1 Peter 3:3-6(NLT) “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They put their trust in God and accepted the authority of their husbands. For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do.”

As I write this today, we are still sheltered in place. In a few weeks, some restrictions will be lifted, and by the time you read this entry, things will be a bit different than they are today. But restrictions are tight right now. It’s been almost two and a half months since I’ve gone on a date with Stacie. For context, we try to go on a date once a week. Just the two of us, over a nice meal with no kids! It’s been too long!

When we go out on a date, Stacie usually gets dressed up. I almost always tell her that people are going to be shocked when they see the two of us together. How did this chump get that girl to marry him? I’m still asking myself that question. People have told me I could sell ice to an Eskimo. I think that’s a compliment. I guess my sales pitch worked on Stacie. I can share it later if you’d like to hear it.

To be honest, I can’t remember any one outfit she’s worn on a date in the past year. I do love getting dressed up and going out, but it’s not the clothes I notice. It’s not make-up or her hairstyle I see when I look at her.

I see character. I see her faithfulness. I see a woman who, over the last 38 years, has been formed and shaped by the character of Jesus. I see someone who exemplifies a gentle and quiet spirit. She has a beauty that comes from deep within her that makes you want to be with her. It makes you want to listen to her. We often joke that she is the calming, non-anxious presence in our home. She’s way better with the kids than I am, and she has way longer stamina than I do. No doubt, I out-punted my coverage.

In our home, we try to live out what we interpret to be biblical order and authority. Tomorrow I’m going to talk to the men more, but for now, I just want you to see what a beautiful picture of God’s grace a home can become. Now please understand that Stacie and I are far from perfect in our marriage. We have a long way to go, but we have learned some things over the last 17 years.

Authority is never given in God’s kingdom for ease of life. Authority is always given to serve and bless. Submission is not a cuss word in God’s family; it’s the pathway to strength. There are limits to submission. A man should never ask you to do something contrary to God’s will. A man should never harm you emotionally or physically.

Over time, your submission to God and your submission to his leadership has the power to transform him and win him over. I’m a different man today than I was 17 years ago, and one of the biggest change agents in my life is the “Stacie Spirit.” She has nudged me, challenged me, encouraged me, and many times told me that there is more in me.

Stacie hitched her wagon to a disorganized, flighty, ADHD, slightly-overweight college kid. I heard a story one time about First Lady Laura Bush. Not sure if it’s true, but it’s funny. One time back in Texas she saw an ex-boyfriend who was now pumping gas for a living. When she saw him, she waved and said hi. George W asked, “Who is that?” She said, “An ex-boyfriend.” W said back to her, “Just think, if you had married him, you would be married to a gas attendant.” She said, “No, if I had married him, he’d be President of the United States, and you’d be pumping gas.”

Please don’t write me any letters! I’m definitely not making a political statement. I can assure you George W. Bush is a much smarter man than I could ever hope to be and is to be honored for his service to our country.

But I can relate to this story. My life would be very different if Stacie hadn’t said yes. Over time her beauty from within has changed me.

Now, let’s shift to you. You may be living with inner beauty, and it’s not really changing anything. You might be loving your husband in an effort to win him to Christ—to no avail. Peter gives us a phrase here that is so important. He says, “This is precious in the sight of God.”

Gentleness is precious to God. He loves when you show yourself humble. Loud, abrasive women—and men alike—can ruin a lot of things. There is something so beautiful about a woman who is not trying to flaunt herself or capture the attention of men, but rather she is modestly loving, serving, caring, and building up those around her. She walks in obedience and actively seeks to please God.

Your life is a walking billboard. I pray that today you would live with strength and dignity. May you be crowned with the Father’s affirmation. May this confidence give you His strength to pursue inner beauty that shines. Over time, this kind of beauty grows like the path of the righteous, shining ever brighter as your life continues. When you are gray and old, you will be an example of beauty that blesses and shines for many generations to come.

Father, I pray that today you would help the daughters of Echo and other churches find their validation in you. I pray that each woman would pursue your validation and affirmation. I pray that you would crown them with a beauty that grows over time and wins the favor of their husbands.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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