What do we do with the emotional wounds and scars that cast shadows over our lives? How do we respond to the brokenness we experience from disappointments, betrayals, and abandonment? Wounds need time to heal. Scars disappear over time—or they don’t. Whether they do or not, God has made you beautiful. Your wounds don’t turn God off. He knows why they are there, and He is committed to causing them to work together for your good. Transformation occurs as you begin to see yourself as God sees you, say about yourself what He says, and embrace the truth about you as He speaks it. That is the point at which you will begin to hear what He’s been saying all along: “I am the soundtrack of your life; I AM the One who makes you beautiful.” This book will help you • expose the real culprit responsible for our emotional wounds, • examine the consequences of attempting to manage the perceptions of others, • abandon mindsets that mar your beliefs about your beauty, • learn to embrace Jesus’ model for caring for scars, and • discover lifelong tips for ageless beauty.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11, New International Version, emphasis mine)
He makes all things beautiful. Despite emotional wounds, scars or our brokenness, God can transform us into something beautiful. The visual images before us everyday in fashion catalogs, department store displays, and television ads send both blatant and subtle messages all of the time. Most of the time, the message is that we aren’t beautiful enough. Our hips are too big, our busts are too small, our lips are too thin, or our hair is too short. Then there are the other messages: our skin is bad and our teeth are dull. If we believe all of the noise, we feel as though we’re inadequate, don’t have enough, don’t do enough, and can’t be enough. Enough already! The message of Scripture is very different: God has made everything beautiful in its time—including us, despite the messages to the contrary. It’s a beauty waiting to break forth from within us, a beauty that longs after who He is. It’s a beauty that can only be accurately defined and understood within the framework of relationship with Him through Christ.
The emphasis is on He….
It is God who has made us beautiful! Whatever imperfections and unlovliness we’ve acquired along the way are transformed by His presence. He is the one doing this work in our lives. He is the one Who transforms us. He is both able and willing to do it; however, we must be willing to embrace a more comprehensive definition of beauty. It means we stop allowing others to define beauty for us and reclaim the real beauty God intends for us. We will need to take our cue from the apostle Paul and his lesson to the Corinthian Church—it is foolishness to compare yourselves among yourselves (2Corinthians 10:12). Paul cautioned his readers not to misunderstand his demeanor as a lack of power or understanding. He made it clear that when man uses man as a measuring stick, every subsequent calculation would be off. The same applies today. When we allow other people, cultural norms, or fashion trends to become the yardstick by which we measure our own beauty and worth, our calculations will be grossly skewed! In comparing ourselves to others, we miss the unique beauty God has assigned to each of us. We lack understanding when it becomes our goal to transform ourselves according to the standards of others. God has designed us to bear the image of who He is. Since He has made each of uniquely different, bearing His image must be about far more than our complexion, shape, muscle mass, or hair texture.
There is a much larger issue here. This is about knowing the God Who created the universe. He is intimately acquainted with every aspect of who we are. He understands every emotion we experience, and He deposited in us the very egos we often allow to become overblown. He has it in His power to transform all of our circumstances in a moment or over the course of time. This is about knowing Him. HE IS GOD. He is worthy of being known, pursued, and loved just on the basis of His existence and what He has done in our lives. When we come to the place of appreciating the value of knowing Him because He wants to be known, it opens the door to true transformation and authentic beauty. So, what does this transformation look like?
Transformation occurs as you begin to see yourself as God sees you, say about yourself what God says, and embrace the truth about you as He speaks it. Then, it won’t matter what the naysayers think. It won’t matter what color your skin is, what length or texture your hair is, or what size you are. That is the point at which we will begin hearing what He has been saying all along: “I AM the soundtrack of your life—and I AM the One makes you beautiful.”
The road ahead….
This book is organized in three parts. In Part 1, He makes all things beautiful by healing our wounds. I begin with emotional wounds because it’s important to understand that God isn’t turned off by them—He is the One Who really knows why they are there, and He made a commitment a long time ago—before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4)—to cause even our wounds and scars to work together for good (Rom 8:28). Though He’s able to cause them to work together for good, He’s also willing to heal our emotional wounds and give us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that occasionally plagues us. Why? It’s His desire for you and me to be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)
In Part 2, He makes all things beautiful by invading our world. We’ll see situations where He invaded and invested Himself to transform people or situations into something beautiful. An important take away in this section is that God rarely does something in our lives that is solely about us. His invasion of our world brings with it the potential for a legacy of blessings in the lives of others as well. We will see Him put his finger on a life and witness the subsequent transformation that takes place. We will take note as He weaves together seemingly unconnected events to create a tapestry, which reflects His glory and covers the lives of many as they are drawn into relationship with Him.
In Part 3, He makes all things beautiful by giving us beauty secrets for life. It is all about how we take care of ourselves and find quality time in the spa of His presence, which results in authentic beauty. According to 2 Peter 1:3-9, God, by His divine power, has granted everything we need that pertains to or concerns life and godliness. The everything He speaks of is accessed through knowledge of Him. The more intimate our knowledge of Him, the more we access and understand what is necessary to live out the victorious Christian life He desires for us. It may not be a trial-free, conflict-free, or even drama-free life. However, we can live it from a victorious vantage point. It can still be a victorious Christian life. As believers, it is both desirable and possible to live a victorious life amid the turmoil, struggle, and challenges we face every day. The more intimately acquainted we are with Him the more victorious our lives become. The details of our lives take on greater significance because they not only demonstrate and portray the practical, day-to-day ways we overcome, but they also communicate in a very understandable way the nature and character of the sovereign God who meets us where we are and loves us to beautiful.
Peter goes on to say that if the qualities we acquire as a result of knowing Him (intimacy) are ours and increasing, we are poised to be both useful and fruitful. We are strategically positioned not only to be beautiful but to be great as well—God’s kind of greatness. We’re available for service and to love others. We’re available as ambassadors and friends. We’re available as Kingdom envoys to come alongside others in the ministry of reconciling others to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). I pray you will be encouraged as you read these pages. Specifically, I pray you will abandon every mindset and attitude that has marred or jaded your belief about your own beauty. I pray you will embrace, daily, the vastness of God’s everlasting love for you as well as the depth and extent of His grace toward you. Finally, I pray you will see yourself through the same filter through which He sees you: the selfless, atoning blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Marvita Franklin has a passion for God’s Word and leader development. She is a U.S. Air Force retiree with an extensive background in training, coaching, and consulting. She conducts leadership workshops, speaks to women’s groups, teaches Sunday School classes, and sings in her church choir. She’s an avid reader who loves to sew, create scrapbooks, and do craft projects. She is married with two children and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.