The multi-billion dollar women’s fashion and beauty industry – which includes clothes, shoes and accessories, hair products and cosmetics – aims to adorn or enhance the appearance of every part of a woman’s body. Good quality human hair wigs, for instance, can cost upwards of Sh20,000, and a woman might own five of them in different colours. When you throw in designer label make-up, jewellery and perfume, one wonders why insurance companies have not thought of offering different covers for beauty products!
In the book of Genesis, Abraham sent his senior servant to look for a wife for his son Isaac to ensure that he married from a people who worshipped the one true God. Not knowing what or who he would find, the servant prayed to God for a specific sign that would point him in the right direction – he prayed the woman would not only offer water to him, a stranger, but that she would also offer to water his animals. In short, he was asking for a woman with an attitude of service. Not long after his prayer, a beautiful young woman came to the well and did exactly as he had prayed. Drawn by her humility and hospitality, Abraham’s servant put a ring in her nose and bracelets on her arms.
The Bible instructs women not to let their adornment be merely outward but to cultivate inner beauty, which is found in “the hidden person of the heart”. It is “the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:4). Good words and actions form an inner beauty that comes from her spirit and soul, and influence the way she relates with other people.
Qualities such as patience, kindness, joy, respect, honour and love are the beauty treatments that help women become truly lovely from the inside out. A husband will appreciate a wife who seeks and maintains peace by joyfully agreeing to be led by him; one who will subordinate her all to him instead of undermining him in public or private. She will make his happiness her concern and will be gentle in attending to him – made possible by what she has cultivated on the inside.
She will have a spirit that is quiet, meaning she will not be easily provoked or angered; and when it happens, she will not be quick or reckless in her response. She will have good judgement and know the right time to raise issues for discussion with him. He will find their home a place to look forward to after a long day because she knows, understands and accepts that he is the authority established in the home; that the home is his kingdom and he needs the space to rule it.
When a woman possesses these qualities, her man will not find it hard to protect and love her. Indeed, he will be energetic in providing for her and making her feel secure in his love and life. He will be sensitive and responsive to her needs. Fidelity will not be something he has to struggle with because he will experience fulfillment in her in all areas.
I believe a woman’s outward beauty will and should complement her inner beauty. In other words, the two must go hand in hand. It is said that a gracious woman retains her honour. It takes an intentional and consistent resolve to slowly but gradually build the qualities that result in inner beauty, which is precious in God’s sight. So fellow women, let’s take some time to audit ourselves and see where we fall short, keeping in mind that there is nothing God cannot restore.