September 29, 2012

Cultivating Beauty

Each day I get a "Daily Reading" from Ransomed Heart Ministries... a short excerpt taken from one of John Eldredge's books.  This particular one came from the book "Captivating", written by John and his wife, Stasi.

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." ~Song of Solomon 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.

As I read the passage, I found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement.  Yes, all of this has been true of my journey... of the slow, carefully crafted, perfect work of God cultivating beauty in my heart and life.  He is the master gardener... growing, restoring and setting me free.  With each passing season... nourishing, pruning and tenderly watching over my heart, causing my roots to grow down deep in him.  In time, he is bringing forth a beauty that only his expert hand can bring.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." ~2 Corinthians 3:18

Ever-increasing glory...

Ever-increasing beauty...

I wonder, how is God cultivating and bringing forth beauty in your life?


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