Monday, April 28, 2014

Mirror Mirror

Just this morning I was online perusing little girl swimsuits for Anna and Emi, after all, there's a mega sale going on today.  Yet what I saw was so disheartening.  It's the same thing I see every year, swimming suits made for little girls that should never have been made, that barely cover their little bodies and that attempt to highlight areas that haven't even yet developed.  Chest showing, midriff baring swimsuits.  And lest you think I'm only referring to Anna's age, I'm not.  They come in as little of a size as 6 months.  And what little girls shouldn't wear, mommas shouldn't either.

I realized I'm likely in the minority here.  I don't care.

I will blazingly walk this path because I believe it's critical to a healthy development in my daughters and how they eventually end up viewing themselves.

Because how they see themselves should never be based on what society says.

I want them to see their worth through the lenses of Christ.

For me, that means teaching them what true beauty is.  That comes in 2 main areas.

1. It means saying no.  No, you cannot have those high heels.  Because you're 8 and they're too tall.  No, you cannot have those earrings.  Because they're too big and distracting for a young lady.  No, you cannot wear that tank top.  Why?  Because it's too low cut and we don't show our chests.  I don't care if so and so bought it for you.  It's going back to the store.  No, you can't have those shorts.  Because they're entirely too short.  I don't care if you're tall, we'll find some that are more appropriate.  No, you can't have a swimsuit that shows your stomach, nor one that's low cut, or ties on the sides of the shorts.  I'm sorry you think I'm mean.  No you may not wear makeup.  No you may not have those pajamas, because they're too skimpy.  No you may not wear that dress.  Because it's too revealing.  No.  No.  No.  Is this hard?  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.  But I believe it'll be more than worth it, so I persevere.  Not only are they not allowed to wear these things, they're also not allowed in our home.  I've heard people say "She'd never leave my house in that."  The reality is, it never should have entered the house in the first place.  This is hard because when you have other people that buy for them you have to constantly be on guard.  There've been several things that have been returned or exchanged and I make no apologies for that.

I'm raising ladies, not women.  And there's a vast difference.

2. I have to be mindful of what I'm showing and telling them, either blatantly or inadvertently.  When I stand in front of the mirror, give a big sigh, and grumble about a wrinkle, or wobbly arms, or a blemish, I'm telling them something.  When I remind myself that beauty is inward, not outward, then act in such a manner that I find myself saying "well, I don't like that Phoebe either", I'm telling them something.  When I have clothing on and return in different clothing, then in yet another outfit with Anna asking me why I keep changing clothes, she's learning something.  She's learning insecurity based on my insecurity.  She's learning that apparently wearing certain clothing can cover up what you don't like about yourself..... as will makeup.  When they ask why I have a pudgy belly I have to be mindful to be truthful that it's a combined result of having kids, loving food, and not exercising enough without relaying to her that my size is what will or will not make me beautiful.

Because the truth is that no amount of clothing, jewelry, exercise, makeup, or bared skin will make someone beautiful.

Because beauty isn't any of those things.

Beauty isn't found in how much skin is revealed.  How bare your chest is.  How much of your breasts can be shown or bulge out of your clothing.  It's not how flat your stomach is or how toned your arms are.  It's not how perfectly you apply your makeup or the perfect jewelry you found to accessorize with an outfit.

Because reality is that I know a lot of beautiful women that aren't beautiful.  They're fit, have nice bodies and beautiful faces, but they're not beautiful.  Their hearts are ugly and therefore make them ugly.  One only has to look to Hollywood to see the truth in this.  Yet this truth is before us each and every day with people we know and interact with.  They're searching and seeking in all the wrong places.

I want my daughters to know and understand the beauty of modesty.  I want them to grasp the importance of leaving something to be desired.  I want them to know that the kind of man they want and need to marry is not the kind that will google eye over all they're willing to show him but rather will respect them and love them enough to not want others lusting over them.

But most importantly I want them to know that their beauty comes from Christ.  That anything and everything beautiful about anyone will always come from above - from His inner workings in our lives.  I want them to write these scriptures on their hearts and live and breathe their truths.

But most importantly I want them to know that their beauty comes from Christ.  That anything and everything beautiful about anyone will always come from above - from His inner workings in our lives.  I want them to write these scriptures on their hearts and live and breathe their truths.

"And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."  I Peter. 3:3-5

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised" Proverbs 31:30

"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works"  1 Timothy 2:9-10 

I want them to know that while man may look at the outward appearance, God does not.  He looks for a gentle and quiet spirit, the heart, women who fear Him, who dress in respectable clothing and with modesty.  He sees beauty not in braided hair and gold jewelry, not in expensive clothing or a trim physique.  He sees our hearts.

Our hearts are what matter, friends.

So when we're standing in the mirror criticizing the wrinkles, the double chin, the gray hairs, the bulgy belly and the thunder thighs, we're wasting our time.  Because God cares about matters of the heart.  When we're searching and seeking to buy outfits that highlight our best features and cover up those we despise, it's in vain.  When we're applying makeup and wearing jewelry, spraying perfume, and finding the cutest little pair of matching shoes.... it's all futility.

We'll never find satisfaction in those things.  Never, friends.  We just won't.

I've been 128 lbs and well, much more than that.  I've worn cute clothes, revealing clothes, short shorts, and thought it would make me look and feel beautiful.  But it didn't.

I've never felt as beautiful as when I'm resting in His promises.

When I'm serving and loving others.  When I'm gentle and quiet, respecting my husband.  When I'm worshiping and praising Him.  When I have a reverential fear of Christ.  When I'm more concerned about living my life to honor Him instead of worrying with how I look.

And I desperately want my daughters to know and live and breathe these things.

I want them to hear "Mirror Mirror" and laugh at the absurdity because they know the real Truth.  I want them to know that there's nothing more beautiful than a woman who loves Christ and lives that out day in and day out.

Am I in the minority here?  I have no doubt.

But I'm resting in His promises that despite the opposition and despite the backlash from our culture, that His Word is truth and stands eternally.

And that my friends is beautiful.

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