Beauty Is

Staring long into the mirror
A face unknown seemed to be there
It’s not the face that I remember
But one that’s lost its youthful splendor.
I squeezed my eyes, then looked again
But that old face stared back again.
Sitting there so mesmerized
It came to me…where beauty lies.

Beauty lives within the heart
It shines with glory…like heavens’ art.
Beauty reaches out and heeds
It recognizes others’ needs.
Beauty seeks to understand
The thoughts of an opposing man.
Beauty is a word that flows
From humble lips, with love that shows.
Focused on what’s good and right
It thinks on pure and lovely sights.
Beauty’s found in hope renewed
In sweet forgiveness, grace and truth.
It brightens up this darkened world
Its value is like jewels and pearls.

Beauty’s not a perfect face
Beauty’s not a tiny waist
Nor is it a twenty-something
Nor words that please… but stand for nothing.
Beauty’s not the youngest skin
Nor a body that’s pencil thin.
No… Beauty isn’t our appearance
Nor gaining the whole worlds acceptance.
It isn’t found in self-absorption
In gossip, lies, or vain distortions.
It doesn’t live in brands and labels
Or fancy food upon the table.
Its not the home that fills our dreams
Its not attaining financial means.

O Lord, my Lord help us to see
What lasting beauty really means.
That when we look into the mirror
Our vision might become so clear.
To see ourselves, as You see us
To focus not on earthly stuff.
That from our heart true beauty pours
And radiates like sun and stars.
May our words restore and heal
May we shine with hope and zeal.
Make us glow with Your great love
With grace displayed from heaven above.
So when the darkness closes in
Light from our heart will leap and sing.
Then all will see what beauty is…
It’s You O God… living within.
Rhonda Shelford Jansen



The Gift of Creativity


This story was written with the hope of encouraging you to be victorious over the negative voices from the past that hinder your creativity.  Whether your talents are in business, painting, writing, sculpting, building relationships, teaching, giving grace, or encouraging others, don’t believe for a minute they are unimportant.  If God has given you a talent he expects you to use it for His glory. 

Roberta sat before a blank canvas ready to paint but some invisible force was stopping her.  Her heart wanted to paint but her mind was blank, frozen with doubt and insecurity.  Voices from the past kept whispering to her that she lacked talent, that her hope of becoming a professional artist was a pipe-dream.  The voices came from teachers, family, or friends who over the years had suggested in one way or another that she lacked talent.  There was the instructor who said with great concern, “That piece needs serious help.” Or the aunt who was surprised at her choice of colleges, “so you’re going to art school, didn’t know you had any talent.”  Or the utterly shaming, “maybe you could try painting like Donna, she does such nice work.”

Stepping away from her easel Roberta began to pace around the house deep in thought.  Why did the negative voices from the past stay with her?  Why did they come back at unexpected times to haunt her?  Why did they have the power to shut down her creativity?  Ah, that was the question; why did the negative statements of others from years past still have power over her today?  After all, there had been hundreds of positive and encouraging words spoken to her, also.

Her creative mind began to form a mental picture of the power negative words had in her life.  She saw a beautiful box with its lid off filled to overflowing with talent, potential and beautiful art.  Each time she created a work of art the box became larger and more beautiful.  People who saw the box were inspired and uplifted by its beauty and God was blessed.

However, when she allowed negative words from the past to inhibit her creativity two black bands labeled insecurity and doubt appeared.  Slowly creeping their way up the sides of the beautiful box squeezing it and making it disfigured and small.  When this happened people who saw the box felt sad and disappointed.

Frequently the black bands would lose strength, shrinking back to the bottom of the box allowing it to grow in beauty once more.  This happened when she shutout the negative voices, choosing instead to believe in God and the talent He’d gave her.   In her mind’s eye she saw the box cycle several times between growing in beauty and shrinking from insecurity and doubt.  There was a continual struggle going on between the beautiful box and the black bands.

A struggle for my creativity; why?  Pondered Roberta.  The answer came from within the beautiful box picture.  Using her creativity inspired, encouraged and brought joy to others.  But most of all it honored God when she used the talents He’d blessed her with.

Conversely, when the black bands of insecurity and doubt squeezed hard they prevented her from honoring God with her talents. “That’s the reason the negative voices can be so strong at times,” thought Roberta.  “They are used to prevent me from honoring God with my talents.  I must stand strong against them.  I must shut down the negative memories before they hinder my progress.  I must believe in the talent God has given me and use it to bless His name.

With her new found insight Roberta felt a freedom in her spirit and a burst of creative energy.  She sat before the canvas and began to create a new painting.  Carefully, she penciled out a beautiful box filled with art work.  And at the base of the box she drew two small black bands lying next to it, not wrapped around it, representing her victory over the negative voices from the past. If God has given you a talent he expects you to use it for His glory.  Go, be creative and honor God.

1 Peter 4:10  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Romans 12: 6-8  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Debora Shelford Hobbs