#418 - "Beautiful" by Plumb
Tiffany Arbuckle-Lee talks about how an online video chat inspired this song from her latest album.

With chart-topping hits across multiple genres over the course of her career, Plumb presents yet again another brilliant studio collection. Titled Need You Now after the six week No. 1 hit, "Need You Now (How Many Times)," the album delivers Plumb's signature sound in top hits, "One Drop," "I Don't Deserve You" and "Beautiful." Plumb's infectious artistry has been featured in major motion pictures and TV shows. 
I remember the first time I heard Plumb's song "God-Shaped Hole." I immediately connected to the catchy melody and poignant lyrics. Throughout her career, she has continued to entertain and challenge listeners looking to fill that "God-shaped hole in all of us."

"Fame and fortune are fleeting," she says, "but real faithfulness, making a difference in a person's life, lasts for eternity." 
Need You Now has been one of my favorite albums to savor in many years, as the combination of Tiffany Arbuckle-Lee's incredible vocal range and her compelling and relevant lyrics have never been more perfectly combined than with this stellar and flawless masterpiece. Every Plumb album is an immersion into her life. Each is unique, tied to the emotions and circumstances that inspired it, and yet each is timeless, identifiable as the outpouring of a singular artistic vision. 
"Beautiful" perfectly displays the reality of marriage with the poignant lyrics: "Oh I don't deserve you ‘cause I always hurt you / then you say the perfect thing / you're beautiful, so beautiful to me." I've been married for 18 years, and the "crazy cycle" of marriage is one that hinges on compromise and asking for forgiveness. Just like in "Real Life Fairytale," Plumb captures the marriage dynamic in a catchy song. Now a mother of three, she seasons her lyrics with her life experience, making her lyrics even more relatable to listeners.
The song deals with Tiffany's personal experience of how God used a huge trial in her own life to show her just how beautiful she really is to Him. Probably the most memorable moments on the album for me are the songs about being made in God's image and not seeking society's approval but knowing that God created and loves us all as we are. That critical message is heard loud and clear in the song "Beautiful." I had the great opportunity to interview Tiffany about this emotional song from her stellar new album. 
Please share the personal message behind the song "Beautiful." 
This is a fun story for me to tell. I was home with my three little monkeys and my husband was overseas on a business trip. He had been gone for a couple of weeks and we weren't used to being apart for that long. It was the first time he had done something like that where we had the ability to video chat. He had been traveling and in a culture overseas where he was seeing only people who looked different than himself.

He came onto the video chat, and I looked horrible. I hadn't showered, my hair was a mess. I barely made it to my computer on time. The kids were noisy in the background. I didn't have a stitch of makeup on my face, and I was thinking if he could smell my breath through the computer, he wouldn't even want to talk with me. I'm not saying he's superficial, but he hadn't seen me in a couple of weeks and this is how I showed up.

The first words out of my mouth were "I look horrible. I'm so sorry. I wanted to look extra nice for you." He just got quiet and said "you look beautiful to me." I was like seriously, are you just saying that? He told me he missed me so much and that I looked beautiful to him. That stuck with me for a few days and was songwriting after that. I was caught up in being keenly aware of my faults, inadequacies, challenges and weaknesses. In this circumstantial moment, I also didn't look as nice as I could have. My wheels were spinning, and I realized that I'm selfish and self-absorbed. That's why I list all of those traits about myself in the bridge of the song.
Please tell me about the Bible verses you used in writing the song. 

Song of Songs 4:7:
"You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you."
...Psalm 139:17-18: "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."
...and Psalm 139:14: "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well."
What's the take-away message for listeners? 
As you know from our interviews together, I give too many details which I mention in this song. Feeling the weight of the truth of who I am--which is that I'm flawed and feel like such a mess--my husband said, "you're beautiful to me." I just felt a sense of not just in my marriage of being humbled by that, but that God knows me even better than my husband Jeremy knows me.

God knows my flaws, challenges, weaknesses and sins. He knows them more than anyone, and yet God still loves me and thinks I'm beautiful. He created me, and tells me I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows my potential. He doesn't see us for what we are this minute; God sees us for who He created us to be. People wonder how can God love us for who we are? It's because He does love each of us for who He created us to be. He is faithful to complete that work. He is patient with us.

I do believe that perspective has affected how I see other people. When I see people doing something that is black-and-white sinful or illegal, I know it's not right, but God loves that person the same way I love my children. He loves them because He believes in them. When my children have horrible behavior, I need to remember that's not who they are, it's just something they've done. We can forgive and reconcile with each other.

Who we will become in Christ is so much bigger and better than we are right now. God wants us to look at each other the way He looks at us. This song has been therapeutic and has given me accountability to look at the beauty in others and to see other people the way God sees them.
Not a stitch of makeup, I wake up
Feeling less than great
I think I'm crazy, from lazy
I'm always running late
And you come home right on time just to see me
You see me at my worst
And I'm thinkin' you're thinkin'
I don't know why I married her
But you say

You're beautiful, so beautiful
Oh and you hold me tight
You're beautiful, so beautiful
And I can't speak or I'll cry
Oh I don't deserve you
Cause I always hurt you
Then you'll say the perfect thing
You're beautiful, so beautiful to me

You take care of business and listen
And make time just for me
And I'm busy rushing and hushing
Just so I can speak
And you roll your eyes that look into mine
And tell me just to wait
And I'm thinkin' you're thinkin'
She's crazy but I love her anyway
But you say

I am selfish, self-absorbed
Narcissistic, is this normal
Running late, such a mess
Too many details, where's my dress
I wear a watch to conquer the world
Where's my keys, the tank's not full
I get in shape, it's hard to breathe
Do you love me, oh you love me

But I don't deserve you
Cause I always hurt you
Then you'll say the perfect thing
You're beautiful, so beautiful
God's thoughts and love for us are deep, such as cannot be known. We cannot comprehend how many mercies we have received from Him. As the Lord knows us thoroughly and we are strangers to ourselves, we should earnestly desire and pray to be searched and proved by His Word and Spirit.

The first part of the chorus--"You're beautiful, so beautiful, Oh and you hold me tight, You're beautiful, so beautiful, And I can't speak or I'll cry"--has been resonating with me as I realize that Jesus commands us to trust God's Word completely, no matter our circumstances or personal distractions or concerns or doubts about ourselves and our flaws.  
The rest of the chorus has an amazing reminder: "Oh I don't deserve You, Cause I always hurt You, Then You'll say the perfect thing, You're beautiful, so beautiful to me." We can't know everything and we are not in control, but trusting God gives us assurance that we don't have to be afraid. God will be there to pick us up when we fall.

I have three young daughters and I can't help but get emotional when I listen to this song. I know it speaks to girls and women of all ages, but this song has many layers, and I relate to the message that God created us to have value. I look at my wife and I hope she is secure in my love for her, that she knows that I love her and would never leave her. I look at my daughters and I hope I am communicating to each of my girls that she is beautiful, that she is valuable, and that she is a blessing to me.

God feels that way about men as well. We are valuable to God. As men, we are appointed by God to take care of and partner with the women in our lives. I believe men also need to hear this song. The song is a great reminder of the kind of heart we should have both as people valued by God and as Christians who can communicate our value to other people.
As Christians, we are God's adopted sons and daughters and we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Don't let the world tell you who you are. It doesn't matter what you look like, if you have Jesus on the inside. That's where we can find our true identities, in Him! What a great message for us to share with our spouses and mothers for Mother's Day: "You're beautiful, so beautiful to me."
(You can watch the music video here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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