Friday, June 10, 2011

True Beauty Conversations: New Perspectives

My friend Melissa and I are continuing our conversation about Beauty this morning. We've been talking about True Beauty through a series of letters on Fridays: What is Beauty? What will we tell our daughters about Beauty? We're so glad you're joining us. We would love to hear from you!


Julia and I are starting to feel that we've covered most everything we set out to cover from the beginning, not exhaustively by any means.  However, we've done the best we can with our God-given abilities.

But we're not sure this is finished.


Because there are millions of women on this planet all with their own experiences and God-granted insights on beauty.

Today I'm going to feature one of them, but first I wanted to ask you, beautiful readers, if you would like to contribute to our conversation? 

Have the truths in this series changed the way you've thought about yourself or beauty in general?

Did we miss something important that you'd like to cover?

Do you have older girls than ours and want to give us few tips on parenting daughters who embody and know what true beauty is?

Are you a husband or father (I know there are a few of you who drop by... don't be shy!) who wants to say something to the wives and daughters?

If so, we want to hear your thoughts.  Please drop us a line through either a comment or an email (you can find our emails on our blogger profiles) and let us know that you have a new perspective on this conversation.  We'll be honored to feature you.

Now, let's hear a little from my friend Jen.

I've known Jen since our junior year in college.  My roommate and I had moved in and so had most of the other new students, but our transfer student from San Diego had not arrived.  We were all anticipating her arrival.  Seriously, how did a sophisticated city girl from the west coast end up at a tiny Christian college in the foothills of South Carolina?

After hearing that very question approximately 4 million times, quirky Jen began to respond with: "I stood with my back to a map of the US and I threw a dart.  Where ever it landed I looked for the closest school!"

Her humor and gentle care won over the whole dorm.  Soon she was ringleader for mattress surfing in the hallways and had encouraged all the girls to open shops in their room with their hidden talents.  Jen served up coffee, hot cocoa, laughter, and honest conversation in her dorm room.
Jen and her future husband Abel in 2005
And not much has changed in all the years I've known her.  She may have married sweet Abel the woodsman,  she may have traveled the world, and she may be suffering from a mysterious neurological disorder that leaves her thoughts scattered and sometimes irretrievable-- but when you're with Jen you feel like you're the only thing that matters to her and that your conversation is the most important thing in her life.

I hope you'll catch a little bit of that spirit in this letter she wrote me.
True beauty?

I had been reading your blogs over the last few weeks and had been truly
intrigued with your conversation about beauty. I, like every other girl in the world,
struggles with the idea of beauty, who has it and doesn’t? Why some are seen as
beautiful on the outside but are secretly dying on the inside?

I feel as though I have never reached the beauty standards of our world, most
days I am okay with that. Then there are the moments when my confidence and
security in God’s love comes crashing down, and I see myself as the ugly duck
and the tsunami wave of insults overtake my mind and body.

In those moments of darkness, because that is what they are, I saw myself
without God (light), and without HIS beauty. I fooled myself into thinking that if
I just had the right clothing then I would be beautiful. And when that didn’t work, maybe, if I loose a few pounds... and anorexia was my solution. Surely, I thought after loosing 45 pounds
I could find beauty in myself and so would others. But I was wrong once again.
Only after a moving 3,000 miles away from home, pouring myself into God’s
word to find comfort, and new found friends would my image of beauty change.

I still struggle daily to find God’s love when I look in the mirror. I am tempted
when I see something that I do not like, to starve myself again, to start throwing
insults at myself.

But only by God’s amazing GRACE am I able to see a beautiful
daughter who was made in HIS image. That HE carved out each curve and
dimple, and made an incredible man to LOVE each wrinkle, gray hair, and hairy

I feel as though, as long as we live in a sinful world we will always struggle with
the image of beauty. Although, we as HIS daughters, have one advantage:

HIS gracious and amazing LOVE.

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