How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful!
Several years ago I began getting my hair braided in cornrows. The joy of not having to concern myself with how to care for and maintain my hair during the summer months was intoxicating! Besides the freedom from maintaining my hair and looking “presentable” regardless of the outside temperature, I didn’t have to get perms, which frequently set my scalp on fire. What a relief!!
Our choir was preparing all summer for its 30th anniversary celebration, and since I was relatively new to the choir, I was really looking forward to the concert. I felt particularly close to the founder/director and his wife as well as many former members, who had long-ago moved on. There was a full weekend planned for this event and I did not want to miss any of it.
In making preparations for the upcoming weekend it was time to come out of my braids and so several days before the weekend, I found a stylist who did a great job of relaxing, cutting and styling my hair. When I came home from my appointment, my husband, David, remarked how beautiful I looked. He tells me that daily and so I immediately discounted and dismissed his compliment.
Friday night, we gathered to have dinner and the final rehearsal. Members from years past had come, and we were enjoying a great time of fellowship. When I got in line for the meal, one of the choir members asked me if I had on a wig. When I said no, she said, “I love your hair and you look so beautiful!” I sheepishly said thanks and immediately discounted her compliment, thinking, “Well, it’s been a while since she last saw my hair.” I promptly forgot about her comment.
Getting dressed for church the next morning, in keeping with the request of the choir, I chose a black dress, which happened to be David’s favorite dress. Once again, he exclaimed, “You look so beautiful!” I was able to discount his comment, for after all, it was his favorite dress!! As the choir gathered together to prepare to sing for the church service, one long-time member approached and asked if he could take a picture of me because I looked so beautiful.
After church we had dinner, and as I spoke to various church members, working my way back to the fellowship hall, a woman came up to me. She told me that she watched throughout the church service and especially when the choir stood to sing. She said “You look so beautiful!” I said weakly, “thanks” and found my way to David. As we stepped into a serving line, I hugged the woman in line in front of us and we exchanged pleasantries. She then said “You look so beautiful.” By the time we reached a table to eat, another person approached me and said….yes, you guessed it: “You look beautiful.” I spotted one of my favorite church friends across the dining area and thought that she was too far away to greet. I would save my greetings for another time. Much to my surprise, she made her way to me. Smiling as she approached, she apologized for interrupting my eating but wanted to tell me that when she saw me she thought, “she looks so beautiful and she just had to come and tell me. “ I graciously thanked her, all the time thinking to myself “what is going on here?!!” We exchanged a few more pleasantries and she moved on. As I returned to my now cold food, I remarked to David, “I don’t understand what is going on,” promising to talk more about it with him as soon as I could.
Although David has been close or by my side as these words of affirmation were repeatedly spoken to me, I couldn’t wait to share with him the impact they had on me. Words stumbled out as we made our way across town to the church where the concert was to be held. I described what it was like to be on the receiving end of all of these compliments. It seemed to me that there was a script being passed around with everyone reading the same line “You are so beautiful,” without the slightest variance!
Upon arrival at the church the reading of the “script” continued. By the time the concert started, three other people read the same script to me. As we sang, I am sure of only one thing-the angels joined their voices with ours as the choir received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the concert.
Although I was tired after a full day, David and I returned to a reception that rounded out the weekend back at our home church. A young woman, busy assisting with the reception, asked me to please find her prior to leaving. I assured her that I would. After a short time of mingling with the friends of the choir who gathered with us, as promised, I sought out the young lady. She took me aside from the bustle of the kitchen and began by saying how much she admired me. She wanted to make sure that I knew how beautiful I looked. I politely thanked her as I chuckled to myself about the fact that there was a slight variation to the script, “You are so beautiful!”
Exhausted after such a full and emotional day, I don’t remember much after my head hit the pillow. The next morning while lying in bed, David and I reminisced about how wonderful the previous day had been. David shared that during the night he thought of what my experience had been. He knew from my history that my dad had never complimented me about anything, let alone my beauty. He also knew that I had difficulty hearing from him how beautiful he thought I am. It occurred to him that God had planned this experience just to let me know that He thinks I am so beautiful. Since it had been spoken by so many voices at different times throughout the weekend, there would be not way to dismiss them all. As I pondered these thoughts, I was so touched that I began to cry. David held me and asked if we could pray that God would heal me and help me to agree with Him about the truth that I am indeed beautiful. After we prayed, and went about our morning tasks, I felt so free and indeed beautiful.
I had a meeting scheduled with some young teenaged girls at church later that morning. I sang with music on my IPod all the way to church. Several mothers were still in the parking lot when I pulled up in the church parking lot. I walked over to greet them. All of us agreed that the weekend and the concert were wonderful. “Reading” from the script, one of the mothers then said to me that she didn’t get close enough to me the day before, but she wanted me to know that, “You looked so beautiful!” I smiled to myself as I imagined God affectionately smiling at me, giving me an exclamation point on how He saw me.
Why would God go to such great lengths to tell me that I am beautiful? Like many of you, I had never received affirmation of any kind growing up. I thought that my husband was crazy when he first told me that he thought I was precious. In fact, I stayed up all night after our telephone call, wondering why he thought that. All compliments about my looks were met the same disdain. It has been a journey for me for to even rest in David’s affirmation and love. In fact, we had been married for fifteen years before my heart could really rest in the truth of his love for me. However, knowing I am loved and thinking that I am beautiful were two different challenges.
1Peter 3:4 describes beauty as that which comes from within- “enduring charm of a gentle, tender spirit which in God’s sight is priceless.” Today, it is a great blessing that while I earnestly seek inner beauty, God has seen fit to affirm my external beauty as well.
Please use this glimpse of my heart to receive the truth that God knows your heart’s needs, and that He loves you more than you could ever know. Outer beauty is a reflection of His indwelling presence. If you would like more information about how to experience God’s healing for yourself, please go to Products and look over resources available, designed to assist you in experiencing the love of God!