Monday, March 20, 2017

You Make a Beautiful Difference

Sweet "in your face" (literally) reminders of the beauty we have and beauty we can give in the Ladies' restrooms in the school where the kids' Speech and Debate tournament was held this weekend. I loved it and just had to take photos of them. Oh, that women of all ages had these reminders daily. Maybe it would mean less time having to conceal the flaws and less time disliking what we see in the mirror and more time given to "making a beautiful difference".

My granddaughter, Alexia, gave an incredibly inspiring speech at the tournament this weekend -- so much so that she achieved a 6th place overall award (there were probably well over 60 speakers in that category). If I were the only one that said it, you'd say I was biased because she's my granddaughter, but when other women came up to Staci and I and told us they wished her talk had been heard by their daughter or granddaughter, we knew it was a relevant and needed message.

Alexia spoke about how girls feel the need to fit in, look a certain way, or have specific clothes just to feel loved by the peers around them. She talked about how some of the girls in her world have eating disorders and experience depression because of a poor self image. She talked about the icons that influence them right from an early age -- like their Barbie dolls who are slim, perfect hair, skin and perfect clothes, but in her speech she said these words "Barbie isn’t the only icon that influences unrealistic expectations. There's the photoshopped models and flawless actresses we see in print and film, the many mobile apps that influence us to remove all blemishes and create an image of perfection. We have lost God's view of what beauty is really all about. 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, 'It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you -- the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear.”

Alexia's speech resonated with me, because how many grown and even mature women like me have those same image concerns. As much as I say "I've earned these wrinkles and I'm okay with them", there are still those times I look in the mirror and think "Who are you and what did you do with Donna?" LOL! That's why going to the place where encouragement comes from -- God's Word -- is the best place to change our views about ourselves.

If we profess to be God's beloved daughters, we should know how He takes pleasure in us. He doesn’t simply accept us, forgive us and put up with us. He delights in us. He even celebrates us. I love this scripture from Isaiah 62:5 "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you".

Want some more good news? The Lord says we are beautiful. Not just slightly attractive or marginally appealing. Beautiful. We are lovely to look at because "God created mankind in his own image" (Genesis 1:27). And that includes you and me. He is beautiful, so WE ARE BEAUTIFUL.

God does not compare. Each of us is a unique work of His creation. We are God’s definition of beautiful and if we're ready to see ourselves as God sees us, then I suggest we put the words that were in the Girls' restroom on our mirrors.

The answer for young girls, teenagers, and women of all ages is to realize when the light of Christ shines through us, we are utterly transformed and we become beautiful and we make a beautiful difference in our world. My Mom always said to me "Pretty is as pretty does." Those are words to live by. That last photo says "You create beauty with your attitude, your behavior, your actions." May we be imitators of our Creator and rather than the desire to BE beautiful....that we desire to create His beauty everywhere WE ARE and everywhere WE GO!