“I want to see beauty. In the ugly, even in the kitchen sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.” –Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
1 Peter 3:4 says “Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” and I don’t think this applies solely to women here (even if that’s the cultural context).
As a young teen, I was part of a children’s music and theater program called Creation Station. We performed one week out of the year at Cornerstone, an arts and music festival hosted by our church. By the time I was older we were invited to perform at a church camp in Colorado for a week as well, three years in a row.
I was asked to record a song for one of the Creation Station CDs our leaders made each year that went along with the theme of the performances. We did choreographed dances and skits to each song on the album. The resounding chorus of the song I sang went, “true beauty starts in the heart, H-E-A-R-T, starts in the heart (God looks at the heart) H-E-A-R-T, starts in the heart…” and on and on like this in catchy, kid song fashion. This song might have been written for children, yet it is chock full of truthful messages about our walk on this earth with Christ. The Ann Voskamp quote and scripture above remind me of singing this song for this particular Creation Station CD. It also reminded me how silly I was as a young teenager.
Recently, I walked past a little girl’s room in one of our apartment hallways and serendipitously this song was playing, bringing me back to my 13-or-14-year-old self who was so paranoid about being “cool” that I never thought deeply about the truth of these important words. All I could think about was whether or not I would be thought of as cool or not whenever people heard the song I recorded. My heart was ugly then (though there is always little bits of ugly stuff God is sorting out still today). It was filled with lies from the world, but God saw (and continually sees) the beautiful pieces in the midst of those ugly ones.
Today, I’m older and wiser, but still chronically in search of true beauty that comes only from God. And it’s in the little things all around me. I always need the reminder from my childhood that it starts in the heart (H-E-A-R-T! Starts in the heart!).