11 Jun 2012

What makes you beautiful – 100 women weigh in


It’s a hard word to swallow in this over-thin, over-weight, over-critical culture.

My daughter is one year old. I want to imprint beauty into the wet cement of her soul.

I want her to see herself through beauty’s eyes. Inside and out.

Do you? Do you see beauty spilling out of your reflection in a friend’s eyes?

One Friday one year ago over one hundred women spent five minutes writing about beauty. It’s still one of my favorite things to read. If you missed it first time around, you may to soak in these words a while the next time you’re daunted by your swim suit.

These are a few of their five minute stories:

I chase her down but, elusive, she stays just out of reach. I find myself thinking that maybe just maybe if I eat less or if I happen to stumble upon a fabulous hair day or I throw on that pretty new outfit…maybe she’ll show up and I can hold her for longer than brief seconds… I don’t know if it’s so much beauty that I desire, but the confidence of a woman whose position is strong and secure. To be beautiful requires exhaling into all of who He made me to be. Walking with Him…confident, secure, grounded, solid…..beautiful. ~Katy

Beauty…sitting in our local Coffee House and suddenly hearing our four year old son singing in the bathroom at the top of his lungs, “He is worthy to praise.” ~ Loni

We had a “photo shoot” at work this week.
They needed updated staff shots for our web-site.
I watched as every woman on staff including myself was sent into a sheer panic.
As silly as the frenzy was what I loved watching was how each woman on staff supported each other.
Friends stayed for friends helping make sure their bangs weren’t being odd.
Friends made silly faces so that smiles were genuine.
Friends encouraged and lavished each other with compliments of beauty. ~ Carey

There was a time when beauty was hard for me to see. …Most of the time I was awkward, never quite the one to fit in. Never the popular girl, but shy and scared. I heard those harsh words that would rattle our house, that would sting hard. Anger that would swell, and I took it personal.

One day beauty found me in my darkest place. I was captivated by a Savior who loved me no matter what…I was a princess to my Heavenly Father. ~ Denise

Today I met a friend and I noticed she hadn’t shaved. So I asked why she wasn’t shaving. She told me that she realized that if she didn’t shave for a few days she would start to feel very uncomfortable around people, almost ashamed. And that she felt this wasn’t right, that it’s a normal part of our body and should not be a shame feature when you don’t shave.

So she decided to stop shaving all together. And she likes it. And her husband likes it. ~ Krista

Writing about beauty seems kind of silly when you are 37 1/2 weeks pregnant. Everyone else thinks you are beautiful, but all I can see right now is the end in sight {you know, when I’ll get my body back}. …Then we went for pedicures… and we laughed and laughed and laughed …I love having shiny new pretty feet all ready for labor… but I also remember one thing… God’s Word and how it says my feet are beautiful if I spread His good news. ~ Traci Michelle

Am I beautiful?

I ask it to the constellations scattered over the humming wild night. I ask it to the strangers who smile at me in the airport as I wait for my flight to help my beautiful friend get married this weekend. I wonder it silently in my eyes and in my heart, and I look in the mirror so curious about that girl who looks back at me.

Beauty is flinging wide the doors of your heart, no matter the past hurt and the past confusion, no matter if the question lingers late in the afternoon or if you don’t think you’ll ever get an answer.

And so my heart’s wide open. ~Hilary

I don’t find much beauty in a place populated by strip malls and highways. I try to look past the never ending skyline of suburbia and see to the heart of my home. I see beauty in the well worn path to the home of a dear friend, beauty in my place of worship and in freedom, and beauty in knowing that familiarity does not actually breed contempt, it breeds a sense of belonging. ~Kimberly

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been good at finding beauty. It’s when I turn my gaze on myself that the trouble comes. All through my childhood, teens and early twenties, I was convinced that I was ugly. When I look at pictures of myself from those times, I’m amazed that I felt so horrible. I see a girl who may not be conventionally beautiful, sure, but whose smile is warm, hair is glossy, eyes are bright. I want to call her and tell her she’s pretty. ~Claire

i’ve been thinking on beauty in earnest for the past fourteen years. about six months after the birth of my first daughter. twenty-two months later with the birth of my second daughter. and then sixteen months more, with the coming of my third.
and i realized that my ideas of beauty that i’d carried some thirty-long years were going to need a makeover.
an overhaul.
a trip to the salon. ~ Hope Unbroken

Some days it’s not easy to see beauty. It’s easier to see that heat and humidity make my skin flush and my hair go crazy. Or that I don’t weigh what I want to. Or I just plain don’t feel good about myself some days. And then I remember. When we insult ourselves, we insult God’s creation. For we are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made.” ~Amy

Perhaps I have always equated beauty with perfection…moments in time when all the world seems right, when things are smooth, when hope and joy are in abundance. But maybe beauty can live in chaos. Maybe beauty can live in pain. Maybe beauty can live in me, despite me. ~ Jen

Beauty. I find it easy to find beauty in many things. The sun filtering through the leaves. The dimples on my little girl. The deep brown eyes of my boy. The chubby knees of my baby boy. The strong shoulders of my husband. But in me? I struggle.


And I wonder, why is this such a struggle for me?

As I contemplate that answer, I think that a lot of it has to do with who I have given authority in deciding what is beautiful in me. ~ Dayebydaye

When they see her, it’s the eyes they notice first: wide and brown and lashes the length of I-70 across Kansas. Then her dimples, not in her cheeks, but under those big brown eyes. Then her laugh, her smile, then her speed. Because she won’t let you look at her long. She’s too busy, too fast, too mature for such trivial things as the outstanding beauty of a 4-year-old girl on fire for life. ~JackandDellasMum

Beauty is not red lipstick. It is a word fitly spoken, a prayer for loved ones, a prayer for our enemies, a compliment, praise, words of thanks, a kiss, a lullaby, and “I love you’s.” ~Kelly

This girl has the real beauty I think. Laughing comes easily to her, because she knows it’s the beauty of life. She knows that even the small things can be funny. This is my cousin who has beauty in more ways than one. My cousin who will not talk till she sees the beauty of heaven. ~Bethanne

I am beautiful in and out
Created in his very image – a display of His glory
Called out of darkness into His marvellous light
Beautiful ‘cos He’s in me and I in Him
Beauty resides in my home! ~Atshaibu


Beauty is family loving each other, despite each other. ~Sophia

And there, in the distance on the jetty was Lana, the secretary at the school. I was wondering what she was doing there, and as my eyes fixed on her as we drove by, she was standing with her arms raised to Heaven and her face gleaming and staring upward in worship of Jesus. It was all of 10 seconds that I caught this site, and it was one of the most lasting and beautiful pictures of worship I had seen. It impacted me from that moment on.
I wanted THAT kind of beauty! ~ Jennifer

She has changed me.

I no longer complain about my hair.

She is listening.

I no longer fuss about my weight.

She is watching.

I no longer berate my features.

I want to teach her the One who made us both makes no mistakes.

I know this awe I inspire in her won’t last forever. She is only five. But for now, I don’t have to look in the mirror to see beauty reflected back at me.

I just look into her eyes.~ Gaby

Beauty lingers all around me at 2am when I’m up with my baby girl beauty, feeding, soothing, rocking countless, endless, and constantly interrupted night time shifts. The more haggered I feel in the morning, the more beautiful I know my soul is becoming.

This aching for service for this family. This fighting down frustration and fighting back chaos. This making time in the midst to set out on the messy back deck with Peter to just reconnect. This is the greatest finding of beauty in the midst of my every day Polaroids.

My mirror is no longer the boss of me. I now tell it what to see.~My original Five Minute Friday

He has made everything beautiful. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11.

So, tell me – what makes you feel beautiful?


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{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Lisa-Jo, thank you for this post (and thank you for including me and my little take :-)). As ever, your words and topic were exactly what I needed on this grey and rainy London morning!

  2. 2

    Loved these takes on beauty when I read them before and I love them as much again. Probably one of my favorites that brings tears to my eyes is from Clare: I want to call her and tell her she’s pretty. It gets me every time. How many of us felt like that as teens, that we just weren’t pretty enough?

    What makes me feel beautiful? When I look at my young adult daughters and see what lovely women they have become, especially on the inside. When I see the joy and hope and encouragement on someone’s face because I reached out to help.

    Thanks so much for sharing this again. It’s such a great heart poking topic!

  3. 3

    Love this post! Instead of hogging up your comments, may I just post a link to what I wrote on this awhile ago? I hate to do that, but you just touched my heart with this :) The best part? God continues to work through my daughter to show me how beautiful He thinks I am. http://crystalstine.blogspot.com/2012/05/through-new-eyes.html

  4. 5

    I’m a bit of a logic freak sometimes. It helps me keep things in order.

    IF God loves me AND He is the author of creation INCLUDING me THEN I must be beautiful.

    Beautiful: of very high standards.

    What higher standards could we face than God’s, and He made us. How could we be anything BUT beautiful with all things considered?

  5. 6
    Esther T says:

    What makes me feel beautiful is a few minutes and earrings in the morning. A few small minutes. My shirt can have mommy badges of cream cheese on it a few short minutes and yogurt spills on my shorts and it is ok.

  6. 7
    TN Lizzie says:

    What is it about children that makes everything come into focus? They are a source of beauty… and humility.

    Years ago, my little girl came in from playing with the boys across the street. She stood in the kitchen, at my feet, gazing up at me. Finally, she pulled me down close and announced, “I don’t care what Eli says, I think you’re beautiful!” She turned happily and scampered back outside.

    LOL ~ I have made the same announcement to my girls on days when they’re not so sure of themselves.

    God gave me this momentary gift years ago, but I receive it anew each time I start to doubt my on worth. I think I will write this on my closet door, with Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

    Pssssst: God made you beautiful! :o)

  7. 8

    Thank you for this post! It came on a day when the walls of this small house of ours were closing in on this messy, chaotic but (if I can let myself face it) new normal life where everything is strewn and dishes are piled up and paw prints cover my floor and high chairs need cleaning out after yesterday’s breakfast. I looked over my house with new eyes after reading this. All of it beautiful! It means I have a active and healthy 15month old boy. That my sweet overgrown pups are still a huge part of this family and that my husband works really hard so I can stay home in this beautiful, beautiful mess! I know one day my children will be grown and I can once again have an orderly home. But right I’m going to dive in, head first and enjoy the beautifulness of these child rearing years!

  8. 9

    My, I had forgotten about this beautiful compilation! Thank you for including me and reminding me :)

  9. 10

    I blogged about this at spring break. I’m in my fifties now, and not feeling very secure in a bathing suit for the first time.

    The opinion of others is an amazing thing. Just when I think I’m over being pressured by it, I find myself needing to peel back another layer of “caring what others think”.

    God says I’m perfectly made. I like me, I’m perfectly made, cellulite, loose skin and all. I live the life given, not in a bubble of protection, but in the real world. This body is well loved, and well used. Perhps, we all should look at what the world calls imperfect, as a trophies of accomplishment.

    And I have a LOT of trophies, let me tell YOU!

    Thank you for the encouragement Lisa-J0!

  10. 11

    The glow of the afternoon sun on my face as I close my eyes and rest. I feel like an angel then, all my worries floating up to heaven where my true identity lies.

  11. 12

    I love this! These thoughts capture what has been on my heart as I’ve been writing and speaking on the topic of beauty over the last seven months. Beauty is the question asked by women of every age, and girls younger and younger with each generation. I’ve come to see the question of beauty as a cry for knowing one’s own worth and identity. The more I listen to teens confess their heart on the matter and women ache for some sort of understanding, the more I see the need to redefine beauty once and for all.

    Thanks for sharing this repost! It most certainly will influence how I present the Redefining Beauty message (http://www.moretobe.com/redefining-beauty/) at an upcoming event hosted by a team of moms passionate about their daughters (and their friends) to hear the Truth and discovery not only their identity but their beauty in Christ.

  12. 13

    Love this, needed this. Wow, what a beautiful testimony about being mothers!!!

  13. 14

    So much beauty. Thank you always for sharing it so generously and with compassionate insistence :)

  14. 15

    aw thank you for including me! you’re making me want to whip out the keyboard again and write words in my little corner of the web again… =)

  15. 16

    I read this, saw what “Kimberly” wrote, and couldn’t understand why it sounded so familiar! Sheesh. Thanks for the shout out and for offering us a place to talk about beauty. It’s my favorite:)

  16. 17

    I worked at a Christian book store a few years ago when John Eldridge, I think? And his wife maybe? Wrote a book and in it they said that every woman wants to be beautiful. To be called beautiful? Told they are beautiful?
    Not sure about that I thought to myself.. I didn’t feel that way, I never read the book, and I have been trying to understand it ever since.
    I want to be told I am beautiful by someone that knows me. Really knows me. I don’t want to look beautiful. I want to be asked to join in, go for a walk, play a game. I want to be asked what I want to do, maybe just sit and talk. Spend time together. Being loved is beautiful.

  17. 18

    Similar to what Stacey said, it is the fact that God made me that tells me I am beautiful (and encourages me to believe it when I don’t feel it). We are each beautiful in our own unique way–just like He intended.

    The other precious bonus I have is a dear husband who habitually looks longingly at me and says “Have I ever told you how beautiful you are?” (Never mind if I am rumpled, or dirty, or just woke up with hair in a thousand directions…his response is still the same.) :)

    By the way, this post is beautiful, too.

    ~Sheila :)

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