As I sat in the waiting room of the orthodontics clinic the other day, I observed one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen. She wasn't twenty-something. She wasn't a size two. She wasn't tall with flowing hair and sexy clothes. By most people's standards, she was not a head-turner. She was pretty, but not a worldly beauty.
Still, I was mesmerized. I could hardly take my eyes off her. I tried not to stare, but she was glowing.
This beautiful woman was there with her husband, a baby girl, an older teenage boy, and twin teenage girls. After a couple of minutes, her twins' challenges became evident. They spoke too loudly and were easily distressed. At times, one of them would touch her mom's face, beg to hold hands, or ask repeatedly for the same unmet request.
Yet every frustrating situation was met with a smile. It seemed to be a joy to watch over and discipline her kids. She answered them with cheerful firmness, and they were surprisingly well behaved. She calmly insisted on their obedience, and they cooperated, even when it obviously went against their nature. She didn't threaten or bribe. She didn't give in or allow them to have their own way. And that smile never left her face, not even for a minute.
I don't think I've ever seen a better example of "the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit." I wanted to watch her and learn from her. I wanted to soak up some of her joy. I wanted to emulate her patience. I wanted her glow.
What words would someone use to describe me if they were to watch me with my easy kids and minor problems? Joy? Patience? I doubt it. Do I smile very often? Do I ever smile in the midst of a trial? Um....no.
That sweet lady has been on my mind ever since I saw her shining face. I hope that I never forget her. And I hope that I will develop the same kind of gentle and quiet spirit that was so appealing to me and, more importantly, is very precious in the sight of God.
"But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." (1 Peter 3:4)