A BRUSH WITH LOVE by Rachel Hauck

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Ginger Winters lived life on its altered scale, grievously marked with the hideous scars of horrific wounds. The bitter pain inspired her to see the beauty in others, despite her own ugly scarring. Although she survived to find a new purpose for living, the unalterable truth was that she was horribly scarred, a bitter fact that confronted her daily and from which there was no relief nor respite. The irreconcilable wounds in her heart and scars on her body created a shame that nothing could ever cover. Ginger knew she would never be beautiful again but she had a life calling that she dearly loved. As a successful stylist, she had the amazing skill to make an ordinary woman look extraordinarily beautiful. The art of beauty was her gifted calling and passionate duty in life. Ginger threw her whole heart and soul into her work, to see beauty blossoming in others. Her frightful, ugly scar kept her marked for life, with the soul-shattering, nerve-wracking realization that no one would ever want her. This bitter truth blew its own trumpet, giving her no peace. There would be no one, no one at all.

When Tom Wells broke into Ginger’s carefully guarded thoughts, their eyes locked in intense emotion, memories penetrated her senses with passionate intensity. Seeing Tom reopened a locked door in Ginger’s heart. She must not hide her wounds and scars too much to drive him out of her life. He might be her passion’s flame after all. But for Ginger, the flame of love’s passion was the most terrifying fire of all. With memories stirring his emotions passionately, Tom swung back to harsh reality. Should he apologize or let the past go? He tried to catch her gaze. “I’m sorry, Ginger.” The confession came frankly and honestly, with no previous thought and no prepared agenda, flowing freely where it willed. Ginger froze, gazing with gleaming eyes, revealing nothing.

Ginger awakened an intense longing in Tom, an aching desire to share her heart, touch her scars, comfort her and tell her she was beautiful. To Tom, she was as beautiful as ever, even more raw and wounded. Deep inside his heart, underneath all the latent layers of propriety, beneath any trepidation of what was right and proper, he longed to be in her life. Seeing Ginger made Tom feel like a part of his heart was restored. He felt new and wonderful, wanting to be a better person. Ginger was hard to read. Although she kept her feelings reined in tightly, she knew instinctively that Tom would open a locked, bolted and barred door into her heart.

Tom desired to follow God’s call and restore his family’s reputation and legacy. He must be above board in all his dealings. Sitting in the sanctuary, in the heartwarming presence and inspiration of God, Tom wept tears of gratitude. He heard God’s still, small voice in His heart, gently guiding him into the truth. “Walk worthy of His calling. Fulfil every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power.” “Know the Word. Live it, pray it, sing it.” Be faithful to your calling and to the Lord. Let Him do the choosing. It only matters what He thinks. Be confident in His love for you. Trust in His guidance and leadership. Love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Let God touch Ginger’s eternal soul. Point her to Him. God redeems, saves and heals. Gaze at Him. Win Ginger to Jesus. Show her His love. Lead her to the Truth that God is love. How should Tom relate to Ginger? A simple, sweet answer arose in his heart. He could tell her what her heart longed so desperately to hear, that she was beautiful.

Out of the pain and humiliation of Ginger’s disfigurement emerged an unusual quality, a rare gift to highlight beauty in others. Ginger’s astounding success in revealing the beauty in women almost made her forget her own disfigured appearance. But it would take another extraordinary kind of love and selfless commitment to help Ginger to see the beauty in herself. The harsh reality of the truth that she was scarred and ugly always doomed her to stand precariously on the periphery, forever on the outside, looking in at beauty but destined never to be a part of it. Can Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities, locking her from love, help her to recognize the beauty in herself or are some scars too deep for recovery? Will Ginger remained pitifully chained to the past, oblivious to love, or can she move freely into a new, hope-filled future?

Despite her ugly, scarred appearance, a small part of Ginger’s heart still longed to be a woman, a carefully concealed, secret desire, known only to herself. Tom shook her painstakingly erected emotional barriers. When he gazed at Ginger with his intent blue eyes, she felt engulfed in his love. The flames Tom ignited in her heart could not be extinguished at any cost, in any manner or by any means. Although Ginger would not admit it, Tom’s calm presence drew out the best in her, making her feel secure enough to aspire to be a better person.

Under Tom’s sensitive, insightful gaze, Ginger felt utterly transparent, as if he saw what she tried to hide. His words and the firm tenor of his voice confirmed, with utmost certainty, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he could read her, seeing through her thinly veiled insecurities with discerning skill, as if through a lens with the most acute focus. Tom instinctively understood Ginger’s strengths, weaknesses and the pressures she faced. He spoke of two kinds of beauty – outer and inner – with all the layers and nuances in between all the trappings. It was certainly good to do something she was good at and that she loved, Tom felt about Ginger’s job as a successful stylist, having no idea how much she ached to do it for herself.

If Ginger’s life signature was only for making others beautiful, wouldn’t that be enough? No, the heart knows what it wants and it will not be satisfied until it gets it. That was the way she lived life, figuring it out on her own. Ginger’s heart wanted love and freedom from her scars. Tom admired Ginger’s frankness and honesty. Her laughter warmed his soul. Her breath mingled with his, so to speak, their heartbeats in perfect sync. Tom wanted to touch her wounds, tell her it would be alright and that she need not hide them from him. But that would cross all boundaries.

Every time Tom saw her, Ginger caught a piece of Tom’s heart. He warmed her heart with hope. He had called her beautiful twice and it warmed her heart. She wanted to believe in his love. Emotion swelled in Ginger’s chest and tears filled her eyes. Tom’s soft, sweet tones pierced her fragile facade and drifted into her soul. She could see through his sea-blue eyes and into his guileless soul. “Pardon me for caring”, he had said to her. Ginger was deeply inspired by Tom’s sparkling grin. Tom realized that Ginger was not as hard and defensive as she pretended to be. It was only a protective defense, merely a put-on pretense, to scare people off.

Ginger was stuck in life and in her heart, concerning her beliefs about God, herself, and Tom. Cold tears threatened to overwhelm Ginger as she tried to avoid Tom’s penetrating gaze. The soft tenor of his voice touched her heart. She wondered why he was so nice to her. Was it because he liked her? No man could ever like her. Although he was a man of God, warm and kindhearted, with a blue-eyed intensity, Ginger could not trust anyone. As a successful hair stylist, she was in command of her life, captain of her ship, steering bravely to her destiny. But out in the harsh world, she was the poor, pitied, scarred one.

Tom’s beaming smile pierced her heart. His touch, his voice, his smile. He was the one man in her life who made her feel what it was like to be a woman. His gaze, the intensity of his words, set her heart on fire. He liked her scars and the fact that they had made her a fighter. He liked her face, eyes, smile and heart plus her ability to see beauty in others and bring it out for the world to see. Those were the things that made her unique and extraordinary. To Tom Wells, Ginger Winters was the most beautiful girl in the world, scars and all.

(compiled by Miriam Jacob)

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