Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Examining the Fountain of Youth; I Think I'll Pass
Webster's 1828 defines beauty as "an assemblage of graces"
I'm in my mid-thirties now, which makes me almost middle aged, I guess. I've been finding silver hairs now and then. I don't pull them out because they say ten more will grow in their place if you do. My daughters are growing up. Trying on swimming suits with them made reality starkly comment without need of words. Did my stomach really used to look like that? It did! Once I was willowy and slender like they are. Now......well, I'm a mom and I look like one! No one ever says to me, "O wow! You have seven kids? You don't look like it!" (Like I hear them say to some people.) No, probably they think, ah, so that explains the belly. Of course, it's been there for a while now but I guess I'm in the acceptance phase. I'm in my mid thirties and I look like a mom with seven kids. Yup, I do. And I'm ok with that most of the time.........
But other times the cultural fountain of youth tempts me! And so, I have been examining my heart lately to see what's up in there. We are constantly bombarded with images of the female body. I read a book recently that explained some advertising tricks. It said that they have done studies that show that both men and women are drawn to look at the female body. It said that if they put a woman in an ad, people will look at it on average 5 seconds longer than if the woman were not in the picture. God's master piece of creation. The woman.
Doctor Dobson, in his book Bringing Up Girls, says that little girls are born with a question in their heart that they are wanting answered. Am I lovely? I don't know about you but I think I'm still a little girl at heart and still I wonder, Am I lovely? I still in my heart of hearts want Blue eyes to think I am beautiful and lovely! I never get tired of hearing him tell me that I am pretty or anything else that tells me that I find favor in his eyes!
So, after pondering this for a few days at the clothes line, I tell him what I've been thinking about. He tells me all the nice things that make me blush and feel happy, but he also tells me this, he says it's the way God has meant it to be, that a man gets married "to the wife of his youth" whom the Bible describes as intoxicating her husband with her beauty. But as he sees her grow round with child, deliver his babies, mother them and grow in grace, he sees a new beauty that is so rich and deep, he never could have imagined it before. His love for her only increases and she becomes more beautiful than ever. Isn't that precious? I think about my grandparents and their love for each other, of their oneness that was so evident to those who knew them well.
Sadly, our culture has confused beauty with sexy. The two couldn't be more opposite! One is vulgar in God's eyes, the other "an assemblage of graces". One flaunts her sexuality before the eyes of all men (and grrrr my boys). One keeps the wonderful, beautiful secret of her sexuality hidden, only be shared with the one who has promised to love and cherish her, til death do they part. One dresses to draw attention to her body, one to frame her face, where one can see her eyes, "the window to her soul" and her mouth, "wherein is the law of kindness".
As my girls grow up I have rethought lots of things. I would NEVER EVER want to inadvertently set them on the wrong path. Or cheapen their purity in anyway. O, that God would give us Christian parents wisdom to raise our daughters and sons to see the error of our culture in this area. It takes courage and thoughtfulness to buck the system and raise our children with a great deal of self respect and dignity.
Sometimes I see in my heart though, a desire, not to please Blue eyes, but the world that tells me I should always and forever look like I am 25. 1 Peter 3 says that the "ornaments of a meek and quiet spirit are in the sight of God a great price". How contrary to what the world tells me!
The Scripture tells me that as a married woman I will find peace and fulfillment in "loving my husband and children, being discreet, chaste, a keeper of my home, good and obedient to my own husband." Titus 2
I'm going to take God at His word. Again I must say that I trust the Bible much, much more than I trust my own heart. My heart, I have found, just like the word says, is fickle and deceitful.
I was sharing my thoughts with an older woman at church on Sunday and she said,"Just remember, Emmy, age gracefully." An assemblage of graces. Beauty. My sweet little Grandma with her sparkly whit and gentle goodness, who would hold my hand and call me dear and freely share her love. An assemblage of graces. I want that. I don't want to be awkwardly trying to look like a 25 year old when I'm 50. I want to look like a graceful woman just where I'm at in life.
by Karle Wilson Baker
Let me grow lovely, growing old-
So many fine things do;
Laces and ivory, and gold,
And silks need not be new.
And there is healing in old trees,
Old streets a glamour hold;
Why may not I, as well as these,
Grow lovely, growing old?
"Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fearest the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31: 29-31