a study guide if you are able. Oftentimes we search for answers while failing to ask the right questions. We are honored that you have chosen to spend a bit of your day with us. We would love to hear your heart. Remember, there is a beauty upon your life, a beauty that is uniquely and divinely captivating!