God couldn’t have filled a woman with more admirable traits than Cassie possessed. She cooked like Julia Child. Entertained others as well as Martha Stewart. She had a faith as big as Corrie Ten Boom’s. She lived every word from Elisabeth Elliot’s books on womanhood. In short, she would have made the perfect wife.
I suspect she’s still waiting for that gold ring, though.
You see, to call Cassie “pretty” would have confused Webster. No heads swiveled when she walked by. Young guys on Sunday never anxiously dropped the question, “Have you seen Cassie in church today?”
No, Cassie wasn’t blessed with the one thing so many men crave above all else: physical beauty.
Cassie loved me. I didn’t return “those feelings,” though. Sure, her dowry of other fabulous qualities overflowed, but I could never get past the fact that she wasn’t physically beautiful.
I lost track of her years ago.
Looking back, I probably had two or three other Cassies in my single days, girls whose hearts would have leapt if I asked them out. Fact is, each was a better person than I could ever hope to be.
I turned 44 last week. In thinking over my life, I realized I’d done all those Cassies wrong. I love my wife immensely, don’t misunderstand me. I had my 25th high school reunion and I can say with confidence that despite all the gorgeous girls in my high school back in the early Eighties, at the reunion my wife eclipsed them all. I’m very fortunate to have married a physically beautiful woman.
But I still dealt poorly with Cassie. Only now do I realize that the one thing Cassie was missing in her life was a real flesh and blood Christian man to tell her she was beautiful.
Time has a way of giving us room to think. As I look around this country and witness the Girls Gone Wild culture that threatens to tear our social fabric apart, I can’t help but think that most of those girls are dying on the inside. Why? Because they simply don’t believe they’re beautiful because no man they respect has ever told them so.
I don’t know what dads are doing at home that they turn out these shattered girls. Either dad doesn’t tell his daughter she’s beautiful, or he doesn’t command enough respect for his word to mean anything. And we all know the story: If a girl doesn’t get admiration from her closest male relatives, she’s going to search for it elsewhere. And elsewhere isn’t always a nice place.
Ultimately, in our churches, the fault lies with Christian men of all ages. I perpetually hear how men in the church are bored. Yet when our young people are getting mugged by the world, where are all those Christian men? If we’re supposed to be the image of Christ, what are we saying about Him by our silence?
I can’t imagine what it does for a young woman to hear from a Christian man she respects, “God made you beautiful.” I don’t think there’s enough of that candor in our churches today. I think a lot of young women are dying to hear that they’re beautiful, but for whatever reason they never hear it. Or they hear it from the wrong people.
It’s sad to me that we’ve fouled this up so badly. Whether we can ever redeem this lack in our churches without it seeming “weird” is a question I can’t answer. Perhaps the older men in the church could pull this off without it being judged inappropriate. I don’t know. All I do know is that young women today simply aren’t hearing it enough from the right people.
Cassie needed to hear she was beautiful. No, she’d never be confused for Miss America. But how did we ever get to a point that her other traits garnered her no accolades? If we looked in her eyes, could we not find the beauty of God?
No doubt Cassie stayed true to the Lord, even when the rest of us didn’t give her the time of day. Still, I’ve got to believe that plenty of young women not as devout as Cassie would have found a word or two said in their favor to be all they needed to keep from straying.
I’m not sure that we cherish our young Christian women as much as we should. Few of us men stand in the gap for them. We don’t pray for them and their families. We don’t keep a watch out for them. We don’t build them up as we should.
Is there a young woman in your church who gets overlooked? Someone needs to tell her she’s loved and appreciated. Someone needs to encourage her to use her gifts for the Lord.
Someone may even need to tell her she’s beautiful.