The Beauty Pageant competition was over. We girls had done all that we could. Now it was up to the judges. TheJones Brothers and Jack whispered heatedly back and forth heads together. They erased. They called for more lemonade. Then the big moment arrived.
The elder of the Jones Brothers stood to proclaim the winners. The fourth runner up was... Suzie. Suzie gasped and began crying. A little slow on the uptake, I thought Suzie had won, in my confusion I began to clap. Suzie wailed the louder. The Jones Brother continued...the third runner up was...Cathy.
What a mess! Cathy and Suzie began shouting at each other and at the judges. That is how the Jones Brothers, Anne, and I learned about the basis for the whole pageant. Jack jumped into the argument. Jack shouted the girls down. He revealed how he had reached his decision. Jack explained that while his sister's were mean to him all of the time, Anne had given him freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and lemonade, not to mention a comfortable lawn chair in the shade. The Jones Brothers, not to be left out, complained that they would not have agreed to be judges if they had known it was to see which sister was prettier than the other. Their decision was also going to stand. Suzie left sobbing. Cathy stood glaring at the rest of us. She was not going anywhere. Cathy would see it through.
The judging continued. The second runner up was... Anne. The boys hadn't liked the violin, but they had given her extra points for the chocolate chip cookies and the lemonade. Cathy complained that refreshments were not part of the competition and so awarding points for them, was just not fair. The judges disagreed. One of the Jones Brothers correctly pointed out that cookie baking is indeed a talent.
|The Pageant Dress and my youngest brother. Adorable wasn't he?|
Jack sat on the shady patio with Anne and I. Together we finished off the cookies and the lemonade. Jack grumbled about having to put up with his sisters. Anne and I sympathized with him, after all, he had to live with the diabolical duo. We praised him for outwitting them. Obviously, Jack had saved the day for Anne and I. He was our hero. Eventually, I gathered my flowers and like Cinderella after the Ball, walked home.
Isn't it amazing how imaginative children can be when there are only five TV stations?
Nearly everyone wants to be thought of as beautiful whatever age they might be. The Bible says in Ecclesiates 3:11 that "God makes everything beautiful in His time." In Isaiah 61, scripture reads that "God will give us beauty for ashes."
In Bible times, it was the custom for people in times of great mourning or difficulty, to sit in the ashes of the fire, rather like Cinderella. Consider that for a moment. Life has so overwhelmed you that you just sit in a pile of ashes. But the scripture says that God will take your difficult, depressing situation and give you beauty. He will pick you up out of the messy ash pile of life and make something beautiful out of you.
It is not always glamorous to be a woman. There are crazy hair days and days when your shoes just don't fit. You worry that you are not pretty enough, busy enough, or talented enough for the competition you are in. Being a woman is hard work. Being a mother, really complicates things. There are days when the perfume we wear smells more like eau de diaper pail than Heaven Scent. But, being a woman of God allows Him to reveal the true beauty He has placed within each of us.
So this month, as I talk about messes, I pray for you a true fairytale ending. May you marry the Son of the King. I looking forward to seeing you at the banquet.