Song of Solomon is one of those books in the bible that beckons me to read more. No… it’s not the over-the-top analogies that draw my interest (read: “Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing.” That’s in there. I promise) but I find myself intrigued by the love story being poured out over the pages. Fresh-shorn-sheep-talk and all.
As of late, this particular portion of the book has been pulling at my heart:
I am dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
Do not look upon me, because I am dark…
-Song of Solomon 1:5-6
Here we see a bride acknowledging her condition…her darkness (which is obviously something she is not proud of ) and then, in the very same sentence, she acknowledges her loveliness.
Could this be the beautiful paradox that is God’s grace?
I can relate to this woman. In my own eyes I am very dark. So dark in fact, that like the bride in the story, I often find myself wanting to say “do not look upon me”. Here’s the truth. The ugly truth:
I am sin-stained and selfish. I am impatient and judgmental. I am one who often feels small with no big impact in this world. I strive for perfection but in my striving I miss out on what really matters. It is obvious. I am so very dark. Sometimes “pitch-black” would probably be a better description. Ouch. The truth hurts.
But that’s not the end of my story and it’s not the end of your’s, either!
Now let us insert God’s grace. His beautiful and undeserved sweet song of grace. Because of Him, I am not left alone in my darkness. He could have left me that way. After all, I deserved it:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Pitch black, broken, hurting, angry, ashamed...but instead of leaving me in my condition, He gave me Jesus. I have sinned and fallen SO short but I am justified by His grace! Jesus makes me lovely. Even in my sin. Even in my striving. Even in my many imperfections…
When I fall into the melody of His grace, I am lovely and sweet friends, please believe me when I tell you that YOU are lovely, too!
By Ida Mundell, from Eat Drink and Be Jesus
Photo Credit…and that up there is a photo of me. My tattoo reads “Beloved”. It’s the seal upon my arm, inspired from Song of Solomon, that reminds me daily that I am His beloved…Leave a Comment
Lovely! Dark we are, and so very messy. Thank you for the reminder that even when I don’t feel it, “Jesus makes me lovely.”
He does indeed. I just LOVE Him!
I just love Him, too friend!!
This is one of my most favorite scriptures to recite to myself. I am dark, but I am lovely, because I have been bought, chosen and redeemed by the King of Kings! His desire is for me!
“His desire is for me”….I read it and I believe it but I’m sure my mind will never understand it!! A beautiful truth!
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
Amen sister! Love your words in this post. We are not left alone in are darkness. He does not leave us alone in our “condition,” whatever that may be. He wipes me clean and makes me beautiful. SO reassuring…
Thanks, Brittnie! He is so reassuring!!
What a beautiful message. We, as women, often put so many things on our plate and expect to do them as perfectly as someone else does with the perfect attitude that others possess. But we fall short so many times….because perception is not reality. Yet we feel dark, we feel messed up, and we feel unworthy of all that He freely gives us. I think our goal so many times is to get rid of our darkness so that we will be perfect in Him. Is it possible to be dark and messy and still be lovely and beautiful because He who lives in us is lovely and beautiful?
Angela, I think it is possible…to be messy and beautiful all at once. I think I am just that….very messy but very lovely….not lovely b/c of ME but only b/c of Him 🙂
Jennifer S says
I appreciate your interpretation of this scripture. I’ve always read it as an affirmation that God made women lovely, despite what the world says about their appearance. “Dark,” in a physical sense, was not a desirable physical quality at the time Song of Solomon was written.
And I am totally with you about not wanting people to look upon me. It isn’t even about my physical appearance, but about my inner thoughts. I’ve said it before but if people really knew the thoughts that go through my head, they probably wouldn’t like me as much. Thank God He gave me a filter between my brain and my mouth.
Hi friend, Yes…this scripture is talking about her physical appearance but I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between our “inner appearance”!
I love you, filter or none, and so does God 😉 (but yes…I too am thankful for my own “filter”)
Ida, this is beautiful! I’m so dark in myself, but oh for Grace! Thank you!
you’re welcome, sweet friend!!
Wow this had tears in my eyes. I am always beating myself up never feeling good enough to be loved by my Saviour. I try so hard to be the woman of God I want to be but the cares of life constantly throw me into a state of darkness and often depression…..understanding the grace of God and the reason why he sent his Son to die for us is because he knew we would never measure up in this world so through him we are made beautiful and whole in Gods eyes – it is just sometimes so hard to see and believe when we look at ourselves…. I often imagine myself in a beautiful bridal gown, long hair flowing and he looks into my eyes and says I love you just as you are my daughter – you are special and precious in my sight.
Kerry, I love love love the image you imagine. Without His grace we are quite the mess but because He has made a way for us we can be that beautiful bride! You are her!!! You are His!!! xoxo
Amy Hunt says
I am in awe of how your worship in your Truth-telling, Ida. You please Him and you draw me nearer to Him, asking “really?! I really can believe it?! you mean it’s True?!”
Often I feel shame and want to hide in darkness–pushing people away out of fear for who I am. And yet…He draws me out and sets me apart, and calls me His beloved–treasured, made for purpose, important.
Rich blessings as you live out loud for Him, in all your simple ways.
Oh Amy, you’re words mean much to me tonight! Thank for your writing them. An encouragement to this heart, for sure!
Holley Gerth says
I’d never thought about that verse in this way. Beautiful!
Thank you, Holley!
How these words speak to me. I always seem to find the “dark” side of myself. What a blessing to know God washes us white as snow.
Thank you for sharing.
Annette, He thinks you are lovely 🙂 Me too! I often feel like you..struggling to see it…but He does not struggle to see it. We are His beloved! Be blessed! xoxo
I am in a dark place now. I know God is in control and he will provide a good out come. I am letting and upcoming special event make me worry. I need for someone to understand why I am concerned about what might happen that could ruin a potentially beautiful event for some people’s special ocassion.
Leigh, I’ve said several prayers for you throughout the day. Praying peace and His presence to be yours while you are in this situation.
You have found me out. You know my secret. How do you know my secret? Because it is your secret to.
This tugs at my heart. I am too dark to ever feel deserving of love… and yet, I am loved.
Thanks be to our LORD and thank you for the reminder.
You are SO loved, Tina! Never, ever, ever forget it!! xoxo
Tamra Shipley says
I read this with tears streaming down my face, thank you for the reminder that He loves me, even in the dark.
“Even in the dark”…I love that, Tamra!!
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
The words – and you, Beloved-One.
Thank you for your encouragement, Teri!
Hope Easter says
Jesus makes me lovely as well. When I let Him in my heart, He washed away my sins. Without Jesus……I am nothing.
Yes, without Him we are nothing. So thankful for Him!
So beautiful. There are some days when I see the darkness in me so strongly that I forget about the grace that brought the light.
Amy, I find myself seeing the darkness many days much more then His grace….my own worst enemy. Praying we both can see with His eyes how He thinks upon us!
So this is my first comment on (in)courage…
The Hebrew is dark AND lovely :/. She’s not ashamed at all. We have interpretations that say Dark BUT Lovely due to the Latin and Greek translation later on. Basically, it’s just straight up racism :/ If you go compare several English translations, you’ll find both.
Hi Amber-Lee. I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ve read and verse both ways and wanted to share what the Lord was speaking to me through it…and this post is just that 🙂
I hope you have a great day!
It is a beautiful post 🙂
I am in a very dark place now and I am trying to rise above it, but it is so hard
Deb, about to wander to bed, read your comment, and praying for you at this moment. You are not alone. Never, ever alone. Please know that!
I recently read One Thousand Gifts and loved it. Googled Ann Vosskamp tonight and stumbled onto your site…but of course what I think is accident is not, God knows I need encouragement and I love the thoughts here.thank you
Hi Michele, I’m so glad you found this post on “accident” I love when God does that 🙂 And isn’t One Thousand Gifts life changing!? I think I will read it a second time in the coming weeks. Have a great weekend, friend!