True Beauty

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“So don’t be afraid, to let them show. Your true colors. Your true colors are beautiful.”

There was something that told me to stand there next to the mirror as my daughter looked at herself last night. With a huge beaming smile on her face, I wanted to tell her she was beautiful. I wanted it to soak down deep into her very being so that she would never forget how beautiful she was. Someday when she would doubt it, or someone would tell her otherwise, I wanted her to go back to this moment and remember that she is beautiful.

I wanted her to know why she was beautiful. Not because of what she looked like. “My darling, you are beautiful because you are a daughter of God. You are lovely because he made you that way.” Our beauty comes not because of human standards and what others tell is beautiful. Not based on what we grasp as the standards of beauty. Our beauty is rooted in our Creator, someone who’s standard never changes. Who knows us better than anyone because he was the one that created the fabric of our being and breathed life into our lungs.

His standard of beauty is more than skin deep because God cares more about the inside of our cup, our heart, than our whitewashed tombs of the outside. So I went on to tell her what made her beautiful, those inside qualities that God desires. I told her she was kind and compassionate. How she puts the needs of others before her own.

I remembered back to when she first started preschool last year. It’s always sad to let our kids go for the first time, but she was beyond ready to be in a classroom with her peers, to play and explore in new ways. I knew her extroverted self was going to thrive in this environment. After a few weeks, her teacher pulled me aside to check in. She said what a lovely daughter we had and that she was the “classroom mom”. Whenever she saw a friend who was off by themselves playing, she made a point of going over and sitting with them so they wouldn’t feel alone. That when a friend had a hard time standing in line and following directions she would hold their hand and bring them along with her. Tears welled in my eyes, and still do. That, that was what I was trying to instill in her the last four years, but she already had it in her. This is who God made her to be and it was beautiful.

From an early age, my daughter was an observer of people. Whenever she interacted with people she was keenly aware of how they were feeling. “Mommy’s face is happy.” “Daddy’s face is sad.” She would describe not the features of what they looked like on the outside, but what the features told her about what they were feeling on the inside. Now that she has more words, she is still describing our moods, in greater detail, based on body language and tone and verbiage. “Why you so angry Mommy?” She keeps me in check.

So maybe I don’t need to worry so much about her because she already gets it. She is already looking into a person’s heart to see who they truly are. There are going to be people that come along though that try to sow seeds of doubt and maybe that’s what my messages are, a repellant to guard against them.

I had a dad who told me I was beautiful all the time, from a very early age. His little princess. I was loved beyond measure and it made me feel secure. When I entered my teenage years and didn’t get attention reciprocated by my peers to validate if I met their standards of beauty it was hard. I still remember standing in front of a mirror at home staring at myself and trying to speak louder than the voices of doubt, “No, you are beautiful. Dad tells you all the time.”

Well, of course, I still doubted a little bit, after all, I had no longterm boyfriend in high school which would have been the ultimate validation, but I think that security and truth that I stood on took me farther than I realized or ever will realize. Sure I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I never let my true value come from there. I confidently walked into each day ready to take on whatever lay in store.

Then entering my senior year I did begin to throw off the chains of the standards that everyone else was throwing my way. God began to take hold of my life and suddenly I started listening to the voice inside me. I did and said what I wanted to not screening it first off of what others would think. I tried new things and new experiences that I would have held myself back from before. And I think it’s all because I had been told, you are beautiful, from a young age, before any doubt from the outside world could creep in.

I suppose that’s the gift I want to give my daughter. Someday when she’s looking in the mirror, I want her to shout above the lies, “No, I’m beautiful, not because of what you say, but because of what God says.” My beauty wasn’t built initially on the rock of my heavenly father, but my earthly one, but luckily I have been able to transfer it. What if she realizes this from a very early age and builds that foundation of who she is on her Creator, who knit together her inmost being and has amazing things planned just for her.

Her “life verse” that I was lead to when I was pregnant with her was Ephesians 2:8-10 that I thought described the essence of what I wanted her to take through life. “Now it is by grace you have been saved, not by works so that anyone can boast. It is a gift from God. You are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do amazing things that he has prepared in advance for only you to do.” May my precious daughter continue to go through this world noticing people for how they truly feel and be the friend that they need in that moment. May she share her beauty with all those around her and remember that she is beautiful.

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