From the beginning of time, our arch enemy has been targeting the beauty of women. Satan (once known as the most beautiful of the angels) was (and is) fiercely jealous of God’s crown jewel of creation—woman! Therefore, his arrows point steadfastly at the hearts of moms and daughters, seeking to steal our God-given glory. How do we stand victorious against his daggers? Better than any “beauty magazine article”, our From the Heart January Blog by ministry friend, Melissa Gilmour, features both the best weapon and the best beauty regimen — to fix our gaze steadfastly on Jesus. As moms and daughters daily peer into the mirror of God’s Word through intergenerational Bible studies like our Portraits of Womanhood Series, God will beautifully prepare us all for such a time as this!
I’ve heard it said that every little girl asks herself one question: Am I beautiful? My own life experiences tell me this is true. It’s the reason I’ve never forgotten the rude comment about my appearance from a boy on the bus in seventh grade or the equally insulting jab from my brother’s teammate that summer. During my tender teenage years, those comments were like daggers to my heart.
As moms, we do whatever we can to prevent the daggers, don’t we? Standing in the dressing room with my mom in high school, tears flowed like waterworks as dress after dress didn’t fit. No matter how much we pushed, pulled, and tucked, we couldn’t make my chest big enough to fit the dresses I invariably wanted to wear. My mom eventually took me to the lingerie department and bought me an expensive contraption that fastened around my waist so I could wear the open back dress of my dreams and still have the support I needed. God love her. That thing felt like a torture device, but I wore it anyway.
As the grey hairs have multiplied atop my head, so have a new string of insecurities. Just the other day my youngest daughter asked me why I have lines across my forehead. Then she told me she was too grossed out by my nose hairs to finish her lunch. My nose hairs? Whose child is this? Heaven help girls today caught up in a digital world of comment-slinging powerful enough to threaten the most confident of girls. What are we to do when we can’t prevent the daggers?
In the Bible, we read of a young girl who had what every girl craves—beauty. But her heart was pierced with sorrows neither she, nor her family could prevent. Queen Esther’s beauty must have seemed like a cruel fate and the sure cause of her inconceivable pain and suffering.
In Esther 1:7 we read, “The young woman was lovely and beautiful.”
Verse 8 goes on to inform us, “So it was…that Esther was also taken to the king’s palace…”
Taken. All because King Ahasuerus needed to replace his insubordinate Queen Vashti who failed to appear before him when he called. Talk about a demented practice. Esther had already been orphaned, and now she was being kidnapped from her cousin’s house to be paraded in front of the king and tried on for size. This degree of injustice and abuse is incomprehensible.
King Ahasuerus chooses Esther to become his new queen. While in this position she discovers a sinister plot to annihilate her people, the Jews. If it is discovered that she is a Jew, her life would be in jeopardy. In that hopeless place, God pierces Esther’s darkness. Still able to communicate with her cousin Mordecai, he sends her a life changing message:
“You were made for such a time as this.”
Hope dawns and Esther responds with the kind of courage birthed only through desperation.
“I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:16)
Esther became God’s chosen vessel to save her people from certain death, a foreshadowing of our Savior. But unlike Esther, Jesus had no beauty that we should desire Him.
Isaiah 53:2-3 says, “He has no stately form or splendor; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
God decided to send His Son to earth without a handsome appearance to attract us to Him. Was Jesus ever tempted to fit in with the cool crowd? How easily did His mother, Mary, accept His lot from the Lord? Did she try to prevent the daggers? Eventually, she must have learned that would be a lesson in futility.
The Bible tells us that Jesus learned obedience through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). He stayed the course and fulfilled His purpose because His Father armed Him with knowledge similar to that given to Queen Esther by her cousin, Mordecai. You were begotten for such a time as this.
In Luke 9:35 a voice literally comes from heaven and declares, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”
And yet, many would not. Instead of being honored as God’s Son, Jesus’ obedience to His Father evoked hatred in many. Full of grace and truth, Jesus was beaten, mocked, spat upon, and killed by the ones He came to save. But unlike Esther’s life that was taken from her by force, Jesus laid down His life willingly in order to save us from certain death. He is the source of life everlasting and beauty that will never fade.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Psalm 34:4-5 says, “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame.”
Seeking the Lord is a beauty regimen worth following. The next time you feel dejected because of your outward appearance, consider Jesus. You were made for more than being beautiful in the eyes of this world. Instead of looking in the mirror and fretting over every curve and wrinkle, gaze at Jesus. His appearance wasn’t a hindrance to His mission, and it won’t hold you back from His mission for you either. Jesus’ love transcends tragedy of the most heinous kind, and causes faces covered in shame to become radiant.
What darkness are you facing? God is powerful enough to pierce your darkness, like He pierced Esther’s. Refuse to believe the lie that God is unaware, or worse, doesn’t care. God left heaven for you and He knit you together in your mother’s womb. Grieve the things you can’t control and know that God understands.
Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God is the only one both powerful and loving enough to bring purpose out of all of your pain. Beautiful in the eyes of the world or not, He died, was buried, and rose again the third day to save you from your sins and give you a divine purpose on this earth. Who knows if He isn’t calling to you for such a time as this?
Turning all of life into holy ground,
For more encouragement, follow Melissa’s blog @ melissagilmour.com/blog/