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THE UGLY-BEAUTIFUL

"I see, because I am looking..."

"The wrinkled man in the wheelchair with the legs wrapped, the girl with her face
punctured deep with the teeth marks of a dog, the mess of this world, and I SEE - this,
all of this - the ugly- beautiful. Is He repelled by the crazed eyes, the foul talk, or bad
breath of the demon-possed man? Staggeringly, doesn't even Beauty Himself become the Ugly-Beautiful? 'There is nothing beautiful about His appearance.' (Isaiah 53:2). He became ugly that we might become beauty... making all that is dark, evil,
empty into that which is all light, grace, full... beautiful."
- Ann Voskamp - (One Thousand Gifts, pages 98-99)

One Thousand Gifts is a book that is rockin' my world! If you have a moment to indulge me, I feel compelled to share a transparent story with you. I had JUST read the above passage early last Tuesday morning; therefore, my outlook for the day had it's shape. Who knew what was about to unfold?:

It was Tuesday, June 7th, 10:47 A.M. My husband, Lance "Superman," and my son, Spencer "Tank," and I had just arrived at Disney World - Epcot. We had not even entered the park. There she was... the "ugly-beautiful." My eyes passed her once but then re-examined her with my second glance. I stared... hoping she would not notice. Around 40 years of age, her face disfigured, elephant jaws, sunken eyes, frizzy hair. I tried (truly) to stop gawking before she turned around, but my lens were fixed. Too late. She noticed. I smiled one of those "you've been caught" smiles. She wasn't buying it - turned away from my rudeness. My insides unraveled, fearing that I had just embarrassed her and become, yet, just another onlooker who defined her as "ugly." Quite the contrary! Instantly, I had found my new hero! What bravery it must take someone of her physical dismantle to canvass the world. The ridicule... the scrutiny... the gossip...

Lance was busy checking us through the gate, Spencer was playing with the dead leaf of palm tree, and my eyes were following her. My heart was doing something. I could feel it in toes. It was a compulsion, a deep inner-pressing in my spirit. Then, the Inner-Voice broke loudly, "Tell her she's beautiful." Instantly, I knew I had been given a Holy Spirit "assignment" for that specific moment in time... the "ugly-beautiful." (Oh, if I had just skipped my "quiet time" led by Ann that morning who had molded my frame of mind!!!) Oh, sweet, sweet Jesus! Everything internally was screaming, "FOR REAL, LORD???!!!" Candidly, it's not that I was afraid for my own sake. Honestly, I feared that the ugly-beautiful would consider me mocking or making fun of her, because, obviously, she was not beautiful (from the world's perspective). But, I had been here before with my ever-so-persistent Father and knew I had to carry through with my assignment, trusting that He would take care of her response to my declaration.

I approached her, swallowed hard... couldn't do it. Walked right passed. The inner-pressing continued - DEEPLY urging. Then, she was gone. Couldn't find her. My heart panicked that I had missed this opportunity - was not faithful to my specific call. I prayed (begged) for another chance. "Won't let You down this time, Lord!!" We entered "Spaceship Earth." There she was - with family! I approached her, swallowed hard... couldn't do it!!! COWARD!!! By this time, I'm wondering if she thinks I am stalking her! She had surely noticed my looming presence! I made a wide circle for my 3rd attempt at a landing. I approach her, swallowed hard... put my hand on her warm, bare, pale arm and said, "You are beautiful." As the words were forming in my mouth, so were my tears... My eyes went inside hers. I SAW IT... HER BEAUTY!! ("Oh, GOD!! I STARVE TO SEE PEOPLE THE WAY YOU DO!!!!") Did God just let me borrow His eyes - for just that brief moment in time??? She paused all she was doing and said, "Oh, thank you." She smiled a smile that make my stomach jump (literally)! Immediately, her shoulders rounded, and she looked at the ground - as if the words were foreign to her. From that moment, I was addicted to her - knowing on June 7th I had a call to SPEAK LIFE into the soul of the ugly-beautiful. I fervently prayed for more opportunities... We entered the "Sum of All Thrills"... there she was. Stood in line for the "Test Track," stood next to her. Rode the "Ellen Energy Ride," sat next to her. When I purchased my turkey on Ciabatta bread, she was ordering her Chinese noodles (same restaurant). We tried to ride Soarin' (line too long, couldn't get a fast pass), but we passed the ugly-beautiful on the way. Throughout the day, she AMAZINGLY appeared!! I approached her holding "the pitcher" by the handle, anxious to splash her with acceptance... love. By the end of the day, her acceptance of my eyesight was nothing short of precious! By about the 5th encounter, she acted as if she had, actually, become a believer, able to hold the lock of my eyes, and showing lots of teeth when she smiled!!! All over the park, splatters of my delighted heart remained! The "ugly-beautiful" was the reason I was at Epcot last Tuesday. Overflowing with gratitude, I THANKED GOD...