No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. (1 Peter 3:4 NCV)

One of the women in the She Reads Truth study of 1 Peter related a story from her childhood related to our memory verse for this week, 1 Peter 3:4.

Ann shared this:

“I will never forget way back in 6th grade my teacher gave me a poster with this verse on it. I did not go to a Christian school but she knew I needed it. I had been struggling with very poor body image and the beginning symptoms of anorexia at the time. I put this verse up by my mirror as a reminder that worldly beauty is fading and unimportant in God’s eyes. This verse often comes to mind still when I start to let my mind go down that spiral again and is so liberating!”

So often we women–cannot speak for the guys out there–look in a mirror and see only flaws. Not any big news there!  Who of us doesn’t ask, “Do I look fat in this?” ready to burst into tears or lash out if there is even the slightest hesitation in the answer, which, of course, is “No.”  What really hit me about Ann’s story was not her response, but the gift and the giver.

That 6th grade teacher lived out the verse in 1 Peter 3:4.  Don’t know who she was, but I suspect Ann was not the only receipient of this woman’s “gentle and quiet spirit”.  I also suspect she had experienced poor self image and so rather than turning away from others with similar issues, she chose to encourage them.

I am reminded that within each of us abides God’s Holy Spirit calming and whispering “I love you” to our spirit, so that through the jagged holes life has ripped in us….A warm, gentle light emerges and there is NOTHING that can ever destroy that. 

I am reminded also that my attempts to cover up the wounds, the broken places, to hide, to dampen the light. That only lets folks see the bandaids I have slapped on.  It denies not only the wounds, but the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Avoiding the brokenness prevents actions like Ann’s 6th grade teacher displayed.  

Living out the verse requires the understanding that a beautiful, gentle, and quiet spirit is the work of God inside and when we let it shine through the cracks, that is precious to God.