Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fitbits, Facelifts, and Best Kept Beauty Secrets

Hey Friend,
Obviously the title of my post is a little tongue in cheek, but I titled it such after reading an article in USA Today.  It talked about how cosmetic companies and cosmetic surgeons are capitalizing on the "forever young" mindset that pervades our society.
The article went on to say, "Boomers, in an attempt to keep the dreaded signs of aging at bay, will push the U.S. market for anti-aging products from about 80 billion dollars now to more than 114 billion dollars in 2015."
I am a baby boomer, and I would by lying if I said I didn't own any of these coveted fountain of youth serums.  In fact I once owned a small jar of one of the finest, most expensive creams on the market.  You see, my ex-husband had a very good work relationship with a certain Chinese company.  As is their custom, when they would come to visit the States they would bring lovely gifts usually from their country.  I had gotten to know them as well and so they would always bring me something beautiful - a silk scarf, a piece of jewelry, an art object. 
One year when they visited, we were all out to dinner and the Chinese contingency presented their gifts to the Americans gathered around the table.  For each of the men - a silk tie.  My turn came (note I'm the only female at the table)... I reached into the gift bag and pulled out 1.7 ounces of, you got it, anti-wrinkle cream.  All American eyes turned toward me awaiting my reaction.  I admit, at first, I wondered what they were trying to tell me, but after Mr. Lee piped up and said that his wife gives him big hugs and kisses when he brings her this cream from his world travels, I knew that it was being offered as a generous gift, sure to delight.  And delight it did...right down to the very last scraping of the bottom of the jar.
Fast forward to exactly one year ago when, at the age of 53, I walked down the aisle in a small intimate ceremony and I can honestly say that I have never felt more beautiful.  Even in my youth, with fresh soft skin and many pounds less than what I carry now, I never felt as beautiful as the day I married my husband Dave.  Friends described me as "radiant" and "beaming". 
Why was I able to pull off what no face lift or anti-wrinkle cream could? 
I was simply mirroring and reflecting the love that was being shown to me.
I was radiant because I was flowing together with the two greatest, most unconditional loves of my life:  My Lord and then my husband. 
And all of us, with unveiled faces, reflecting like bright mirrors the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same likeness, from one degree of radiant holiness to another, even as derived from the Lord of the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  (Psalm 34:5)
As we come, unveiled, just as we are, before the Lord and spend time in His presence we are transformed into the same likeness and begin to radiate His glory and likeness to those around us. 
Spend enough time with someone and eventually they begin to rub off on you.
What also helps is a shift from "exterior thinking" to "interior thinking".  I'm not knocking your resolution to join the gym to lose those extra pounds or getting a facial or a new "do".  We are called to take care of our bodies - the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells.
The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:3-4:  Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of jewelry, or the clothing you wear - but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.
"Imperishable beauty" the kind of beauty that transcends laugh lines (aka wrinkles), sagging skin and extra pounds is a gentle and quiet spirit. 
Think of the type of people you are drawn to in a room...yes, at first glance it might be the toned, tight skinned externally good looking people...but after awhile, who do you want to linger with longer?  Might it be the person who possesses an inner beauty or charisma? 
Beauty truly is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30).  If you don't believe this, pop in on your 30 year class reunion. Just kidding... 
Once the youthful good looks are stripped away, all that is left is the soul.
Perhaps because I have an anxiety disorder and have battled depression, I can look into a person's eyes and easily see into their soul.  Behind fake smiles, I can pick out in a heartbeat those who are dealing with depression or an illness of the spirit.  I am also able to see the radiant beauty of those who love the Lord.  I think it's because I am both of those people??!
But, how are your insides? What is the condition of your soul?  Look in the mirror.  Does your face scream wrinkle cream or are you radiant because you are mirroring the One who loves you unconditionally? 
God does love you unconditionally...just as you are.  You don't need to "pretty up" in order to come before Him.  Crawl into His arms and let His great love strip away your shame and let time in His presence radiate beauty from your countenance.  Like early morning sunshine shimmering on a lake, so will His holiness glisten in your eyes.  Just come.
Lord, let me come with an unveiled face before you.  Let me spend time in your presence so that when others look at me they will see the beauty and glory of your face.  Amen. 
In His love,
Happy 1 year anniversary to my loving husband, Dave!! 
Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan:  Thanks to your generosity we have big plans for 2015.  We will be adding additional books and school supplies as well as seeing that each child has their own Bible.  The children are already joyful over the scriptures they have committed to memory.  We always have the ongoing expenses of rent and teacher's salary.  On our wish list is being able to add tables and chairs (the children currently sit on blankets on the floor) and possibly a second teacher.  If you would like to help this dream come true:
Send donations to:  Bev Rihtarchik/RCS
                              103 Silver Lining Lane
                              Cary, NC  27513
Smiles of joy have replaced faces filled with despair as the children celebrate Jesus' birthday.