Tag Archives: Creation

15. true beauty

Beauty

Google the word and you get tons of images of models. Some dressed to the nines on the red carpet. Others showcasing the latest make-up trends (personal favorite of mine since I like to “dress-up” my eyes). A few are flaunting gorgeous hair.

After it’s all said and done and the airbrush and photo software is closed down for the day, you’re left with a perfectly normal person…who hasn’t had her body altered or “puffed up” in effort to make her more beautiful.

She is beautiful.

Just. As. She. Is.

A few weeks ago, this video made the news: a time-lapsed transformation of one model. That video has been all the rage and rightly so: It isn’t real. Make-up does the same thing (minus the photo-shop).

That is not the beauty I’m thankful for.

Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.
Psalm 45.11

I’m talking about the beauty of creation, the beauty that illuminates a person from the inside out, the greatest masterpiece he’s ever creation (you and me) and the beauty that can stem from the ashes of a lost life…the only beauty God supplies.

ColoradoHave you ever watched the sun set or rise, stood at the base of mountain or walked through a state park during the peak colors of autumn? I have and am still left in awe and wonder at the memory (or even the site since the latter is still fresh in my mind…just look to the right).

All of those things are reminders that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19.1). God is a great artist; there is no question about it.

But God’s greatest masterpiece isn’t some of the sunsets you may have had the privilege of seeing orFall Beauty the Rockies (as spectacular as they are), or the islands of Hawaii and Tahiti (as gorgeous and beautiful as they can be).

God’s greatest masterpiece of all creation is you. It’s me. Humanity is God’s greatest masterpiece.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2.10

The word “handiwork” could be translated “we are His work of art.” We are his poem; God’s masterpiece.

Man is God’s greatest creation. Man is his crowning masterpiece.

Psalm 139 declares this:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (vs. 13.14)

And God has a plan for his beautiful creation:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1.5

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter3.3-4

That’s what God wants to do for you.

That’s what God wants to do for me.

If he were to reveal exactly how much he loves you and me today, we would be overwhelmed. It would be devastating to think of the love He has for us in light of the way we behave sometimes.

And that’s where His Spirit comes in. As overwhelming as that can be some days, His Spirit is our glimpse into the future glory we will one day share with Jesus. It’s kind of like a down payment.

I’ve always been a fan of nature and can easily see the beauty in others, but when it comes to me, not so much. I am my own worst critic and when I’m not feeling particularly beautiful, my opinion of myself can sometimes get downright ugly.

When I look at my life, I don’t necessarily see rhythm, order, or beauty. I see chaos, flaws, and a lack of perfection. I see things that need to change; parts of myself that I hate.

Enter in the comparison battle most of us face:

Why can’t my legs look like hers?

I wish my eyes were bluer.

I wish I could get my hair to curl that way.

Can I even attain a somewhat agile athletic body like the girl on the treadmill next to mine? Maybe, if I work a little harder.

It can also swing the other way, to talents and giftings rather than the physical:

I wish my prayer life were more like Jane’s.

I wish I played like him.

I wish my voice could do that.

I should volunteer more. Jenny’s life seems so much fuller with the things that she does.

Why can’t I lead like John does?

Not to mention the fact that I used to seek out words of affirmation in those areas.

I have been learning that I don’t need those opinions or statements to get out of bed in the morning. God’s opinion is the only one that matters and as long as I see myself through his eyes and lean into his opinion of me, my self-depreciation doesn’t stand a chance. I still have my off days, but I’ve been learning to humbly love myself even more and that’s all due to God’s Spirit dwelling within me.

He says, “You are my work of art. You are my masterpiece.”

He’s looking at me and he alone sees what I will become. And boy, has he been changing, shaping and challenging me to grow from the inside out. He’s making all things new and has been in that line of work since the dawn of creation.

In the last two years, I’ve dropped a chunk of weight and have kept it off. My energy levels are that of a person in her late 20s, and on some days, I feel younger. My feet don’t ache at the end of a long day (perks of not working in retail or the food industry). I’m a size smaller than I was when I graduated high school. I’m happy with my curves and overall, I love my body for what it can do. It is God’s magnificent creation and He gave it to me. I simply have to be a good steward of it and take care of by being active and nourishing it with healthy food. And I love my hair, bad hair days and all. They’ve actually become quite the amusement factor during my morning routine and I’ve learned to enjoy find a little humor in the situation. God loves humor too, you know.

I’m learning to love and adore the woman I am becoming. I pray for a gentle and quiet spirit and the heart of a Proverbs 31 woman.

As I like to put it, I’m a W.I.P. (a “Work in Progress”). We all bear that sign and it’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take all of your life here on Earth and will not be completed until Jesus either calls you home or returns to take you there.

Once you get there, you’ll see the whole picture. All of this will make sense. You can even look back over your life to where you started and where you are now and situations that didn’t make sense at the time make sense now.

So that’s why God brought me through that season…I get it now!

This is one truth I’ve been learning to embrace – to see myself the way my Father sees me:

I

Am

Beautiful

I am His

So are you.

beauty

The Carpenter

“…He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary…” Mark 6:3

When Jesus started His ministry, it was difficult for people to see Him as anything more than a carpenter. His family, neighbors and friends watched Him grow up making and fixing things. “Jesus the Rabbi” took a little getting used to.

Being a carpenter was simply His earthly occupation which prepared Him for His ministry. He spent those three years fixing the broken.

“Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Mark 2:17 NLT

We are all living the consequences of the sin cycle, whether be that of our own or someone else. It’s the unpleasant affect of The Fall. Life on this side of Eden carries pain and suffering. We all are broken. Whether it be the outcome of a failed relationship, lost opportunities or the death of a loved one, it happens to all of us. If you choose to care about anything in this life, it’s a guarantee that your heart will be broken.

Sometimes, when I’m in the midst of working through my brokenness, I feel that I need to shout it out to God, just so He’ll hear me.

Thing is, He doesn’t work like that. He sees it; the construction zones and demolished areas in my heart, but He doesn’t look for a detour around them. He dives right in there and inspects the damage. He points areas that were eaten away by an infestation of sin. He carefully looks at the places where you tried to fix it yourself. He tears down to build back up, and He goes the extra step to make it better and stronger than it was before. By the time He’s finished, every detail down to the last nail is accounted for and in its proper place. God does thorough work.

The Bible isn’t clear whether Jesus did any carpentry work after His ministry began, but He did spend the remainder of His time on earth and still does through His Spirit fixing the brokenness of humanity. A carpenter is a beautiful picture of breaking, molding, hewing and fixing what is broken…replacing the old and ruined with the new. God is offering you a chance today to let Him in to your disaster zone. Trust His skilled and steady hand. Before long, He’ll unveil His handiwork and in place of the brokenness and the ugly, you will see the beauty He sees when Love (He) looks at you.

Week 50: The Great Architect

I had plugged my iPod into the radio converter I purchased a few months back in an attempt to save money and space on burning multiple CDs, opting to listen to a steady stream of music without the ads, news or other tidbits of sometimes useless information during a brief 30 minute trip back to downtown from Blaine, Minnesota. I rounded a curve on I-94S and the skyline of downtown Minneapolis came into view, leaving me breathless, as it usually does. The road lay before me, leading into this man-made wonder.

Just as I approached the fourth street exit, a song by Owl City came on…a one man band from this very part of the state: Designer Skyline. I couldn’t help but smile and be awed by the ideas and level of creativity that God has given man.

Affection, the gifted architect
Is making a draft and beautiful design
The options and possibilities
Are endless when we connect and re-align…
Until I’m convinced these plans are picturesque
Like the mountains in the Midwest…

A city sparkles in the night
How can it glow so bright?
The neighborhoods surround the soft florescent light
Designer skyline in my head
Abstract and still well-read
You went from numbered lines to buildings overhead.

I sometimes wonder if Adam Young (the voice behind Owl City) wrote that last part about the Minneapolis skyline. Granted, the skylines of San Francisco and New York City are gorgeous too…but it pales in comparison to Minneapolis (at least in my humble opinion).

God created all that we see. He created you and… He created me. On His creation, enabled through Christ, He bestows His unfailing love affectionately. God is the Great Architect. He started with Creation, followed it up with the flood (I firmly believe that this is where the mountains and the Grand Canyon came from – just to name a few wonders on this terrestrial planet) and He continues, with each changing season. He gives ideas to men, who then work to create such wonderful masterpieces, from David by Michelangelo to the art at the Walker Art Museum, the works in the Sculpture Garden to the downtown skyline, the Statue of Liberty to the monument in DC…the list is endless.

We serve an amazing, creative God. How majestic is He!

Psalm 8 NLT

O LORD, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
to tell of Your strength,
silencing Your enemies
and all who oppose You.

When I look at the night sky and see the works of Your fingers –
the moon and the stars You set in place –
what are mere mortals that You should think about them,
human beings that You should care for them?
Yet You made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything You made,
putting all things under their authority –
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds of the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims in the ocean currents.

O LORD, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth!