Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Photo by Elisa Self

By Joy Wong

Beauty’s a tough subject for me — and, I imagine, for most women. It seems that nearly every woman I encounter is unhappy about some aspect of her appearance. One woman laments the size of her hips and thighs. Another mom marvels at the ability of a lady on a blog who gave birth seven times and is still able to maintain a flat stomach. Personally, I’ve been noticing an increasing amount of freckles and sunspots on my face. I also wonder when (or if) my tummy will ever go flat again, and if I will ever lose all my postpartum weight.

What’s funny (and horrific) about it all is that it seems that my ideal self is an ever-moving target. These days, I pine for my slim self when I was in my 20s, but as I recall, back then I wasn’t happy about some other aspect…  perhaps some acne, or volumeless hair, or whatever. One of the graces I find about being a mom of three kids is that while I’m too busy to work on my appearance, I’m also too busy to spend too much time critiquing myself either.

“Beauty is fleeting,” as Proverbs 31:30 says (NIV). It makes me think of cut flowers — beautiful for a couple days, and if you’re lucky, for a week or so; but in a short time, it all starts to brown and wither. I find that roses tend to die most gracefully, but even dead roses are such a sad comparison to their former gorgeous blooms. Very depressing, especially when we think of our own beauty in the same way!

But a new metaphor is now dawning on me, and giving me a bit more hope: not the beauty of cut roses, but the beauty of a rose bush, planted in the ground. It reminds me of the tree “planted in streams of living water, which yields its fruit [or in the case of our metaphor, flowers] in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3 NIV). Or even of Paul’s exhortations to be “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17) and/or “rooted…abounding in thanksgiving” (Col. 2:7) (NIV).

Perhaps it’s true that our beauty is fleeting, but just as a rose bush yields new flowers in new seasons, so also perhaps our lives yield new beauty in different seasons of our lives. In aging, perhaps there is new beauty in confidence, in joy, in maturation, in appreciation, in wisdom, in gentleness, in patience, in perspective… and the list goes on.

For me, something I’d like to gain is appreciation… for the beauty I have, rather than the beauty I’ve lost, or don’t have anymore. After all, beauty is fleeting, right? What I have now (and fail to appreciate), I may not have tomorrow, and perhaps I may be lamenting the loss of it in the next season. Instead of succumbing to the incessant nagging of my inner critic, I want to be grateful. Moreover, I want to be rooted, yielding beauty in the due seasons of my life.

Joy Wong has an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, a BA in English from Princeton University, as well as four years’ experience in industrial distribution management.  She is a contributing author to Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters, published in September 2010. 


Read Full Post »

Photo by emdot

Photo by emdot

By Melanie Mar Chow

When it is time to follow God, you will know.  Not only does God call, but He makes it clear that He is calling you, and be forewarned if you ask for a sign.

When I decided to follow God into leadership, I was invited to attend a conference while I was in seminary.  I was to go to northern California — Marin County, to be exact — in February, during the very rainy season. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo by Stefano A.

Photo by Stefano A.

By Liz Chang

She walked like a penguin as we headed toward my office. It was a familiar waddle that looked as though her toes were not able to bend as they usually do when walking. I looked down and my familiarity with the waddle was confirmed: she was trying to avoid creasing her fresh Air Force 1’s, the same exact kind of sneakers that were popular when I was in middle school 13 years ago. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo by Maria Liu Wong

Photo by Maria Liu Wong

By Maria Liu Wong

Coming out of the fog of an intense push to finish my dissertation in the midst of the holiday season in December – while juggling full-time work and family life raising three little ones – I was close to being totally burnt out and needing a serious break. A month later, in a session with my spiritual director, I looked back at that time as a gift, where I learned an important lesson of gratitude, in a journey and process that was surprisingly life-altering and life-giving. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo by Nina Matthews Photography

By Wendy Choy-Chan

Today was meant to be a relaxing, no agenda day. Get up, shower, tea, and then do whatever. But right after getting out of the shower, an informant reported that somebody had spilled chocolate powder all over in the pantry. I guess tea would have to be postponed… Well, at least I did take my shower in peace. (more…)

Read Full Post »

“Small” Reasons to Live

Photo by striatic

By Chloe Sun

This summer, I watched an old movie called “Scent of a Woman,” played by Al Pacino (named Frank in the movie).  In the movie, he played a middle-aged blind veteran, single, and estranged from his family of origin. His last wish in life was to live in a five-star hotel in New York, eat at a high-end restaurant, have a relationship with a woman, and then kill himself. His opportunity came when a college student (played by Chris O’Donnell) was hired to be his caretaker for a weekend. During the process of achieving his last desires in life, Frank not only did all he wished for, he also had the opportunities to dance with a woman and to drive a Ferrari. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo by bingbing

Shared by Grace Haah

Recently, I got together with friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. These friends led, from an outside perspective, a very comfortable and stable life – financially, socially, relationally – in almost every way. However, they were not very happy in their walk with God. At church, they didn’t feel very connected, and they didn’t feel like they were really experiencing God’s goodness and power in a strong, real way. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: