Velvet Ashes, You Are Beautiful

Today is a big day here at Velvet Ashes.  We have our first ever male writer kicking off our week on “What Men Wish We Knew.”  Today we welcome Jason Ingle with gratitude for being here…    

It’s a scary thing to write a guest post for my sisters at Velvet Ashes, but here goes.  We who are about to die salute you!  I don’t pretend to represent all men everywhere, but I am willing to go out on a limb here and say what many of our brothers are probably thinking, and what I find in the Word to be true.  Sisters, the Word tells you to think of yourselves with sober judgment.  This means neither too highly of yourselves OR too lowly of yourselves.  I’ve served with so many of you through the years who tend towards the latter because you are worried about the former.  Sisters, you need to hear somebody remind you of this sober and joyful truth:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

This beauty doesn’t depend on outward appearances, performance, marital status, motherhood, or the number, kinds, or depths of friendships you currently have (although all those can be good gifts from a Good giver).

Your beauty comes from the way YOU UNIQUELY reflect the One who calls you and is conforming you to His image as you follow Him.  You are beautiful not because I said so, or somebody else said so, but because God says so.

Let that sink in again.

You are beautiful because of how He’s made you and who He is calling you to become.

You are beautiful.

You are beautiful as you follow His example and leave your place of origin and its comforts and lay down your lives in strange lands He has shown you.

You are beautiful.

Don’t listen to anybody that tells you anything different…including yourself!

I’ve seen that beauty fleshed out over almost twenty years of overseas living in situations with sisters who were older and younger, married and single, with and without kids.  As I reflect on the lives of hundreds of sisters I’ve served alongside, I’ve seen your great beauty displayed in the midst of:

Hard relationships

And easy relationships

 

Sickness

And health

 

Loss

And gain

 

Grief

And joy

 

Pain

And comfort

 

In uncomfortable cross cultural situations where you’ve “taken one for the team”

And in uncomfortable situations where you’ve “taken one from the team”

 

In language bloopers

And language victories

 

With “exotic food” options

And “normal food” preparation challenges

With squatty potties (and the results of the previous two situations)

 

With unruly students

And respectful learners

 

With unruly leaders

And sacrificial servant leaders

 

With nationals

And with expats

 

Loving people you just met

While loving people you’d rather forget

 

As you’ve served people who can’t possibly repay you

And as you’ve served people who just want to keep taking more than you could ever give

 

In confrontation

And as an instrument of reconciliation and redemption

 

In times when you spoke up

And in times when you were silent (but knew the proper solution)

 

Times when you led

And times when you followed

 

When you stood your ground

And when you ran for dear life

 

When cleaning up other people’s poop and barf

And letting others clean up your messes

 

At great personal and professional cost

Because of the One whose beauty you reflect.

 

This list could go on indefinitely

Oh the stories I could tell…

What I will say emphatically is that the world around you has noticed.  I know it often doesn’t seem that way.  Many times no one ever commented.  But even when we didn’t, your own unique reflection of the true Source of beauty has been seen by the One who says “you are beautiful to Me, My sister, My bride.  In you I am well pleased.”  Nothing can be hidden from His sight, including your beauty!  You matter today, because through your beauty we see more of His beauty shining through you!

Thank you.  Thank you for walking the path He has set before you.  Thank you for displaying this imperishable beauty that is very precious in our Father’s sight.  Do not grow weary as you shine where are.  Be who He is calling you to become, and your imperishable beauty will shine all the more brightly as you uniquely reflect Him.  Rest in the freedom that provides!  Let me say to each one of you today and for the days to come:  you are beautiful, and it is my honor to serve with you.

What do you think when you hear the words “You are beautiful”?

Photo Credit

12 Comments

  1. Patty Stallings October 13, 2014

    Thank you, Jason, for your words and your heart!

    1. Jason October 13, 2014

      And thank you, Patty, for your encouragement!

  2. Jennifer October 13, 2014

    Thank you for words which can speak to each and every one of us. A strong reminder that beauty can be found, can be seen in the unexpected as well as in the expected, and we truly do need to learn to look at ourselves, at all of ourselves, through new eyes, and not limit our vision, our perspective of ourselves, of all we do, to what we believe our past experience has proven to be true about us.

    1. Jason October 13, 2014

      Jennifer, may a fresh vision of who our Father is calling you to become be given to you today!  The old is gone.  The new has come and continues to come.  May He pull back the curtains and let you glimpse the beauty He sees in you and that is reflected through you to the world around you!

  3. Anita Yoder October 13, 2014

    I desperately needed this today. Thank you!

    1. Jason October 13, 2014

      You are welcome, Anita!  My prayer is that the beauty of His grace will empower you to persevere in what He is calling you to do today, and the beauty of His Gospel will be at work shining through you.  Don’t grow weary!  Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

  4. Ashley Felder October 13, 2014

    Good words, Jason! Thanks for the Truth-filled reminders.

    1. Jason October 13, 2014

      Thanks Ashley!  And thank you for shining so brightly where you are!

  5. Cecily Willard October 16, 2014

    “The world around you has noticed.  I know it often doesn’t seem that way.  Many times no on ever commented.  But even when we didn’t, your own unique reflection of the true Source of beauty has been seen.”

    Thanks, Jason, for these words.  I think they come straight from the heart of Jesus, something I needed to hear.  Living for the audience of One…

    1. Jason October 16, 2014

      Cecily, I think some of the biggest lies we often believe is that nobody sees, nobody knows, and nobody cares.  Those lies can not be further from the truth that the audience of One does see, know, and care.  May He wrap you afresh and anew with His Presence today!

  6. Phillippa October 23, 2014

    Thank you Jason. Life’s knocks sometimes change a person’s perspective of oneself … but I am now reminded that what my Father thinks of me is what matters.

    1. Jason October 23, 2014

      And that is the real challenge, isn’t it Phillippa?  Keeping the truth of His perspective and His love in front of us when the world, the flesh, and the devil are screaming something else.  We have to consistently remind ourselves of this bedrock of truth: “Jesus loves me, this I know…”

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