Dishing Out Beauty This New Year
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
This New Year’s Day I was invited to my friend Kimmy’s house for some food and fellowship along with three other of my girlfriends. Kimmy is famous for her delectable dishes, and I hadn’t seen how she had decorated her new place, so I was excited about the prospect of enjoying her talents and hobnobbing with friends in an intimate and relaxed environment.
The first thing I noticed upon entering Kimmy’s quaint domicile was the smell of the aromatic pineapple casserole that my friend Rhonda said was to die for. Kimmy and my new roommate Kirstin were busy preparing the final touches on the meal – a succulent, honeyed ham, cheesy mashed potatoes, the famous pineapple casserole, a whole cranberry and nut gelatin salad, a cold bean salad, and dinner rolls, plus sparkling grape juice and fragrant chai tea concocted from genuine Kenyan spices for drinks.
I was impressed by the efforts put forth in the mostly made-from-scratch feast and by the peace and joy that filled the atmosphere as we four women gathered at the dinner table. Kimmy had spread a festive tablecloth, had gathered cream candles and holly berries into a beautifully lit centerpiece, and had placed gold-rimmed wine glasses for the sparkling grape juice at each place setting.
I felt richly blessed as we praised God for this special gathering. As we enjoyed the blending of flavors of the sumptuous cuisine, we each spent about 15 minutes sharing our goals for the year, which ranged from professional to personal to spiritual. When it came time for my turn, the theme of much of what I pinpointed had to do with beauty, both inner and outer – nurturing the spirit of joy that God had placed in my heart; understanding what it means to be the Bride of Christ in all her grandeur, the beloved of God; investing in items that can beautify the home.
I believe that as women we have an inherent desire to foster beauty in ourselves, in our surroundings and in those in our company and care; it’s the essence of our femininity and our identity in Christ. Unfortunately, as we single women get older, we can lose that focus because it seems highly impractical. We can resort to living like college students even into our 30s or even 40s, with mismatched throw-away dishes, lumpy furniture, and TV dinners. Maybe it’s because we are tired and busy with our careers. I think sometimes it is because we have forgotten who we are and we have lost hope in the power of beauty. It’s been too long since we have had a boyfriend. It’s been too long since we have made a personal impact on a child. It’s been too long since we have given or received any heartfelt encouragement. Some of us even feel invisible. The world seems to pass us by as we stand still in our singleness.
Yet, there is a divine hope in each of us called Christ. And He is calling each of us as single women, whether never married or single again; whether young and spry or starting to feel our age, to press in to a new understanding of who we are in Him. We are highly loved, and God sees each of us as beautiful. He gently nudges us to move in the grace and joy that puts a smile on His face. He does not see us as ashes. He does not see us as damaged or forgotten or lacking or thrown away. He sees us as the object of His affections, affections that are true and trustworthy and pure and wise and untainted – unlike anything another human could give.
Let’s make it a goal in this new year to uncover the veil of our past understanding, to uncloak our hearts and our minds and our faces, and to seek Him. Ask of Him, “Lord, I want to see myself as You see me.” And do not fear the answer. Rather, stand in anticipation of the joy He will present as He reveals His love for you.
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