When I was a young girl, I loved to go to church, but not for any spiritual reasons. I loved wearing pretty dresses, little frilly socks, bows in my hair and I LOVED it when people would comment on how cute I was. It was so bad, that when someone would say “You are so pretty, Holly!” I would reply with “I know” (Yeah–I know, I was a vain little booger–But hey, I was pretty stinkin’ cute)
As I grew older, typical teenage girl thoughts were constantly on my mind:
“Am I thin enough?” “Are my teeth straight enough? “If I rub oil on my skin and lay on tin foil in my drive way, will it make me a tiny bit tanner?” (no lie, I did that) “Is my hair pretty enough?” “Are my clothes cute enough?” “Will that guy ever notice me?”
Sadly, I lived with that thought life for a very long time– Always wondering what I could do to be “prettier”
With this “selfie generation”, its obvious to me that I am not the only girl/woman who has ever struggled with this mentality. There is something within us all that desires to be beautiful, and there is nothing wrong with that; but where I think I failed as a younger person (and even an adult) was knowing: WHAT IS TRUE BEAUTY?
I looked around one day, and I began to notice the beautiful women in my life.
–My mom, who raised two kids by herself, finished college, worked two jobs, yet never missed a church service, and never once let on to me or my brother that “this life was tough”–I know now that she struggled financially, physically and emotionally, but I never saw that growing up- I just saw her as a strong and faithful mom. She’s a beautiful woman.
–My grandmother, who has endured a lot in her marriage to an alcoholic, yet stuck by him, prayed for him, loved him, and gave me the example of what marriage: “for better or worse” looks like. The woman who I would find praying and studying at the table with her coffee, Bible and flannel graphs laid out for her four year old Sunday School class (which-by the way, she still teaches after 30+years) She’s a beautiful woman.
-My Mother-In-Law, who raised a son to love the Lord, and how to treat his wife. Who works harder than any woman I know within a local church; who is constantly serving–No matter when or where, and never with a negative attitude. I’ve seen her love and teach children with a dedication like none other. I have a lot to learn from her and she is a beautiful woman.
–My best friends around the world, serving in places that are hard enough to just LIVE in, let alone to openly share the gospel–yet they do, because they believe that God has them there for “such a time as this”. My friends who miss holidays with their families–who’s kids have a skype relationship with grandparents, and are learning difficult languages. THEY are beautiful women.
What makes them beautiful? Why do I feel beautiful now, more than ever? What is true beauty? It’s pretty simple. Christ.
After a series my pastor preached about “Who I am In Christ”, I realized that I was nothing before he saved me, nothing on my own, and will never be more than what I am in Him. HE is mine, and I am His. MY father, is the King of Kings, and he loved me, and cared about me enough to die FOR ME. What a beautiful thought!
That same thought is what makes all of the beautiful women in my life just that: Beautiful. They are beautiful not because of body type, hair color or fashion accessories; No, they are beautiful because they have the beauty of a life in Christ within them as well.
Since I’ve been married, I have gained 35 lbs (non preggo), my hair is darker than its once brilliant blonde, my skin is always dry, and my pregnancies blessed me with battle scars (aka: stretch marks). Saying all of that, I can HONESTLY tell you, I have never felt more beautiful in all my life. It’s because of Christ, and knowing who I am in Him.
At the end of the day, if I could take a “selfie” for the world–I would want you to see the beauty of God within me. I may not ever be the “pretty” girl that I craved to be when I was younger, but I am a beautiful picture of what Christ’s love and mercy can do in a life, and that enough for me. 🙂