Tag Archives: compassion

Would You Find a Toothless Woman Beautiful?


IMG_9316I climbed into a ditch yesterday to get eye level with a woman who had been looking my way. I was the only white female around and with my ultra white skin and this long auburn hair, I’m sure that I stood out more than I realized.

It had been a dream of mine for about 2 years to stand where I was standing. There are factories nearby my house and many Malagasy people work there and eat out on the streets on their very short meal breaks.

There is a harvest in my backyard basically and I wanted to go and love on them.

I had just shared with the people on the love of God and the way that it has changed my life. There were tears as I saw glimpses of God’s heart over each one who listened to me.

I spoke with and prayed for several at the end of my sharing time and I kept my eyes open for anyone else whom God might want me to pray with.

My translator stuck by my side and thankfully he is a bold young man who loves Jesus so he went along with my leading him person to person.

After many smiles and warm prayers had been offered, I knew it was time to go and greet this one who was continually looking my way. I climbed down onto her level and smiled.

I began to ask her name and if there was anything that she needed prayer for.

There was indeed, so I asked her like the others I had prayed for if I could hold her hand.

Her eyes widened as she heard my translation come through in her mother tongue. She looked back at me and covered up her smile.

This white girl wanted to hold her hand.

Then I said what a beautiful smile she had. To which she shook her head like any woman who’s insecure and being complimented would do.

The only difference between her insecurities and maybe a friend back home is that she is missing most of her teeth.

Not only that, but the remaining teeth were rotting.

I meant what I said though—that she had a beautiful smile.

She was beautiful. Far more than the so referred to ideals of beauty that only masks what real beauty is.

Here she was not hiding who she really was. There was no escaping that she’s grown up less fortunate than anyone I know from the USA. There’s no hiding the fact that she’s not had access to proper dental care or hygiene. Her wrinkles on her young face reveal many harsh days in the sunlight working and the physical stress her body has endured.

We prayed for her specific needs and I also encouraged her that she is a daughter of God just like me. That there might be differences in our lives naturally, but we are the same value with Him and we are loved by Him.

We continued to talk and I watched as her countenance changed. How her eyes softened more and received more love like sunlight to her heart.

I repeatedly told her how beautiful her smile was and each time it grew broader and brighter.

Her sister came along, not missing any visible teeth and was equally as beautiful. We talked and prayed and then they thanked me and walked away.

I thought about this dear smile.
This toothless face and the precious sight it is to my Father in Heaven.
I thought of the joy that Jesus has over this one who to the best of her knowledge loves Him and worships Him.
This one who He paid the price for in dying on the cross.

Then I thought about the social media world and it’s view on beauty.

I’ve never seen a popular post of a picture of a woman with no make-up and saying many comments of “Wow you’re so beautiful!”, “GORGEOUS!”, “Ow Ow super-model friend”.

I know I’ve often remarked on my friend’s posts of wearing no make-up, but it’s not the normal and pictures of women without make-up is by large, rare.

I’ve never seen people get all excited over some woman’s outfit that is just “plain Jane” or one that is mismatched, has holes, and is tattered like my toothless friend.

The reality is that we don’t see beauty like God sees it.

We look for the no wrinkles, flawless, put together, something we can all desire type of beauty.

We post about the latest trends, style the latest haircuts and colors, and keep one another in a constant comparison trap. All the while the true beauties of the world get pushed out of sight.

Back to my original question, would you find a toothless woman beautiful?

You might answer yes particularly if you can picture this Malagasy woman I have described and have a sense of compassion. BUT is your “yes” based on sympathy and feeling sorry for her? Is your scale of beauty adjusted to fit someone who’s life is lived in the dust and dirt of Africa? Or can you confidently saw yes because no matter if you are looking at this precious one or the woman next to you at work, you see true beauty. You see it in the ones that others would call “ugly”. You see beauty in the faces of those who would never grace a magazine about beauty and style. You see it because you’ve seen the one whom “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. (Isaiah 53:2)

There was nothing in Jesus’ nature that marked beauty or denoted an attractiveness like a King, yet the beauty of His love and life is far greater than any person will ever have.

When we see His beauty and gain His heart, we see the beauty in others, even if there is ugliness in their hearts that makes them unkind.

Beauty isn’t in a perfectly set of straight teeth or in a perfectly arched eyebrow. It certainly isn’t in an expensive dress or in the shade of hair dye.

Beauty is in the heart of God who created everything and said that “It is good”. He created you. He created me. He created the sunsets, the rainbows and the stars. And he calls things beautiful like my toothless friend.

Don’t be afraid to climb down into the ditches of life and to search out beauty where few are brave enough to explore. You’ll find great treasures of beauty there hidden just to reveal themselves to you.

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I am not one to use face make-up like foundation or concealer.

If anything I dust some light homemade bronzer on my face for a subtle glow. HOWEVER, I recently bought concealer a couple of weeks ago.

The reason for this is that for the past two years as I’ve had some complications mainly resulting from a car accident and international travel, I’ve had such poor sleep. It’s not that I CAN’T SLEEP, it’s that I have a bleeding kidney and other crazy things so I’m in the bathroom most of the night.

Truthfully I’ve not been very open about what I’ve been walking through because for the most part I look “fine” to the outside eye. It’s been a looooong long road and a few close friends know, but it’s hard to talk about and even writing this much is vulnerable.

I feel cold sweats writing this. Just kidding! :-P

I share this to say that most nights I sleep under 5 hours and sadly, I don’t have an adorable baby/toddler or a PHD for getting this amount of sleep.

I’ve had puffy eyes from the urinary issues and the concealer was a must-grab for the dark circles particularly on days when make-up is more necessary than other days.

That being said, here’s a recap of my morning yesterday…. We were in a town in Oklahoma at one of our supporting churches for a missions convention to help them raise funds for missions in 2015.

I was up all but 3 hours of the night.

Stephen had to speak at 2 morning services and he ingested food he was allergic to and sparing details, it was a fun night for both of us.

I dozed off finally for another 30 minutes before I had to leave for the 2nd, NOT the 1st service because I’m already that cool ;)

I was pushed for time and I had to pack up our hotel room.

It had poured all night and the freshly curled before bedtime hair was now a mess.

On went the concealer and eye make-up.

I went to curl my hair, dropped my curling iron and grabbed it…WITH MY HAND! If I didn’t have my lavender essential oil, I would’ve been in major pain, but I applied it quickly and then I tried to do something with my hair and ran out the door.

((Yes I brushed my teeth too—don’t worry! I lost my toothbrush in all of our traveling on Saturday, but grabbed one at the front desk the night before…actually Stephen did—my hero! ))

I was a hot mess walking out of this hotel and the wind was SO intense that all the attempts at making my hair look in any way decent are now gone…

…and honestly I was not in the best mood. I was trying to think of a worship song and nothing was coming to me. I had just had worship on in the hotel room, but my tired brain was now drawing a blank.

I ended up at a GOLF COURSE, NOT the church and had to drive a little further to get to church late. Awesome.

“Hi! I’m the Guest Speaker’s wife, late and distracting everyone as I make my way to the front row. Keep your eye on me because with my kidney issues, I WILL be distracting you more and going to the bathroom during service.” Sighs.

I took my place on the front row and thankfully worship was absolutely powerful. I immediately was grateful for the words to a song in front of me and my tired brain and I belted out singing SO loudly (and likely off key).

I didn’t want the enemy stealing my praise even after a hard night.

The Senior Pastor got up to pray for healing in the service and instructed people to press in with worship and focus on Jesus.

His wife, who was on the platform directing the choir leaned over and whispered into his ear.

He then called out for a gentleman by the name of “Mike” to come forward.

As Mike walked forward, his wife and a friend assisted him. He is fighting cancer and has been given a short amount of time to live.

A few gathered around him to pray and I darted across the sanctuary.

Compassion flooded my being and I began to weep over this man.

I saw his frail state.
I saw the pain in his eyes.
I felt a glimpse of the hurt he had been walking in.
More than that, I felt the love of God.

I stood adding my faith in agreement for his healing. My heart broke.

I knew my husband’s message would be good and I was expectant.
But I was distracted.

Distracted by the love and compassion that I felt over this stranger I’d never even had the privilege of meeting.

I am far from perfect and have some really rough days especially with crazy sleep, but I can’t hold back compassion. I’m thankful for God revealing His love and heart for others through difficult times.

You see while I might not share the details of my health journey with everyone, I’ve allowed God in to the details.

I’ve allowed His hope, His great love, and His compassion into my heart.

I’ve stood with close friends in desperate need of healing with a greater awareness of their suffering.

I’ve had some ugly things said and done to me during this journey from people who don’t understand what I’ve been walking through. And that has taught me even more so to be aware of what others might be walking through.

In the midst of all of this, I’ve felt God’s love through my suffering in a way I’ve never experienced.

It would be easy to shut down and not feel. It would be excusable to wallow in self-pity all day and not reach out to others.

With minimal sleep, there are so many excuses I could have for not partnering with God in this season.

The easy way would be to conceal what I’m going through and not allow God in.

I think of the song, “Let It Go” and how when the character Elsa is singing it, she looks down at her gloves and recites what her parents told her, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know….”

While the story line in the movie Frozen is a bit different from what I’m sharing here ;) , I think it’s very telling of where some of us find ourselves.

We conceal our feelings. We conceal our bad times. We shut down. We cut God out of the equation questioning Him and believing lies. We get angry and act from a place of hurt, rather than a place of love and compassion.

This is what the enemy would LOVE for our lives. He would LOVE for us to feel alone.

He fears us feeling the heart of God. He fears what would happen if we will allowed God to turn bad things around for good in our lives.

He wants us to suppress what we feel so that we will never move out of our comfort zones and minister to others with compassion.

And ultimately the enemy wants us to deny God and conceal the hope and confidence we’ve established in Him.

While concealer might be helpful for dark circles under our eyes on some days, it’s not fixing the dark circles. It’s only covering them up.

While we need healthy boundaries in our lives, we need to be an open book to the Lord and allow His purposes and love in our hearts even in difficult times.

There are “Mikes” out there waiting for your obedience to not conceal your love and zealousness for the Lord.

Take off the concealer and/or your Frozen hand gloves and step out and share the love of Christ with someone.

Please agree with me for Mike and his healing as well as peace and grace for his loved ones in this time :)