A beauty to unveil….

John & Staci Eldredge have written a wonderful book called Captivating, it is one I highly recommend to all women. Plus I would recommend that men read it as well, especially men who have daughters. The workbook that goes with it poses a question; Are you being sought after these days?

Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as their very essence.

Now, lest despair set in, let us say as clearly as we can:

Every woman has a beauty to unveil.

Every woman.

Because she bears the image of God.

What if? What if this really is true about you–that you are a captivating woman? Let your heart go there for a moment; what does it bring?

 As I’ve thought about these questions I realize it brings me hope, hope that I can rest, hope that I need not fear beauty, hope that God will show me my beauty and as He shows me I can allow Him to romance me.

My ache is to know that my Lord sees me a beautiful, whatever that may fully mean I want to learn, to know, to understand.

I have always been afraid of being beautiful, of my essence being beauty. Yes I understand beauty is the essence of the feminine soul but it scares me. I have always been known as a feminine, graceful woman, I know that’s how others see me but I don’t see myself that way, I want to. Yet at the same time it scares me because it is the very place where the enemy wounded me. When I was 14 and was being raped by two guys (I was drugged at the time with the date rape drug, but I came to long enough to know what was happening). While I was being raped they kept telling me over and over how beautiful I was. What do you think happened to that young soul? She began to fear beauty, it meant she was something to be admired, sought after but abused.

She was betrayed by beauty.

 So that’s why beauty scares me and truthfully I don’t think I fully understand or can embrace (yet) what John and Staci are saying. In the last few years I have slowly begun to ask Jesus to show me my beauty. I see beauty all around me and I love beauty but how do I see myself? How does Jesus see me? I’ve always seen myself as plain and not beautiful, it’s a feeling of ambivalence, desiring to be beautiful yet being afraid to be beautiful.

 Something happened not to long ago in church and I know God used to get my attention; He was trying to speak to my heart. During our worship time we took some time to greet one another. As I freely moved about greeting people, which let me clarify has become much easier for me since I used to stay in my seat and let people come to me, but I can now move about and hug and greet people because I desire to connect with them. Well, something happened that was totally unexpected and shook me to the core, after one woman hugged me she took me by the shoulders, looked straight into my eyes and said- you are so beautiful.

Huh?? I really didn’t know how to respond. I politely said thank you and took my seat and for the rest of the service I struggled with desiring to believe and accept the compliment but at the same time wanting to reject it. Later as I shared this with my husband he simply smiled and agreed. But then he asked-” you don’t let these compliments penetrate your heart do you?” We both knew the answer. Compliments of any kind never penetrate my heart.

 Later that day I prayed from my heart, “Lord Jesus soften my heart, show me my beauty, and then romance me. I am afraid; I have connected beauty with pain. It assaulted my essence as a young girl and I have hardened my heart all these years to beauty, to how you see me, to how my husband sees me or how others may see me. I don’t want to live this way any more. Beauty has betrayed me; yes that’s what it is. I know because of the abuses in my past that beauty sparks within me the fear of danger and of being dangerous to others coexists within my heart. Come Lord Jesus come. If I allow my heart to soften and hear how you find me beautiful, will you betray me? My head says no but my heart is afraid. But I want to trust you Jesus, I want to trust you.”

This past winter while watching The Lord Of the Rings again, I saw in Arwen her beauty. I saw more than her outward beauty. I saw her beauty as strength, as rest, as confidence, as peaceful, as trust, as hope and most of all as love. I saw in her what my heart longs for, too much for words to express- that she is enough. That’s my ache. To be enough, to know in my quiet center where God dwells that He finds me beautiful, has deemed me worthy, and in Him I am enough.  He will not betray me. He continues to show me what beauty really is.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “A beauty to unveil….

  1. Oh Connie, I am so thankful for the mirror you provide for my soul as. the Spirit leads you to write. Isn’t it amazing that when we are obedient and vulnerable we can find peace & true beauty.
    I think it’s really cool that I came to know you & think of you as beautiful through your writing long before I ever saw your picture and confirmed it.

    blessings

    Like

  2. Your husband knows how to ask questions that get right to the heart, doesn’t he? Fear and pain, as you well know, are our defenses against being attacked and hurt again. At one level, there is nothing wrong with that. It is a God-given mechanism to protect an injured soul.

    At another level though, and where it seems you are today, we want to grow out of that fear and pain. It is hard to live life joyfully in a defensive posture. You are moving out of that, seeking joy. That requires openness and transparency. And that invites hurt again.

    I can not speak about this nearly as deeply or with the understanding you can. But, I think it is ok to open ourselves up and risk that hurt. And, you may be hurt again by a mindless comment or crude joke, even if it is not directed at you. And that is ok, too! You will survive to open up another day. And then another.

    I work with teenagers some. It breaks my heart to see some of the abuse and mistreatment that goes on that I am powerless to stop. All I can hope is that some of these girls (and even some of the boys) meet someone like you ten years down the road when they are ready to start getting their lives back together. You’ll be able to help them.

    St Julian of Norwich (c.1342-c.1416) wrote, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” We might word that differently today, but realize this feminine saint wrote this during the ravages of the Black Death. Her faith in God allowed her to see everything that happened as somehow falling within God’s greater plan, and something that would somehow serve a purpose.

    Your life is serving a purpose now, maybe even one that you can’t see. I think that lady at church somehow saw it.

    Like

  3. Lynn, & Terry, your words bring tears, joy and gratitude…thank you! God is indeed good and I am blessed by your beauty and influence in my life!!

    Warren, thank you for your incredible words of life…they soothe the soul and offer healing and affirmation…I am blessed and humbled.
    Your one line, ” It is hard to live life joyfully in a defensive posture.” speaks volumes~thank you…. I am coming to see and understand just how true that is. As Dan Allender says, the unlikely route to joy requires forfeiting our rigid, self-protective, God-dishonoring ways of relating in order to embrace life as it is meant to be lived: in humble dependence on God and passionate involvement with others!!

    Thank you for reading along and responding!!!

    Like

  4. I’m so blessed by coming across this blog. I found it by looking up the definition of self-contmept. The Holy-Spirit brought that word to my attention, and I had heard it before, but didn’t really know what it meant. Your posting about Self-contempt meets surrender and grace came up. I never knew how much self-contempt I had. It’s unbelievable what ignorance can do to you, and stronghold remain because of this. I grew up in physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and it has done a number on me. I appear to be okay, and have it together, however, I have so much anger and rage that I never knew I had. I’m a wife and mother of 6 beautiful children, and love them dearly, but am paralyzed by this fear of passing on this dysfunction. God has been so gracious to me, and loves me too much, not tobring these things up for me to receive healing for. I will say reading some of your postings have put into words, and allowed breakthroughs of understanding to what it is I’m experiencing. Thanks-Kristina

    Like

  5. Kristina, thank you so much for reading along and for your gracious words. I am truly humbled when someone stumbles upon our blog and it ministers to them.

    I hear you regarding the anger and rage that lies just below the surface, I’ve been there too but there is hope…there is healing!!
    I too know what it is to be paralyzd by the fear of passing on to our children our dysfunction….knowing there was the potential to pass on the very anger that so paralyzed me as a child…but God is good, and gracious in that He gives us the desires of our hearts….when deep down we do not want to be like those who raised us or abused us, when we put ourselves into His care surrendering to His process of healing we find redemption, peace and grace…He doesn’t treat us as one without the hope of change, but He sees us much differently, He sees who we can become!!
    May you continue to surrender as you walk hand in hand with Him, trusting Him every step of the way!!

    Like

  6. There are so many areas that I relate to. Beauty is another. I have always been considered feminine and attractive by some, yet I’ve never been able to enjoy it as I, too, have been bought to trouble by those who recognized my beauty, or at least by those who came forward to express it. From those who really mattered I have not been able to receive it when they have expressed it. My beauty recognized always hurt me. it meant trouble. Now I am finaly married and i cannot handle beauty. I am hiding underneath masses of overweight. I cannot handle being recognized beautiful. If I would be, I would not be able to turn it down, my longing heart would get into trouble again. I know someone else apart from my husband would recognize me. He does not.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s