Something Beautiful In You

“Wow! God made you so very beautiful!”  

Usually I make more of an effort to point out more meaningful attributes in my 3 year old, but that moment just struck me.

 

“Yeah! He did!” When she responded to me the way she did, the Lutheran in me cringed! “Oh no! Vanity! Arrogance! Sinful PRIDE!!” But, no! Not at all. Because HE DID. Our loving Father’s hand created her beautifully.

norahsleeping We fight pride so, so hard. And we should fight it! C.S. Lewis has quite a bit to say about pride, including this:

 

“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

Scary stuff, that pride. So scary that we sometimes find it difficult to admit that we have any strengths at all. There are so few people I know that know how to take a compliment.

 

We can get too caught up in humility, I think, that we miss the entire point of it.

C.S. Lewis also has a thing or two to say about humility:

"True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

We get to the point that we realize that we are nothing without God. We are powerless. We are deserving of death. We are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. It’s all true. But then we dwell there. Why would we stay there? In a place without God?? Why would we want to be anywhere without God? The point is that we DO have God, and He has given us incredible blessings in our lives, and created us with great care and greater purpose.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

 

It is not sinful pride to acknowledge that the Master and Creator of the universe has made something beautiful in you when you are acknowledging Him and thanking and glorifying Him with it! My husband and I lived in China for 2 years after I graduated from college. Our last year there we met a woman who had a huge impact on my life. She was incredible. She had so many talents and gifts. She could play just about any instrument, had a gorgeous singing voice, and was just a beautiful, giving, loving woman. She knew very, very little English. We met often in my last few months living there. Whenever I or someone else would compliment her or acknowledge her gifts or talents she always responded the exact same way, “God give me”. With exactly half of her whole English vocabulary, the thing I heard her say more than anything else was the beautiful distinction between pride and humility.  I know half of my vocabulary isn't currently dedicated exclusively to glorifying God. How wonderful it would be if the things people heard us say more than anything else pointed them directly to God.

Humility does not mean living in a way that denies any strengths or admirable qualities in ourselves. It is living in a way that sees those gifts, doesn’t compare them with the gifts of others, but gives 100% of the glory and credit to God. If someone tells you that you are beautiful or talented, rather than the awkward responses we usually have which direct as much attention away from ourselves and to our flaws, someone else’s strengths, or whatever else, we could try directing that attention toward God!

“Thank you! I am daily humbled that God made me the way He did or even made me at all! Believe me, I have countless flaws, but it is pretty incredible to be a work of creation made perfect in the eyes of God through Christ!” or maybe even just “Glory to God!”

Make it your own, of course. And don’t be prideful, but don’t downplay the beauty God has created, even when it is in you. What if someone else tells my daughter she’s beautiful? What do I want her to say? “No, I’m not”?? Of course not. What a beautiful thing it could be for someone to point out the beauty of my daughter and for her to point directly to God, with full confidence that He made her just the way she is, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

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taking care series :: skin + hair

We've invited you to come alongside of us as Rachel chats about anything and everything *taking care* over the next few weeks. Pour yourself a cup of something and pull up a chair. So happy you are here! I've never been one for lots of beauty products. Oodles of lotions and potions aren't overflowing from my medicine cabinet. I'm a simple girl that way. (My clothes closet, on the other hand, is another story. Yikes!)

But I do want clean, clear skin and healthy, strong hair. I'm now in my thirties and realize as I get older that those two things take effort and consistency. And taking care of my skin and hair helps me to feel beautiful and confident as I care for my family and do my job and spend time with friends.

So let's share some our favorite skin + hair products today!

I'll go first.

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I tend to stick with more simple, natural products that can be used for hands, body, and face - for me and my family. You can always, always find Dr. Bronner's, Kirk's, and Kiss My Face next to our bathroom sink and in the shower. They have subtle but lovely scents, clean well, and are gentle on skin. Win win win in my book!

 

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I'm obsessed and smitten with the magical powers of coconut oil. This jar packs a big, beautiful punch! I use it to remove makeup. I slather it on my hair about once a week as a conditioner and strengthener for my locks.  I take a scoop and rub it into dry skin patches. I whip it and mix it with essential oils for a face moisturizer. Coconut oil! The jack of all trades. Try it and be amazed.

 

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The wonderful Amanda at Diddles Dairy recently gave all the hens of Holy Hen House some of her wonderful handmade goat milk soaps to try. Oh my lands! Not only do they smell glorious, but they leave my skin feeling A++. Bar soaps have forever frustrated me with their messiness and, well, slippery-ness. Is that a word? No? Let's just go with it. Enter in....the loofah pouch! The handmade bar soap plops in the bag and provides all the cleaning power without the mess. I'm.in.love.

One other item I can't live without is my wooden bath brush. I use it about twice a week in the shower to exfoliate my skin. Those few extra minutes under the warm water are a treat and my skin is squeaky clean.

 

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I'm not too picky or committed when it comes to shampoos and conditioners. Right this second we have bottles of Trader Joe's and Kiss My Face and Burt's Bees that our whole family uses. My hair tends to be on the oily side so I try to find products that keep that under control and balanced.

Ok, your turn! What products are a part of your daily routine?? What ones can't you live without?? Any fun beauty tricks you'd like to share?? We'd love for you to share! 

 

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The Unfading Beauty of a Gentle and Quiet Spirit

1 Peter 3:3-4

 

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
 

Often when we read this verse in Peter we think to ourselves about “inner beauty” and our character and faith being more important than “outward adornment”. We meditate on being loving, faithful women who put pleasing God before our need to feel desirable in the eyes of this world. We concentrate on the phrase “that of your inner self”. We often fail to ponder the beauty in the end of this verse.

“The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” does not immediately cry out “I am a strong, independant woman and I’m ready to take this modern world by storm”! I think that sometimes we mistakenly associate gentleness with weakness.

Weakness is not a synonym for gentleness. “You were not given a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline” (2 Tim 1:7). This is NOT a contradiction. We need to strive to be gentle women whose humility and faith does not leave us spineless or speechless, but whose strength can be beautifully channelled into graceful and loving speech rooted in firm conviction and practiced with quiet compassion.

Christ was gentle. (Matthew 11:29) He humbled himself. He also unquestionably stood in truth as Truth. Gentleness is not a quiet tolerance, it is a gracefully spoken but honest reminder of God’s law without neglecting the necessity of sharing God’s love, and there is a great deal of power in it.

In 1 Kings 19 we read about the Lord appearing to Elijah, not in a powerful wind, an earthquake, or a fire, but in a gentle whisper. There was no weakness in that whisper. Consider Proverbs:

Proverbs 25:15

Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,

   and a gentle tongue can break a bone.

 

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

We put a great deal of effort into proving our strength in this world. We take pride in holding firmly to our convictions and strive to make an impact on those around us. A gentle and quiet spirit is a far more effective force than condemning and outspoken discourses on our beliefs.

The most effective weapon in this battle to win souls is not always the biggest, loudest, or flashiest. We fight to bring glory to God, and should do so as he instructs us.

Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 

Philippians 4:5

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

 

We are consistently and clearly reminded to put our pride aside and reflect Christ’s love, and when we do this we are beautiful to the only one who matters.