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:
And easy relationships
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
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
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”?