To know God is to know beauty; to know beauty is to know God. Just as God is the source of all truth and goodness, God is also the source of all beauty. God is the Supreme Artist – the Creator of all. Thus, everything that is beautiful reflects God’s artistry. Indeed, God is Beauty itself. –Rich Vincent

I was bumping around Amanda Palmer’s web site as well as the fatshionistas web site and was reminded of a few things. We have reduced beauty to surface matters, not thinking twice about being retouched, computer enhanced, reimagined through surgery in order to achieve the makeover of our false selves. We’ve reduced beauty to that with is merely pretty, setting cruel standards (impossible thinness and youth), the endless pursuit of which changes us and our definitions of beauty.

The tragedy is that beauty is so often determined from the outside that we’re left in need of constant validation. We cling to a fundamental insecurity about ourselves to the point where we can’t recognize beauty in the mirror. We are taught to be ashamed of our bodies, disgusted by any part of us that fails to meet up to some metric impressed upon us by others. Forgetting that beauty can be self-defined and self-determined. And easily recognized.

Admittedly, I was thinking about this while staring at my wife’s belly. It’s not a 25 year old belly. It’s a belly that has seen the birth of two children. A belly that has stood accused of being evidence of pregnancy. A belly that has caused her to defiantly retort “no, just fat. Thanks for asking when I’m due though.” It’s a belly that isn’t afraid to go swimming in a two piece bathing suit.

What impresses me is that it’s a belly that won’t be shamed by others. That won’t be belittled by the short-sighted or narrow-thinking. It’s a belly that won’t be defined by modern society’s pressures of beauty and physical definition because her sense of beauty isn’t rooted in what people think of her. It’s a belly that demands appreciation on its terms. It’s a belly that won’t believe the lies of her past won’t be condescended to and won’t be pressured by others.

Hers is a belly has been tested and persevered. Held a marriage together through good times and bad. Sure, that belly has dieted, exercised, but it still knows how to enjoy the occasional hot fudge brownie sundae. Hers is a belly that has lived and loved life. A belly that is fearless. A belly that demands to be known, loved, and appreciated.

A belly that knows peace and contentment because she knows that she is a beautiful creation of God, His perfect daughter.

Sometimes it takes a spiritual eye, a discerning eye, to truly appreciate beauty. A spiritual perception of glory, the loveliness of holiness, and the preciousness of grace … all the things that come with being created in God’s image. All beauty reflects its source, namely, God. When we experience beauty, we experience God. Sometimes we need to be reminded how much we need to still grow to appreciate the beauty around us.

*Hers is a belly that says “it’s your blog, why don’t you take a picture of YOUR belly.”