Girls and Beauty and Grace

I am shamelessly copying here, without my friend’s permission, an email she sent me recently on the topic of daughters and self-image and how to instill a good one in them, something I’ve spent a lot of this pregnancy thinking through. It’s just too good to lose in the endless archives of my email and too good not to share.

I think that being a grace-filled parent is so important. Because there is no way that our kids are going to be perfect, and the sooner we can teach them to be ok with it, and to rest on the merit of Christ, the better. So even if a girl feels ugly, turn her to see the beauty of Christ. If a girl feels worthless, turn her to see the priceless sacrifice given as her dowry.

I think we as Moms need to live with a daily consciousness of God’s creative workmanship in us. To accept that, yes, we are made in the image of God. Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Those concepts don’t apply to everyone in humanity except us. God uniquely crafted each of us, according to His plan and purpose for us. Ask yourself, what areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept? Can I believe God when He says that I am wonderfully made? Can I believe that He is working all things for good, to His glory, according to His good plan for me– including this body that he gave me?

What parts of the “ugliness” on the outside are really beauty in disguise? The breasts that have nourished another don’t look the same as they did before, the scars the mark the entrance of another life into the world, the wrinkles that tell of many days of gracious provision, the wobbly bits that speak of time invested in others rather than in the gym, the callouses and dark circles that symbolize faithful, repeated pourings-out are all really beautiful in God’s sight. Man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart. Let’s not be guilty of calling good evil.

None of this is to say that beauty, or exercise, or making oneself attractive is wrong– you know me better than that. But sometimes we forget that unadorned, warm, sacrificial love is the most beautiful thing that a person can put on– and the number on the scale, the number of children that have marked your body, the ravages of time, and the amount of time that you have to fix your hair can’t ever take away your ability to achieve it.

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