In honor of Mother’s Day, this is dedicated to all women.
Beauty: noun. /ˈbyut̮i/ (pl. beauties) 1[uncountable] the quality of being pleasing to the senses or to the mind. The beauty of the sunset/of poetry/of his singing about a woman of great beauty. The woods were designated an area of outstanding natural beauty. -OED
I am a mother of a daughter. I have always found the definition of beauty to be important for me to model & her to understand. I don’t think God has a problem with us trying to nourish & maintain our bodies to be the best they can be. In this world our bodies break down. We all feel better when we take care of our body and look our best. Yes, the world today gives beauty way too much superiority but a healthy balance of physical beauty & inner beauty is what I strive for. God told Adam in the garden ‘to work and take care of it’. If you owned something you loved would you let it sit and fall apart or would you spend the time to preserve it?
What do we desire as women & how do we define beauty?
You can ask my mom, sisters & girlfriends.. I'm pretty adamant about not body shaming. Especially in front of my daughter. I am responsible for shaping her views of beauty. I talk about exercising to be strong, eating right to be healthy, and I rock that bathing suit at the beach. I want her to grow up loving herself for who she is, not what she looks like. Since she was 3 years old she’s said positive affirmations out loud, “I am smart, I am beautiful, I am brave, I am a child of God” & has added more over the years. These affirmations become her inner voice. The way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice as well. It’s my job to speak positively to her & guide her in how to speak positively about herself.
This desire to be beautiful has caused many women grief, yet our desire for it remains. And it’s not just the desire for an outward beauty; far more it is a desire to hold that interest in the depths of who we are. Physical beauty is what is attractive to the eye, whereas, inner beauty is captivating to the heart. These same desires of worth & purpose we’ve had since we were little girls shape our hopes and dreams. They are essential in order to live life as a woman. Misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected, these desires do not simply go away; they go underground and surface later in addiction, control and shame. We pay a high price when we neglect the core passions of our hearts.
God loves romance. He created it. He paints the sky every morning & evening for us.. have you ever thought of how romantic that is? Flowers with all their colors and delightful smells.. for us (and for the bees;) Ocean waves crashing onto shores, for us. Stars falling & arranged constellations, for us. The flight of a flock of birds, for us. The wind swirling over tall prairie grass, for us. The pulse of music, for us, a kiss - his idea. Now, the main reason He created all this beauty in its intensity and detail was for us to know He exists, He is in control of it all, but I also believe He created all this beauty so we feel God’s love.
Every woman longs to be loved, to be chosen, to have someone fight for her, to be seen, delighted in and pursued. Stop & witness all these romantic gestures from God once in a while or you’ll miss it. The same majestic God who created it all, created us too. My parents and grandparents always took the time to show me that. We do this for our daughter & I know she’ll continue. It’s important to be romanced & reminded of your worth.
As Christians our purpose is to bring Heaven to this world. However, when it comes to daily life, women want to be needed. A woman doesn’t come alive being merely “useful.” There is something fierce in the heart of a woman. When God creates Eve he calls her ezer - a “life saver,” someone you need desperately when all hope is lost. A woman brings something different to the table.
A lot of the roles women bear are not seen by anyone but God. In the same breath, women have come a long way since the 1840’s. Women’s roles, seen or unseen by the world, are irreplaceable. I want my daughter to understand that her role in this world is essential & has no limit no matter how intimate or substantial she wants to make it.
Finally, there is Beauty. Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be. Beauty reminds us of an Eden we have never known, but somehow know our hearts were created for. I'm always reminded of the quote in American Beauty, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, and my heart is just going to cave in" -Alan Ball
Beauty speaks of heaven to come, when all shall be beautiful. It haunts us with eternity. What great goodness could have possibly created this? Beauty draws us to God. All these things are true for any experience of beauty. But they are especially true when we experience the beauty of a woman—her eyes, her form, her voice, her heart, her spirit, her life. She speaks all of this far more profoundly than anything else in all creation. Look at art. We are fascinated by the meaning expressed by a woman. Her beauty, desire, reverie and the forbidden. Her strength & ability to bring life into the world, to be the ezer for her
partner. Her empathy, her instincts, her attentiveness.
Beauty is, without question, the most essential and the most misunderstood. Why so much heartache over beauty? We don't ache over being geniuses. Women ache over the issue of beauty - to believe they are beautiful, and they worry over keeping it if ever they can find it. We’ve seen this desire to hold on to that youthful beauty since we were little girls watching the Evil Queen’s jealousy over Snow White. I see beauty in laugh lines & working hands. They remind me of happy moments with the loves of my life & remembering the fragility of it all, holding my Grandma’s soft hand filled with sun spots, burns & scratches that never went away from a life lived.
How does a woman bring beauty to the world? That’s the question I sit with. That’s what I want to model for my daughter. Taking care of ourselves just as much as those around us. Our worth is beyond this world. Our purpose is irreplaceable. Leadership is beautiful, creativity is beautiful, honesty is beautiful, attentiveness is beautiful, confidence is beautiful, humility is beautiful, optimism is beautiful, loyalty is beautiful, intelligence is beautiful, generosity is beautiful, humor is beautiful, empathy is beautiful, ambition is beautiful.
**I shared profound words from John & Stasi Elderedge’s ‘Wild at Heart’ blog and their book, ‘Captivating’ with my own words so I can’t pass off all these ideas as my own.