Beauty Lies Within ~ a message for my niece…

I’ve had the statement “beauty lies within” said to me multiple times throughout my life and have read the following scripture more times than I can count:

“It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.  No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. “  ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NCV)

But, until yesterday neither of those statements have touched me so deep to the core.  You see what began as a gorgeous sunny day turned “gloomy” very quickly while shopping with my niece, Maggie.

Our day began by visiting over coffee and a light breakfast before going to the salon for Maggie to get some highlights in her hair for spring.  Her highlights turned out really pretty and she was so thrilled with her hair.  After the hair appointment we bolted to town to see about getting Maggie a new outfit for Easter.  The first store we went to was a very “hip” store that many young ladies obtain clothing from.  We were only in this particular store for about 3 minutes and Maggie said, “Aunt Jackie, I really don’t see anything just jumping out at me and the clothing here just doesn’t look like me.”  My reply was, “no problem, let’s keep going!”.  So, on we went.  This time choosing a large department store thinking that surely there would be good “deals” – and – something lovely for her to wear.  Forty minutes later and easily twenty or more outfits tried on we left the store with a great pair of black dress pants and a top that Maggie was “settling” for that needed altered.  When walking out of the store the sun was still shining, but Maggie’s disappointment, frustration, and emotions quickly took over as she burst into tears as the weather in my car quickly became very gloomy.  Maggie is a beautiful young lady with a very nice shape.  She is average height and slender.  She is, also, very practical.  She knew that she didn’t want to purchase a skirt or dress because she plays cello, so she was looking for a nice pants outfit so that she would get the most use out of her purchase.  Finding the pants wasn’t too difficult, though I have a hard time wrapping my head around her size ONE pair of pants, as I was born a “butterball” and doubt I ever wore a size one in a shoe, let alone in pants!  But finding a top was challenging – to say the least!  The tops were either too low cut, too short in the midriff, or were sleeveless with arm holes that a size small shirt had arms holes for a size XL – and that is NO exaggeration!  Maggie and I have been to events where they taught modesty by wearing cami’s to help with this issue, but the styles we found needed to be re-sewn and were beyond the assistance of the “layering” effect!  While drying up her tears Maggie said, why can’t designers just make clothes nice for those of us who want to dress modestly?  “Good question”, was my reply, as I went on to tell her I knew how she felt because we “thick” girls often times leave stores in tears too, but usually because the clothing isn’t big enough!  Not much comfort for her, though.

I felt so bad for Maggie as we drove to her appointment for a pedicure ~ my Easter treat to her.  Thankfully, she got a technician that was very sweet and kind and had a smile back on Maggie’s face within minutes.  The tech had been in the band at school, so they began talking marching band.  At one point, Maggie told the tech that the reason she was so disappointed about not finding an outfit for Easter was because she is being confirmed into the Catholic church and she wants to look really pretty on such a special day.  Feeling near tears, I excused myself to the car to obtain Maggie’s flip flops and prayed that God would send me to the right store when her appointment ended.   Now, some would say praying for the “right” clothing store is a little shallow, but it wasn’t about the clothing ~ I wanted Maggie to feel happy and good about herself.  On the way to the next store Maggie said, “I love the color of my toes!”, and as I explained that we only had time to check one more store Maggie added, “it’s o.k. if we don’t find something”.  Thankfully, a prayer was answered and we immediately found something that Maggie looked good in and, more importantly, she felt good in.  I said a little prayer, “thanks God”!

Isn’t it sad that image is so important?  I fall into the trap myself.  If I have a bad hair day my entire day is less than optimal!  But the bottom line is that to a teen aged girl image ~ looking good ~ is very important.  I think about Maggie and how she isn’t one of those teenager’s who is caught up in appearance ~ meaning she doesn’t wear a lot of make up, she doesn’t do fancy things with her hair, but she does take pride in what she wears.  She is proud of the fact that she wears dress clothes to school and that what she wears is part of her life “statement”.  I have contributed to that.  From before her birth, I have always searched for the cutest clothes I could find to adorn her in and now I feel some guilt for having contributed to that.  Though I tell her how pretty she is, I now wonder if I have made her feel “less than” when I don’t point out other things to her….. like, how awesomely talented she is in music, how bright she is in school, how wonderfully amazing she is for her kindness and consideration of others, and how attractive it is that she shines for Christ.  If I haven’t made her aware of these things….shame on me!  And, while I do believe I have tried, it’s obviously not been frequent enough…. so, beginning today this Auntie is going to make it her mission to help her niece always feels intelligent, kind, warm, friendly, unique, etc…. and point out her niece’s beauty from within.  And, to get that started I have the following message for her:

Maggie, you are beautiful!  Both inside and out!  No matter what clothing you have on!  Remember, your clothing does not make you!  What makes you special is your witty sense of humor; your love for Jesus; your unique way of seeing life at it’s fullest; your chatterbox way of life!; your warm, genuine, and caring heart; your amazing musical gift; and for being just, simply YOU!  As actress Audrey Hepburn said, “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”   May you always remember that your beauty lies within you.  I commit to praying 1 Peter 3: 3-4 for you.  And, the next time we go shopping we will remember the following scripture:

Ephesians 6:11~ “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (NIV)

~and~

Proverbs 3:15 ~ “Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it.” (NCV)

~and~

Proverbs 31:25 ~ “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (NIV)

I can’t wait to celebrate Easter with you, Maggie, and I look forward to sharing more time together!  Love, Auntie J xo

Happy Easter, Friends!  And, remember, your beauty lies within you! 🙂

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