The Ugly Sister

By Kami Zumwalt

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Psalm 90:17a  (TPT) - O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us...

Is it possible to still feel beautiful in sweats and a nursing bra? Can you find beauty in your day when you can't find your living room floor? Can you still spread beauty when you've been overlooked, unappreciated and even….unwanted?

Leah did! (Ok, I'm not actually sure she had a nursing bra, or toys all over her floor, but birthing four babies was sure to change a gals figure!)


I always think of Leah in Genesis chapter 29 as the ugly sister. And since every woman wants to be beautiful, her story pulls on my heartstrings. She, like all of us, carried the Creators likeness, ingrained in her was the desire to express and carry beauty of the Majestic One who made her. Scripture describes her and her sister, Rachel like this, vs. 17 “Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.”


Leah’s eyes were all she had going for her, but her younger sister Rachel was a shepherdess who apparently had a PhD in drop-dead gorgeous. Leah had it rough. Over-looked. Under-appreciated. Living with a gorgeous younger sister who I picture as a knock out blonde, who could whip up mammoth stew and wakes up without bed head. Rachel was practically perfect! Leah was easily slighted when the handsome Jacob showed up in Haran one starry night and fell head over heels in love with Rachael as she watered her sheep and likely didn't even notice Leah's “delicate eyes.”


How do I know Leah caught God's heart? Because God takes notice of those who go unnoticed. Genesis 29:31 “When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved,” –even after her sneaky father managed to get Jacob to marry both sisters–Scripture says, “He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” 

This is amazing.

When God speaks of the womb, it is the place where life and creativity are birthed. Ladies, we were made to create! Babies, stories, living room designs, books, business deals, homemade lasagna; you name it, we like to create it. I love God's response to the unnoticed…He opens up their lives in brand new ways in order to produce new life and creativity. 

Motherhood is certainly not a time to put creativity on the shelf until you “go back to work." No, this is a time God notices all you do, the assignment you are on, and is excited about the opportunity to bring new and creative ideas into your life, children, and home. It's true, much of what you do sacrificially may go unnoticed by others, but not by God.  

Boredom and insignificance are not critters I want to settle into my soul. So the ideas are endless. Look for–dare I say it–crafts you can do with your kids. Paint a picture, write a story, decorate a room, or if you are much more left-brained, don't despair! Organize, make spreadsheets, plan meals and try something you've never made before. (I know one amazing woman who makes pesto out of dandelions! Rocking her creative gene right there!)

And when you’re tempted to feel unnoticed and unappreciated? Remember He pays special attention to those who can be overlooked and keep creating for His Glory. Truly, it's easier to just smack on lipstick, and focus on outer beauty alone, than to bite our tongues when we don't get recognized and go unnoticed, but doing so creates an inner lasting beauty that can't be marred!


Leah couldn't rely on the mirror on the wall or her husband to make her feel beautiful. So what did she do? While God opened her womb to bless and expand her life, sadly, at first, Leah tried to find her self-worth and value ONLY in her children. This is easy to slip into, but it’s just not enough. 

Their names reflect much of what was happening in her heart. Her first, Rueben (afflicted), for she said God had seen her affliction. The second, Simeon, saying God has seen that I am unloved. Her third she called Levi (attached), saying now, now my husband will be attached to me. And finally…she bore Judah, which means praise. Then she stopped bearing.

Somewhere from being afflicted, to unloved, to craving closeness, Leah discovered she could not find her beauty solely from birthing babies, but in praising the One who gave them to her.

Truly, Leah was not the ugly sister after all. Unnoticed, but truly seen. Unwanted, but beloved. She found beauty in the life God gave her, not by striving or earning love, or even in the face of a man, but by seeking the face of the One who saw her as beautiful. Rest assured mama, true beauty is cultivated from the inside out, even when your body has not bounced back from birthing that rock star. Beauty rests on you fresh daily as you seek the face of God.


Maybe this recovering control freak is taking myself less seriously these days, but honestly I'm taking it all in. The beauty of the life He gives us. The white-spiraled-shaped noodled head of hair on my three year old as she walks across the yard in the sunshine, the pink goggles my six year old wore the other night in the bathroom tub, the growling of my baby boy when he sees his daddy. I'm immersed in beauty every day as long as I'm not too upset by the chaos to see it. Look for the beauty, and you'll see it throughout even your craziest parenting days, and you'll find with God, there are never any ugly sisters.

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Kami is a forty-year-old pastor's wife, living in a farmhouse, raising two girls under six and an adorable six-month-old baby boy. She's a prophetess, women's pastor, prayer warrior, published freelance writer, and homeschool mom who loves antiques, tea cups, chocolate truffles and empowering women to live free and fulfilled in Christ. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.