Every woman possesses a captivating beauty. Every woman. But for most of us it has been long buried, wounded, and captive. It takes time for it to emerge into wholeness. It needs to be cultivated, restored, set free.
 
How do we cultivate beauty? How do we become ever more beautiful? By tending to our hearts with great care, as a master gardener tends to her work.
 
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I have neglected. (Song of Songs 1:6)
 
Yes, life is harsh on a woman’s heart. It has been hard on your heart. The assault on our beauty is real. But Jesus is urging us now to care for ourselves, watch over our hearts (Prov. 4:23). The world needs your beauty. That is why you are here. Your heart and your beauty are something to be treasured and nourished. And it takes time. Every gardener knows this. In our age of instant makeovers and microwave meals, we don’t like to wait. But a newly planted rose’s presentation in its first year is nothing compared to its second. If properly cared for, its second year’s display doesn’t hold a candle to its third. Gardens need to become established; their roots need to go deep through summer rains and winter frosts. A garden’s beauty does not diminish with age; rather it takes years for it to become all that it can become.
 
Our hearts need to feed on beauty to sustain them. We need times of solitude and silence. We need times of refreshment and laughter and rest. We need to listen to the voice of God in our hearts as he tells us what we need. Sometimes it will be a bubble bath. Sometimes it is going for a run or a movie or taking a nap. Often, Jesus will call us away to spend precious time alone with him. We grow in our intimacy with Jesus as we practice listening to his urging, his nudges within. Pay attention to them and follow. The Holy Spirit is our guide, our counselor, our comforter, our Great Friend, and he will lead us. Abiding in Christ means paying attention to the voice of God within, nourishing our own hearts and nourishing our relationship with him. Over time.
 
Contrary to what the world claims, Beauty does not diminish with time; Beauty deepens and increases. We find that our latter glory will be greater than our former (Hag. 2:9). True beauty comes from a depth of soul that can only be attained through living many years well.
 

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