Abandoned beauty

“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.”  ― Stasi EldredgeCaptivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul

Image by wandering heart, source flickr.com

Image by wandering heart, source flickr.com

Women are made to be beautiful, to possess that beauty and to be enjoyed because they are truly beautiful. A woman’s beauty is made to captivate… as she twirls before her mirror in her plastic tiara as a young girl…she knew this was her destiny. That girl in the mirror knows she is lovely as she does the ‘royal wave’ (insert flat-palm serving motion) floating across her bedroom as her imaginary audience applauds the unveiling of this dazzling beauty. Look at every ‘chick flick’ an see the traces of this romantic notion…’The hero sees her,  is entranced by her beauty, immediately he knows she is worth fighting for, and he will stop at nothing to win her heart’…life has played this same storyline over and over…yet as women we are not bored by this idea. Why? Because this is what we are made for…we are the beauty worth fighting for… we are the beauty created to be gazed upon. Why do you think brides walk down isles? Every eye is on her in that moment…the groom’s eyes are fixated upon her all the way down the isle…in that moment she is the crowning glory of that moment. If you are a woman you know this desire…insert dreamy sigh. We are made to embody the fullness of beauty and the essence of a bride lies deep within the core of our beings…in the end we will be established as an eternal bride to an eternal God who is overwhelmed by our beauty and splendor.

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure… (Revelation 19:7-8)

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. (Isaiah 54:5)

But somewhere along the road of life our beauty was left abandoned…a crushing void left, a question unanswered. Am I worth fighting for? Am I truly beautiful? Left behind with no one to answer the nagging questions about our beauty…leaving our hearts broken and our defenses up high. Allow me to share this tale of my beauty left wanting and now I have to find the answers to a heart left shattered by silence. I think in life there is nothing more scarring than a question left unanswered…it is like a mother in constant search of her missing child…slowly losing hope that he/she will ever return. I found that as my life progressed and I searched for my own worth in all the wrong places…it has only left me scarred and broken…

There is nothing in life that is more damning to a women’s soul than her beauty being questioned…something even more defeating is her beauty left unanswered…her worth left abandoned. Allow me to share my heart in an honest raw manner. I cannot remember the defining moment in my life, but I remember a blur of moments that left my heart ‘hanging’ and my soul crushed. Often I was the ‘not-so-pretty’ girl that was the last choice in the line up of pretty girls…never quite ‘the desired one’. I remember being the friend that was the best friend to everyone, but in the times I desperately needed that reciprocated I was left hanging…that was probably when I began to feel the wound of abandonment. Growing up in a family overwhelmed by problems (like most families)…I had become aware of the need to not be seen or the need to not cause the attention to be drawn to me. I vowed that I would not burden my family with my problems…they has enough of their own…the notion to retreat and avoid started to become a core of who I am. I was an abandoned beauty locked in a tower never to be rescued, because I did not want to burden anyone, to the extent that I negated the idea that I was beautiful all together…I should not be fought for, that would be too much trouble for someone else…besides I am not that enjoyable, lovely or delightful to even bother. I remember a time in my life when I had broken up with my first ever serious boyfriend (the only serious one might I add)… by then I was so broken and scarred that I no longer even questioned anymore…I was vacant in my relationship…taking care of him and not allowing him to care for me. Once we broke up, I had found the answer in the abandonment of my heart again…I was not worth it…I was not beautiful…no one enjoyed me after all…so why would he even fight for me?

However scarring that moment in my life was, it was not the only moment that truly broke me…it was just the last in a long line of many. No, by the time I met said person, I was already marred and I had placed this unrealistic need for an answer upon a man. Men are human and they are fallible…as amazing a husband he might have been…he was human, just like me. So I had gone into this relationship deeply needing him to validate me…surely he was my prince charming right? Surely he would rescue me from the abandonment felt before…no he could not possibly. When all the men that pranced in and sprinted out of my life before left me behind…never took me home…never called me their own. I was left emptier than before. I have kissed many ‘frogs’ in my life…hoping to find the one that might turn into my prince and affirm all that I was seeking…to be found and rescued. Every moment that passed and every encounter…hope disintegrated. Finally when I found this one, it had awakened a hope again…and then nothing…absolutely nothing…but brokenness and loneliness. Like the Samaritan woman I was drinking at a well that was not truly satisfying. Little did I realize that there would only be one who could fully love me, marry my heart and make me whole…never to be abandoned again.

Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them… Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her…And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me My Husband, and no longer will you call me My Baal. For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. (Hosea 2:7-16)

So when life dealt me the final blow I could bare, I became an isolated extrovert. I was everything I ‘should’ be but nothing I was made to be. I became self sufficient. I could do this on my own…I am strong right? Who needs to fall in love and have a prince charming who rescues them. Fairytales are dumb anyway…this became the secret defense of my soul. I am okay…I don’t need anyone…

Until about 3 years ago, when I moved in with my best friend Bianca. Living with her while she was dating her now husband Earl, I began to see how much I longed to captivate someone’s heart the way she captivates Earl’s. The hope once lost was now being aroused…at first I was offended…ugh needing someone is weak. Being weak is not who I am…having him do things for her offended me. Then a year past by and they married…a year later I again for a short while I lived with them (yeah I know looking back it is a weird journey…but so needed for my wounded heart). Living with Bianca and Earl showed me a side to a woman’s heart that deeply needs affirmation of someone other…the need to be found beautiful. Every giggle Bianca gave when Earl told her she was beautiful…was like a groan in my soul being stirred. Before I knew it, I found that I had given up on my own beauty and I had found myself stuck in my tower…instead of letting my hair down to be rescued…I had cut my tressed off. I had silently vowed never to trust again…never to share my heart again and never to allow myself to feel…never again to believe that I could possibly be beautiful.

Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; (Song of Solomon 1:15)

Fast track a few months and here I am… fully aware of my need for restoration. I am awakened again to the childlike need for beauty…I am still that girl twirling my skirt and prancing about in my plastic tiara…wanting to deeply be found delightful. Yet instead of drinking from broken faucets…I am made to drink from the rivers of the Lord’s delight in me. I am alone in this foreign place, all by myself and the wounds of my past are opened…all I can do is allow the Lord to wash my wounds and dress them with his word. All I have right now is the Lord and his truth. There is something about being on your own that causes you to lean into the Lord like never before…I am there and I am clinging and drinking deep until I find that he has filled my parched soul with truth.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light (Psalm 36:7-9)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)

Being awakened to true beauty and redemption has been a path marked with deep brokenness and painful memories…yet in the midst of it all I am finding hope. Hope in the word of the Lord. He is faithful to take the ashes of my past and redeem my worth again. The woman I am now is starting to slowly let go of the past…slowly allowing my heart to feel again and to trust that I beautiful. Each day I find myself being restored by the Lord…bit by bit… and my heart is beginning to live again. Most days I am broken and bruised by my past…it is easy to retreat and become closed off again, but I am seeing glimpses of the Lord’s heart toward me…and slowly I am beginning to find faith that someday I will be fully whole again. I am finding the joy of sharing my heart in the place of secure intimacy. One day when I walk down the isle as someone’s bride…all eyes will be on me, and not only will I see my beauty captivating the man I marry…but I would find that in my soul I know this truth for myself. In that day this abandoned beauty will be no more.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:3-5)

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