Believing Beauty : Labels, Lies and Legacy

By Shelby Rawson

I would venture to say most mothers look at their children and see beauty. I have felt as though my heart would burst just looking at my two babies. When I behold my little ones there is no doubt in my mind as to how wonderfully they were created. From their noses to knees, lips to legs… I treasure every detail. My children were knit together with purpose and without mistake.
There are two things my daughter has unmistakably inherited from me – my curls and my legs. Her curls are loopy ringlets. If you can picture Buffy from the old TV show “???,” then you have a pretty close image of my girl in pig tails. And like I mentioned, she also has my legs. I cannot remember the first time I made the comment, “look at the cute, little leggies!” More than likely, I started it before she could walk. Three years later, you would still see me pat her on the legs and say those words. So, why is it – if we have the same legs -I believe her little stems to be adorable while thinking my own are awful? What’s more, how can I believe my children are created so beautifully and struggle to see beauty in my own creation?

As I have wrestled with the questions, I’ve been afforded the glorious yet painful gift of seeing other moms battle, as well. I have witnessed beautiful mothers physically recoil as their loveliness was acknowledged. Faces of disbelief stared back into mine as I shared my perception of their beauty. One friend who could not see her own loveliness has a daughter who clearly bears her image. As we spoke, I mentioned how beautiful her little girl is and she readily agreed. Then I added, “She looks just like her mom.” Bing! That struck a chord and fresh tears followed. Something within her resonated in that moment. And something resonated deeply within me, as well. Here it is. If I cannot acknowledge and believe I am created as lovely and wonderful, then how can I teach my daughter to appreciate how she was made?

First of all, where did I get my idea of beauty? When I look in the mirror, whose voice fills my head and what labels am I wearing? I cannot begin to tell you how old some of those voices were, nor how long I’d been wearing those cursed labels. As I thought of the mirrored reflection, it dawned on me. Rather, something popped into my head. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” In an abrupt second that seemingly harmless phrase held new meaning and contempt for me.

Was the mirror my beholder? Magazines? My family? I was angry. Livid at those labels…those lies. All the comparing and measuring myself against friends, actresses and strangers at the store had played a hand in defining my beauty. Was I “knit together in my mother’s womb” by Glamour or Vogue? Not hardly. My Creator is much more brilliant. My beholder? My God. My God defines beauty. I am created in the image of the Beautiful One. He is, and therefore, I am… and my daughter is, too.

Beauty has an enemy. A liar lurks around loveliness. He has no desire for women to believe in their God-given beauty. In fact, the only one he wants to be admired is himself. Satan was once the most gorgeous of angels. Vanity overcame him and he fell from the presence of God. Then, God created Eve in His glorious image. God created woman with loveliness and purposed her form to be admired. Who is out to destroy us for that very reason? The cunning, deceptive king of liars – satan.

Moms, satan doesn’t want you to know how lovely and glorious you were created. He wants you to believe every lie you’ve ever been told and for you to pass it right on to your children – especially your daughters. If he can devastate your heart and fill you with shame, there is pleasure and gloating in his being. Furthermore, if your daughter begins to believe his deceptions, as well, he can add one more victory to his list. You may be telling your daughter how wonderful she is, but are you showing her?

I am not telling you to convince yourself or your babies that you should have legs like Naomi Campbell and hair like a Pantene model. Redefine beauty in your home. Use the ultimate model of beauty and perfection, Jesus Christ. Grace, mercy, love, kindness, hospitality and gentleness are more beautiful than any magazine cover. Let us clothe ourselves with those things and embody loveliness from the inside out. Radiance does not come from a good apricot scrub. It comes from the eternal, unchangeable assurance that you were created in the image of Glory.

What labels are you still wearing around your neck like an albatross? What labels will you pass on to your daughter?

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