Since having a daughter, I have learned that it matters if I think I am beautiful. It matters because it will influence how she sees herself.
Long long ago, when I was young, I began to lose sight of my beauty. It happens that way, doesn't it? The world shatters our once rose colored glasses. We learn through peers, or parents, or a stranger on the street that we are not pretty. Someone tells us we are ugly, and we believe them. The world says to be beautiful you must have blonde hair, blue eyes, and a symmetrical face with nary a blemish to be seen. Women must be rail thin, but with large enough assets, so to speak. We must have a thigh gap, big butt, and a collar bone defined. We must dress a certain way, walk a certain way, and heaven forbid we speak too soft or too loud.
You get the picture.
They say beauty comes from within, that the eye of the beholder is the deciding factor. Yet, the world screams at us that beauty is only an airbrush away. We aren't good enough on our own, even celebrities can't measure up to the prevailing standard. They must be photo-shopped beyond recognition to be deemed worthy of the front cover. Who can attain that sort of beauty? It's imaginary, made up fictional beauty that only exists on paper. A beauty created by contrast and saturation levels, by skimming and slimming of thighs and waists until little is left. A beauty that is seen in pictures and movies, but never in reality, never standing in front of you. Perfection, in terms of beauty, is a fantasy only to be seen in glossy magazines.
This past week it hit me like a train. Someone paid me a compliment on a picture of me and my son, a rarity because I usually hide behind the camera. She said I was gorgeous. I cringed. Then it hit. That moment when your reality shifts, when you see the world from the perspective of your daughter. I want my daughter to know that she was created beautiful. She is beautiful because she is loved beyond measure by a God who knit her together, who found fit to give her her father's dimple and her mother's brownish blonde hair.
I always wanted my children to look like their father because he is the most handsome man I know. His smile has melted my heart since we were young and in love, walking the halls of a small christian high school. He says he sees me in her, I'm beginning to see it too. In seeing it, I am beginning to revisit all the ways I see myself.
When I look in the mirror, I see flaw after flaw and I work hard to hide them behind make up like smoke and mirrors. But, with age come wisdom and with motherhood comes perspective. My children are, by far, my most beautiful creations. I often stare at them in awesome wonder of what God has given us.
Those moments of seeing my child's beauty, I see my own through my mother's eyes. I realize that I am worthy because I serve a God who sees me as such. I am beautiful because I was created unique. I don't have to live up to the standards of the world because this world is not my home.
I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful and I plan to remind her as often as possible. I want the girls I lead to believe me when I pay them a compliment, when I tell them they are beautiful just the way they are. To believe me when I tell them that beauty is far more than a pretty face. From today on, I want to model to them a woman who is confident in who God created her to be, flaws and all. I will never meet the world's standard of beauty.That's ok, I don't serve the world.
Ladies, when someone says you are beautiful, please believe them. You are loved beyond measure by a God who made you, who knit you together piece by piece. You are more than a body bound by time and weathered by age, you are a cherished daughter of Christ. You are beautiful.