Friday, March 4

It's not make up, a thin figure or pretty clothes that make us beautiful.

Today I met my mother in law at the park and she brought us ice cream. While we were playing, a little girl ran up to me and asked if she could touch my dress. The convo went something like this:

Little sweet girl: Can I touch your dress? It's so lovely!
Me: (laughing) yes, of course. (I bend down so she can touch it easier.)
LSG: Oooohhh. It's so pretty! 
(As I smile and laugh, she notices the gleaming metal and pretty colors in my mouth and reaches her hands up to my face as if to open my mouth wider so she could get a better look. Her eye brows were furrowed as her interest grew.)
LSG: What's that?
Me: Oh, these are my braces. (I smile wide and point to them.) They make my teeth straighter.
LSG: Wow, they are SO beautiful....

She followed Conrad and I around the park for the remainder of the time asking me to catch her as she went down the slide and played pretend ice cream stand with Conrad. Her mom & I talked about parenting and how we deal with our kids little sassy attitudes. The little sweet girl hugged me goodbye-and we went on with our day.

I smiled in the car remembering how she thought my braces were beautiful.
(Gwen Stefani rocking her braces.)

The rest of the day, I couldn't get over how fascinated she was with my braces or my teal dress. Why did it feel so good to be called pretty by a 4 year old? Why did it make me feel so loved? I began to consider that maybe my idea of beautiful isn't all that healthy. Maybe my perception is skewed. Maybe I need to rethink what makes me beautiful. I hope that that little girl can be a reflection of how I view myself. I hope that I can look at the things that aren't necessarily "favorable" like braces or stretch marks and call them beautiful. 

This week I got to hear an ex-prostitute tell me about her life. She was well into her 60's, had a gorgeous bright pant suit on and had perfectly styled silver hair. I would NEVER have guessed that she sold her body for money if she hadn't told me so. She looked immaculate, she spoke with poise and grace. She had gone from feeling ugly, all of her self worth coming from men, felt completely unloved and unworthy to being set free from all of the baggage of her prior life. She never felt more beautiful than when she knew the completeness of God's love and forgiveness for her.

Another lady I met who told her story was dressed to kill, and had amazing skin and hair. Her beauty was hard to ignore. She was in her early 50's but confessed that one side of her nose is totally collapsed due to her cocaine abuse. She was a recovering bulimic and an alcoholic. On the outside, these woman appear to be the poster children of flawless beauty and perfect lives. Until you hear their stories, you would never have known that their lives were so dirty & filled with so much pain before the knew Jesus. It wasn't their physical beauty that made them beautiful. 

It's not make up, a thin figure or pretty clothes that make us beautiful.

Anytime I've ever tried to find my worth in these things, I've always ended up feeling disappointed and never truly satisfied. Self esteem doesn't come from our outward appearance. I really need this truth to sink into my heart. 

I was so encouraged listening to where they were and where God had brought them. They could smile and proudly proclaim that they were drug addicts and prostitutes but God had set them free! There was no shame in the stories they told. The shame had been taken away. The guilt was gone. The past was left in the past, but they had a story to tell about how Jesus took their dirty, pitiful, horrible, situations and out of his great love, He beautified them.

Again, make up and pretty clothes don't make us beautiful. It's nice to look nice, but that isn't 
what makes us beautiful. 
(Me & my little turd one morning a few weeks ago taking some photo booth pics.)

Often times we spend most of our energy comparing ourselves to the girl next to us wishing we had bigger boobs, a thinner waist and less cellulite, but God doesn't compare us. He wants us to embrace us for us and stop wishing we looked like every other woman we see on any given day that we judge ourselves against who has nicer skin, thicker hair or flawless-stretch mark-less tummy's & thighs.

Think about it. How much time do we spend hating our bodies and cursing them?

I'm preaching to ME here but I know I'm not the only woman who struggles with self-body-hate too! I feel a deep conviction to love what God made instead of wishing I had longer legs and bigger this and smaller that! We're all in the same boat with this I'm afraid. I've spent too much time focusing on why I'm not good enough rather than celebrating who I am. I need to refuse to agree that my imperfections aren't perfect. I need to celebrate & love me.

But I'll tell you what, that little girl made me feel 
pretty darn beautiful today.

34 comments:

  1. that is the SWEETEST story. olivia does that to me sometimes...she will randomly tell me i'm "boo-tiful" and it seriously just makes me want to smother her in hugs and kisses. the other night at church my sister was holding her when someone told elizabeth they liked her hair, and olivia said, "what about my hair?" this child is TWO YEARS OLD. it was probably totally innocent and she probably was just talking, but i couldn't help but think, what in the world am i teaching my daughter about appearance?

    i feel like i've really got my work cut out for me with two girls. i am desperate for them to grow up knowing that their self worth is not determined by what they look like, but how they treat people and how they live through God. i pray over them every single night hoping that i am doing a good job of it all.

    i struggle with self esteem issues sometimes (who doesn't?!), but i truly hope my daughters don't see that in me.

    ahh, anyway, thanks for the post. as usual, you spoke straight to my heart :)

    xo

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  2. So, so good to read this morning :)
    I have a past like the second woman, and I think one of the things that led me to make those decisions was the fact that I didn't know who I was because I didn't know God. I didn't know how loved I was or how beautiful life could be near him. Now that I know him, there is a fullness and energy to my life. I have an identity. Thanks for sharing this. xo

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  3. i really loved this post.
    you write so beautifully and so obviously from the heart.
    this really spoke to me and meant a lot!
    and i think it will to lots of other girls, too. :)

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  4. That is one of the sweetest things ever. And it's true how soon you forget until you're reminded by a child. I don't spend too much time around little ones...yet...so whenever I do I always seem to learn something about myself.

    Loves!

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  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE. My heart GREW reading this post!
    It is something I have struggled fiercely with my whole life. And this year, the Lord has really opened my eyes and shown me who HE sees through my daughter's eyes. Ugh, I just love this. You are a beautiful writer, and a beautiful person!

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  6. I'm so inspired by your post. What a great way to start my day. It's so easy to forget what true beauty really is. After all, we're brainwashed and smacked in the face with magazine covers and hollywood tv shows. The only ones who really understand true beauty are those little four year olds. I am going to link to this post in one of my own - Thank you so much xoxoxo


    nicoleinthemaking.blogspot.com

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  7. Oh, babies put it all in perspective for us.
    When I noticed that Lily loves to "put on make up" or dress up in my clothes/fabric and she runs to her daddy and spins in front of him, it broke my heart it was so dang cute. At first I thought about what that meant for the two of us [Eamon and I] trying to figure out how much of that she got from watching me, but then I thought about what ways I can do that in front of our God. Just twirl in front of Him knowing that even with lipstick on my eyes and clothes that don't really fit he will think I'm beautiful...
    I ramble sometimes.

    This concept of "beauty isn't skin deep" is really hard for me. Until I was about 14 my mom was either pregnant, really over weight, or anorexic/bulimic. When she was going through all of this, my sisters and I were raised to be very modest. No short shorts, clevage [I've had boobs since I was like five...ya...] revealing dresses, that sort of thing. But when my mom started working out/dieting, and getting thinner, all of a sudden she started to dress ho-ish, and our rules kinda went out the window. She was all about "feeling good" and if that meant your shirt was so low your wires in your bra were showing, then so be it. It's sent all kinds of mixed messages to me and my sisters and to this DAY my mom truly believes that the clothes/jewelry/makeup make the person, even though on days where she just lays around the house lookin "sloppy" she will argue otherwise...

    I'm hoping I can teach Lily to love herself, love mommy's stretch marks, AND love her grandma's gaudy jewelry ;]

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  8. This was lovely! I think you felt beautiful because kids speak the truth.

    And as a kid I always wanted braces. They're mouth jewelry!

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  9. Here's the link to the post I linked back to you
    =]


    http://nicoleinthemaking.blogspot.com/2011/03/i-like-your-dress.html

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  10. oh my goodness that girl is so sweet. It's amazing what little kids say and how they think :)

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  11. Bravo!
    Going to bookmark this for the next time I am feeling not so pretty...really great post.

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  12. Bravo!
    Going to bookmark this for when I need to snap out of a slump...great post.

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  13. This was such a good post to find this morning! So inspiring. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts and ideas about beauty.

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  14. this was so sweet to read! how weird is it that sometimes a compliment from a kid can be so much better than ones from your peers?? i once went to check on and help program staff at an elementary school, and one of the students kept following me around and said i looked like a disney princess.
    hahaha it was soooo cute.

    and p.s. in junior high/early high school i begged for braces! it seemed like everyone had them but ME, and they were "like, so cool." AND MOM, you can customize the colors of your bands!!! how rad, right?!
    haha kids. awesome.

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  15. make-up and clothes do not make us beautiful, youre correct <3 and that story with the girl and your braces: wayy too cute. you should turn that story into a short children book :) yup, i love it that much :)

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  16. Oh how I love this! I'm SO glad that you ran into that little girl today, and what a wonderful reminder that we are all lovely.

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  17. When are you going to get a more candidly honest opinion than from a four-year-old. I totally get why it warmed your heart! Loved this post.

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  18. "Self esteem doesn't come from our outward appearance. I really need this truth to sink into my heart. "

    Amen sister! Put it into practice and wear something plain, no make up and look at yourself in the mirror and say "I'm beautiful! God made me in his image! No amount of make up can make any woman look as beautiful as God made me!"

    I love this post, it really made me smile big time!!

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  19. Thanks for the awesome reminder that God made us perfect. And sometimes it is nice to hear that others struggle with this as well.

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  20. looking nice is very nice :) But you are oh-so right...it is wonderful to have true self-worth and be grateful for the BEAUTIFUL and unique bodies God has given us! Your experience with the little girl at the park is so sweet :) And those women you spoke with must have been so inspiring! Going through all of that...they've got to be power-houses of women now :) Loved these thoughts, and thank you for the reminder to stop comparing and just embrace my beauty :) A perfect way to start out the weekend! xoxo

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  21. Beautiful. Brought me to years. I think that God sent that little girl to show you how He sees you. When we are young, we have a great gift in being able to see what God sees. I am so glad you took the opportunity to write and share your heart. There isn't a woman out there who hasn't struggled with this...we just refuse to admit it sometimes. You are beautiful, and I am thankful to know you through our blogs :)

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  22. "It's not make up, a thin figure or pretty clothes that make us beautiful."

    ...so, so true. this is such a beautiful and inspiring post!

    <3

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  23. I have been enjyoing your stories in the blogsphere and this is such a sweet post. I have braces too! for another 3 months to go... but having braces made me realize that the imperfection can make us more approachable. I mean... how can people say "no" to the (30 year old) girl who smile big with braces:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts... and have a lovely weekend!
    -wakako

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  24. What a fantastic post. I got a bunch of odd looks from adults today for my polka dot tights, but it made my day when a 12 year old told me my tights were cool!

    Would you be interested in doing a guest post for my Mom blogger focused week? Let me know if you are up for it. I think you are a great mom, and I would love for you to share any tips or tricks with my readers. noguiltfashion@gmail.com

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  25. Wow. Such a powerful truth filled post. Thank you.

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  26. What a beautiful post Chelsea and a equally beautiful lesson for kids and fellow females who are ALWAYS feeling the pressure to be pretty!

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  27. I was going to say we never see your full smile since you got those bad boys on. I can understand but don't hold back girl.

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  28. I always thought braces were beautiful too. In junior high I was so happy to get mine. It was a big sacrifice for the family and I was so grateful.

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  29. Wow! Beautifully written and so true. Kinda funny, because this is the second post i read today about true beauty! We should see ourselves more as God sees us. Fearfully and wonderfully made!

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  30. amen sister. I'm going to email you to get your testimony hopefully.

    xoxo

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  31. Preach on lady. It's the inner beauty that counts! What a beautiful, much needed post.

    And as a dental hygienist I must say... your braces look awesome!

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  32. you're amazing. i swear, just about every post you write you're practically reaching out of the computer screen, holding my face, and speaking directly to me. you always share things that i need to hear. thank you so much. and especially a post like this...i look at you and would never ever think you had any ill feelings toward your physical appearance. to know that you feel that same way sometimes is hard evidence that satan is real...and he's very good at deceiving the hearts of man.

    thanks again for the post. keep writing and being a master and lifting the spirits of others :) oh...and know that the only person in the world that doesn't think you're a complete KNOCKOUT is you...inside and out <3

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  33. They ARE beautiful! Kids just speak the truth :)

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  34. Again. I love your blog. I read it and forward it to my friends. It is such an encouragement to me. This post came exactly when I needed it. I struggle with self-image (like most girls) and it is such a lovely reminder that God is what makes us beautiful. Thanks :)

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