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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Beauty is in the Eye of the Creator

Posted by admin in April 16th, 2009
Published in faith, Uncategorized

Pursuing beauty in our nation has become an expensive and somewhat obsessive pastime! Last year Americans (both men and women) spent $10 billion on cosmetics and beauty aids. (Compare that to $956 million back in 1996—a bit of an increase). Also in 2008, 10 million US citizens had elective cosmetic surgery. Of that number, 1 million were men and 200,000 were kids under the age of 18. Cup size tops the charts as most popular…uh…among women of course. Nose jobs are the surgery of choice among dudes. A recent survey shows that in our country, 62% of women and 51% of men believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with plastic surgery. Hey, I’m not judging. I love my hair bleach! I tell folks I’m a natural blond…in my heart.

But beauty is such an ambiguous thing. When I lived in Russia the guys liked chubbies. I had a Russian man tell me, “Teresa, Russian men are not dogs! We do not like bones.” Kind of freaked me out coming from Anorexia Nation. In Africa, well Nigeria at least, in preparation for a bride’s wedding day she is put into a fattening hut for 30 stinking days. She is fed, fed, fed and allowed no exercise. On the day of the wedding she is weighed and if she loses one pound during the first year of marriage her parents have the right to bring her back home and annul the union. What? Yes! While most American brides are starving themselves to fit into a size 0 wedding dress, Nigerian brides are chubbing up.

Mr. Wang (Herald Angel in Some Monitors Are Human) shared with me once that when he first saw his bride-to-be he didn’t think she was beautiful at all. His parents had selected her and he had no choice in the matter. They married. He said, “And as I got to know her I found her beauty changed and she became more and more beautifuler. Now, I can’t believe I ever thought her unattractive. She is most beautiful women in China.” He thought about it for a moment and added, “No! In the world!” And the tears in his eyes told me he meant it.

Beauty is like that. When Daryl and I started dating the more he talked about his burden for the nations, the more he talked about his love for God, the more he expressed his heart for the lost the better looking he became. Today he’s Harrison Ford to me.

When I first moved to Johnson County, Kansas, I wanted to be involved in a women’s Bible study. I went to a few but, all anyone wanted to talk about was Botox and fat-free dressing. One lady cornered me and for about 15 long, painful minutes she went on and on about her discovery of varicose veins on her legs. I almost went into a coma. Seriously.

The Church of all institutions should have a very clear definition of beauty. But followers of Christ, at least here in the States, have allowed Hollywood to determine for us what is beautiful and what is not. It’s strange, because the Church doesn’t allow Hollywood to tell us how to discipline our kids, what our political views should be, we don’t look to Hollywood for our moral and ethical standards, but when it comes to beauty we embrace everything Hollywood tells us about looks. We allow the media to set our standards.

Won’t we all be surprised when we get to heaven and find out that cellulite is a standard of beauty in God’s eyes? How weird will it be for us to get to heaven and find out that cellulite is on every single angel? We’ve gotten so much wrong, why should beauty be an exception? In Jesus’s upside down gospel where the first shall be last, the weak are strong, leaders must be servants, why can’t cellulite be a beauty mark?

Health and fitness are whole other matters. I’m talking about beauty here. What God thinks is lovely. The story of David is a perfect example of how God just simply doesn’t see things the way we do. Samuel was sure any one of Jesse’s other sons should be king. But God chose the little guy—the shepherd boy and said to Samuel, “You look on the outside. I look at the heart.”

Kindness, loving others, gentleness, faith, holiness, putting others first—these should be our real attributes of beauty. My girlfriend Anna was raising three small children and one day was extremely hectic. Two of them had colds, the third felt neglected, they had a late start to the day and she spent the whole afternoon wiping noses, wiping bottoms, cooking, cleaning–going from one emergency to another. When her husband Danny came home she hadn’t showered and hadn’t even gotten out of her pajamas. The evening was over and she fell into bed—no shower, still in the same jammies, exhausted from motherhood and all the day had brought. Daniel snuggled close to her and took in the mothering smells of her day and said, “You’ve never smelled more lovely to me; this is the fragrance of home.” Smelly good.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Corrie ten Boom. I think she’s one of the most beautiful women who ever lived. Christ’s light radiated from her. But she wasn’t small. In fact, with the Southern Baptist’s new weight and measurement restrictions on missionaries, she wouldn’t have qualified to serve with them. A woman missionary cannot have a waist over 34 inches. Sorry Corrie, the size of your waist is more important than the size of your heart.

Solomon’s mom, (Yup! That’s Bathsheba) tells him, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).

Anyone see 47-year-old, bushy eyebrowed, overweight, old maid, never-been-kissed Susan Boyle from Scotland sing on the TV show, Britain’s Got Talent? (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY). Unbelievable. She blew folks away. When she opened her mouth to sing, pure beauty poured forth. The entire audience came to its feet when they realized they were seeing beauty. A reminder to me that beauty can show up sometimes in the most unexpected places, especially when we allow our definition of the word to be changed. Especially when we allow our eyes to be open to what is true beauty. Peace.

4 users Responded In This Post

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mygif
116. big sister said,
April 16th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

i think you are beautiful!

mygif
117. jamie said,
April 17th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I loved seeing Susan Boyle sing. I didn’t happen to catch it until the next morning on a short clip that good morning america played and it made me cry. What a voice! What a beauty! Truly. Good words my sweet T.

mygif
118. jenna said,
April 17th, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I love this one. Thank you Teri.
Hurray for mommies and cellulite!!!!
But really, I can’t think of anything more beautiful than REAL love, love for a child, sister, spouse, brother, mother, father, friend, anyone. Isn’t that what keeps us going? It is for me.

mygif
119. admin said,
April 18th, 2009 at 9:44 am

True Jenna! Real love is beautiful and true beauty is very connected to true love. It is what keep us going. 🙂

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