Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cultivating beauty

I would like to share with you a message from Ransomed Heart Ministries that spoke to my heart in the wee hours of the morning. While sipping my coffee and preparing my mind for the day to come, I was quite suddenly struck by the truth of these words. Though they are words I feel I have heard before, never have I truly listened and applied this lesson to my own life. It is so simple, and yet so quickly forgotten amidst the day-to-day challenges.   

Every woman possesses a captivating beauty. Every woman. But for most of us it has been long buried, wounded, and captive. It takes time for it to emerge into wholeness. It needs to be cultivated, restored, set free.

How do we cultivate beauty? How do we become ever more beautiful? By tending to our hearts with great care, as a master gardener tends to her work.

My mother's sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected. (Songs 1:6)

Yes, life is harsh on a woman's heart. It has been so on your heart. The assault on our beauty is real. But Jesus is urging us now to care for ourselves, watch over our hearts (Prov. 4:23). The world needs your beauty. That is why you are here. Your heart and your beauty are something to be treasured and nourished. And it takes time. Every gardener knows this. In our age of instant makeovers and microwave meals, we don't like to wait. But a newly planted rose's presentation in its first year is nothing compared to its second. If properly cared for, its second year's display doesn't hold a candle to its third. Gardens need to become established; their roots need to go deep, through summer rains and winter frosts. A garden's beauty does not diminish with age, rather it takes years for it to become all that it can become.

Our hearts need to feed on beauty to sustain them. We need times of solitude and silence. We need times of refreshment and laughter and rest. We need to listen to the voice of God in our hearts as He tells us what we need.

Contrary to what the world claims, Beauty does not diminish with time; beauty deepens and increases. "Your latter glory will be greater than your former." True beauty comes from a depth of soul that can only be attained through living many years well.

So often I abandon times of solitude and silence. I often choose studying over moments of refreshment and laughter. How are you cultivating beauty in your own life? I would so love to hear. In the posts to come, I will share with you my plans to apply this lesson to my own own life. 

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