Monday, May 11, 2015

Beauty is a Cross





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. 

They fade.

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 EarthInspire Me MondayThe Modest MomWhat 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 MondaysSo Much at Home, Raising Homemakers, Hope in Every SeasonA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries, Whole-Hearted Home, Testimony TuesdayTell His StoryA Soft Gentle Voice, My Daily Walk in His Grace, Women With Intention WednesdaysMessy Marriage, The Charm of Home, Graced Simplicity, Theology ThursdaysChildren Are A Blessing, Mittenstate Sheep and Wool, Imparting Grace, Preparedness Mama, A Look at the Book, Essential Thing Devotions, Thought Provoking ThursdayEvery Day JesusCount My Blessings, Christian Mommy Blogger, Renewed Daily, Soul SurvivalGood Morning MondaysThe Weekend BrewBlessing Counters Link PartyThe HomeAcre HopMommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridaySaturday Soiree Blog PartyTell It To Me TuesdaysSHINE Blog Hop, Faith and  Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate Monday Link-UpA Little R&R WednesdaysTGI Saturdays Blog HopTotally Terrific Tuesday

56 comments:

  1. Beautiful blog. Yes these are what real beauty is. You nailed it! He is our beautiful Savior.

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    1. Thank you Debbie; yes, He is beautiful! Have a wonderful week! :-)

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  2. The cross truly is beautiful! Not the splintery wood, but what was accomplished by the blood that was shed by Jesus on that cross. Because of that sacrifice, He makes our lives beautiful as we yield ourselves to Him. Great post Rebekah. Have a wonderful week! Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane! Have a wonderful week, too! :-)

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  3. This is precious. Such important reminders for us to refocus our eyes to the source of all beauty.

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    1. Thank you, Amy . . . I always need to be reminded of these things, because I lose my focus so easily--the world is so alluring at times--but He IS the source of beauty, as you said . . . He is the beautiful One. God bless you, Amy!

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  4. As we get out our summer clothes, as we lament our pale winter legs, and wonder why we don't look "just right," your post is a valuable reminder of the path to true beauty. I'm your neighbor today at Motivate and Rejuvenate.

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    1. Thank you for those words, Michele . . . you are right; true beauty is found through Him--through identifying with Him. Thank you for visiting; have a blessed week!

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  5. Amen! Real beauty is our Lord and His love... Thank you so much for writing this - it's a much-needed reminder to a world chasing after a wrong perception of beauty... God bless...

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    1. You're welcome, Lois; God bless you, also!

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  6. Beautifully spoken. That is all. Thank you!

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    1. Dede, thank you for visiting; God bless you!

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  7. Beautiful words written. May we remember how we look to Him, and not how we look to others. Looks are so deceiving. He sees our heart like an open book, and may we never forget that indeed it is what is in our heart that matters most. Thank you for a beautiful reminder that we don't have to be "beautiful" by the world's standards, to be beautiful in HIS sight. :)

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    1. Yes; you are so right . . . "we don't have to be "beautiful" by the world's standards, to be beautiful in HIS sight. :)"--so very, very true! Have a blessed week!

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  8. Such beautiful words. Real beauty is cross. That is so true!

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    1. Thank you, Joanna! I'm glad that you visited; have a blessed week!

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  9. Wonderful description of what real beauty is!! I just love this. I enjoyed reading this as a start to my day. :)

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    1. Thank you, Emily! I'm glad that you stopped here; have a wonderful week!

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  10. LOVED this line in particular: "Real beauty is suffering that is transformed into thankfulness, the joy that is hushed and bold and real and unshakable." The whole thing was such a great reminder. The tabloids are in our faces every day. But real beauty is not found there. Thank you! Blessings from "Espressos of Faith" via #SoMuchatHome!

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    1. You're welcome, Bonnie; I'm glad that you stopped here! Blessings to you, also!

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  11. So true, Rebekah! Our society is obsessed with outward beauty and I have to say it impacts my decisions every single day--all day long at times. But I was wondering just the other day what God sees in me--in all of us. And I'm not talking about the outward body, but the soul. He sees that and I wonder if what He sees is beautiful. Like I could stand next to the most beautiful person in the world and if their heart was ugly, He might see me as more beautiful. That's a lovely thought for "me" at least--that in God's mysterious way He sees what is true beauty when we cannot. Thought provoking and profound words, my friend!

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    1. Thank you, Beth, for those words of encouragement; I love how you said it, "He sees what is true beauty when we cannot." Thank you for visiting; God bless you!

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  12. Beautiful!!! Sharing this on facebook!!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Katy! The Lord bless you! :-)

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  13. Yes and Amen. Beauty is my Jesus and all who seek to follow after Him with reckless abandon.

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    1. Yes; so true, Lyli--beauty is Jesus . . . thank you for stopping here today!

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  14. Such inspiring words, and so true. Thank you for reminding me where real beauty lies.

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    1. Gayle, thank you for your encouragement and for stopping by; God bless you!

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  15. Wrote a post very similar to this on Monday, Rebekah. (It was called Quiet Beauty.) But I totally understand where you are coming from-- because I found myself comparing my "beauty" with "hers" right after she birthed her son...

    But really, beauty is SO much deeper-- it is in the heart. Thanks for sharing this truth. Bless you.

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    1. Yes, you are so right, Sharita . . . beauty is so much deeper . . . God bless you, also!

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  16. Interesting thoughts on beauty!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Jenny; God bless you!

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  17. Lovely post, Rebekah. And how timely for me as I have been lamenting aging skin, varicose veins and the like! How much time we can waste trying to measure up to the world's idea of beauty when we should be devoting more time to knowing the One who can make our heart and actions beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, Heather . . . I love your words/perspective here: "How much time we can waste trying to measure up to the world's idea of beauty when we should be devoting more time to knowing the One who can make our heart and actions beautiful." This is so very, very true. Thank you for stopping by and for your encouragement.

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  18. Such a beautiful post with such true words. Recently Isaiah 40:8 has been on my heart and it says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Thank you for sharing, ~Sarah (visiting from Radical Femininity)

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Sarah . . . Isaiah 40:8 is a beautiful verse, and beautiful because it is true. Thank you for stopping by here and for your encouraging words . . . God bless you!

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  19. Good word about the kind of beauty that doesn't fade away!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth; God bless you!

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  20. What a beautiful post. Beauty is in the cross and all of these things you've shared are so true.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer; I hope that you have a lovely weekend, too! :-)

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  21. "real beauty is taking up His cross daily" love this line. Lovely post.

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    1. Thank you, Betty; I'm glad that you stopped by!

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  22. Beautiful post! I love everything about it. Your images of real beauty are found in the cross and our life lived for Jesus. Thank you for sharing this at The Weekend Brew.

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    1. Thank you, Mary! God bless you; have a wonderful weekend!

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  23. Just beautiful Rebekah, thank you for sharing what real beauty is at Good Morning Mondays and thank you so much for the reminder. Blessings

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    1. You're welcome, Terri; blessings to you, also! :-)

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  24. Rebekah ... just gazing at your header ... a beautiful way to end this weekend. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Linda! God bless you; have a wonderful week! :-)

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  25. Real beauty is so much that is not of this world. And the Cross is certainly not anything that the world wants. But I do and I am grateful that so many others do as well.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda @Being Woven

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    1. Yes, Linda, so true . . . the things that are beautiful are the things of Him . . . God bless you and cause His face to shine upon you.

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  26. Amen and Amen. It's so easy to get caught up in the world pursuit of beauty. But the older I grow, the more I realize that the only 'real' beauty is in Jesus.

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    1. Yes; so true! It is so easy to lose focus --there are so many distractions--only when my eyes are fixed on the Lord do I really behold what is truly beautiful.Thank you for visiting; have a blessed week!

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  27. Beautiful words! Thanks for linking up at Women With Intention Wednesdays! I look forward to what you will be sharing this week!

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    1. Thank you, Jenny; God bless you! :-)

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  28. Beautiful post! I so appreciated this and I thank you for linking it with us at Grace & Truth!

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    1. Thank you, Holly; God bless you--have a wonderful weekend! :-)

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