Saturday Night was quite the night. The Husband and I were invited to a ball. The Agape Ball was held by Covenant House Orlando on behalf of some homeless young adults. Covenant House wants to honor them and make them feel like they're worth it. Because as you and I both know, (or should!) they are. It was such a sweet night. Looking out into the sea of faces, these "kids" (and I call them so because I've permanently entered into the Mama Hen role and don't know how to get out!) came alive as the music played and they were given the opportunity to show off their dresses and suits (all donated by a loving community, btw) and all their dance moves.
It was an absolutely stunning picture of what the Hope of Christ can do to restore lives. I was mesmerized.
But. Before this mesmorazation (is that even a word? Ehh, you get what I mean) came the break down. See, this ball was an event that required dresses and make up and hair done and all that jazz. In retrospect, I was pretty excited about the opportunity to dress up and feel feminine. Having lived in sweat pants and t-shirts for the bulk of the last two years, (because let's face it, as a pregnant woman, I did not feel pretty nor like I was "glowing" and I did not enjoy showing off my anything!) the prospect of a dress, heels and a little makeup was
So, my wonderful make-up artisty/personal designer of a wonderful sister rose up to the challenge and said she'd do my hair/makeup/style for this particular evening. She.Is.Brave!
But as I sat in the chair for an eternity (or an hour and a half, you choose) and inhaled hairspray and was poked and prodded to death (ok, maybe it wasn't that bad, but still you get what I mean) all the excitement fell and suddenly panic took its place.
Panic by the way is no understatement. I suddenly felt very very afraid.
There's something about a pretty dress and heels and having been "done-up" so to speak that leaves a woman totally and completely vulnerable. It is leaving it all on the line as we beg the question... "Do you think I'm beautiful?" Sweat pants, t-shirts and baby vomit pretty much guarantee that we won't be consider the question, therefore the answer is allusive (though what a wonderful job our men do to remind us we're beautiful those times anyway). But rock out the very best you got and suddenly insecurity is like a horrible, old companion you can't get rid of.
Okay, so maybe this isn't you. But it's me. And just a couple other women I know.
But seriously, how often do we hide behind the safety of our Mommy-attire and simply forget to leave it all on the line everyday and choose to be beautiful? In Staci Eldredge's Captivating her and John beautifully describe the desire of women to be beautiful...
"The essence of woman is beauty. She is meant to be the incarnation-- our experience in human form-- of a Captivating God. A God who invite us. Beauty is what the world longs to experience from a woman. So listen to this: beauty is an essence that dwells in every woman. It was given to her by God. It was given to you."
God created me for the purpose of exhibiting beauty.
Useful? Yes, I can see that. Practicality is now my middle name and I can totally see how He would create me for the purpose of usefulness and service to Him, but for the purpose of beauty? No.
Usefulness and practicality are safe; beauty demands that I take a risk. But in a broken society that tells us that beauty is a 102lb, 5'7 supermodel who wears 13lbs of makeup and spends about two hours a day (at minimum!) in front of a mirror, I can honestly say I have missed the mark, a lot.
Which leaves me in a place of vulnerability. It is easy to quote 1 Peter 3:3-4 at our Women's Bible Study as we sit in our feel-good shirts and comfortable jeans. But place me in the middle of the dance floor at midnight with a Cinderella type dress and you've got a recipe for serious insecurity... Again, maybe this isn't you. But it's me.
Saturday night, I was in the most vulnerable place I've been in a very long time. I walked out of the house hunched over and making every effort to cover myself (as though my slingy arms can really cover up the "whole package") and I walked and danced pretty much defeated the entire night.
Truthfully, I was an epic fail. But amidst the epic fail, I have found grace and learned so very much about my heart, and the heart of my fellow sisters. My longing to be beautiful is of God and for God and His glory. My beauty doesn't come from 13lbs of makeup, but it can and should reflect outwardly. It was made to. And Mommies tend to forget that. I know I did.
As my sister, I would encourage you to pray and embark with me on this journey to reflecting true Biblical beauty. It's there, within you.
Just like it's in me.
I just forgot. Let's not forget anymore.