He asks me everyday if anyone said I was beautiful. He asks again tonight.
It’s a Saturday evening and we are home from the banquet. My sequins silver dress is back hanging in the closet. And my back is to him, so he can’t see the swell of emotion in my eyes. I shrug, think of a few faces that offered sweet words. Still I didn’t believe a single one.
After almost three and a half decades, I still wear ugly under all my pretty clothes.
His arms circle my waist, and his breath moves down my neck. “Even your back is beautiful.” I feel his face break into a smile. And relief fills my lungs with fresh air. Because beauty is seen best from behind.
It’s the hind parts of God that filled the place with glory, and all of our places too.
And looking back is how the heart remembers what is really beautiful–God passing by in all of our ugly moments.
It’s not the faces, or painted eyelashes; not the foundation and dusted cheeks. It’s not the sparkling, highlighted tresses hanging off the shoulders or the perfectly penciled eyebrows. It’s not the face at all that fills a place with splendor.
It’s when His glory covers the grime; when grace is the garment we wear. It’s when He asks, “why are you hiding?” And we realize how naked and ashamed our sin makes us appear without Him.
Don’t misunderstand me: I don’t entirely avoid mirrors. I just don’t depend on them. Because they don’t see deep enough. And sweet words from strangers don’t make beautiful garments like His Word covering me.
If only I could hide in that cleft of rock long enough to keep gaze on His glory–get right what beauty is. Because, the feeling of ugly is always a condition of not understanding that Beauty lives within.
And hearing this old Stevie Wonder song. And my God singing over me:
Isn’t she lovely;
Isn’t she wonderful;
Isn’t she precious…
But, isn’t she lovely made from Love!
Yes, made from love…and each of us are made beautiful in His sight.