So many wonderful thoughts filled my mind and flooded my heart on the drive home from taking Noah to school this morning and I am going to try to weave them together in meaningful form to share with you…
I’m writing as a woman. In a world where women are ever confused over their roles, their value, and their worth, it is hard to be a woman. I’ve struggled with most everything women struggle with from feeling less than others, trying to measure up, wanting to be accepted, unsure of where I belong, yet God in His gracious goodness has placed older women in my path to be examples, to clear up the confusion and shine light into the darkness where I found myself lost.
I think, innately, women desire to be seen as beautiful. Most desire marriage and to be loved as the special other in the life of a man who will adore her with unfailing faith. How to achieve this seems to be such a confusing matter, especially now, in a world where marriage is becoming a devalued institution and women are being led to believe they don’t need it nor should they desire it. How dreadfully sad that something intended by God to be one of His most precious gifts, to live “as being heirs together of the grace of life” (1Peter 3:7) would be devalued and tossed aside.
One particular woman was placed in my life when I was quite young. She watched me struggle, she watched me fail, no doubt she prayed I would grow…She never corrected me with her words nor judged me for my wrong choice. She simply loved and lived out an example of true beauty. She was a wife but was never able to bear children through her body. God only knows how many she bore through her heart. I, for sure, was one of them.
She was modest in apparel, always neat and tidy, worked quietly and so diligently with her hands. Her husband owned a business and she worked with him, up early in the mornings, by his side throughout the day, and was last to bed at night after caring for her home, her family, neighbors and friends. She was never a person to want to draw attention to herself. Always beautiful, though, slipping quietly in among others; helping, serving, loving and caring without fail. When there was need, she was there.
She helped me care for Heather all the years of her growing up. Both keeping her for me to go to school and to work, but even more importantly, she prayed. Of this, I am certain.
I often wondered how she did all that she did. She is a cancer survivor, a widow too now, and yet the powerful presence of love she exudes has never waned. Scripture came to mind this morning as I was thankfully remembering her great and profound impact on my life that reminds me why her life has had such meaning, depth, and love. “And Jesus said, “Somebody hath touched Me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luke 8:46) This precious woman whose life has so deeply touched my own first touched the Lord. It is from what she received of Him that she was able to pour out into the lives of others. It was His beauty that adorned her, a beauty, the only beauty, that will never fade. From the unending wellspring of His goodness and strength she drew, to be able to give to those around her in ways that would do no harm, only good, and would encourage, strengthen and bless all their days.
Our lives are no longer connected by regular conversations or visits, but they are joined by something far more powerful, unbreakable, and pure. She taught me what it means to be modest, to be beautiful with a beauty that will never fade. For this, I am forever grateful.
I am now about the age she was when our lives became intertwined. I find myself enjoying the things she enjoyed and remembering her…
As I sit with young women who are now the age I was when I began to observe her life, I pray I can show them what she has shown me, what genuine and lasting beauty really is. “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Strength and honor are her clothing; She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread idleness. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (from Proverbs 31)
One of my favorite psalms mentions the kind of beauty I desire… “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalm 90:17) When God ordains the work of our hands and it is His beauty that rests on us, nothing can diminish it, it will not fade, and it will bring glory to The One who deserves all honor and praise.
For all the precious young women who struggle in this difficult age, remember that God has not changed, His ways are best, they are bountifully prosperous. In Him we find refuge from every storm in life. In Him we find gifts of which we cannot be robbed. Look for the life He has planned for you and wait patiently on Him. Adorn yourself modestly as you seek a husband to be a joint heir of the grace of life with you. Let him see God’s beauty upon you, not the fading beauty offered by this world. What God gives endures and only grows more beautiful and precious with the passing of time.