I go to the gym most evenings and usually it's pretty busy. The picture is usually the same…women talking and laughing, big men lifting weights way too heavy for their own good, and little kids running around. The picture was exactly this way yesterday, but as I was running on my treadmill and looked ahead of me, I was struck by something.
The woman running on the one in front of me was dressed in head-to-toe black Adidas workout gear. She looked sporty as could be and was working hard, but I was amazed the moment I noticed that in her dark, pinned back hair she had a perfect and real white rose. A single white rose in the middle of all this commotion at the gym.
I was totally struck by this flower.
There's something about women and flowers, and there's something about how we feel with flowers in our hair. It is one of the oldest and most natural adornments for women. I was moved to awe in this moment because I was reminded of how much we as women, in everything we do in our lives, desire to feel beautiful. We desire pretty things. Even if it means wearing a rose while we are running…we. desire. beauty.
We look to feel pretty in so many different ways…in the clothes we buy, the make-up we use, in the way our bodies look. We often look to feel beautiful by other people - through what others say, through the opinions others hold of us.
But how often do we put on Christ - adorn ourselves with the love of God - to feel beautiful? How often do I look to Christ to tell me of my beauty instead of looking to the world to tell me of it?
Roses remind me of Mary - Mary reminds me of Christ. I'm sure this wasn't her intention at all - I don't know how this woman feels about herself or the reason for the rose - she probably just wanted a rose in her hair, but in that moment I saw a symbol of how I must continue to put on Christ to make me feel beautiful. I must live in the light of Christ and pour that beauty out into the world, remembering that Christ made me perfect in his image (Genesis 1), and that nothing will ever change this magnificent truth that stuns me over and over again.
I am grateful for every reminder God gives me to seek beauty in all that is genuine, remembering that it is this that can make us feel special and lovely. It's not the make-up or the outfit or the body - it's Christ. It's the authentic and the genuine and the real - the real love of Christ - the Christ that accepts in all our brokenness and messiness and loves every last bone in our body.
As you seek beauty in yourself and in the world today, adorn yourself with the words of Christ, "You are altogether, beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." (Song of Solomon 4:7)
"Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."
- After the Storm, Mumford and Sons