Tag Archives: Beauty

Dear Child

Wednesdays are “Love Is” days at my blog Ripples In Culture (Today is, Love Is King.), I thought I would share some of that love here as well with this beauty post I read lately.

Karina's Thought

Dear Child-Karina's Thought

What such a surprise for me! A few days ago my fiancé returned from a business trip from America and he bought me a pearl necklace. When I opened it necklace’s box there is a letter. When I read it, I can’t hold my tears. I am moved and crying. The letter is not a love letter from my fiancé but it was more than the love letter. This evening I would like share it to all of you. Here’s the letter.

Dear child,

I just wanted to remind you today of how beautiful you are because there is a father of lies who will try to deceive you. He will try to tell you that you are not good enough, not attractive enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, not smart enough, not righteous enough, and that you are simply unimportant to Me.

He will try to tell you…

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Color Me Green

I read this blog post while reading through the World Race website and pondering about what it would be like to go on such a journey. Kacie Lester blogs at Color Me Captivated and she shared this story about learning to live in community. It is a lesson I desperately need to learn. We should all strive to say, “color me captivated”, but most days as envy sneaks in, I just find myself thinking, color me green.

instant coffee & not-so-instant-friendship

– posted on 10/10/2012 by Kacie Lester

I learned a lot about comparison last year while I was on the World Race.

Mainly that I needed to wage war against it. And, that my short-ish, rounder-than-Victoria’s-Secret-model-shaped figure, turn-a-shade-of-fire-engine-red-when-I’m-embarrassed face, and alarmingly loud laugh aren’t just beautiful in theory. They’re actually stunning.

And I had to learn this all while living with a beautiful woman who is in every way my physical opposite.

I was particularly upset one day early in the Race as I watched my beautiful teammate go about her day flawlessly – even her messy crying fits and bouts of insecurity were beautiful – and I often wondered how it could be possible at all that I could also be beautiful with my pale skin and boring hair and short (and admittedly thicker) frame.

I’m so different – I speak and think and act and look so vastly differently than this girl who is, in every sense of the word, beautiful.

I would ask myself constantly, “How can I also be beautiful when I’m nothing like this girl who embodies the word?”

From updates.theworldrace.org

I actually sat Stephanie down the week we met and I told her to her face that I probably wasn’t going to like her. She was too perfect and I was sure she knew it, and I cannot get along with conceited girls (which I figured she was, without a doubt).

Then I learned that she wanted to write, I wanted to write – she wanted to sing, I do sing – she used to dance, I used to dance – I paint, she likes to paint – I play guitar, she wanted to learn. Initially, I just saw my obvious inferiority to her, so I saw everything we had in common as threatened. She obviously looked better doing it, so I had to prove that I actually did it better. Competition stacked on top of comparison, and everything got bitter.

That battle with comparison wasn’t just a battle over me. The spirit that was bringing up fear and judgment towards her wasn’t just attacking me. It was attacking unity – the body, the bride of Christ.

It didn’t want me to feel equal to her, and it certainly didn’t want me to love her.

Envy, absolutely. But not love.

And I did not love her.

In fact, there was a night in Romania that I and my blonde, beautiful teammate walked up to our leaders separately, without having discussed it, and calmly informed them that our team simply would not work because we could not live together, and they need to change it. Please and thank you.

From updates.theworldrace.orgWe left Romania on the very same team we’d been on when we had arrived. Our eloquent leader had a brilliant (miserable sounding) idea: “Seeing as how you certainly aren’t being separated, you need to decide to love each other. Really love each other. Like, put effort into loving each other.” 

I won’t pretend I didn’t begin that endeavor with a “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” justification, but motivation being right or wrong, every other morning for a month I gave her a Nescafe 3-in-1 instant coffee packet.

The mornings I didn’t give her one, she gave one to me. There wasn’t coffee where we were living, so these coveted gifts were delicacies. We could have each just kept our own coffee, but giving and receiving it every morning meant sacrificing our treasures and our pride. And, slowly but surely, we learned to love each other over these tiny gifts.

From updates.theworldrace.org

Gift giving turned into praying for each other. As a wise woman (Stephanie) once said to me: “It’s impossible to not be on the same team as someone else when you’re praying for them.”

Praying for each other turned into delivering one another’s notes after we’d prayed, including a word of encouragement. Then we were loving each other – and loving each other well – as sisters and as friends.

Two months later, we were granted our long-gone wish and were put on separate teams to travel and serve with, and we didn’t have a chance to live together again for the remaining eight of our 11 months abroad. We arrived back in America at the end of the Race, and two months later, we became roommates.

From updates.theworldrace.orgNow that I know her heart, I see how often the enemy tries to tell her she’s ugly and awkward looking. The fact that she can look in the mirror as often as she does and see imperfection and ugliness in herself proves to me more than anything that the enemy exists. I ended up teaching her to play guitar and now we worship together in our adorable little Georgia apartment when the enemy tries to get in our business.

Comparison almost robbed me of one of my very dearest friends, simply because I didn’t know she was my very dear friend, yet. All I saw was all the ways we were starkly different, the ways I wanted to be like her, and wasn’t. And the very few ways she wanted to be like me and didn’t yet know how to be.

But the Lord calls us sisters. He calls us united by one body, one spirit, one hope. (Eph. 4:4)

He sees her as flawless – and he sees me as flawless.

My flawlessness doesn’t give her flaws, nor does her flawlessness negate mine. They don’t look the same – but that isn’t a truth that limits the definition of “flawless.” Rather, it infinitely expands the capacity and depth of the perfection of God.

Redemption is perfect in Christ. I am perfect in Christ. She is perfect in Christ.

Who are you competing with? Who do you feel is beneath you? Who are you trying to out-rank?

He or she could be your best friend, your next roommate, the loudest voice of truth in your life, or your very biggest fan. You just might not know it yet because an enemy who hates you is actively trying to change that reality.

Love intentionally. Pray. Encourage one another. And if you aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to start buying some instant coffee packets!


Why Doesn’t Proverbs 31 Just Give Me Eye Liner Tips?

“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.” Galatians 3:1-4 NLT

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 ESV

Mirror

A vendor of exquisite jewels, well made and beautiful, sits at the door of my church. There are necklaces, bracelets, ear-rings, and hair pieces all adorned with black jewels. They are just my style. I walk over entranced and excited as I look at all of these things that are especially enticing for me. You know that feeling when you walk into a store and you find the exact piece of jewelry, that perfect shirt, those awesome shoes, and it is just what you were looking for? Everything laid out on those tables seemed designed especially for my taste and my wardrobe. An ornate black mirror sat on the table for the shoppers to admire themselves and their new adornments. As I entered the area I noticed a feeling. A terrible feeling. These beautiful things that seemed to be made just for me, they were not for me, I should not touch them. These things were indeed black, and black beyond their color. I tried to warn my friends, I tried to tell my brothers and sisters in Christ. Some listened and went into the sanctuary without weighing themselves down with these fake jewels, but others stayed and tried on the jewelry and gazed longingly into the mirror in vain.

Vain. Vanity. God laid those words on my heart last night.

I feel like most of us humans, especially us girls, are constantly trying to improve and update our reflection. We try to become perfect or at least look perfect. Our words, actions, and wardrobe are all carefully weighed and measured. I know that I am guilty. I hate letting the world see me in sweatpants. If I do go out in my comfy, alma mater’s sweatpants it will be offset by a cute top. Even rarer than seeing a Kristin out in the wild in her sweatpants, is spotting the almost extinct Kristin-Without-Eyeliner. You can take away the rest of my makeup, but please leave my onyx black eyeliner! I have realized that it is very hard for me to look at myself in the mirror and think “Wow, I am beautiful.” Unless I have my eye liner applied just right I feel like I look like a zombie.

One of my college friends rarely wore eyeliner, or any make up at all really, and I always thought of her as so beautiful and I always wished I could be as confident as her. But when I would looked in the mirror every morning I would see tired eyes and imperfect skin and I would apply my foundation and eye liner to cover it all up. My efforts were in vain, in both senses of the word.

You see the word vain is an adjective that has two meanings:

  1. Having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance, abilities, or worth.
  2. Producing no result; useless.

I was lead to Galatians 3 this morning and it made sense to me. Not only because God had laid the word “vain” on my heart the night before, but because I am struggling in this transitional period I am experiencing spiritually. I grew up in this Christianity formed in this pretty white box. It was a safe box, filled with WWJD bracelets, teen devotionals, lock-ins, Christian music, and no clapping in Church. It was a Christianity that expected you to sit up straight, act all nice and normal, and whatever you do, do not express any spontaneous joy during the service.

It was a nice Christianity. It was a great place to grow up. It was a wonderful place for me to start my journey, but I am moving forward now, and struggling with that forwardness. Behind me lies a world that I had nearly conquered, I was capable of appearing nearly perfect. I could perform the niceties and give my Sunday school answer to applause.

But if I go back now, all would be lost. Anytime a Christian moves closer to God, when they journey down the path of righteousness, they will meet trials and they will be under attack. It would be much easier to turn back. But if I, if we, turn back now, now that we have suffered for good and for His glory, it would all be in vain. Our journey would be empty.

If I turned back now, it would show my conceit. Behind me is someone who could fake a bit of perfection, but going forward I have to leave that behind. There may be some mornings that I must face myself in the mirror without my eye liner. I must look at the true me, the bare me, and I must love myself. We must continue forward past the tempting jewels that this world has set before us and into the loving embrace of our Creator.

“She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:17 ESV

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 ESV