Andy and I recently took a much needed beach getaway. On this trip, I rediscovered something I so often lose sight of, the true meaning of beauty. One thing I learned a long time ago is that in this world of special needs parenting time away is crucial, time to refuel, time to reconnect, and time to notice the things we miss in the daily grind.
As we sat on the beach bundled in coats in the chilly January temperature, I looked out at the ocean, the calm serenity of the water meeting the sand and thought, this is absolutely beautiful. God gave us so much beauty in this world and I’m usually too busy to notice it.
“Hearken to this, O Job! Stand and consider the wondrous works of God! Do you know how God lays his commands upon them, and makes the light shine forth from his clouds? Do you know how the clouds are banked the wondrous work of him who is perfect in knowledge?” Job 37: 14-16
Then I looked to my left to see the beautiful man that God gave me specifically for this journey. So often I take my frustrations out on this man and he loves me anyway. I also overlook his inner beauty as I rush to get a million things done in a day. But as we sit side by side on the beach I am reminded of his precious soul, his constant smile, his sense of humor, his strong voice that always calms me when the world is crashing in around us. In this world I am most thankful that God is very much alive in my husband.
“You are all-beautiful, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you.” Songs 4:7
As I continued to relax I was also reminded of the beauty in my family and friends. My sister and brother in law graciously gave us their beach condo for the weekend. My friends pitched in to get Lexi to her school open house, cheerleading practice and girl scouts. And my adorable dad was so excited to take her to the daddy daughter dance in Andy’s absence. My in-laws drove a total of 8 hours to and from Huntsville to take care of Drew and somehow kept the wild man in one piece. And our family there pitched in to entertain him. So many people gave of themselves so we could get away.
But the beauty that brings me to tears is my mom and her love and devotion to our precious Katie. This job was not meant for someone of her age (sorry mom, but at least I didn’t give a number). My mom was very nervous as I explained medication dosages, feeding tube schedules and how to strap her wheelchair. She’s done these things a million times, but to be the sole caregiver is a big task. All weekend she lifted her, changed her diaper and did absolutely everything for her just so we could get a break. She is so very beautiful to me.
I so often forget that beauty is not found in those 5 pounds I need to lose, the perfect skincare regimen, or the cute pair of “skinny” jeans found on sale at Belk. No, beauty is so much deeper, but in this fast pace life true beauty gets overlooked.
“Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
When people look at Katie I see them recognize this beauty. They always smile ear to ear not because her hair is perfect or her clothes are adorable (quiet frankly, sometimes she looks like a hot mess) but because beauty shines from her soul. We see this so perfectly when we take her to communion, as we push her wheelchair back to our pew after she has consumed the body of Jesus Christ, people’s eyes just light up as if she is the most magnificent sight.
As I said earlier we all need breaks, we need time to stop and take in all the beauty this world has to offer. It is easy to feel guilty for getting away, for asking others to do your job for you. But in this, you share beauty with them. The beauty of giving and helping.
“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” Luke 6:38
When we stop the crazy rat race of life and take time to recognize what is beautiful in our lives we realize what beauty really is. I believe true beauty is God, and it is seen most perfectly when we allow Him to shine through us.