Speaking Beauty

by - Sunday, April 17, 2016

          When I found out I was having a girl, there were hundreds of emotions and thoughts that crossed my mind in the days immediately following. You hear a lot of advice and a lot of “wives tales” I guess you would say, when you are becoming a mom. “Girls are easier.” “She’ll be a daddy’s girl.” And of course the worst prediction of all, “Mother-Daughter relationships are hard.” Yet, there were fears and insecurities that no one seemed to hit on. One being, “How am I going to raise a young woman who has confidence and integrity in today’s world?”

            I don’t know about you, but I am at a point in my life where young stars and role-models that my sister and I had growing up are getting more provocative each day. The insecurities I had as a teenager barely scrape the surface of what young women are facing today. How do you raise a child to combat these issues? How do you speak beauty into your little girl without putting too much emphasis on outward appearance or what the world deems as most important?

            I don’t think that Aria has grasped the term “beautiful” quite yet, but I tell her daily that she is beautiful. It’s something that I didn’t hear that much growing up, no fault to my parents. I don’t think a lot of parents think about it, honestly. We assume our children know that they are beautiful or handsome or that they don’t need to be told because they might “get a big head.” Believe me, I have thought long and hard about telling Aria she is beautiful and the repercussions of her becoming too much focused on outward appearance, but if there is something that I do not want to mess up as a parent, it is showing Aria that beauty is so much more than outward appearance.

I’m sure you have seen the Dove commercials and their campaign for real beauty. While conducting their campaign, Dove did a study asking women all around the globe if they considered themselves beautiful. Did you know that only 4% of women responded yes? Not to mention, they found that an overwhelming 72% of girls ages 10-17 feel a great amount of pressure to be beautiful[1] .  This makes me feel fearful for my daughter, and it makes me hurt for our generation and the next.

            We hear it all the time. The Bible verses that implore us to remember that beauty is fleeting and that only man looks at the outward appearance while God looks at the heart. But can I ask you how many times in your life as a woman that those words have just gone in one ear and out the other? How many times, when we have felt at our ugliest, have we simply brushed those words and verses aside and wallowed in the fact that we will never be as thin or as athletic or as beautiful as the model on TV? How do we speak beauty into our daughters and sons when even we struggle?

            I think that it is VERY important to speak beauty into our children at a very early age. Aria is only 2, and yet I want desperately for her to know that she is beautiful and that every human being she meets is beautiful. I want her to know that her kindness and her compassion are in themselves, beautiful and that I love those parts of her. I want her to know that, yes, I think her outward appearance is beautiful, but that her spirit and her joy are what radiate beauty to those around her. I want her to look at others and find the beauty in their strength or their compassion or their meekness. So how do we go about doing this?

            First and foremost I believe that we have to teach our daughters God’s definition of beauty. It is not enough to recite Bible verses to our daughters in hopes that they will “get it” or that it will have meaning to them. We have to truly delve into the real meaning of beauty. This is hard for me while Aria is so young, but it is something that I think about a lot. At this stage I want her to understand the importance of things like being honest and being kind and that these are the things that give others joy. But as she gets older I want her to truly understand what God’s word says about beauty, both outward and inward.

            One of my favorite verses is 1 Peter 3:3-4 which says “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” In fact, I’ve had this verse hanging in Aria’s room since before she was born. I take great comfort in this verse, and I hope that one day she will to. God is clearly saying here that, “Hey, what you wear or how you present yourself is not the definition of beauty. You can love to look your best, and you should, but to find true beauty look inside yourself! That’s where you will find beauty! A gentle and quiet spirit, such things as this will never fade away!”

            This isn’t to say that we are not beautiful outwardly. In fact, God says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are made after His image. Wow! How powerful is that to a young girl who is just getting to know her Heavenly Father? Speak this into your kids’ lives daily.

Some other verses that I suggest you look at and really get to know are listed at the bottom of this post. I really suggest that you read through them carefully and really discuss them with your children. It is not just enough to read them and quote them. We have to breathe life into the words. Pray that God will speak meaning into your conversations about beauty.

The second thing that I believe is crucial to speaking beauty into our kids’ lives is living it ourselves. This is something that I struggle with daily. I did not have many self-confidence issues when I was in high school or even into early college. I am very lucky that I was confident in who I was and who I wanted to be. I changed my outward appearance to suit me and never really cared whether others liked it or not. I cannot say the same thing for the adult me. I don’t know why, at this stage in my life, I seem to care so much about my appearance. I have no explanation. Maybe it was getting used to my new mommy body or meeting others who put a lot of stock into outward appearance. I can only say that this has become a great struggle for me.

Then, I see others whose beauty just radiates from them. Take my sister for example. When we are out and she sees someone she knows, they seem to light up at the sight of her. I believe my sister is very beautiful on the outside, but I know that they light up because of her inner beauty. Her giving heart blesses so many people and her gentle spirit puts people at ease. I want to be like that. I want my inner beauty to shine forth so that Aria knows what it means when God says that he looks at the heart. I want to live that for my daughter and it is something that I am constantly working on. We all struggle, but to live God’s truth about beauty in our own lives is probably the greatest impact that we can have on how they view themselves.

And lastly, Pray, Pray, Pray! Amazing things can be accomplished through prayer. Pray for not only your own children, but for all of the young men and women who are struggling in today’s society to understand beauty. Pray that God will put people in their path who show them God’s definition of beauty. Who live it!

I am no expert on parenting (hey, I’ve only been at this for 2 years) but I wanted to share this because it is something that has really been on my heart. I hope that I have, at least, given you something to think about.  Please feel free to leave any feedback, comments, or your own take on “Speaking Beauty.”

*Here are some other verses to read about beauty.
Proverbs 31:30
Psalm 139:14
Ecclesiastes 3:11
1 Samuel 16:7
1 Timothy 4:8



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