I have to admit it; I Googled it more than once.
Did she have the baby, yet, I wondered?
And was it a boy or a girl?
And what was she wearing when she made her first appearance, precious, tiny baby-soul in arms, her husband dotingly beside her?
I read an article in passing-- something about how she plans to regain her figure as soon as possible after having the baby, what she uses to prevent stretch marks, how she styles her hair so flawlessly, has such keen fashion sense...
We can become caught up in things like this-- lives of famous people, lives of "beautiful" people, because they intrigue us, because they seem somehow "other" than us, because we just can't envision ourselves without swollen ankles a few hours after delivering a baby, because maybe we gained just a few too many pounds, because maybe we're genetically prone to stretchmarks even if we didn't...
And all of these things have been swirling in my mind, in between the taking care and the nurturing and the loving my two babies-- a two-and-a-half-year-old and an 11-month-old--
And I have to confess-- that I marveled a moment and thought, "How does she look so "together" right after having a baby?"
Soon after, this thought came, too-- all of that, all of the perfection and the smooth hair and the flawless skin and the straight teeth and the attentive husband gives an appearance of beauty--
But real beauty goes deeper, goes beyond-- all of these external things that fascinate us and that hold our attention for a moment.
What is real beauty?
And immediately the image of the 21 men in orange suits came into my mind... the image of them kneeling on the beach, each one's lives taken for the sake of the cross of Jesus.
Real beauty is a cross.
And real beauty is taking up His cross daily, no matter the cost to ourselves.
Real beauty is serving; real beauty is sacrificing and laying aside our own interests for the interests of others.
Real beauty isn't about being in the spotlight, but in the shadows, pointing to Christ, decreasing that He may become more.
Real beauty is worn hands from serving and washing dishes and washing clothing and washing babies-- the heavy, humbling work of love.
Real beauty is worn knees from praying and pleading and surrendering before the throne of grace.
And real beauty isn't perfume and makeup and tailored clothing and toned arms and tanned legs.
Real beauty is the nail-scarred hands of Jesus, taking our sin upon His shoulders.
Real beauty isn't a crown of gold, but a crown of thorns--a crown of surrender, of suffering, of dying--so that others may live.
Real beauty is the missionary who has given his life to become "lost" in the eyes of this world, to be found by disease, hardship, pain and sacrifice. To suffer the loss of all things in order to gain what cannot be lost.
Real beauty is pain that is transformed to glory by the grace of Christ.
Real beauty is Kara Tippetts and her long struggle to finally be made whole on the arms of Jesus.
Real beauty is suffering that is transformed into thankfulness, the joy that is hushed and bold and real and unshakable.
Real beauty is a cross.
Real beauty is Jesus.
We look at the things of this world, the things of this life,
And we marvel at their sparkle and their shine and their glow.
These things will fade, leave us wanting, grasping at something that slips through our fingers, even though we lace them tightly together.
We can't hold on to youth, or wealth, or fame, or strength.
It's when we relinquish all of these things into the loving, nail-scarred hands of Jesus that we gain life.
Through death that we live.
Through suffering that we are sanctified.
We embrace Christ.
And in embracing, find real Beauty and live.
You might find me on these link-ups:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, Inspire Me Monday, The Modest Mom, What Joy is Mine, SDG Gathering, A Mama's Story, Mom's the Word, Rich Faith Rising, Time Warp Wife, Cornerstone Confessions, Mom's Morning Coffee, Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays, So Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every Season, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony Tuesday, Tell His Story, A Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Messy Marriage, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Theology Thursdays, Children Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Thought Provoking Thursday, Every Day Jesus, Count My Blessings, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul Survival, Good Morning Mondays, The Weekend Brew, Blessing Counters Link Party, The HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link Up, Grace and Truth Linkup, Faith Filled Friday, Saturday Soiree Blog Party, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, SHINE Blog Hop, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Motivate and Rejuvenate Monday Link-Up, A Little R&R Wednesdays. TGI Saturdays Blog Hop. Totally Terrific Tuesday