Upward Gaze: Dear Father, You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13-14). Amen.
A friend in her mid-fifties burst into giggles while browsing for a birthday card. “Listen to this one,” she said. “At our age, there are only two things we should avoid… pizza and bathing suits.”
I beg to differ on one point: Pizza still sounds good to me. Steamy, spicy, cheesy pizza—yum!
But I agree with the bathing suit issue. I’ve yet to find a suit that makes me look as good as pizza tastes…steamy and spicy. At my age, the only suits I find make me look cheesy.
It’s bathing suit season as I write this. I scanned the selection in a mail-order catalog and noticed little symbols beside each picture. Inverted triangles represent bust-enhancing suits. The i-shapes give the illusion of a waistline. The a-shape makes hips appear smaller. The x-shapes make women look balanced (whatever that means). And the asterisks represent suits for women with special body needs. Something for everyone, and good thing, because every body is uniquely shaped.
Our uniqueness extends ‘way beyond physical appearance—body shape, eye color, hair color, height, weight, and so forth. Every woman on the face of this earth possesses a one-of-a-kind blend of personality traits, interests, and talents. That mix contributes to the role we play in our community. Some women teach school or music lessons. Others provide foster care for needy children. Some serve in the military or as police officers. Others enjoy farming. The list goes on forever.
Our individuality reminds me of snowflakes. Wilson Bentley, the first person to photograph a single snow crystal, discovered their unique design through extensive research. In his lifetime, he captured more than 5,000 snowflakes and found no two alike. He said,
“Under a microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty; and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”
As Bentley put it, snowflakes are miracles of beauty, masterpieces of design. The same sentiment applies to us! We are miracles of beauty, masterpieces of God’s design. And, like snowflakes, it’s a shame when this beauty isn’t seen or appreciated by others.
Sometimes we hide our beauty without realizing it. How? We compare ourselves to other women and feel inferior. We think others won’t like us as we are, so we wear a façade. We hesitate to try new activities because we’re afraid of failing. We’re don’t initiate or respond to new relationships because we fear rejection. We allow feelings of inadequacy to rule and decline opportunities to use our interests and abilities to serve others. By doing so, we hide our beauty—the Creator’s masterpiece of design. And when we’re gone, our unique design is forever lost without leaving a trace.
God has given us our specific personalities, interests, and talents for a reason—He wants to accomplish life-changing, earth-shattering, society-rattling tasks through us. He wants to heal the hurting, comfort the mourning, and love the unlovely. He wants to impact the world for Jesus Christ. If we hide our beauty, we hinder His work. But when we accept ourselves the way He’s put us together and participate in what He wants to do, we make Him smile. And not only that, but our lives touch family, neighbors, co-workers, our church and community, and maybe, just maybe, the whole world.
Our body shapes differ. Our personalities differ. Our interests and giftedness differ. And that’s okay. Our heavenly Father, the one who creates miracles of beauty, makes no mistakes. He surveys His work and says, “It is good.” And that means you, my one-of-a kind friend.
Dear Father, thank You for making me a miracle of beauty. Give me a thankful heart for Your design. Amen.
* What are your talents? How can you use them to bless others and build God’s kingdom?
* Look for opportunities to encourage at lease three women this week. Write a little note, say a kind word, make a surprise phone call. Let them know they’re appreciated.
Outward Glance: Lord, I pray that _______ will embrace the way You knit her in her mother’s womb. Help her understand and appreciate her uniqueness. And as she does, please bless her, be gracious to her, and cause Your face to shine on her that Your ways may be known on the earth and Your salvation to all nations (Psalm 67:1-2). Amen.
One More Peek: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Excerpt from Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day, published 2012.
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