Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4
Josie fell into the fire when she was four. She screamed in terror as her dress caught on fire. A family member pulled her from the fire yet she was badly burned over most of her body before the flames were extinguished.
A country doctor visited her home to care for her wounds. The salve he prescribed had her screaming in agony. Her father refused the medication. He wouldn’t allow any medicine that caused further pain.
Josie’s face, arms, and legs remained an angry shade of red throughout her childhood. Long scars marred her skin. Josie didn’t receive a lot of positive attention from boys.
Tom met her during a snipe hunt in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. He fell in love with her that night, seeing beyond the blotchy, red skin to the gentle spirit living inside. At seventeen, Tom was four years younger than Josie. He lied about his age because he rightly guessed that Josie wouldn’t marry a man so much younger. Josie didn’t find out about the age difference until the fourth baby was born.
Josie was my dad’s mother. He told me that her skin was still red and scarred when he was a boy. By the time I knew her, the deep scars had faded to beige. Her skin was brown and splotchy all over, as if she were covered from head to toe in large freckles. In my humble opinion, the scars were part of her beauty.
Josie was beautiful. Tom recognized her inner beauty immediately. My dad was crazy about her. Her kind, gentle spirit and her sweet smile invited us all to look past the exterior and love her. And we did love her.
She had the unfading beauty talked about in First Peter. I will see her again someday in Heaven. Her skin will be restored, but I will know her when I see her.
-Sandra Merville Hart