“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I was sitting in a crowded restaurant with my family when she walked by in her full-length white satin ball gown delicately trimmed in lace and studded with tiny “jewels.” Crinoline swished as she moved across the room, a rhinestone tiara sparkled on her head, and pearl studded slippers accentuated her feminine feet. Golden ringlets framed her rosy cheeks and puckered lips glistened with a hint of gloss. She knew she was beautiful and glanced around at the admiring smiles of onlookers as she walked through the crowd. She was three-years-old.
I’m not sure when the dream to be beautiful enters a little girl’s mind, but I do know when the dream ends – when the preacher says, “may she rest in peace.” In my book, Becoming Spiritually Beautiful, I told about my shenanigans as a little girl who wanted to be a grown up beauty.
I remember as a little girl sneaking into my mother’s closet and slipping my child-size feet into her size seven high heels. I’d also stand on my tiptoes on a chair, pull a hat off the top shelf, and plop it on my head like an oversized lamp shade. Her satin evening jacket with sleeves that hug eight inches below my finger tips gave a nice elegant touch to my outfit. A lady going to a party would never be caught without “putting on her face,” so I crept into the bathroom, opened the forbidden drawer, and created a clownish work of art on the palette of my face. Red rouge circles on my cheeks, heaps of blue eye shadow on my munchkin lids, and smeared orange lipstick far exceeding the proper border were finished off with a dusting of facial powder with an oversized brush.
From the time a little girl stretches on her tiptoes to get a peek in the mirror, she desires to be beautiful – perhaps like her mommy. As the girl moves into the teen years, she experiments with makeup, delves into fashion, and attempts various hairstyles. Then it’s on to makeover ideas in magazines and on talk shows. If one idea doesn’t work – well there’s always next month.
I believe the dream to be beautiful is not simply an American obsession, but at the very core of womanhood all around the world. Various cultures have their ideas of what constitutes true beauty. National Geographic reported that on the border of Burma and Thailand, members of the Kayan tribe begin their beauty rituals at age 5 by wearing brass rings around their necks. As they grow older, more rings are added, and eventually their necks elongate to look like a giraffe’s. For these women, the shiny brass rings are the ultimate sign of female elegance and status. In Maori, women consider it beautiful to tattoo their lips dark blue. Young girls in the Karo tribe in southern Ethiopia allow their elders to cut scars onto their stomachs which they believe will make them more beautiful and able to attract a husband.
In a West African country, Mauritania, they believe that bigger is better and have practiced the ritual of force feeding young girls to plump them up. Interestingly, Dove posted on their Facebook page that only 2% of the women around the world describe themselves as beautiful. (see !) And while various cultures have their own ideas of what true beauty looks like, women go through great lengths to achieve a look that does not come naturally.
John Eldredge, in his book Wild at Heart, describes three longings that lie at the heart of every man: a battle to fight, a beauty to rescue, an adventure to live. He also ventures to say that women have three longings of the heart as well: to be fought for, to share in an adventure, and to have her beauty unveiled. “Not to conjure,” Eldredge explains, “but to unveil. Most women feel the pressure to be beautiful from very young, but that is not what I speak of. There is also a deep desire to simply and truly be the beauty and be delighted in. Most little girls will remember playing dress up, or wedding day, or ‘twirling skirts,’ those flowing dresses that were perfect for spinning around in. She’ll put her pretty dress on, come into the living room and twirl. What she longs for is to capture her daddy’s delight.”
Friend, you are beautiful. You have captured your Heavenly Father’s delight. You are an incredible masterpiece fashioned by the Eternal Artist. Ponder these words of David:
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
When I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.(Psalm 139:13-16)
Dear Father, forgive me for complaining about Your masterpiece when I look into the mirror. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You for crafting my eyes that see, my ears that hear, my mouth that speaks, and all the amazing organs that work in tandem that I can’t even see. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, make a list of all that you are thankful for about your body. It should be a long list!
Don’t forget all your inner workings.
No matter how beautiful a person is on the outside, if she is not beautiful on the inside, it will come through. Who is someone you know that is beautiful on the inside? Consider letting her know how beautiful you think she is!
I’d love to hear what you think makes someone truly beautiful. Let’s chat at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.
More From the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s new book, 5 Dreams of Every Woman and How God Wants to Fulfill Them(a new revised version of her previous book, Dreams of a Woman). This book is for every woman whose life hasn’t turned out like she dreamed it would … and I think that includes most of us. Can you risk the hope that God still has dreams for your life? That He hasn’t forgotten you? Place your hand firmly in His–take a deep breath and begin the exciting journey to a place you thought you’d never find: the dream God planned for you all along. Let’s dare to dream again!
And to learn more about inner beauty, see Becoming Spiritually Beautiful…Seeing Yourself from God’s Perspective.