One of the sweetest memories I have as a young girl are the trips to Fort Myers Beach in Florida that my parents would take me and my sisters on. Every summer they would load up the van, pile all three of us girls in, and make the long trip from Elkhart, Indiana to Fort Myers, Florida. Let me tell you, that is way too long of a drive when you have three very impatient young girls in the backseat. Well, two impatient young girls anyway. My twin sister and I were never ones for patience. (We’re working on that!)
Anyway, what sticks out in my mind even more than the drive are the walks my sisters and I would take on the beach every day. For hours we would walk up and down the shoreline in front of the condo in search of silver dollars and seashells. And, do you know that every single silver dollar, every single shell, that we found was absolutely beautiful! Even the ones that had pieces broken off had a charm all their own. Those shells had a story to tell! We scoured that beach hour after hour, year after year, and I don’t remember even once finding a shell that was not beautiful.
But how often do we see ourselves in that same light? How many times do we look at ourselves and see that same beauty? Many times all we see are the imperfections. We see the broken shell. “I am so fat!” “Why is my nose so big?” “I can’t do a thing with this hair!” “I am such a mess.” Sound familiar? I’m sure it does.
This was never made more clear to me than the day I was in the store with my then 17 year old daughter. She is one of the teenage models in the MY Girls Street Team Class of 2017 for a dear photographer friend of ours. (Google it, Misti is awesome!) We had just got back the prints from her first photo shoot and as we were walking through the store I was telling her how beautiful the pictures turned out. My daughter proceeded to wrinkle her nose and purse her mouth. Well, I just happened to have the app with the pictures on my phone (proud mama, of course), so I opened it up and showed her my favorite one. Her response took me completely off guard. She took one look at the picture and replied, “Ew! No, Mom. I have devil’s eyes.” Really?! First off, those are my eyes! How dare she! Secondly, this beautiful, young, teenage girl doesn’t see the beauty in herself?! How in the world can that be? It’s not like her father and I ever put her down. We, as well as others, are always giving her compliments, on her inside beauty as well as her outside beauty.
Many months later I had my answer. I was looking at another picture on my phone (maybe it’s just my phone that’s the problem?), this one of me that was taken at church holding a newborn baby girl. My automatic response, “Ew! Delete that! I look fat!” At which point my youngest daughter responded that I am not fat at all, bless her little heart! But that started me thinking, I really don’t see myself the same way that my husband and my daughters, and probably anyone else, sees me. Certainly not the way God sees me! I look in the mirror and all I see is what is wrong with me. All of the beauty that I see in the women around me I fail to recognize in myself. Don’t all of us women do the same thing? It’s so easy to look at another woman and see all that’s beautiful in her. Looking at ourselves…eh, not so much.
What we need to remember is, where we see scars, blemishes, and imperfections the people around us only see strength, beauty, and excellence. Just like those broken seashells in the sand, our imperfections make us whole, they complete the beautiful picture that God created in us. You wouldn’t be you without those freckles on your nose. That bright red hair of yours brings out those bright blue eyes of yours. That scar underneath your chin is proof of your courage and determination. Those broken pieces of your life tell a story of redemption and forgiveness that led you to Christ.
Here are some pretty basic truths that every woman should know:
Truth #1: God is Love.
Truth #2: Love is beautiful.
Truth #3: God made us in His image.
Which leads to…Truth #4: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! (Whatever else that mirror might be trying to tell you.)
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” -Song of Solomon 4:7