It was when I was happiest that I longed most…. The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.—Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis


One night I overheard my daughter and wife having a difficult exchange. My daughter, Joelle was crying profusely. My wife, MJ, was trying so hard to console Joelle who was upset because she was convinced that she was not beautiful. Nothing MJ said would comfort her. I looked at MJ to get a signal that it was okay for me to step in (didn’t want to intrude on her connection with Joelle). She gave me a nod okay and I proceeded to step in.

I went on to ask where she got that thought that she was not. She said she didn’t know. Was it from others? She couldn’t say. Was it from watching media? Didn’t know. All she knew is that she was convinced that she was not beautiful.

My heart broke. It is not something any dad wants their child to believe. I am sure it is the same way for mothers. Initially, I thought of those modern day pop psychology songs “I am beautiful” and verses such as Psalm 139:14-15 about being “fearfully and wonderfully made”. But something stirred me to take a different route. I told her “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

She didn’t know what that meant. We explored it together. I went on to tell her that beauty is something decided by the one observing not by the object itself. Therefore, beauty is not universally agreed upon. Someone may think one thing is beautiful and another think not so. My example is this shirt of mine my wife and I constantly (and humorously) argue about its beauty. I think it is great. She thinks it is deplorable (well she never said that but won’t let me ever wear it, presently hiding it from me). Probably many would be on her side. I may be the only one who thinks it is beautiful. In my eyes it is.

We went on to talk about do we want to try to be beautiful in everyone’s eyes. That would be constantly frustrating and disappointingly painful. Then who would we want to see us as beautiful?

Joelle said “God.”
“Yes” I responded. “Anyone else?”
“Mom and dad.”
“And guess what? Mom, dad and God already see you as beautiful. We are energized by the truth that God sees us as beautiful. We can be at peace that He is pleased with us as we trust in Him. And it feels good to have the knowledge that mom and dad sees us as beautiful too.”

It was one of those many landmark moments we had with her. And it speaks to a great truth. Getting value out of being valued by another. Nothing in creation has innate value. It is given. The world says validate yourself. Can try getting it from others (o I dread the day she seeks it from boys. that’s where the uncles will be sitting at the front porch waiting for that poor boy coming to see her). You can try mimicking the world.

But none is a reliable source.
All others are unreliable.
Only God is reliable.

The word Grace in Hebrew means “being seen favorably”. It is being the apple of one’s eyes. God’s eyes.
My hope is that Joelle seeks the validation that only God can give to her. Nowhere and no one else.

“Who made these beautiful changeable things, if not unchangeable Beauty?” St. Augustine