Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. [Proverbs 31:30-31 (GNT)]

muscovy - ducklingsMy mother disliked having her picture taken. She didn’t think of herself as attractive and she probably wasn’t pretty in the conventional way. Yet, even with a face covered by freckles, unruly hair, an overbite combined with a toothy smile, thick glasses and a hearing aid, she was the most beautiful woman I’ve known.

It was at my mother’s side that I learned to love the written word. She urged me to read all sorts of books that were probably considered far too adult for my age and we discussed every one of them in detail. She was intelligent and creative and encouraged me in every one of my efforts. She was incredibly open with me about her past, her faith and feelings. Perhaps she knew her time on earth was brief so she had to pack everything a mother wants to teach her daughter into a few short years. It was from my mother that I learned about love and forgiveness. She showed me that true love takes effort and is more a choice than a feeling. She started me on my journey of faith and it was through her that I came to know Jesus.

This shy quiet woman taught me courage: courage in the face of adversity, courage in the face of cancer, courage in the face of death. She taught me how to live and how to die. She was probably the most beautiful when she was the least attractive, just a few days before her death, when I was fifteen. As we were departing her hospital room, my father leaned over, picked up a corner of the oxygen tent, and kissed her. He said, “You look like an angel tonight.” Her response, said with a smile on her radiant face, was, “Maybe tomorrow I’ll be with the angels.” As she passed through the valley of death, she had no fear. She had complete faith in God’s promise. She wasn’t worried; she trusted God that the family she left behind would be just fine and she knew that where she was going would be even better. She may not have been pretty but my mother was the most beautiful woman in my world.

On this special day, Dear Lord, we thank you for our mothers: those beautiful women who gave us life. We also thank you for all of the beautiful women of faith who have blessed our lives with their example and encouragement, enlightenment, love, and guidance. Please reassure them that, in spite of what the mirror and society may tell them, they are truly beautiful both in your eyes and ours!

…Your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight. [1 Peter 3:4 (GNT)]

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