I Want to Be as Beautiful as Julie

She stood in line with the other women attending the conference where I was signing copies of my book.

I knew there was something special about her when she arrived.

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Since I cannot see, my husband signaled me with a pat on my back as he read her name tag to me.

His silent pat spoke volumes to me.

But, before I could  figure out what his signal meant, the woman standing in front of me introduced Julie.

“Jennifer,” she said, “this is Julie, she is from Pakistan. She is only here for a few more weeks while she recovers from her burns.”

In broken English, Julie’s sweet voice interrupted, “A man threw acid on me.”

The incident occurred in a township in Faisalabad, where Julie worked as a telephone operator to help support her family. Some of the visitors to the public phone office treated her poorly and used insulting words to her because she was a Christian.

Several women tried to persuade her to embrace Islam and told her, “Beautiful girls like you should not remain in Christianity.”

One day, a man tried to touch her inappropriately and Julie slapped him. He returned the next day and threw sulfuric acid directly on her face, burning, and blinding her.

Speaking from her hospital bed, Julie told an attending missionary, “If I survive, I will serve [the] Lord Jesus for the rest of my life.”

A holy hush fell upon the women in the signing line as we all were riveted by her words.

I will serve the Lord Jesus for the rest of my life.
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I could hear sniffles and quiet sobs. My eyes welled up with tears. I could not speak as I made my way from behind the signing table to her. I was overcome with emotion as I bent down to hug this little giant of our faith.

She was only nineteen years old, yet possessed a maturity most live a lifetime to achieve. By now, the line had formed a circle around our beautiful sister. She confidently announced that she was going home soon. I think that every woman gathered there felt exactly what I did at that moment.

“Home? Will you be safe?”

“No matter,” she shrugged. “If something happens, I will be home with Jesus.”

At this point, through my tears, I began to pray for her.

What else can we do in our human frailty? I wanted to clutch her in my arms, run for the arena exit, put her in an airplane, and bring her home to Springfield, Missouri to live with me. I have no doubt that I wasn’t the only woman standing there that day formulating a plan for Julie’s protection — every woman with me was fighting back her maternal instinct to shelter Julie.

We all prayed.

Women from all over Texas, strangers-yet-sisters, bowed our heads, wept, and petitioned our Father to protect our petite, brave, beautiful Julie as she returned to Pakistan.

As she walked away, Phil whispered a tearful phrase in my ear. “Jennifer, I wish you could have seen her…

She’s so scarred, but so radiant.”

It was from her that I wanted to learn about faith and understand true beauty.
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I wanted to get up from my signing table where women had gathered for my autograph, and give Julie my seat instead. She was a hero.

It was from her that I wanted to learn about faith.

It was from her that I wanted to understand true beauty.

It was her radiance I longed for.

It was her autograph I wanted.

Julie’s beauty comes from the radiance of Christ that is best revealed through our scars. It’s a compelling strength that only becomes realized in our weakness. It’s a beauty forged in the refining fire of trials, and a loveliness fashioned on the anvil of faithfulness.

Beauty comes from the radiance of Christ that is best revealed through our scars.
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I’m sure that you will have the privilege of meeting Julie someday. I’ll bet she will have a signing table in heaven.

If you don’t recognize her when you get there, then just look for me. I’ll be in line, gratefully praising our Father God who gave Julie courage, sheltered her, and brought her home.

But, if you don’t recognize me, then look to the front of the line. You will recognize Jesus. He will be the truly beautiful one, so scarred, yet so radiant.

He will be standing for Julie just as He stood for Stephen so many years ago. Your eyes will well up with tears as you observe Julie’s eyes meeting His. I’m sure she will get up from behind the table, humbly bow, and give Jesus her seat instead. For He is the truly beautiful One. He is the author of our faith.

I want to be as beautiful as her.
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And, it is His autograph, His name, we most want written upon our hearts.

Question: How have your scars revealed the radiance of Christ?

Part of this blog is an excerpt from my book, Fresh Grounded Faith: Devotions to Awaken Your Spirit.

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