The winner of the 1954 Miss America Pageant was Miss Evelyn Ay. Evelyn represented the end of an era being the last Miss America to be crowned before the televised crownings began. She was the daughter of German immigrants and resided in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Upon her crowning, her father announced, ‘This could happen only in America!’ She went on to marry her pre-pageant fiancé, Carl Sempier, raising two daughters, six Great Dane dogs, and thoroughly enjoying her two grandchildren. Over the years, Evelyn continued to be a great supporter of The Miss America Organization. Of the Program she said, ‘Serving an organization that provides scholastic opportunity to women nationwide validates my long and devoted affiliation.’ She continued to be known through her life as an enchanting and captivating speaker.
As we have been studying Esther here at Grace on Sunday mornings we have seen that Esther was more than just another pretty face. She was a women full of grace who was also very teachable. She had more than outward beauty. She also had inner beauty which is what set her apart and allowed her to find grace in the eyes of all she met, even the king.
Let’s not underestimate the power of inner beauty. It is far superior to outward beauty. Just think of the cycle both run. When it comes to outward beauty, women do not start at their epitome. If you don’t believe that, ladies, just go back and look at your 1st grade, 2nd grade and 3rd grade school pictures. But as time went on, your outward beauty grew. But here is the bad news. At some point you will reach the apex of outward beauty (I’m sure no lady reading this blog is there yet!!!). From that point on you don’t get more and more beautiful outwardly. Each day after that you get less and less beautiful outwardly (in spite of all the wrinkle remover cream you may use).
Now compare that with inner beauty. If you know Jesus and are developing an intimate relationship with Him daily, ladies, you can become more and more beautiful inwardly every day the rest of your life. That is what happened to Esther. And based on the following e-mail I received from a lady who attends Grace Church, that is exactly what happened with Evelyn Ay as well. You see, Evelyn was her husband’s aunt. Here is what she wrote about the former Miss America:
“I really enjoyed the sermon today. I have been so excited about hearing this message series. Esther is absolutely my favorite book in the Bible. I especially enjoyed today the comparison between the pageants and Esther's life. My husband's aunt was Miss America in 1954 --- she passed away last November which was a tremendous loss to our family. She was an amazing woman who when you met her you could tell why she won. Her inner beauty is what I believe won over the judges. I have often had people ask me what she was like and I always said she was such a neat person and you could see why she won. She always made everyone around her feel so special and that she truly cared about you. We miss her so much but it was neat for me to think of her along with Esther and be able to put in a perspective of how Esther got to be queen.”