Isn’t it funny how we often think the most beautiful things are those we have not?

As a young girl I read a book about a woman with chocolate-colored eyes and blond hair. In the story, she was exceptionally beautiful because her coloring wasn’t the normal “blond hair, blue eyes”, but different and unique. And my immediate reaction was to look in the mirror and mourn my bright blue eyes. If only they were brown…then I would be beautiful.

And in a moment, I began struggling against what a blind-world claims to be beauty, and what reality is.

Twenty years later I was sitting with a little girl, listening to her mourn her tanned skin and perfect chocolate eyes. “I wish I was pretty,” she sighed, and my heart broke in my chest.

And I remembered the story that taught me to love my blue eyes, the story that taught me the true meaning of beauty in a world that is blind.

Amy Carmichael was a little girl when she learned about how God answers prayers. It struck her as this wonderful secret to treasure—and she wanted to test it out for herself. For dear little Amy, there was something she wanted more than anything else. She thought her brown eyes to be boring and less than desirable. So that night she knelt by her bed and fervently prayed that her boring-brown-eyes be changed to lovely-blue.

She climbed into bed that night nearly shivering with excitement! Tomorrow she would have blue eyes. Oh, the joy of it was overwhelming!

When morning came she went rushing to the mirror, and looked up into two excited, then mournful, brown eyes. Her mother heard her crying and gently comforted her. She explained that God has a reason for every “yes” and every “no”. We must trust Him above all, especially our own personal desires.

And years later, Amy would find that her brown eyes were two of God’s greatest gifts to her. When she lived and worked in India, her brown eyes allowed her to darken her skin and slip unnoticed into Hindu temples and rescue enslaved young girls who had been sold as temple prostitutes.

And Amy was beautiful. Her eyes, her skin, her heart—they glowed with a sweet gentle beauty of a daughter of the One-True-King. Everything about her was made perfectly, so she could walk the path God had ordained for her. And with every step, her beauty grew deeper and her heart glowed brighter.

The world will feed us lies. Tell us that beauty is found in this way or that—in eyes a certain color, hair a certain style, perfect straight teeth, or a nose turned just so. But true beauty is found in believing.

Believing that God created you for a certain purpose, a certain work. That He gives you everything you need to follow Him. That your skin, your eye color, your heart—they are each created to be used in service to the One-True-King, and it all is for His glory.

So I wrap my arms tight around a beautiful little girl and I whisper the story of Amy and the prayer for blue eyes and God’s miraculous use of her “boring brown eyes” that changed the lives of hundreds of little girls.

She smiles up at me, her cheeks still damp, and I whisper truth: If you follow Christ, you’ll always be beautiful.

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