This Is Her Story: Beauty Can Be a Beast
Jessica Griggs Brown is simply a wretch of a woman who is lavishly loved by her Savior.
Like a school girl with a goofy crush, she is married to her best friend. Together, they fumble their way through the mystery of marriage while raising a ridiculously handsome, athletic teenage boy; a sassy, sweet, precocious princess; and a chunky lil’ dude who has completed their family in a big way.
Always a Clemson Tiger, she sports the color orange with a great deal of pride. Front porch rocking stills her soul and the smell of tea olive trees reminds her of home. She can always be found with a cup of coffee in hand.
Jessica is madly and deeply in love with Jesus and adores watching other women fall head over heels for the King of Kings. She promises to the leave the Light on for you over at www.adwellingplace.us.
Illusive and fleeting, she has wrestled with the word long and hard for many years. The struggle to grasp something so deceitful is futile and exhausting. For she spent far thousands of days believing beauty was something you either were or were not.
She took the stage of an imaginary pageant at such a young age; comparing herself to all the queens that paraded around her. Magazine covers would scream at her; taunting her to be thinner, blonder, tanner, smarter, taller. Eventually, she no longer recognized the girl staring back at her from the bathroom mirror.
Everywhere she turned fun house mirrors followed, pointing and laughing at her. She decided if she couldn’t beat them, she would join them. So, one day, she stood back and pointed and laughed at the reflection staring back at her. The more the ravenous canyon of her soul growled, the less she fed it. She traded truth for lies and feasted on an endless buffet of empty promises of earthly satisfaction. Lies from the Enemy, festered in the wound of self-loathing, warped her entire image.
When the stick figure of a woman staring back at her reflected a blimp, she briefly thought there might be a problem. But she drowned out the still, small voice with happy hour and the company of friends. Ironically enough, the hour always felt less than happy.
The weeping, howling desert of her heart was a wasteland of mistakes and poor choices.
Then one day, it all changed.
Tucked away at the end of Main Street in the sleepy little town of Pendleton was the quaint little house she rented. One afternoon, she sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and stared, for what felt like days, out of the picture window. Spring was just beginning to bloom and the sheer extravagance of such beauty caused her eyes to leak. It was just the stillness she needed to hear the whisper of her heart. She searched high and low for the Bible she had packed when she first made her journey to those foothills nestled just beneath the Blue Ridge all those years ago. The jacket of dust should not have startled her like it did.
For months, her shaky hands would flip and search those pages for something that would begin to fill the abyss of her heart. Her Type-A, white-knuckle grip of control, overthinking self would get frustrated and want to throw in the towel.
But Love kept calling her name.
After months of digging in and pulling the weeds out by the root, she was swept off her feet and into a love story she never could have imagined for herself. It is a love story with the King of Kings; a King that is enthralled with her beauty.
She often finds herself reflecting on that season in her life. A season so dark she stumbled and fell and crawled towards happiness, but always found herself empty-handed. When Light broke through the darkness, beckoning her home, she picked herself up bloodied, beaten and bruised. She was a slave, chained in sin; until the Prince of Peace marched straight into the slave market and bought her back. He paid a price much too costly. He sacrificed His own life so that she could live in freedom. The longer she walks with Him, the more she believes that beauty is nothing more than a reflection of the heart. For a gentle, quiet spirit that loves the Lord is the most beautiful of all.
In His infinite wisdom, He gave her a daughter. There is something about having a girl that has helped her accept who she is in Him. Without using words, she is teaching her daughter to love who she is; a masterpiece handcrafted by the Creator. By learning to finally appreciate His handiwork over her own life, she shows her daughter how to accept her own tiny beauty. She does her best to teach her tiny princess that beauty is not in the size of our thighs or the color of our eyes. Nor is it found in the clothes we wear and the style of our hair. Every day she prays that her daughter is comfortable with who He created her to be. Because moments are wasted when we compare ourselves to the queens around us.
We tend to find ourselves when we seek who we are in the One who created us.
It has taken years for her skin to fit. Her skin was stretched and distorted and pulled tight to fit shapes never created for her. Then it was stretched and distorted to bring forth life; a shape that fits her well. Every now and then, the mirror will moan a pathetic lie in her ear. Some days she nods her head and believes the lie. Other days, she has to dig deep in those moments to uncover the Truth.
Mirrors can be the loudest and worst liars.
More often than not, she looks at the girl in the mirror and knows Whose she is. She clings tightly to His promises and whole-heartedly believes that He does not make mistakes.
She now finds herself in a season where she is leading women of all ages in pursuit of the One who loves them best. She is living proof that Jesus uses the ill-equipped and least likely. Jesus created a pure heart and strong spirit within her; a heart that begs to pour into the lives of others so that they may know a love like none other. Her earnest prayer is for women of all shapes and sizes and colors and backgrounds to know the unrelenting, unchanging, unashamed love of the One who is enthralled with their beauty.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
She may not wear a crown with a sash and an armful of roses. But, when she sees herself through the lens of His love, she feels like a beauty queen.
Every woman should wear the crown and feel the same.
You are altogether beautiful, my love;
there is no flaw in you.
Song of Solomon 4:7
Jessica Griggs Brown, Guest Blogger