Clamoring for beauty

(So maybe mindless babble isn’t my style. Had to turn this into a devotion. grin. )

Meet Linda:

Linda got her hair done last week. Hubby thought he could help alleviate all the emotions that come with aging. She doesn’t age well. Thought she would, back when her skin was smooth as glass, but then came her first sunspot, right on top of her sunken in cheeks.

Yeah, her cheeks have sunken in lately. Comes with the territory of growing old. Funny, ten years ago, a thin face seemed appealing. Everyone wanted high cheekbones, right? But not skeletal high. Now she’s looking to inject a little padding beneath her skin. Maybe a shot of botox. You know, to fight gravity. You may think thirty-five’s too young to worry about gray hair and crows feet, but really, the thirties are the worst! You’re too young to have that crown of glory the Bible talks about but too old to hang with the college crowd. Not that you’d want to. They’d keep you up to late, and you go to bed by ten. Like clockwork. And you still wake up with bags and circles.

So anyway, here she was at the salon, surrounded by all these spring chickens with their smooth skin and round cheeks. Just being there aged her another ten years. At least it looked that way as she and Sandy stood side by side in front of the mirror.

“Is there a cut that can take off ten years?” she asks.

“Short hair always looks youthful. Playful.”

“Will it hide my Neanderthal brow?”

A look of confusion.

“I mean, my beetle brow.”

The girl was lost, like she couldn’t see the massive sun visor hanging over Linda’s eyes.

“You know, that thick bone on my forehead that sends a dark shadow over my cavernous eyes.”

Ahh, now she got it. And yeah, maybe bangs would work, but short was out. Anything shorter than your chin—We’re we talking bangs, here?—was more Neanderthal than her forehead. But maybe if she swept it across her face and over one eye—Did she really need to use both?—maybe they would detract from her brow.

OK, so bangs were out, but at least a shorter cut would hide my massive jaw.

~                   ~                    ~                   ~                    ~

I think everyone over thirty struggles with aging. Our bones start to ache, our energy wanes and we don’t seem to recover from activities and illnesses like we once did. Perhaps these creaks, aches and snaps remind us of the inevitable–that our time on earth is short. But I also think much of our struggles have to do with our worldly, distorted view of beauty. And with television programs like The Real Housewives of New York City, it is easy to get caught up in the glamor and glitz. We see women with smooth skin and tiny waists and want to be just like them. Or so we think. And yet, if we were to take a step back and contemplate what constitutes true beauty, I think we would be surprised.

My daughter is beautiful. There is not a day that goes by that I am not taken aback by her delicate beauty, but it is not her red curly hair and shiny green eyes that catch my attention. It is the softness of her face as she nestles a baby at church, and the gentle way she interacts with the neighbor girl. It is how her cheeks blush red when someone offers her a compliment and the glimmer in her eyes when she watches a bunny rabbit hop across our yard. No, it is not her outward appearance that makes her beautiful. It is her gentle, loving, and at times meek, nature that causes her eyes to shine and her cheeks to glow.

The Bible tells us that charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting. Everyone with grey hair and crows feet can attest to that. But a woman who fears the Lord, is to be praised. (Personalized: Proverbs 31:30) Our outward beauty will last but a moment. Our inner beauty will touch hearts and transform lives, leaving a legacy for generations to come.

So the next time you and I stare in the mirror with wrinkle cream in one hand and hair die in the other, let us remember that our beauty does not come from the outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it comes from our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (Personalized: 1 Peter 3:3-1)

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