Pondering Beauty

purple flowers by sidewalk with beeSome thoughts are too deep for a Facebook status.

I don’t mean too amazing or profound. I mean from a place too deep. I almost posted a status today, then deleted it. It felt too vulnerable to share.

Why I feel safe enough to write it in a blog post, like I’m about to do, I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s because a blog is like a journal, and I am willing to be a bit more introspective here.

Or maybe the answer is less mysterious. Perhaps it is simply that I have enough space here to explain myself and dare believe you’ll see my heart instead of being put off by a too quick sentiment in a short status. My almost posted status wasn’t a trite, “religious” sentiment or an attempt to look like a “good” Christian.

In my younger years I was accused of being “Pollyanna,” and a “goody-two-shoes.” I guess I couldn’t bear to have people read my status and roll their eyes, thinking I was trying to be “holy” or something. That status was too precious to me. Bubbling up from deep inside, it spoke my heart.

Here’s the deal. I’ve had a lot of attention over the whole weight loss thing. I’m NOT complaining. To have the kind of love and support and cheerleading that has come my way is breath-taking, an amazing gift. Each sweet compliment has been embraced, treasured, and received with gratitude–and a little embarrassment sometimes–but always with joy. I’ve been overwhelmed by the love.

(The snarky part of my personality comes out once in a while, too, like when I receive attention I would never have been given 50 pounds ago. You know the type I mean. It happens when someone befriends you because of how you look, not who you are. In those moments it’s like there’s this private place inside that rolls my eyes, doubting there will ever be genuine friendship for that reason alone–that I would have been invisible to him or her when I was overweight.)

Here’s the thing. I’ve enjoyed every positive word that’s come my way–like radiant or beautiful or skinny. I believe my Creator rejoices with me to see me back to the size He intended when He made me, but I don’t believe that there was a single moment, even at my heaviest point, that my God decided I was not beautiful.

Even my sweet hubby, who is not as all-seeing as God, still told me I was beautiful when I weighed 210 pounds. There is beauty in every single woman on this earth. I think women are one of God’s greatest expressions of beauty, maybe even the pinnacle, crowning point of creation. He made all these amazing things, then He made man, and He “saved the best for last,” designing woman in a punctuated, artful flourish.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman’s beauty. Still, the last few months I’ve needed to work through learning to receive attention again for who I am on the outside, not just the inside. And while I enjoyed feeling pretty in that mother-of-the-bride dress, while new clothes are a delight, and while I love having a neck thin enough to pull out the jewelry again without accentuating a double chin, I know real beauty isn’t an outside kind of thing.

Real beauty isn’t something we do–like fix our hair. It is intrinsic to who we are.

And so we come to the status I couldn’t bring myself to post on Facebook today:

While I’ve been blown away by all the support here on facebook for my weight loss journey, and have treasured every single compliment about how I’m looking now, the kind of beauty I most long for isn’t outward. Thin or heavy this is my heart-cry, “Let the beauty of the Lord my God be upon me.”*

I cried as I typed it.

I want so much for that kind of never-ending, glorious beauty to always shine in, upon, and through me, reflecting the breath-taking beauty of the One I love.

All the weight loss in the world, wonderful as it is, celebrated as it has been, will never give me that. Only God can choose to share that kind of beauty with me.  I know He longs to and has begun a work of beauty as I surrender to His Spirit and let Him iron out the ugly parts of my soul. His kind of being new beauty is free, purchased at the cross, and worked out by His Spirit each day as He makes me more like Jesus.

THAT is my heart’s desire.

Come, Jesus, let your beauty–the radiant, breath-taking beyond comprehension beauty of the Lord my God–be upon me . . .

*Paraphrased from Psalm 90:17 (KJV)

Today’s thoughts were stirred by the second teaching in Beth Moore’s study, Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman.


longing for inside outside beauty


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6 thoughts on “Pondering Beauty

  1. Robbie Iobst June 18, 2013 at 10:30 pm Reply

    Amen, Paula. Your heart is gorgeous and your words are teaching me.

    • Paula Moldenhauer June 19, 2013 at 3:24 am Reply

      coming from the women who blesses me with her Joyvotions I’ll grab hold of those kind words and let their blessing flow over me!

  2. Carrie Turansky June 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Now that’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing from your heart. : )

  3. Carmen June 19, 2013 at 4:35 am Reply

    Beautifully said 🙂

    • Paula Moldenhauer June 20, 2013 at 4:14 am Reply

      Aw thanks! And thank YOU for seeing we get those Beth Moore studies in!!

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