The Woman I See

A few weeks ago I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise my own
face anymore. It has changed so much this past year and so has my
body. I became a little bit down about the extra weight I had put on
and overall unhealthy look in my skin, my eyes, my hair and my body in
general. I sat down on a chair and hung my head low. I looked down at
my feet and something began to stir within me. I saw tan lines and
mosquito bite scars and thought about all that my body had gone
through as I’ve been serving. And so came the inspiration for this
piece; this piece that I want to dedicate to the sister missionaries
serving here in Kiribati and women everywhere who may be experiencing
something similar.

Capture

“The Woman I See”

There exists a doctrine in the world that “beautiful” is tanned brown
skin, paper thin, and a face so full of make-up that you can’t see
what it’s actually made of. This doctrine seeps into magazines, movie
screens, advertisements on T.V. and every teenage girl’s dreams. And
every woman’s too.

And so there stands one, in front of some reflective glass, beholding
the face and body of a woman who has spent this year past, in a
different world where to be “beautiful” is none of those things that
seep into every teenage girl’s dreams. And every woman’s too.

And yet the old deep doctrine of the world she thought she left behind
begins to creep into her mind with its “beautiful” lies like that of
grape vines. She gets twisted and tangled, ensnared and starts to
fall; fall into the belief that she’s not beautiful, no not at all.
She has lightly tanned but fair skin, is not paper thin nor does she
cover her face with a mask of make-up every day.

A voice comes to her mind, “But you are beautiful to me,” and so she
wants to believe but cries out in agony, “Father, I cannot see.
Please, would thou help me?” Then her Father whispers to her, “Come,
my daughter I will show thee, the beauty I see, that is truly within
thee.

“See that woman standing there with the darkest brown, dry and brittle
hair. The woman with fat, sun-kissed cheeks and a curvy, well-fed
waist. The woman with scars all over her arms and unshaven legs from
tripping over her calloused feet. With fresh mosquito bites to
complement.

“The woman with lightly tanned but still fair skin, who is not paper
thin, with no face full of chemical cake to cover up her original
make. The woman who has sacrificed so much at my call to seve me
faithfully in a place that is not first world at all. The woman who
has given up her vanity in an effort to give her whole soul to me.
That is the woman I see and who is ever so beautiful to me.

“The woman with plain, torn, faded, hand-me-down clothes. The woman
who I will one day crown with a robe of righteousness as she has
honoured me throughout her diligent and faithful service and the
sacrifice of her body; that is not paper thin; that is not every
teenage girl’s dream. And every woman’s too. That is the woman I see
and who is ever so beautiful to me.

“See that woman standing there with that black badge over her chest,
with my Son’s name imprinted on it, standing out among the rest. No,
she is not perfect but one day she will be as she continues to serve
me loyally.

“And as for her body, it will one day be made perfect too and she will
finally be free of the false doctrine of beauty that exists in her
fallen world; singing a melody of gratitude and praises to me for the
wonderful, unique gift of her physical body. That is the woman I see
and who is ever so beautiful to me.”

And there that woman stands with salty tears in her eyes as she has
finally come to realise that she is beautiful inside. And out. Her
eyes were always open but they can only now see the beauty of the
woman staring back at her, ever so humbly.

There exists a doctrine in the world that “beautiful” is having tanned
brown skin, being paper thin, and wearing a face so full of make-up
that you can’t see what it’s actually made of. This doctrine is poison
and seeps into magazines, movie screens, advertisements on T.V. and
every teenage girl’s dreams. And every woman’s too.

However true beauty is none of those things that are only skin-deep.
True beauty is diversity – of all skin colours, body shapes and sizes,
and personalities. It is sacrificing vanity in an effort to serve a
loving Father in Heaven more selflessly. It is consecrating 18 months
in service of Him, as a missionary, preaching of His Beloved Son ever
so diligently. True beauty is virtue, kindness, chastity and charity
in a superficial world where it’s all about sex, fame and money,
money, money.

True beauty is there in us all if we but choose to see; that true
beauty that Heavenly Father sees in you and in me.

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