At six years old, my youngest son was free as only a youngest son can be. Luke was exuberant, joyous, and expectant of good. Each day, when kindergarten was over, the door would open and out would fly the children. Standing on the sidewalk, I watched as Luke exploded out the room and his eyes scanned the adults. When he saw me, his face would light up and his legs would fly. He would run down the sidewalk, past all the other children and leap into my arms.
It was the best part of my day and remains some of the most cherished memories of my life. In those moments with Luke, I felt like the most beautiful woman in the world and it had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with my appearance.
Not that anything was wrong with my appearance, mind you. That was during the decade plus or minus a year or two where most days (okay, every day) I would be wearing my really cool Jeans jumper. All I needed to do was wear a different shirt and “Voila! a new outfit! I was not then, nor am I now, very fashion conscious. I go for comfort and ease. And washable. When my children were young I had to wear clothes that could take a stain or two. When my glasses were heavy-duty shatter and boy proof.
But my sons thought I was beautiful. They did then and they do now. Because they look at me through the eyes of the heart.
And yes, appearance matters. Caring for ourselves communicates to the universe that we are worth caring for. Brushing my hair (or my teeth if I hadn’t yet) before my husband got home from work communicated to him that I thought he was worth caring for. It’s normal and good that a woman, whatever her season in life, wants to feel lovely. And yet. And yet. Our outward appearance merely reflects an inward reality and the inward reality trumps the outward one every single time.
I have said the following hundreds of times and seen it demonstrated thousands, “A woman is at her most beautiful when she knows she’s loved.” It’s simply true. She will wilt like a flower without water when she believes she’s not loved. Not wanted. Not delighted in. Let the truth that she is deeply and profoundly loved RIGHT NOW marinate deeply into her heart and she will begin to bloom like a tulip after the frost.
We are made to be loved. We are made to love. It is the greatest commandment to Love God and to Love others. Of course we are meant to be loved ourselves. In this life there are many gifts. In Christ there are even more. But as we learn in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, no gift is worth its wrapping paper if it is not rooted and grounded in love.
It is love that matters most and it is by and through love that we become beautiful. Love conquers all. Love is stronger than death. God has proven his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. God is Love!
Love sees better than any eye or mirror and God looks at us through the eyes of love every moment of our lives.
And therein lies our hope. Because God loves us we can love others as well. We can choose to love when people see it and when they don’t. Others may not see it but rest assured dear one, God does. He sees every sacrificial choice. He sees every moment that our heart glances his way in battered hope. And with every breath with which we love, we are being inwardly transformed into a woman of such beauty that it takes our God’s breath away. He is exploding out of eternity and scanning not just the sidewalk, but also the whole of the world, looking for hearts that are completely his; for hearts that will leap into his arms with exuberance and joy, expectant only of good.