“….Now the young woman was beautiful of form and face, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.” Esther 2:7b
How often we read in Scripture that a woman was very beautiful…Sari, Rebekah, Rachel, Bathsheba, and Job’s daughters, are a few such examples.
We also read in Scripture of a woman who was not physically beautiful: Leah, Jacob’s first wife. “Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance” Genesis 29:17.
I wonder how many times Leah or Esther looked at her reflection and wished she was different. Leah, perhaps longed to be pretty, so she would be loved. And Esther may have wished that she was not so beautiful and therefore not forced into marriage with a pagan king.
Yet, it is God who created both women to look exactly as they were meant to look “for such a time as this” Esther 4:13-14.
As I reflect on God’s complete sovereignty over every detail of His creation, I am assured that Esther was not beautiful by chance, but created by God to fulfill the exact purpose He had planned for her life. Had Esther not have been stunning in her appearance, she would not have entered the courts of the King. Not only did she enter the king’s courts, but it is evident that she also took his heart by storm. As a result of having the affections of the king, Esther was empowered to respectfully appeal to her husband king, resulting in the redemption of her people from slaughter. Esther’s beauty was crucial in the design God had ordained for her life.
And like Esther, God made Leah exactly how she needed to look in order to bring Him incredible glory as a mother of His chosen people. Leah was not beautiful and was not chosen by anyone for a wife. Though not chosen by a man, God gave Leah a husband. Though unloved, God gave Leah children. One of Leah’s son’s was Judah. The lineage of Israel’s kings were formed from Judah’s lineage. Leah was indeed a queen; a mother of kings. From David, to our Precious King, Redeemer Himself, God chose Leah to be the mother of the greatest, and most royal tribe in the entire earth! God could have used any woman to fulfill that role, but God chose the lowly, the unloved, and the broken-hearted Leah. What an incredible picture of the gospel that paints…impossible without Leah’s homely appearance.
Psalm 139:13-14 states that it was God who personally “formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
As that verse states, from Eve to Me.. little Rebecca, every detail of every person’s genetic code has not happened by chance, but by a purposeful design.
I glance at my full length mirror and my thoughts can rejoice. Because, like Leah, and like Esther, Scripture tells me, my physical appearance is absolutely perfect.
Vogue will tell me I am too fat. It will tell me my clothes are outdated. Vogue will tell me my nose is funny shaped and my complexion rough and too uneven. Vogue will pick me apart until I feel beauty is unattainable and I am probably less than average in appearance. Vogue will make me unhappy with my body. Following the world’s idea of beauty will bring ingratitude and turn my joy to self-criticism.
Scripture tells me, I am made by God’s own hand. Scripture tells me, I am personally designed by God. Not only does Scripture say I am designed by God, but I am an image bearer of the Sovereign Creator/Ruler of all mankind. In Scripture, I learn to love the body I have, because I learn to love my Creator so much that I completely embrace the beautiful body He created for me to serve Him with. Why? Because the One whom I love, made it!
My little girl loves to make me drawings. She pulls out paper and markers, leans over the paper for a bit, creating something special. Then she plops the picture down on the table in front of me. “This is for you Mommy.” I truly, and deeply love the picture she made me. I do not critique it in any way. It is perfect in my eyes because it was made by the little girl I dearly love.
Do I not dearly love my Creator? Why then, would I ever stand in front of a mirror critiquing the form He gave me? Why would I not simply care for it, cherish it, enjoy it, and accept in overflowing gratitude?
Joy and happiness ought to fill my soul every time I stand in front of a mirror. I am looking at His handiwork!
There is so much peace in holding fast to God’s sovereignty in my created form.
Peace with my genetics: I can be at peace that God has designed every cell of my body to act and look exactly how it should in order for me to fulfill the plan He has purposed for my existence. Whether I am tall or short, whether my metabolism is slow or fast, whether I am pale with freckles or a rich chocolaty brown, my being was made on purpose, by God.
Joy in my God given image: I can freely embrace the image God has given me without regrets. From my frizzy head of curls, freckles, dusty blue eyes, and knobby bones…everything in my body was made to be as it is for a divine purpose. Yes, my head of frizzy hair serves an eternal purpose! That thought alone, brings me amusement, and yet, amazement to think that God has ordained absolutely every detail in this entire world to the point that the kind of hair He has given to me is not without its place in His design.
No need of envy: A woman who believes her body was made by God’s perfect design cannot step back and envy those she believes are more beautiful than herself. In essence all bodies are equal in value. Each person has been perfectly made to do the work God has set before him or her. I was created with the height, face, and features I a have by my Father/Creator. He knows what is best for me, more others, and for Himself (He is worthy), in His flawless design of my body.
My Deep love for God, allows me to enjoy my body without desire to change it: Just as my little girl has freely given me the drawing, she wants me to enjoy it, but would be deeply hurt if I took my sharpie and changed things about it that I didn’t like. No, her art cannot, and should not be changed just because it now belongs to me. Because I love her, I have no desire to alter my daughter’s gift without concern of insult and hurt to her little heart. In comparison, my body is still, and always will be God’s work of art, despite it belonging to me, it still is His. So yes, as I would a piece of beloved art, my body is mine to enjoy, but I do not own the copyright for it. And because I love God so dearly, I really have no desire to alter the image He has given me. It is perfect in my eyes.
Honoring the body honors the Creator: As I would honor my daughter by taking her picture and putting it in a frame, or sticking it to the fridge I can bring honor to my Creator by how I respect the body He has given me. Keeping my body clean, safe, well nourished, dressed respectfully, and well groomed are some of the ways I can show respect to my body. There is freedom to color and curl hair, apply make-up, and attempt to conceal the earthly wear and tear on the physical form God gave me. There is also freedom to embrace earthly scars and age. Both are honorable. More importantly than bodily care, is that I speak honorably about my body and other God’s created images. To degrade a human body with crude speech or complaints dishonors the One who made it.
Permission to feel beautiful: I truly am made in an amazing way by God’s divine hand. There is nothing virtuous about complaining about our human form. God made this body, and it was made to worship and glorify Him!
Complaining is the complete opposite of worship. If I truly hold to the fact that God has created my body on purpose and with intentional design, I am wrong to critique HIS work. Now, granted, this body is altered from perfection by sin. It will show the signs of decay that will someday complete its course. In aging and entropy there is beauty, because it causes my eyes to look to the eternal future I am promised. May my gray hair and wrinkles, aching joints, and scars only serve to point me to the promise of eternal glory. And may every thought of imperfections brought on by this sinful, dying world, point me to ponder the perfect everlasting world beyond time.