Call Me Beautiful

by Paula

We all possess the inherent longing for God's unconditional love. I'm convinced. It's how we we're wired, how we were created. Why we were created.

This is something that has been on my mind and in my heart lately. And there's one word that seems to be following me around. One word I can't seem to shake. Beautiful.

Lately I seem to be obsessed with beauty. Call it one symptom of a mid-life crisis, call it sudden vanity, call it sin, but lately—I've wanted to be beautiful. Yes, on the inside, but on the outside too. I want to be seen as beautiful. I need to be called beautiful.

"Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings," (Psalm 17:8)

My husband can attest to this. Last month I finally broke down and asked him in a moment of weakness, "Do you think I'm pretty?" Of course, my husband was a bit annoyed and said, "Of course. What kind of a question is that?" And when I asked him why he never told me that I'm pretty, he replied that he didn't know that he had to. He thought it was a given. Which it should be. But for some reason I had a desperate need to hear the words, to experience them wash over me in a moment of vanity. And when he later looked at me and said, "Paula, you are a very beautiful woman," I hit the mental record button so I could play it over and over again. Because it felt good.

I think the longing to be beautiful, the longing to be loved, originates in our desire to be known and loved by God, to have a love affair with Jesus. We know God loves us, we've heard it before. We can read it in the Bible. But we want to hear it again. We want to experience it often. We want to feel it.

But what it comes down to is this: If I rely on other people's love and affection to fill me, I will always be disappointed. I will never feel completely full. We can try to rely on our spouse to fulfill our deepest desires to be intimately known and loved, to experience that "perfect love" we dream about, but ultimately that's unfair. Because we're all flawed. We're all sinners. We're incapable of delivering perfection.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23)

We can then turn to fantasies or extramarital relationships to make us feel beautiful, special, exciting, or wanted. But these are doomed to fail before they even began. Although they may deliver moments of passion, they will only ever be that—fleeting moments, followed by deep dissatisfaction. They'll never fulfill, never bring us what we truly long for—perfect and everlasting acceptance, adoration, and commitment.

Only one love can do that. And only through grace.

"So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him." Psalm 45:11

Recently I was struggling, and I hadn't talked to God as much as I should have. I had been hiding behind excuses and shame. As I was driving, a song came on the radio, and I knew, I knew, He was playing it for me. So I listened. And I cried.

Then I turned down the radio and prayed like I hadn't prayed in a long time. After several minutes I ended the prayer not with an "Amen," as I usually do, but instead by saying out loud, "I just love you."

When I reached over and turned up the volume again, out of the speakers at that exact moment came the words "I love you more." They were sung through Matthew West's voice and song, but I knew who spoke them to me. My great love, who loves me unconditionally and wholly, who calls me beautiful.

A particular song by Ginny Owens has been played and repeated in my iTunes library. But this song—this love—is not just for me, it wasn't meant for my ears or my heart only. He calls us all beautiful.

I've been waiting
For a hero who's brave and strong
Someone to love me
Someone to tell me I belong

So I pretend I'm satisfied
And I stand watching on the sidelines
Till you pull me into the light
And say, "It's your turn now, welcome to your life."

And you call me beautiful
And say you've loved me all along
And you've always held the keys to unlock my soul
Oh, you call me beautiful.
--"Call Me Beautiful," Ginny Owens

After growing up in a family with three girls, Paula found herself raising three boys. Admittedly still perplexed at how the male brain works, she has learned to embrace the boogers and burps that come alongside the kisses and bedtime snuggles. She feels blessed to have been able to take her full-time editor job to a part-time status after her third son was born so she could be home with her boys before and after school, as well as devote more time to helping them develop into the type of Christ-following men she knows this world needs. Paula shares her entertaining look at life with boys at

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{ Sisterlisa } at: November 15, 2009 at 10:27 PM said...

This is SO beautiful Paula! I read Leonard Sweet's book, 'So Beautiful' and I think you would LOVE it. I have been experiencing a deeper walk with our Lord lately and the spiritual love in worship is far beyond my wildest expectations. No one can fill my heart like He does.

{ pjmomof3boys } at: November 16, 2009 at 6:59 AM said...

Thanks, Lisa, that means a lot! Thank you for the book recommendation. I will definitely read it!

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