Saturday, May 29, 2010

beauty

i was a plain, introverted little girl, content to be left alone to read
black beauty or little women.

imagine my surprise when my gorgeous mother applied the tiniest
bit of mascara to my pale, puny lashes before the annual church
choir banquet!

it was the most amazing experience to see my pitiful caterpillar
self transform into a choir queen.  i actually did win that title at the
banquet.  what kind of church has a choir queen?

as wonderful as it was to be a butterfly for the moment, i had to wash
off all my beauty before i went to bed.  back to being a caterpillar.  
well, at least i still had black beauty.

his song to sing has a moving video about beauty.

hans and i decided that we wouldn't speak of our little girls' pretty
faces, because we wanted them to be confident in who God made
them to be not in how He made them appear.  we worried that if we 
extolled the outside, they might neglect their inside.

"your beauty should not come from the outward adornment . . . 
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."
1 peter 3:3,4

however, even with our good intentions, when the girls hit high 
school and discovered what ignorant, annoying people we were,
we threw out our principles and shouted desperately, "we think
you're beautiful!"

love,
lea

revised from november 2, 2009 for sabbath rest.

36 comments:

Debbie said...

I loved Black Beauty and Little Women. As a young girl, I used to go to the library every Saturday and come home with a pile of books to read. I loved to lie on my bed reading all day. However, my mother wanted me to have a more balanced life. She would shoo me outside after several hours of reading.

As a young girl, I felt ackward and plain. My mother was beautiful.

In my teen years, I blossomed. My mom encouraged me to become involved in activities like twirling and I eventually became captain of the high school team. I was the prom queen, etc. I had fun and enjoyed feeling pretty.

I wandered from God in my 20's and 30's. Marriage, divorce and remarriage ...now more than 25 years.

Beauty is fleeting. As we age, the wrinkles begin to appear. I look in the mirror and my face is changing.

But God ...has taught me that beauty within only grows. My relationship with Him has blossomed and for that I'm so grateful.

Tell Emily that outward beauty fades over time but inward beauty can grow ...when we abide in Christ.

We begin to reflect His beauty to others and that's so much more beautiful.

Blessings and love,
Debbie

I Love Pretty Little Things said...

I Love this post!
Youth and beauty are so worshiped in our culture. To teach your girls where true beauty comes from is a wonderful gift to give them. Some of the most Beautiful women that I know are in their 80's.

Farm Girl said...

That is beautifully written Lea, and so well thought out. I agree whole completely with your thoughts.
Thanks for sharing them with us today.

Vee said...

Oh I was hoping that you'd get to that final bit. I always have told my children that I think they are darling looking. And it's easy to smile when they enter a room. (Yes, even when they were teenagers.) I very much doubt that you were a plain little girl in your mama's eyes either. And certainly not in your heavenly Father's eyes. Of course, far better to extoll inner virtues than those outward ones that are fading. Still, I find no one as lovely as my mother at 76 or my nan at nearly 101.

Your conversations with friends and family must be very interesting. You always post the most interersting things here.

In Southern Land said...

In our days, beautiful girls were naturally beautiful. No eyelashes, no mascara, no lipsticks to fret about with.

Those were the days of innocence where there were so much Pure Fun unlike these days ... where beauty is defined on how much you spend on Make Ups and how much time anyone can fuss over Make Overs.

Our Old-Fashioned Pharmacy Professor told us that nothing can substitute Water and Soap to keep your youth and beauty.

So I did not mind being a pupa at all. At least a caterpillar can turn into a beautiful butterfly.

Zuzu said...

For some reason people are always coming up to me and starting a conversation, and believe me, I'm no butterfly. So you see, caterpillars have more fun. :)

I hope you enjoy Colorado, Lea! The aspen leaves just unfurled this weekend - just in time for your visit!

Sonja said...

Lea:

That was both touching and beautiful! I think it will bring a good chuckle to every mom who has been the mother of a teenaged girl!

The reward and fun is to see mine now with her little girls!!! :)

vivek said...

Wow , That was really hear touching really , it really doesn't matter how we are born ..or how we look it impt what we do ..our inner-self should be beautiful rest is short-lived the inner soul is ..4 ever to exist.

Love the beauty ..within...

its pleasure reading ur creations

So lovely

have a gr8 week ahead ..might be very busy with kids the very best phase of life...

all the best ..God bless ..you :)

with love

Vivek

Privet and Holly said...

Wonderful thoughts, all! I was also a bookworm and Black Beauty lover {as well as ALL of the horse books}. We live in a society that places so much emphasis on physical beauty....and it does become hard as we age and, like a flower, that beauty begins to fade. I, too, have tried to teach my daughter that it is more important to be beautiful on the inside....but the societal pressures are worse even than when I was a girl. It is so important to love our essence, as that is the one thing that will not change, no matter the age. xx P&H

Jenners said...

Little Women was my book of choice. I wanted to be Jo so bad ... and to this day I wished she had stayed with Laurie ... I never bought into her marrying the older guy and Laurie ending up with Amy. And poor poor Beth ... that just broke my heart. Such a great book.

And amazing what a little mascara will do! : )

Southern Lady said...

How beautiful! Little girls have a hard time in today's world. I tell my girls all the time how beautiful they are, inside and out. Carla

Melanie said...

I love this verse! I really am trying to make this a goal of mine.. to remember that my beauty is not on the outside (thank goodnes!!!) but on the inside. Great reminder!

Hope you have a wonderful week!
Melanie

~ melscoffeebreak.blogspot.com ~

Rosie said...

Oh Lea,
You are wise beyond your years...What a tender post.
So very important to instill this sentiment in our children today...sweet dreams Rosie

Ms.Cupcake (aka Becky) said...

Thanks for the lovely comment on my humble little blog :) Yours is lovely and I have enjoyed reading through some of it!

xoxo

Dawn G. said...

I was beginning to grow anxious reading your post, thinking, "Oh, no! I tell my girls they're beautiful all the time." But I'm trying to raise up Titus 2 girls also. I feel so relieved that you broke your own rule. Every part of us is important, the inside and the out, because God made every part. I hope I'm conveying that to my Little Women.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I guess it takes wisdom to get the right balance. Have just reread Little Women afer over 40 years I found the beginning a little slow but really got into it by then end. It is also full of warm wisdom, in fact I thought of your blog when I was reading it.

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

I'm telling my 15 year old niece that we get more beautiful as we age and she doesn't believe me! It's all these women's magazines, ads, movies and novels!

Vicki said...

Parents eventually grow up too (o:

I like your way of letting them know of their beauty within first though.

Julie Gillies said...

As the mom of a teenage girl right now, I can sure relate to this post. But I love my daughter's face SO much I always tell her she's beautiful; so does her daddy.

Oh, and thanks for the laugh...what kind of church has a choir queen? *big smile*

Just Breathe said...

I never doubted my beauty even though it wasn't preached to me.
I was the baby so I guess being spoiled made me feel good about myself. I didn't wear make-up until I was in my 30's. Same with my daughter, not much make-up at all at 29 but our world has made her feel ugly. She has OCD & BDD and she is so beautiful. :(

Belle Vie said...

I absolutely agree!! Outward beauty fades but innter beauty is what matters most.
Thank you for the kind message on my blog. I look forward to summertime with my children. I love having them to myself even if it's only for a couple of months. I hope you have a lovely summer with your family as well.
xoxo, B

Jenny said...

Lea, profound and lovely as always.

Your post reminded me very much of one of my dear friends who lay dying from lung cancer several years ago.

I had flown from Arizona to Ohio to help her write memory books for her children and her grandchildren.

Her daughter is a lovely girl ...inside and out.

In one of the books to her daughter, my friend wrote "Pretty is as pretty does."

When I gave it to her daughter during the long, difficult months right after she lost her Mom ... she opened it up and started crying. She said "My Mom never thought I was beautiful." And we had hours and hours of discussion about this and I had actually saved letters from her Mom that I sent her to reinforce the fact that her Mom always bragged on her daughters brains, beauty and kindness.

It seems whichever path we pick for our children can be fraught with misinterpretation.

I'm glad you are telling your girls they are lovely. Both outside and in.

Auntie Cake said...

What a sweet post (and I can so relate, I never leave my house without mascara anymore...) What a wonderful way to raise a child, on God, good books and singing!

I love what you did with your girls, and smile at the thought that you relaxed when you sensed your girls needed to hear those words. I try to concentrate on my kids' brains rather than beauty, but sometimes they need a boost.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend,
Kate

My name is PJ. said...

First, you and I both mentioned Black Beauty in our posts today!


I never believed my mother when she said I was pretty. My father never complimented my looks until I was 30.

My mother was a head turning babe. And she had no clue!

Sandra said...

C. S. Lewis said, "you can never get a cup of tea too large nor a book too long to suit me." Gosh! He's right, don't you think? I do love reading.

Beth Priest said...

just saw your comment checking in on me. I am actually real fine. Mono is gone now and I didn't have too bad of an experience with it. I wonder if I even had it but the blood test said I did so who knows. I have just been sooooo super busy. I haven't been able to blog but I miss it and plan to get back into it really soon! In a sense it has been nice to get from behind my computer!

Gwendolyn said...

I love what you are doing to pass on the things you've learned to those who will come after you!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

good morning dear lea ~
thank you so much for your kind comments at
kim's and my 2bbb ... we really do have fun and
want others to enjoy all of our day to day goings ...
creative, soulful, spiritual, real life ~ just whatever is happening! it is all about sharing ...

love your writings here and how you are writing
to your children ~ such a blessing ...

:) prairiegirl

Rosie said...

Oh sweet girl, I am SOOO honored that I should be amongst your chosen...I must say, we had company last night. My cousin, whom I am extremely proud of, is an inspiring speaker, going on for Christ and being a wonderful steward for His cause...Anyway...he is my husbands best friend and as they were chatting I was in blogland visiting my "sisters". When he inquired as to what I was doing, I showed him YOUR site. He read a few of your posts with a silly smile on his face, obviously quite entertained. {These men, really would benefit from a wee visit to our little sanctuary.} I LOVE your world, and ALWAYS come away so very inspired. thanks so much for your loyal friendship. I am still so overwhelmed with the endearing friendships I have made in such a short period of time...hmmm, who would have thought...
Sending you a hug to take on the day with...xoxo Rosie

Rebecca said...

Wise and wonderful. What a joy and responsibility to shepherd teens through those years. (It surely helps to be squared away on this issue oneself before guiding others through it!)

a little lovely said...

I would LOVE to make some stickers for you!! Just let me know what you're looking for {saying, colors, pictures, etc. and how many you'd like} and I'll make up some samples for you and email them to you. :)

you can email me at alittlelovelyblog@hotmail.com

thanks!!

Rosie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
koralee said...

I ADORE THIS TODAY...seeing I can so relate with 3 lovley girls. Hugs my friend. xoxoxo

Deborah Ann said...

Ah, the angst of keeping the knowledge of beauty from our daughters and grandaughters. We went haywire with our little Faith. Especially Grandpa. I keep telling him, "Stop making such a fuss over her! It's all going to her head."

christy rose said...

Oh my goodness! I laughed hard at the end of this post! So much wisdom in teaching and training our children to adorn their inside but I completely understand your final statement!! LOL

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Visiting some of your post I didn't have the joy of reading because I wasn't a follower yet...oh, love this.
Our only daughter was and still is a sports playing girl. She is more comfortable in sports wear than a dress. We too were careful with our focus, and we too knew when we needed to tell her she was beautiful both inside and out.

What wisdom you share...but even though I have never seen you I know you are both...beautiful inside and out!!!