It came rather suddenly. Others around me encountered it sooner; but I never felt especially bothered by it until recently. Unrecognizable at first, I wondered at the gnawing discontent within. Organizing photos on my computer, it all came clear: time fades beauty. Grouping photos of myself, observing the unkindness of the years, the tale of aging unfolded before me.
Never one to spend excessive time on my hair, make-up or clothing; I suddenly became critical of every out of place hair, thining brows and droopy eyeliner. The striking change in physical appearance in just two years brought more discouragement than I expected.
The emphasis on physical beauty peddled by society equates beauty with love and acceptance; begging the question, is there love when beauty fades?
Welcome back to the garden for a time of Garden Grace, where we allow God to reveal Himself through His creation. Once a month we linger together gleaning all He has for us through the beauty of plants, trees, animals and insects. I can’t wait to share my most recent discovery with you!
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Proverbs 31:30
Contemplating the way physical beauty fades, my mind brought these thoughts into the garden on a recent visit. Surprisingly, I found a similar occurance there. Spring boasts the most beautiful time in our garden.
Blossoms of every type and color fill every corner of our property. The majority of photos bear a date stamp of April or May, testifying to the profuse beauty we long to preserve. Yet within two or three weeks time, this intoxicating magnifcence fades and disappears.
We then lament the long period before the next festival of blossoms sometime late in summer. Sadly, my infatuation with photography in the garden fades with the blossoms.
As with a woman’s physical beauty, is the stunning loveliness of blossoms or the abundance of fruit the only endearing qualities of a garden?
As visual creatures, we cannot deny the attraction of physical beauty, but my trip to the garden revealed a depth to beauty we often miss when lingering only on the surface.
what is beauty?
As beauty fades in the garden, it breeds new life. From trees to shrubs to plants, the purpose of the flowers and fruit is life giving. Reproducing itself, providing nectar for insects, pollen for bees and seeds for wildlife.
As a woman, my permanently altered body bears witness to bringing three new lives into this world. Nurturing them, guiding them and suffering with them, all written upon my countenance with love.
Even beyond child bearing, faded beauty speaks of sacrifice; the giving of oneself for the benefit of others, in ways often unnoticed.
The garden tells its story of sacrifice: the countenance of trees and shrubs bear the marks of providing shelter and food for animals and insects.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.Romans 1:20
As God’s canvas, creation contains abundant evidence of God’s beauty etched in time wearied trees, the unending pallette of greens, the fragrance of honeysuckles and the song of the meadow lark.
Though the showy blossoms fade, the garden retains a depth of beauty only found by those desiring sight beyond the superficial.
To love when beauty fades, involves seeing with the eyes of the heart. God intended to reveal His full beauty to us through creation. His divine nature and countless attributes transcend the physical beauty of creation.
But if merely enamored with dazzling loveliness, we miss the hidden beauty of God’s quiet gentleness in the morning dew, His kindness in the summer breeze or His constancy in the rugged oak.
For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
love when beauty fades
Love when beauty fades looks upon the heart. Though year after year of storms, drought, winds, while ravaged by insects and animals, the garden remains. Testifying of God’s faithfulness.
So, too, faded beauty testifies to the faithfulness of a life lived for others; a life which faced fears, disappointments, and suffering. But a life which also embraced to the full all God offered. A life, whose countenance bears the marks of laughter and sorrow through a tender, fading beauty.
A fading beauty which whispers; though my outer loveliness no longer captures your eyes, my inner splendor reflecting my Savior will capture your heart.
The garden revealed the depth of its Creator beauty far beyond the stunning show of colorful blossoms. Inviting the reminder, “Do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)