Beauty from Ashes.

He told me I’m beautiful.

He was the only man I knew who had ever said that to me.

In my adult life, there have been men who had told me I’m very pretty or attractive. That I’m highly date-able, sexy, or even hot (which I don’t exactly consider a compliment, but we’ll save that for some other time).  Here was a man who chose to use a word that went beyond physical appearances – to him, I was beautiful.  Body, mind, and spirit.

It was telling in many ways.  It spoke of a friendship that went beyond the surface – he knew how my mind worked, in whom my soul finds rest, how my spirit endures (or struggles to, at times).  That with all my shortcomings and weaknesses, he believed that the joy of the Lord is my strength.

He knew that calling me beautiful would not change how I thought of him, or what I expected of our friendship.  He spoke it in perfect honesty, with no agendas attached.

He knew some of the pain I’ve gone through, and many of the frustrations.  He knew of my discontent and heard some of my grumblings.  He knew the ugly parts of me, and yet he saw something else.

“You’re still beautiful in Christ,” he said.

People often tell me I’m beautiful during those times when I am broken.  When my heart is grieving, and yet the world sees nothing of the grief.  Those moments when I’ve failed miserably in my own efforts, and Jesus is all I have.  When I cling to him desperately, because no one else understands the hurt that I am going through.  In our quiet moments alone, I weep until my tears run dry.  I empty myself of my sorrows, so that I can face the rest of the world with a smile.  I leave our special place less heavy-hearted, knowing that my cares have been laid at the feet of one who loves me beyond measure.

“You are still beautiful.”

Christ’s love has a way of shining through a broken heart.  The hope we have in Jesus can never be dampened by earthly circumstances – though at times it may come close.  Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

“You are beautiful.”

I wish more women would hear these things from men.  That women would receive these compliments graciously, and not add any more meaning to it (i.e. is he hitting on me?)

I wish men could say these things and not worry if women would take it the wrong way (i.e. she might think I’m into her, and I don’t want to get her hopes up.)

Women need to know they’re beautiful, and not just from other women.  I’ve had countless affirmations of how I look from various women at varying times.  And whilst I value their opinions, it’s different when you hear it from the Y-chromosome-bearing part of the population.  Somehow, you tend to believe it more.

“You’re still beautiful.”  Despite the brokenness, the hurt, and the rejection.  Or perhaps because of it.  In Christ, you are beautiful.

Jeremiah 31:13
Then young women will dance and be glad,

    young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
    I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

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