I'd been saving the picture linked to Ecclesiastes 3:11 for an opportune time to colour it... I love the truth it speaks, but the time to savour the colouring had felt like "not yet."
Over on social media, I found I had been tagged by a friend in a 'challenge' to post five photos of myself that I considered expressed beauty. As someone who has never considered herself to be physically beautiful, indeed who has been told she is 'plain' and even 'ugly' (long ago and far away) I was surprised, and not a little chuffed to be 'tagged' by someone who I described as "beautiful inside and out".
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'll post the same words here I posted there, and then add some further reflections (I won't put the photos here due to memory constraints)...
The "I'm beautiful the way I am" Challenge
I never think of myself as beautiful, and let's be honest I'm a bit of a tom-boy with sensitive skin that dislikes makeup [the skin dislikes it], so I am honoured and a little bit chuffed to be nominated for this. The inevitable physical scars of cancer (and related) surgery - totalling almost a metre if laid out end to end - and the invisible scars of life in all its rich reality are part of who I am ... if I have beauty, then these, too, are part of it. Learning to acknowledge my unique beauty is a life-time's work: this is part of that.
The verse from Ecclesiastes reminds us, reassures us, tells us, urges us, to believe that everything - EVERY thing, every THING, EVERYTHING is beautiful, because God has made it so. Beautiful slugs, beautiful cacti, beautiful fleas, beautiful rocks, beautiful people, beautiful water, beautiful stars, beautiful dust... beauty isn't [just] about outward attractiveness, it is, if we dare to trust this verse, an implicit quality, waiting to be discovered or uncovered. Beauty is not about picture-perfect physcial attributes, but is something that shines or glimmers despite them.
Beauty is not something we may feel we possess - perhaps we need permission to hear, let alone believe that we each have our own unique beauty. This is not to deny ugliness, by which I don't mean physical appearance but an inner being that has shrivelled or grown hard or negative, but it is to say that the potential for beauty remains 'in our time', because God has made us beautiful, and redemption is always possible.
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder... and the beholder is none other than God.