Peel back the layers and look for true beauty!

Her face was creased, weathered, and anything but beautiful.  I suppose that is what made me stop to look at her.  At first I saw the harshness of years of agony, pain, poverty and despair, but as I looked closer I saw something quite different.  My eyes pierced her soul and as I looked into the depths of her being I saw an earthy beauty spilling from her tiny frame.  Welling up inside of this frail human body, on this hot day in Nairobi, Kenya, was a soul of immense worth.  Her face told a story of hope - beneath the struggle and heartache there was a will to survive, to break through the challenges and live another day.  I stared!  I perceived wisdom in that frame and it exuded from her as she interacted with customers at the market.  And as I looked at the old grandmother I was filled with shame, gratitude, and hope.  I was amazed at how I could feel with such intensity such a variety of contrasting emotions.

I felt shame for my lack of grace and compassion toward those less fortunate than myself.  I was also overwhelmed with a gratitude for all the immense privileges afforded me in my life.  Hope filled my being as I considered my challenges.

So let me share a few reflections with you as your day begins.

1.  Beauty the way we sometimes understand it is only skin deep:  The way we see beauty in our world is sometimes so shallow.  We look for perfect body shapes and beautiful features.  On that hot day I saw anything but physical beauty, but I encountered a rare beauty that ran deep into the soul.

2.  God made every human being and we should value each one:  How tragic when doctors are quick to encourage parents to abort a child because they have some sort of deformity.  I use that word carefully understanding that everything God makes is perfect and beautiful.  So many children with physical challenges have more to teach us than the child who is nourished on every earthly privilege.  I discovered truth on that day that I stopped long enough to look at a face that most people would turn away from, but pausing to see I found pure, unadulterated beauty.

3.  Take time to discover the beauty all around you today:  Stop.  Breathe deeply.  Listen and learn.  If you do your soul will be nourished by what you see all around you.

God made a word that is beautiful.  At times the parched earth of Africa can look bleak, dismal, and dry, but when the light of the moon touches that barren land it becomes a landscape of soft, shimmering beauty.  When the light of God's amazing love touches any human being they become someone of inexplicable beauty and worth.

Pause today and you will be amazed at what you find.  May God's love shine on you and give you a day to remember.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,