Friday, October 13, 2006

Beautiful You

This has been on my heart for quite some time, and I've started to write it several times in fact but I was never able to finish it until tonight.

A few years ago when Dustin and I were volunteers with our church's youth group, I was asked to speak at an all-girls sleepover. I was a bit taken aback... I'm not much of a public speaker, but I figured that if God wanted me to speak, He'd figure it out and make it work. I knew the theme of the night was supposed to be beauty and for a few days I spent a portion of my morning devotional time praying about this task and asking the Lord to impress upon me what He would have me say.

I loved the kids in our youth group... so many of them are wonderful young people with true hearts for the Lord. I really wanted to give these young women that night something they could walk away with and treasure forever, but I had no idea how to speak on beauty yet keep it completely Biblically centered. But God knew. He began to point out things in His Word that I had known and read previously, yet had never seen knit together in such a way, shining under this particular light.

I have always been fascinated with Old Testament history and how so much in those times was a foreshadow of things to come. This includes the Tabernacle. There is so much symbolism in the Tabernacle... every piece of it and every sacrifice performed in it perfectly represented the future of atonement for the Lord's people... Jesus. In preparing for this speaking engagement, God took me to Exodus and reminded me of His instructions for building His Tabernacle. A few things really stood out to me. For one, God was very specific in His blueprints. This was HIS tabernacle... the place where He was to dwell among His people. He didn't leave the designing to human hands... it was planned out down to each intricate detail in His very own infinitely perfect mind. Second, He commissioned skilled craftsmen to fashion His dwelling place. Shoddy work not allowed! Third, He required materials of high quality. Fine linens, solid gold (not plated!) and acacia wood... all things that point to quality and only the best artistry for our Father's Tabernacle. These things also represent beauty, which is the last point. The Tabernacle that our Lord designed as His very own dwelling place was made from beautiful materials! The place he planned in the depths of His mind and realized through the work of His people was a place of beauty. Our Lord is beauty. He designs beauty. He lives among beauty.

Because of the atonement of His precious Son, through that Son the Father now resides in His people instead of hovering over the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies in His tabernacle. Not unlike the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, this new dwelling place required specific instructions. He doesn't leave the design of His people to human hands... He fashions us Himself, and continues to mold us and refine us until we are vessels that hold all He has for us, reflecting His perfect glory.

He commissioned skilled craftsmen for His new dwelling place too... Himself! He's not only the designer but also the creator. Only God could have laid out the complexities of the blueprint of the human body, mind, and soul and then put those plans to fruition by His spoken Word as He created man in His very own image. The Master Craftsman of all craftsmen built and continues to build the place He chooses to dwell.

We, like the tabernacle of old, are also fashioned with only the best materials. Our bodies are so miraculously and wonderfully made. Who else but the Lord could have designed a body that is able to withstand what ours go through daily? Lungs that take in oxygen involuntarily, a heart that pumps blood second after second, even when we don't think about it. Skin that heals, livers & kidneys that purify, eyes that can see near and far, and even organs that are made to play a part in His awesome job of creating yet more life... more potential dwelling places. Only our Master Craftsman could build these tabernacles.

The last thing the Lord showed me in this analogy is that just like His Old Testament tabernacle, we are beautiful. He doesn't make ugly dwelling places! Big, small, short, tall, light, dark, polka dotted (that's me!)... we're all beautiful and even more so in the eyes of our Creator. We're made in His image, after all, as His children where He longs to abide. When He looks at us, he doesn't see our blemishes, inward or outward... He sees His beautiful, treasured creation and His beloved Son.

Lately I have seen so many women down on themselves physically (myself included.) Society has defined what is "beautiful" in such a way that no normal woman could ever be considered to be a beauty. People starve themselves, go under the knife, take an endless supply of pills, deprive themselves, pile on makeup, spend thousands on designer labels, try this cream and that, change the color of their hair, eyes and who knows what else... all for what? A type of beauty that even if attained is fleeting, when really all they need to do is reach out to their Creator and see the true beauty that they are as His creation and how much more they can be as they abide in Him and He abides in them.

The one other thing I remember from this study of mine is a scripture in Psalm 45. This particular passage is a wedding song. Because we are the bride of Christ, I can see a parallel. Whether or not it is an accurate assumption of the verse, I tend to believe we can see it as such. It says, "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord." (NIV) I do think our King of kings is captivated by our beauty because our Beauty is Himself, His handiwork, and His image. What a comforting thing to know that He looks so far past what we see in the mirror and sees the Christ in us.

I was never able to present this message because the sleep over was cancelled. Even still, I know it was all destined to be. I gained a lot from the study and it has been in the back of my mind this entire time. I knew I would be able to share it with someone someday. I suppose that day has finally arrived. Now go ye therefore and be beautiful. :o)


Jessica Morris said...

I really liked that Crystal =) A beautiful challenge!

"Mom" (aka Amy) said...

Great thoughts Crystal. Thanks for taking the time to share them here even though the sleep-over didn't happen.