1: the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness
2 : a beautiful person or thing; especially : a beautiful woman
3: a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality
Caleb will be nine in two weeks (GASP). Ask him who the most beautiful girl in the world is (besides me :), and he will answer without hesitation - a tall, lanky Chinese teenager who's his older sister, even though she doesn't live here.
A couple of months ago, I was raving about how horrible everyone had been acting as I drove down the highway. Caleb replied, "But Mommy, isn't it so beautiful what God is doing in Big Sis R's heart. I mean, it's amazing the difference."
The truth is, I had missed it.
For years, I have defined beauty as the moment our daughter would be placed in my arms, take on my husband's name, and the opportunity for God to grow her in our home from infancy would begin.
In word, I laid it all down when we began this journey of foster care. But, I nursed the hope that the trade off would be the crowing jewel of a daughter added to our pretty cool family - smile.
Or, I dreamed of that precious international adoption photo where everyone's shoes are lined up, and darling pink ones awaited the orphan we would pursue across the ocean.
Honestly, I'd take either (though I'm fully aware that neither are completely beautiful on the other side. Both carry their own griefs and sorrows).
But, in fact, I'd take about anything, except what is actually in my home.
And now the tears fall. Because His thoughts are not my thoughts, and His ways are not my ways. (Isaiah 55:8)
It's 2 in the morning, and I can't sleep because the work of God molding - no, hacking - my image of beauty away is so painful. The sculpting of His answers to my prayer of anything are gutting me from within.
And so beauty becomes...
Her frizzy hair and crooked teeth.
Her chubby legs crammed in ballet tights.
The opportunity to catch them in their sins, and they catch me in mine.
The wailing of my soul, as God strips me of my dreams, and implants His own within me.
In these early morning hours, I'm fully grasping that my vision of a "beautiful" family, even in the context of our crazy lifestyle, is not for certain anymore - according to the old dictionary, and in utter honesty, I'm silently weeping over than, grieving it. Really, it never was certain, it was only the birth of vision God was growing in Jamie and me.
My selfish soul wants our little girl in a smocked Roll Tide outfit, and it wants to hold her before the church as she is committed to the Father as an young infant. It wants a chance to get her heart, before the sorrows and griefs of this world set in. None of these things are innately "bad." But when I look myself in the mirror and scream at the horror that I'm not sure I can die to that - it's bad.
But praise God, who is rich in mercy, that He doesn't do things the "beautiful" way. The disciples were not the beautiful ones; they were doubtful, prideful, self-absorbed followers, desperate for redemption.
Sounds like me.
Praise God, He led His son, not to an easy comfortable method of saving His creation, but He led Jesus to a death of gore, pain, and abandonment.
All for the beauty, that came in the morning.
I'm not there yet, but I'm beginning to glimpse, to taste the reality of the ways I could miss the true beauty He purposed me for because I've chased after another's beauty He designed for them, but even more so...
I've clung to Webster's definition and missed Caleb's realization of the true beauty being birthed before my eyes.