Today I am reminded of women I have known throughout my life who stood out amongst other women. Why? These women were beautiful and exquisite: they were rarities. The women I am speaking of would not necessarily have lived up to the standard of “Vogue” magazine or the height of a model, but oh, let me tell you, they were exceptional beauties just the same. The reason I am reminded of these women is today one woman in particular would have been 94 years of age had she lived. It was my Grandmother, better known as Granny Ruth. And she truly was one of those gems, for she lived her life with an aura of Godly beauty.
It was about a year ago I began an adventure, a purposeful exploration, if you will, to try to grab hold of the beauty of being a child of God. Even though I had walked with the Lord since I was very young, I had difficulty accepting the concept of seeing my own beauty. Or more specifically, I was ready and more than willing to finally come to terms with His revelation of what He wanted to show me. My worth and my value as seen through the eyes of my Lord, a new perspective, a journey He was pushing me forward to take. I was ready to be a Woman of God based on His terms and standards alone.
This journey began to unfold as I considered and remembered the many women I had met in my life. What I came to realize, is that I had rarely met or even seen someone of true beauty. I’d seen the world’s standard of beauty on billboards and magazine covers my entire life. And admittedly, because of my personal bias and love for them, I truly believe my daughters, daughter-in-laws, and grand-daughters are gorgeous. But excluding these family exceptions, I’m speaking of a different kind of beauty. This beauty is one that is seasoned, one that has the quality of a precious gem or stone, one that understands the depth of 2 Peter 1:23 “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”
I have witnessed this beauty only a few times in my life. This type of beauty came from ladies who may not have gotten a second glance as they were walking down the street, but they were intriguing just the same. There was a draw, an attraction of light, some would call it a radiance about them that I found appealing. I couldn’t help but want to spend time with them, and I noticed others did too. Listening to their stories you could capture their depth of character, their core strength and values that came through in their very presence. It was inviting. Their distinguishing beauty and alluring radiance was hard to duplicate; but oh how I wanted to try. Because of that draw, that depth of appeal, and yes even that intrigue: I found myself listening to their stories and asking questions. I wanted to hear about their hardships, I wanted to hear about their joys. I particularly wanted to hear what it was in their life that gave them the courage to overcome the darkest of circumstances. For what these women had in common was they were survivors. They came through heartaches with one core strength and value that never changed, never wavered, and certainly was bigger than any circumstance. It was that they had faith in their Lord! They still, no matter what adversity was on their path, held very tightly to their Lord’s hand. And because of this, because they still had a childlike sparkle in their eye when they told their stories, to me they were beautiful. They held firmly to the belief that nothing happened in life that they could not endure. Why? Because their Lord was just that…“Their Lord.” How intimate, personal, and unique was each of these women’s stories yet the foundation, on which they based their glow, was that they were saved by the same Savior. To me, this is what made these women strong, and so beautiful.
They still had a childlike sparkle in their eye when they told their stories!
Why is this so important today? Because as I continue to get older I don’t want to waste another minute. I want to grab even tighter to the hand that invigorates this same radiance of strength as I saw in these women: As I saw in my Grandmother. It is what makes for a crazy life, but it is a fantastic finish to a great story. These women did not have easy lives of Wine and Roses. In fact, they often had some thistles and thorns to go through. Yet, when you listen to their stories, you will hear about the Roses tucked in with those thorns, and the wine as the celebrations after some of those hardships. They never stopped having hardships, but they celebrated the joy-filled milestones too. They continued to use all of their life as a blessing for others. How? As they were willing to open up and let others, including me, see what real, true, eternal beauty looks like. And what they may not have even realized at the time, was that by their reflected beauty, this allowed me to see another attribute of my Lord. He loves us so much that even in the darkest of places He will never, ever let us go. Thankfully, He also allows us gifts to pass from one generation to the next, Grandmother to Grand-daughter.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Proverbs 31:25-26 (NLT)