Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a beautiful start to the week. I’m am currently in week two of homeschooling our children. I’m also 8 months pregnant with our fourth child Things are quite crazy at my house but are going great! Homeschooling is both challenging and rewarding. I’m enjoying the adventure so far.
For those of you that have been praying about my hard drive, please continue to pray. I’ve made no headway thus far but I’m hopeful that we can recover the info. This is a tough lesson in backing up your drives, but I believe God is on my side and that there will be a way.
Tonight’s story comes to you via Alicia Zinn and her friend Nicole. Alicia has recently redone her photography site. Take a moment to check it out. Enjoy Nicole’s story as she introduces us to an interesting concept – vertical living…
Who is beautiful?
For months I’ve pondered this. You ask any passer by and it’s certain you’ll get a variety of answers; some poetic and sweet, others saturated with years of rejection, and bitterness. You might hear a lashing out against the mainstream media that promotes the buxom blonde with negative percent body fat as “beautiful” or a painful story of a father who’s standards were unreachable.
Who is beautiful?
That’s a loaded question.
For me it hasn’t come easy either; but I’m realizing that I’m not alone.
My story started out in a little town in North Dakota. My parent’s were divorced, not unlike many families today, and my mother, though present, was, for a few reasons, quite absent. And my father? I don’t remember him telling me that he loved me for much of my childhood; and because I didn’t receive the attention I so desired at home I searched for it elsewhere. My life was about being the leader, winning the competition, getting the gold. I joined Speech Team, Theatre, Future Business Leaders of America, Student Congress, the School Newspaper, as well as leading my youth group and church worship teams; anything to get attention…but it was all futile, because, though people were there to applaud, I never felt loved or satisfied. This continued until my Junior year of high school when our youth pastor moved and another came on. At first, I resisted; our new youth pastor didn’t give me the attention that I desired, but that was because he knew that wasn’t what I needed. Instead, he opened my eyes to something I had not even realized: that I could win a hundred competitions, and it would never fill the void inside my heart. I was living horizontally, for the applause of the world, looking to others for my affirmation; but he introduced me to a different concept: vertical living; living for the attention of just One, Jesus.
For my teenage years I had felt like a victim, unloved and unwanted; but he showed me that there is only One love that truly matters: Jesus’ love. In that, my youth pastor took a broken little girl and brought her to the mirror of potential and said “this is what I see in you because this is what He sees in you.” Where I had been overlooked by other people in my life, where I had felt less than, purposeless and not beautiful; he showed me the potential inside of me that I had never been told existed: he showed me what God saw in me. He was honest when I needed it, and pruned me so that I could grow. Those were transformational years, and looking back I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the truth that he wasn’t afraid to speak.
Inspired by the realization that the approval of men wasn’t what I needed, I started to see things differently. Soon my distant relationship with my earthly Father opened up and we developed a relationship that I never knew could exist, because for years I had blamed him for his distant attitude. I stopped blaming people, and things and circumstances, and instead I started to love on purpose and worked to see what God saw in those situations and people. At first, it was an effort to not take things at face value but rather ask God what He saw; though after doing it for a while it became second nature. Now it’s become a mission of mine to see the life in the death, the light in the darkness, the truth through the lies; the beauty in the ashes in everything and everyone.
Now if you ask me, “who is beautiful?”
My answer would be, everything and everyone. No matter how lost and broken, all things can be restored and made new.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new. 2 Cor 5:17
You have a purpose and a unique beauty that you add to the world, and I know the perfect One that can bring that out in you and show you exactly who you are and who you can become.
I found my purpose, my life, my beauty in Jesus; in what He said and says about me. If that’s something you need to find, you need only to look to the Word of God. It’s FILLED with declarations about His great love and plans for us! Jeremiah 29:11, many of the Psalms, and of course, the message of the Gospel tell us how important we were to Him: so important and purposeful that He gave His LIFE for us. Isn’t that awesome?
There isn’t need for diversion or want for worldly attention, when we realize we have the full attention of the One who’s eyes burn with fiery passion for us, Who’s love is unquenchable and unfailing.
Who is beautiful?
I am beautiful.
You are beautiful.
This world is a beautiful place.