I was 6 or 7 states away from home, helping a co-worker with her book table at a weekend conference, when this gorgeous and shining woman came up to peruse our merchandise. This woman literally sparkled - golden spiky hair, shimmery jewelry. But there was something more about her glimmer - something deeper than her dazzling teeth, something stronger reflecting in her shining eyes.
Before I had time to process this woman's beauty, my friend Wendy spoke up.
"You love Jesus, don't you?"
She innocently, honestly, strongly said "Yes, yes I do."
Wendy calmly responded, "I can tell."
I was a little shocked at my friend's boldness, but refreshed at the honesty. The woman was joined by two of her friends, and we instantly bonded as a little group. We laughed and poked and gabbed like girlfriends - there was something about these women that just put me at ease. One volunteered to buy a Bible for another, and before you knew it, they were all three gifting books - fighting over the honor to pay for the presents.
When they walked away, Wendy reiterated. "I could just tell that woman loved Jesus." And she was right.
I've been thinking about that woman, that encounter, for a week now. It whispered and spoke to something deep inside me… In the past couple weeks, my eyes have been searching for beauty, struggling to see it in the mirror and missing it in my surroundings. I've been staying up a little bit later, browsing makeup tips on Pinterest (which, coincidentally make me feel hopeless instead of inspired), and getting easily agitated over my unwelcome acne (isn't that supposed to die with my teenage years??). The harder I try, the less pretty I feel. As my eye fixates on the surface level, I feel a dullness from deep within me, and a whisper that there is something more…
This woman came and shocked my senses awake to the beauty that comes from a gentle and quiet spirit, from a soul that is secure, anchored in hope, fully known and completely secure.
Have you ever met a woman like this? Someone who shines from deep within, from a source that must be spiritual. Have you ever met a woman and find yourself asking (to yourself or out loud), "You love Jesus, don't you?"
My reaction to this woman is to refocus on the source of beauty.
I'm thankful that God chose to show himself to me that day through this stranger. He reminded me that His love for me is secure and available, and He is the source of beauty. Is there anything more beautiful than a soul who knows he or she is loved? There is a peace and confidence that cannot compare. That beauty is available for all of us - but before I go telling you all about it, let me just say, that beauty is available for me. It's time to tap into it.
"Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and putting on of gold jewelry, of the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves…" 1 Peter 3:3-5a