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In the Eye of the Beholder

26 Jun

Irving was just coming out of anesthesia after a series of tests in the hospital, and his wife, Sarah was sitting at his bedside.

His eyes fluttered open and he murmured, “You’re beautiful!”

Flattered, Sarah continued her vigil while Irving drifted back to sleep. Later, he woke up and said, “You’re cute.”

“What happened to ‘beautiful’?” Sarah asked.

“I guess the drugs must be wearing off, ” he replied. * LOL!

“Beauty,” it’s said, “is in the eye of the beholder.”

Sometimes we don’t recognize true beauty, especially our own. Our vision of ourselves is subjective and limited. We measure ourselves against model-like standards of “perfection.” We define beauty in such narrow terms. Who is to say a rose is more beautiful than a daisy? How can we compare a perfect day at the beach with a perfect day in the mountains? God’s creations are varied and unique, and to appreciate each one is to appreciate the Creator Himself.

One of the most beautiful women I ever met was partially blind and “ordinary-looking,” yet she glowed with an inner strength I desired as a young girl. I couldn’t get enough of sitting by her side, capturing her winsomeness and joy and learning from her vast store of wisdom.

The older I get, the more I understand that, though we are all “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:12-14), no human is completely  beautiful this side of heaven. We all sin, and we are in varying stages of decay (slowly falling apart) until the day we die. In other words, we are all marred images until God transforms us (2 Corinthians 3:18). I think we’ll be surprised, maybe even shocked, by our beauty in Christ in heaven.

All true, lasting beauty comes from God. “Beauty is fleeting,” the scriptures say, “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).  Beauty includes character, gifts, purpose, faith and so much more than mere appearance.

The Christian knows there is more. When the Father sees the believer, He sees His Son (Colossians 3:3-4; Romans 8:1; 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 2:13) –  and Jesus is beautiful. In Christ, Father God declares us chosen and special (1 Peter 2:9), loved (1 John 3:1), blessed (Ephesians 1:3), free (John 8:36) and more!

The Christian’s desire is to reflect Christ both now and in eternity, and this desire will be answered “in the eye of the beholder.”

We will behold Christ and we will be changed!

The Word of God says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). In that day, we we will be perfect and beautiful – just as the Creator intended.

Do you know your beauty in Christ? (If not, here is a perfect “mirror” for you to behold yourself.)

* From Cyberslalt.org, “Surgical Beauty.”

– Dawn

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Why I’m Going to Start Wearing Aprons

20 May

Most aprons in stores these days are more like t-shirts with quotes, slogans, and silly statements. I saw one I liked online the other day that said, “HAVE MERCY!” I think I need that one when I burn the biscuits or overcook my hubby’s steak.

Times have changed. I read that Grandmas used to set their hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Today, their granddaughters set their pies on the window sill to thaw!

I have this mental image of my Grandma Parks in an apron, baking cherry pies. Her hands and hair and apron were full of flour from rolling out the dough; but that apron protected her dress underneath so she’d be ready for dinner. It was easier to toss an apron in the washer than a dress, she said.

Once a staple of women’s wardrobes, aprons went out of style about the same time women stopped embracing their femininity for a more “feminist” mindset. Aprons, often perceived as symbols of servitude, all but became obsolete. But, just like the movement toward true womanhood, a more balanced few of femininity, and the desire of many women to be compassionate in serving others from the heart, aprons are experiencing a comeback.

Have you noticed the wide variety of apron patterns in stores over the past few years? I bought two simple ones a few years back, but haven’t made a single apron yet. Then, some time ago, when my speaker friend Judy Sharfenberg and her daughters were ministering at the same Christian camp I was, they sold aprons they had found on the internet, “dirt cheap.” I bought two.

One was a wild and crazy print in black, pink, turquoise, and white. The other was navy blue with red trim, and on the blue background was a series of heart designs that look like Scherennschnitte (German paper cutting). It looked so quaint, I couldn’t resist. But I haven’t worn them yet. I’m thinking this over today … why don’t I wear my aprons?

I’ve discovered some things about aprons.

  • At their most basic, aprons are meant to protect the clothing underneath, but sometimes they are so beautiful, I want to cherish and protect the apron!
  • Most aprons have “attitude.” It’s rare to find a boring apron, unless it’s one of those barren cream-colored canvas aprons ~ all function, no pizazz. [Note: On a woman, aprons can accentuate femininity. On a man, they basically just keep barbeque sauce off a t-shirt.]
  • Aprons have many functions and their style usually indicates their purpose. Some are perfect at a tea party; others are rugged and wonderful for gardening (with big pockets).
  • Aprons have uses beyond protecting clothes… for example, aprons can be substituted for a wiping towel when something spills.
  • Aprons can scoop up whatever is out of place and used as a “tote” to put things where they belong.
  • Aprons can serve as a “basket” to hold the fresh fruit you pull off a tree, just for today.
  • Aprons can be a quick potholder for hot pans.
  • They can be untied and used as an impromptu fly-swatter.
  • In a pinch, an apron can be a shawl, thrown around the shoulders for a quick run outdoors to the mailbox on a chilly day.
  • Aprons can wipe a grandchild’s tears.
  • They are decorator items… they look adorable hanging from hooks or draped over rocking chairs.
  • Aprons are for “hiding.” Think of little ones hiding from strangers behind Mama’s apron… or mama hiding a treat in the pockets. [Full disclosure: I once hid a spot on my skirt with an apron at a dinner party. I made sure it was festive and cute. No one knew … until now.]
  • Aprons usually have some sort of ties to keep them in place. (Hmmm… for some reason, the song “Blest be the ties that bind…” is running through my mind.)

Now if you thought I was going to make some powerful spiritual applications based on those observations, you’ll be disappointed. I could, but really, aprons are just aprons, and I just listed some wonderful reasons to use them.

And most of the things I mentioned that aprons can do will only work if an apron is long enough and full enough for the task. (Those short little “cocktail” aprons won’t do the trick.)

A few years ago, I bought my granddaughters some sweet aprons. (That’s Megan, wearing her lavender check apron.) I’ve noticed lots of little girls wearing them lately. Maybe there is hope that this generation will experience an apron revival.

Meanwhile, my wild-and-crazy apron and the Scherennschnitte apron are hanging next to a beautiful yellow one with daisies that my mom gave me… and I haven’t worn that one either!

What a waste. Aprons are meant to be used.

I think I’m not wearing my aprons for several reasons.

  1. I don’t cook at home enough. Who needs an apron when Applebee’s is preparing the meal?
  2. My aprons aren’t handy enough. They’re hanging on hooks in my garage. I need to give them a quick-to-reach place in my kitchen.
  3. I’m wearing too many “grubbies” at home, so I think I don’t need an apron. (OK, I’ll confess. Because I work at home, it’s easy to wear my comfy pj’s a lot of the time.) I have an image of 1950s women doing their laundry in heels and pearls. The apron seemed to fit that image better than my Levi’s or pj’s. But if I dressed better, I’d need an apron for messy jobs.

I’m sure there are other reasons… but I’m going to focus on those three. As I see it, I have three choices to make that will make me a better apron-wearer, and here’s where a couple of spiritual applications kick in, for me at least:

  1. I need to get more “homie” … to be a better grocery shopper and meal planner. I need to save money by learning to make food at home again. I knew how to do that once. What happened? I think that when I started writing, I stopped cooking. I’m all about convenience foods and a microwave. But part of me longs for a revival of some culinary skills. I think that God puts in every woman’s heart a desire to nurture and to build a “nest” with diligence and dignity (Proverbs 31:10-31). It’s part of our role and privilege as women. I’m going to start simple and cut up some vegetables for the crockpot. That can get messy… I’ll need an apron.
  2. I need to give my aprons a new “home.” I am going to clean out a drawer near the sink and fold or roll up some aprons to “live” there until I need them. [Grandma always had her everyday apron hanging on a hook next to the refrigerator, and fancier ones in a basket on a shelf, hidden behind a ruffled curtain!]
  3. I’m going to upgrade my “at home” wear. My hubby will appreciate it and it will be one way that I can show him respect (Ephesians 5:33b) with my appearance. If dress nicer ~ and I  don’t need to wear pearls and heels ~ I won’t have to “head for the hills” when the exterminator or Fed Ex knocks on my door. And as I wear those nicer clothes, I may need to grab an apron more often.

How about you? Do you have aprons you’re not using? Why not? Isn’t there a place for at least one apron in your everyday “wardrobe?”

Hmmm… I wonder if my daughters-in-love would like aprons for Christmas? I still have those patterns.

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