Monday, April 25, 2011

Beauty from within

I am not what you would call 'stunningly beautiful'.  I am probably not even considered 'really pretty'. 
   Ever since I was younger, but old enough to choose my own clothes, talk with my friends instead of playing dolls all the time, and pretty much act somewhat grown up, I have always been extremely conscious about my outward looks. 
   I come from a family who is big boned and 'hefty'.  In other words, we aren't petite.  My dad's side is like this, any way.  My mom's side is more of the typical human build.
My Dad and Papa (grandpa) have the biggest hands any one has ever seen (ok, that I have ever seen).  Many friends of mine have said that if they shake my Dad's hand, their hand feels 'lost'.  Papa's, Dad's, and now my brother, Josh, have those type of hands which were built to work.  They are muscular, strong, and pretty much just big.
   My Mom has delicate, long, slender hands.  I think they are beautiful.  My Nana (mom's mom) has the same kind of hands.  So does my Aunt on my mom's sister.
   Dad has those wonderful broad shoulders, big muscular build, and tall height. 
Mom is of smaller, feminine build, and fairly tall in height.

Why all this comparison?  Well, I have always admired my mom's side of the family.  I love both sides, of course, but there was something else about mom's side that I admired.
    When I was born, I got most of the genes from my Dad's side of the family.  I have a large build, am big boned, 'hefty', and have big hands.  I also got the 'lovely' thing called 'big feet'.   I did get my mom's 'just right height', but I didn't get her lovely red hair. (super bummed about that!).
    So, when I began getting older, I became very conscious about myself.  I walked around with my shoulders slumped, hoping to hide from everyone, and hoping no one would really take notice of me.  I hated getting new clothes sometimes because anything that was 'cute' was always too small, or made me look even fatter.  Being 'hefty' and not so slender means that I can't wear my shirts tucked in, or wear dresses.  Ok, I 'could' because nobody is forcing me not to, but I know I don't look good in them.
    Eventually I hated going any wear.  I hated going shopping and usually never went in with my family.  I would opt to stay out in the car, watching people walk by, admiring different passersby.
This became my life.  Hiding from everyone and hoping no one would notice me too much.  I hated going any where public.  If it wasn't just our close friends, then forget it.
    After several years of this terrible, no-one-look-at-me stage, I finally started coming around. (he-he!)
I started realizing that it doesn't really matter what people think of you.  What DOES matter is what God thinks of you.  So what if I don't wear the newest fashion of mini skirts? Does it matter?  Yes! It matters because of the reason why I choose to wear or not wear something.  I began to realize that God doesn't care if you don't 'look good' in that pink dress.  What He does care about is if you are dressing to please Him.  To be a modest maiden and not care what the world thinks of you.
    So, my story?  Well, after realizing this, I began to enjoy going places.  I didn't mind so much any more what people thought of me.  I walked with my shoulders back, head held high, nose turned slightly up... ok, I didn't go THAT far... But I did start doing things differently. I became more confident in myself.  Of course, I still had a little nagging thought every once in a while. If someone told me I looked beautiful, I was elated because I was never quite sure if I DID look beautiful or not, and I was still yearning a little bit for that outward praise.
    Lately I had been going strong in my convictions about not caring what the world or people thought of me, but what God thought of me..... that is... until I was at a certain event.    Introducing Home school convention.
   Home school convention used to be one of my most hated times of year.  Why? Because I was going to a public place with tons of people I didn't know.  I usually tried to hide behind our table, or go to different places quickly and with my head down.
   This year I was really looking forward to it.  I was confident about myself.  Well, during the three day long event, I was surrounded by beautiful, slender, fashionable young ladies.  At first it didn't bother me, but by the end of convention, I was feeling bad about myself again.
    After getting home, God began to gently remind me of what really matters.  I was doing fine again until today.  I was looking at a blog.  This blog had several pictures of the owner: an adorable young lady.  She was cute, she was fashionable, her hair looked perfect, and she had an infectious smile.  I was instantly jealous.  Thoughts flooded my head.  The enemy was closing in.  'How come I can't ever look that pretty?'  'Why can't my hair look that nice?'  'Why can't I be slender and fit like her?'   'Why can't I choose more fashionable clothes while still being modest?'   'How come I don't have dimples when I smile?'    'How come I can't be photogenic?'
     Yes, all of those words hit my brain and I began to sink.  Why couldn't I be more beautiful?  Why couldn't MY hair look perfect all the time?  Why couldn't MY face look clear instead of blotchy?
The enemy was definitely closing in.  They thought they would get me.  They had the upper hand for sure!  However, they forgot one tiny detail... I had back up.  I had something much better than their weapons.  I had prayer.  After closing down the blog and wallowing in self pity for a little while, I once again realized something.  It doesn't matter what the world and people think.  It only mattered what He thought.  After praying, I was able to beat back my enemy with my Lord's help.
     Realizing that what God thinks is what matters can be difficult.  I should say, it is easy to know it, but hard to apply it to our daily lives. 
    Beauty come from within, ladies!  I remember meeting someone once... She was beautiful.  But she wasn't beautiful physically.  I remember first meeting her thinking that she was beautiful, but I just couldn't figure out where.  Later, I realized that she had a 'radiating' beauty.  Something that came from deep within her was radiating through her face, eyes, smile, everything!  She had a heart on fire for the Lord.  It made her beautiful.
    God's love for me is the same whether I am slender, fit, and beautiful, or chunky, 'out of shape', and not so pretty.  His love should radiate in you so much that you shine.  Be beautiful for Him, not for the world!  It's His opinion that matters, not some make up artist or facial cleanser product.
    So what if we may not be beautiful to the world?  Guess what? We are beautiful in God's eyes........ and that's all that matters.


In Christ's Service,
Sarah

16 comments:

Ellie said...

Oh my beautiful and darling friend!! I love you so much and I hope you know that! Thank you so very much for those beautiful words Like you, I came home from convention feeling sorry for myself, but for a diffrent reason!! And I have been struggling with that all of this week. You have such a way with words that really touch the heart and encourage, my dear! Sarah, keep serving the King just as you are right now, you are so precious in His sight!! He seeks after you, so continue to seek after Him!!! Love you so much!! MLE
~Ellie

Brooke said...

This post has been such a blessing to me! So I just wanted to thank you for writing it. I too struggle with the same problem as you did. I have the same thoughts you did. Its amazing....it seemed like you were writing about me! Anyway this post has really opened my eyes! So thanks again. :)

Love,
Brooke

Carolyn said...

Beautifully put Sarah!! Thank you for that wonderful reminder. There have been long periods in my life where I have not felt beautiful, pretty, or even slightly good looking. I saw myself as the chunky, pimply, brace faced girl. There had really only been about a year and a half where I truely felt beautiful. Then I started to gain weight again... I have had so many ups and downs... This has been a wonderful reminder! Thank you!

May Amelia said...

You, my dear, have just found the absolute key to living a contented life. *high five and hug!* I'm proud of you!

Lady Rose said...

Sarah,

It is always so hard for us as women to love who we are on the inside as well as the outside because we tend to compare ourselves to other women. I know that I get like this sometimes, and I have to often remind myself it's not what others think about me, but what God thinks. Of course, this is an on-going battle because it's not always easy.

I'm currently reading a book, "Who Calls Me Beautiful?" by Regina Franklin, which deals with the issues of beauty, and how women need not to worry about their outside appearance so much. It's been a real help and an eye-opener for me.

Anyway, take care Dear Maiden, and remember, I like you just the way you are. I always have! :)

Blessings & Friendship,

-L. Rose

May Amelia said...

Oh, and I forgot to add, you ARE beautiful. :)

Nela said...

That was a great post. :) It made me think deeply about what you said. You truly have a passion for the Lord, and that's what really makes you beautiful.

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." - Proverbs 31:30

Martha Joy said...

Thank you so much, Sarah, for the reminder! You are such a blessing in my life! :)

I love you! ♥
~Martha Joy

Kathleen said...

What a struggle we all have! I LOVE your hair!!! You are beautiful!!! Okay, it isn't easy to be hefty...I know that. But it is harder, way harder, when you are struggling through the stage where you are. Just keep giving yourself those good messages and keep praying. I'm proud of you and send all my good thoughts and wonderful wishes! Outward beauty really is so unimportant when you get right down to it. It is really only convenient in the wicked world we all live in.

Mary Ann said...

Sarah,

Sorry it has taken me a couple days to post a comment about this post.

It warmed my heart to read your words. Then to read the comments from your fellow blog friends....they are like a little cheering section for you and each other.

As you know, I am much older then you so I have seen first hand what a blessing and good life we can have when living for the Lord.

Please continue to hold a high standard in your life. You are beautiful to God and to others that know you. I of course have never seen you, but I know you are beautiful because of what you write about, what you care about, what you are brave enough to post about.

Beautiful looks is nice but it does not last....but the person you really are is the real beauty that shines through in your actions, thoughts, and words! God wants to see his beauty radiate in your life and beleive me thats what others will see in you to!

God bless you!

Mary Ann

Life In a Little House said...

I found your blog from over at Lady Rose's ~What a beautiful heart felt post you shared I wish more young women would speak on this. I am married in my 30's with children and I still stumble with the issue of beauty it is so hard to not be affected by what you see on tv and ads and books and magazines. And now I pray for my daughter who at the tender age of 9 is already aware of what the world thinks beauty is. This is a beautiful reminder of what I am sure God sees when He looks at us. He I am sure does not think he made a mistake when he carefully fearfully and wonderfully made each of us. And I try to hold that in my heart also when I am unhappy with my hair or something superficial as such That God did not make a mistake when he made me and so I try to live with purpose and on purpose for HIM ~I enjoyed your post ~Love Heather

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet comments. It was such an encouragement to me to read them. :) All of you were very kind and sweet. I really can't say how much I appreciate them. Your comments are what keep me blogging!!
Thank you once again!!
Blessings!
Sarah

SammyJo said...

Hey Sarah,

Thanks so very much for sharing your thoughts! You described what I've been going through lately so beautifully! I stumbled upon this verse (I encourage you to read the entire chapter):

"The King's daughter is all glorious WITHIN; Her clothing is interwoven with gold." ~Psalm 45:13

Hope it helps. You sure helped me!

~SammyJo

Lilac Bud Gal said...

SammyJo,
Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. That Psalm is one of my favorites. Isn't it such a beautiful passage, though, about true beauty? As King's daughters we are beautiful no matter what! :) Thank you for sharing that with me and reminding me of it.
May you hide always in Christ and know that you are beautiful no matter what. :)
Love from a fellow daughter,
Sarah

Joshua said...

Amen Sister. Preach it! :) Just don't forget one thing: You are created in the image of the King of kings and He loves you just the way you are. Great post. :)

In Christ,
Joshua :)

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Joshua,
Thank you for your comment and the reminder. Although I do know that, I sometimes forget and creep back into my 'shell' of not feeling beautiful. And then, someone reminds me of Whose daughter I am, and it makes the sun shine again, so to speak... :)