Becoming a Woman of Worship and Prayer {#MissionWomanhood}

 

What is worship?

www.lydiaglick.com #missionwomanhoodDefinition of “WORSHIP”, taken from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:

1. To adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration.

Thou shalt worship no other God. Exodus 34:14.

2. To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence.

3. To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission; as a lover.

We all worship something (or elevate the importance of some one or something, and hold it in high regard). We were created to worship, and it’s something that comes naturally to us. Most girls and women worship celebrities, beauty, relationships, expectations, ideals, ourselves, education, career, security, money, social status, fashion, boys & men, and even family to some degree. We begin to worship something when we set our attention on it often, and it begins to become the primary affection and focus of our lives.

The problem with placing too much importance in any of the above mentioned things is that they can never satisfy the deepest longings of your soul. Although many of these things are important and even wonderful, at some point every one of them will never fail to disappoint you, and let you down. Although they may give you temporary feelings of happiness, in and of themselves they will never bring you complete joy.

The only place you will find the kind of joy that stands the tests of time, difficult circumstances, change, and even persecution, is worshipping God.

Some things to think about:

  • Do you believe in God?
  • Do you have a relationship with God?
  • How can you worship a God you don’t know?
  • How can you know a God you never talk to?

If you believe in God, you will have a desire to know God. And as you learn to know God, you can’t help but worship him. When you continually talk to God (pray), you will begin to know Him more and more. And it will result in more intimate and powerful prayers and more beautiful and meaningful worship of Jesus.

Learning to worship and pray to God:

Becoming a woman of prayer and worship doesn’t mean you must become a nun, be the best and loudest singer at church on Sunday mornings, or say specific prayers over and over again. It simply requires a conscious effort to make both worship and prayer a part of your normal, everyday rhythms.

If you want to know God you need to talk to him. That’s called prayer. When you know more about God, you will be amazed by who He is, and what He’s done. Acknowledging those things is called worship.

Make worship and prayer part of everything. Start your day with prayer. End your day with prayer. And pray for everything in between. Worship God while you are lying in your bed, by singing a song right then and there, or bursting into song while you’re cleaning your room, washing the dishes or driving down the road with your family. You can even whistle a tune to Jesus while you’re grocery shopping!

Worship and prayer are as simple as whispering “Thank you, Jesus”, when you see a blessing He has given to you, or remember something He has done for you, and “God, please help me” when you need Him in any circumstance throughout the day or night.

Pray and worship alone, with your family, and with your friends. What if you don’t feel like it? What if it feels awkward? What if you don’t sound like a pastor, or worship leader? Pray and worship anyway! Just as anything else in life, it becomes more natural and less intimidating when we practice it often.

Step out and be the one who initiates prayer at home, when you’re with your friends, when you’re at school and even while you’re out in public places like the mall. Be known as the girl who prays! Be known as the woman who worships Jesus with every part of her life! Let worship and prayer become part of your identity.

Things that have helped me most, in learning how to worship and pray:

  • Reading the Psalms in my Bible.
  • Spending countless hours of time with friends in the prayer room who know how to pray and worship, and have taught me how to do the same, and studying the lives of those who worship and pray.
  • Using The Lord’s Prayer as a guide for my prayers. (As you say the Lord’s Prayer, pause after each portion and personalize it.)
  • Worshipping God through His Word. (Use passages in the Bible that talk about God, read those verses aloud and pray them back to God – adding your own worshipful words to them.
  • Using prayers in the Bible as a starting place for your own prayers. (Click here for a resource I use.)
  • Setting aside time in the day to worship and adore God, not asking Him for anything, simply meditating on who He is, and what He has done – and then thanking Him and praising Him.
  • Setting aside time in the day to pray and intercede for others, and keeping a prayer journal to help me remember who to pray for, and record answers to specific prayers.
  • Listening to praise and worship music.
  • Reading books about worship and prayer, and learning all I can about the subject.

You can tell what someone worships by the way they live their life and the things they talk about. You can tell who someone regularly talks to, by the words that come out of their mouth and their actions that follow. My desire for you daughter, is that you will be a worshipper of our beloved Jesus, and a woman who knows and talks to her God. And in turn that your worship and prayer overflow into every crevice of your life, making each moment a beautiful offering to Him, the One who is forever worthy of all your affection, who will always be faithful and true, and the One who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

 

Learn to Love God’s Word {#MissionWomanhood}

 

Dear daughter of mine,

There is one thing you can do that will make a more significant impact in your life as a woman than anything else in the world:

Read and learn to love God’s Word. There’s no greater treasure that’s been given to you than your Bible. It is God’s letter to you. When you read it you will begin to understand His indescribable love for you. It is God’s life manual for you. When you read His words, He will open the eyes of your heart to the perfect plan He has lovingly designed for your life.

If you spend time in church and around Christians you’ll hear much talk about reading and studying your Bible. It’s a large book so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about where to begin. Please don’t let the thousands of bible studies, reading methods, devotional books, online bibles, bible apps on your phone, audio bibles and every other imaginable bible resource keep you doing this simple, simple thing:

Pick up your Bible, open the pages and read it. Every. Single. Day. 

Why? God’s Word is the single most important thing that will sustain you through every minute, day, year and season of your life. His Word will give you light and comfort when you walk through dark valleys, sustain you in the hardest times, teach you what to do in every possible life circumstance, give you wisdom for the most complex situations imaginable, show you how to follow Jesus, and (most importantly) your bible will help you learn to know and love God.

As time goes on I know that you will have access to many wonderful resources that will help study your bible, and I encourage you to use them. But for now, I simply want to share with you five primary ways I’ve grown familiar with God’s word over the years. These are things that have helped me learn to love and know God’s word, and I know they will help you to do the same.

  • Follow a one-year reading plan for your Bible. You can purchase a “One Year Bible” which makes it very simple to read through your bible in a year’s time, or you can follow a printed plan and use the bible you already own. Either way, this is an excellent way to become familiar with God’s word, and it will help you develop the habit and discipline of reading it every day. Decide on a time that works well for you, and stick with it. Read your bible every day, and don’t feel guilty when you miss a day. Just start back up again, right where you left off.
  • Read through the Psalms and Proverbs monthly. This is my personal favorite! There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms and 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, so it is very simple to read through the entire book of Psalms and Proverbs every month. Here’s how it’s done: On the first day of the month, read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121. On the second day Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92 and 122 – and so on. When a month has thirty-one days, read the longest Psalm: chapter 119, on the 31st. And as for the book of Proverbs: read Proverbs 1 on the first day, 2 on the second day, and so on.
  • Write in your bible. As you read the Word, underline, highlight and/or circle words, verses and passages that stand out to you. If a question or revelation about something you’re reading comes to mind, make note of it in the margin of your bible. Take your bible with you to church and do the same thing while you’re following along your pastor’s teaching. Also be sure to write the date beside the main passage your pastor is preaching from, so that if you ever want to access the podcast of that sermon you can find it easily. As you continue to read through your Bible over the years, you will treasure the notes you left for yourself!
  • Pray before you read your bible. Here’s a simple prayer from John Piper that will help you prepare your heart as you read God’s word. You can write in the front of your bible to help you remember it:

Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive.
Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word.
Unite my heart to fear your name.
Satisfy me with your steadfast love.

  • Write down verses that are special to you. As you read through your bible on a regular basis you will come across verses that make an impression on your heart. When this happens, don’t let that verse fall to the wayside never to be remembered again. Do one of two things: Keep a journal where you write these special verses down, or keep a little box with index cards handy, and write each of these verses on a card (with the date), and put it in the box. Over the years, this special, personal collection of verses will become one of your greatest treasures, and you can pull it out and read through the verses any time you need encouragement.

Remember there are people in other areas of the world who don’t have the privilege of having a Bible. Never take reading it for granted. It is a precious gift in your hands. Don’t complain about not feeling, knowing or hearing God if you’re not willing to read His word. It may seem boring, ancient, and dry at first, but as you make time to read it, you will grow to understand that it is so much more than just words on a page. God’s word is alive and active and when you spend time in the pages, and meditate on the words inside, I promise it will change your life.

I love you,

Mama

~ Justina Dee

References:

John Piper’s Letter to a 13-Year Old Asking How to Go Deeper in Bible Study

Daily Bible Reading Plan via Desiring God & ESV.org

 

 

beYOUtiful {bathroom wall makeover}

beYOUtiful #lydiaglick #missionwomanhood

 

As I’m traveling this “journey to womanhood” with my daughters I decided to do a quick makeover on their bathroom wall. They spend a lot of time in that room, so it’s the perfect place to put up some important reminders for them from their mama!

I used things we already had in our crafting closet to make it, so it cost me nothing but a little time.

Supplies needed:

  • Scrapbook paper
  • White Annie Sloan chalk paint
  • Washi tape

Quotes used:

  • “I love you always” ~ Jesus
  • Be brave today
  • You are my sunshine
  • She believed she could, so she did
  • Hello, you are amazing!
  • beYOUtiful
  • Adventure awaits you!
  • I love you to the moon and back
  • Songbird spread your wings, fly and sing

I love to encourage my girls. And I hope this inspires you to cheer your kiddos on today! It’s a tough world out there, and they need our constant love and support.

~ Justina Dee

 

Seek God First {#missionwomanhood}

One Thing #lydiaglick #missionwomanhood

Daughters of mine,

Womanhood is a vast adventure and there are countless opinions and ideas about what it means to be a woman. I want to teach you some of the lessons I’ve learned and things I’ve come to understand. I’ve learned these lessons through watching women I admire and strive to emulate, through painful mistakes, misplaced hopes & dreams, and the school of life. Most of all I’ve learned them as a result of my relationship with Christ.

That is why we’re beginning our “40 Lessons in Womanhood” with this: SEEK GOD FIRST. It’s the most important thing you will do in your entire life. Everything else pales in comparison to the joy and fulfillment of knowing God.

When your deepest and primary desire is to know and see Jesus, the path for your life will fall into place. Knowing God doesn’t mean your circumstances will be easy, but a relationship with Him will result in a life that is meaningful, and brings about the beautiful and purposeful destiny that God designed for you.

As a daughter of God, you must decide that the one thing you will place ahead of anything else in your life is to seek after God and live in His presence. Of course we know that God is everywhere. And He promises that He is always with us. But to know His beauty and His matchless love in a tangible way, we must continually set our mind, heart and affections on God.

So, how does a girl go about seeking after God? Here are three ways to begin: (these three steps are modifications from a John Piper article referenced below.)

1. First, you must make a conscious choice to seek Him, and set your mind on Him – as you read your Bible, spend time with other people who reflect His character, and as you enjoy the beauty of His creation.

2. Next, you must avoid things that dull your sensitivity to hearing, seeing, understanding and knowing God. Start your morning with prayer, and during that time ask God to open your eyes and reveal himself to you. Continue with that heart as you go about your day. If there are things that cause you to feel distant from God, RUN from them!

3. Pride is a massive roadblock in our lives, and causes us to turn away from God instead of seeking after Him. When you feel yourself reaching a position of not needing or wanting God to be involved in any area of your life you can be sure you are not walking in humility. Ask God to change your heart.

In closing, here’s a quote that I love very much. Please carry this with you for the rest of your life:

The great promise to those who seek the Lord is that he will be found. “If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9). And when he is found, there is great reward. “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). God himself is our greatest reward. And when we have him, we have everything. Therefore, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” ~ John Piper

As your mother, my deepest longing is that you will seek after and know Jesus. There is no greater treasure to me, or measure of successful womanhood, than seeing you walk in the knowledge and fullness of His immeasurable love for you.

Verses to meditate on:

Chronicles 22:19a”Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God” 1 Chronicles 22:19a

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2

Related Song: 

Cory Asbury, My Beloved 

References: 

My main source of reference for this post is this incredible, beautifully written article: John Piper’s “What Does It Mean to Seek the Lord”. Please take time to read it, I know it will encourage you! 

Read more about the #MissionWomanhood series here

 

 

Five Ways to Pray for Adopted Children and Their Adoptive Siblings

Forever Sisters #lydiaglick

Forever Sisters

As everyone knows, adoption brings with it a multitude of changes to the pre-adoption rhythms of a home. Our family’s adoption story is still young, but I can say with confidence that we have experienced the power of a multitude of prayers on our behalf, and my husband and I see God at work in the hearts and lives of our children.

There are countless ways to pray for adoptive families and I feel it’s important to share at least a few practical things to begin praying for any children you know who are experiencing the transitions that take place during the initial stage of adoption, when your child is finally home.

If you have any resources or insight that would help others know how to pray for adoptive families, please feel free to share them in the comment section below!

Anastasia #lydiaglick

Anastasia

How to Pray for an Adopted Child:

1. That they would see and know the great hope and love of Jesus and choose to make Him the Lord of their life. Ephesians 1:17-19

2. That they would be healed from all wounds of their past and see their new identity  – not as an orphan but as the child of a forever family who is demonstrating a picture of our Heavenly Father’s love for them. And that they would understand the promises of a future filled with hope and purpose as a child of God. Romans 8:15-16

3. For grace & courage in the massive transition to an entirely new life, culture, family, friends, values, rules, language, church, school and relationships. Deuteronomy 31:6

4. That they would learn put their trust in God, that through His kindness and beautiful light, the barriers and walls would crumble and they would feel safe and unafraid to communicate their hurts, fears and pain (as well as dreams, desires and feelings) with their new family, teachers and mentors.  Psalm 36:7-9

5. That God would give them a new heart and a teachable spirit, and for new and healthy patterns to be established in their heart and mind.  Ezekiel 36:26-29

Alexa #lydiaglick

Alexa Kathryn

How to Pray for an Adoptive Sibling

1. That they would grow in their knowledge of the love of Jesus and gain deeper understanding of the infinite love and grace He has for them – in such great capacity to in turn extend His love and grace to their new sibling. Ephesians 3:16-19

2. That they would be confident in their identity and established place in the family and as a child of God – in spite of any turmoil, less time with parents or changes to the pre-adoption family and household routines. Ephesians 1:17-19

3. That they would stand firm on the rock of God’s word, for protection from the enemy, and rest in God’s faithfulness. Also that every moment of their day would be directed by Christ’s love and plan for their life. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

4. That God would give them insight and understanding of their new sibling’s scarred history, complex personality, God-given strengths and any weaknesses, so they will not simply endure the difficult days, but instead be triumphant in their opportunities to be a tangible reflection of Jesus to their new sibling. Phil. 1:9-11

5. Mature patience, an unwavering spirit and unconditional love for their new sibling, as well as wisdom to grasp the beauty of their missional and Christ-like role in embracing a new sibling who doesn’t yet fall into the “normal” role or picture our community and society portray for brothers and sisters. Colossians 1:9-12

~ Justina Dee

{Body Image} You’re Beautiful When You Lift Up Others

True Beauty | www.lydiaglick.com

Dear daughter, there’s something I want you to know and recognize when it comes to the subject of beauty. The most beautiful women I know are the ones who lift up and encourage the downtrodden around them. In addition, beautiful people are those who create, give and share beauty and love with the world. Beauty is so much more than a beautiful face, it is a beautiful life.

For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. ~ Sam Levenson

It’s so important to see the worth in others. Especially those people who most never notice, and who may not have the strength to see their own purpose and value. Your most difficult experiences in life will bring you to a place of understanding people who desperately need someone to simply care about them. It is in that place that your beauty will shine the brightest. Elisabeth Ross says “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” She’s right.

Not only is it important that you care for others, it is vital that you share the unique passions, art, ideas and vision that only YOU can to bring to the world around you. Creativity shatters obstacles and breaks down barriers. When people feel trapped in impossible places, it opens their prisons. It brings possibility and hope to bleak situations.

“God created us in His image, and He gave us an imagination with His imprint to create things for His glory!” – Alisa Hope Wagner. 

Dig up and nurture those talents deep inside of you! As you share the creative ideas God has placed within you, beauty will radiate from not only your soul, but from your actions and will spread its gifts to all who encounter them.

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.” Madeleine L’Engle

When we lift up others, creatively solve problems and dare to dream big, our perspective changes, our burdens become lighter, and our trivial problems are suddenly not so pressing. We begin to see a picture much bigger than our own tiny selves. And the result? Light pierces the darkness, others are strengthened and encouraged, and you are developing the atmosphere of Jesus who is our great example, and who did this better than anyone else in history.

So dear daughter of mine, fill yourself up with the beauty of Christ. Breathe it in. Look to Him every morning when you wake up. As you dwell in that source all day and every day, you will come to a place where you can see the world through His eyes, and share His radiance, love, light, and beauty everywhere you go. “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3, NIV)  

By sharing beauty and kindness you will receive favor and feel a satisfaction and fulfillment like no other.  Your beauty will shine like bright stars in the darkest night. And when you lay your head on your pillow at night, you can rest in the peace of Him who created you, and lovingly formed you for a beautiful purpose which is greater and more important than you can ever imagine. 

~ Justina Dee

This is number five of seven posts on self image I’m writing for my daughter. Click here to read one of my favorites! 

The Impact of One Teacher

One Room School House Teacher Mrs. Buchanan

One Room School House Teacher Mrs. Buchanan

Meet Mrs. Buchanan. She was my grandmother’s school teacher during the 1930’s & ’40’s, in a tiny one-room school-house on Best Road in Morgantown, PA.

The one-room schoolhouse on Best Road, where Mrs. Buchanan taught my grandmother

The one-room schoolhouse on Best Road, where Mrs. Buchanan taught my grandmother

If you’ve followed the series of blog posts I’m sharing about my Amish family, you’ve seen much mention of my amazing grandmother Lydia Esh. I’ve never met another person who influenced my life in such a powerful way when it comes to bringing joy and teamwork to everyday life. Who were the people who helped shape my grandmother’s character and gifts? Of course there were her parents, Emanuel and Fannie Stoltzfus, (known to me as “Daudy & Mummy Stoltzfus”). But there was also someone else: her teacher Mrs. Buchanan. She was a woman of great influence during my Grandma’s childhood, and Grandma often spoke of her.

Students of Mrs. Buchanan's - My grandmother is in the back row

Students of Mrs. Buchanan’s – My grandmother is in the back row

Grandma, her sister Sarah, her brother Sam & siblings were the only Old-Order Amish children who attended Mrs. Buchanan’s classroom during those years. Most of the other students were from Conestoga Mennonite Church.

My grandma Lydia and her brother, who I call "Uncle Sam"

My grandma Lydia and her brother, who I call “Uncle Sam” (At the school on Best Road)

Amish children attend a one room schoolhouse from 1st through 8th grade. I would argue that because of her incredible teacher, my grandma received more education in her 8 years of schooling than most people procure in 12 years of a typical school experience.

DSC01525

Mrs. Buchanan instilled in my grandmother a love of learning and adventure. She sparked in her a deep appreciation of poetry, history, literature and song, and taught her the value of teamwork. My grandmother gave these priceless gift to my mother. My mother joyfully passed them on to me, and now I have the delight of sharing these same gifts with my daughter.

Grandma Lydia's Schoolwork

Grandma Lydia’s Schoolwork

Grandma Lydia's Schoolwork

There’s a fun little bunny trail of this story: Grandma’s middle initial was “S” for Stoltzfus. (Many Amish children had the maiden name of their mother as their middle name.) Apparently Grandma wanted a different middle name, so she signed some of her elementary school work with “Lydia Susie Stoltzfus”.

DSC01527-1

The most significant memory my mother has of Mrs. Buchanan’s effect on my Grandma’s day-to-day parenting is the memory of Grandma reciting poems she learned in school (like the Owl & the Pussycat) while combing and braiding her hair when she was a little Amish girl.

My mother's first grade school picture

My mother’s first grade school picture

Amazingly, Mrs. Buchanan served as substitute teacher for my mother when she attended “California School”, another one-room schoolhouse which still stands on California road in Morgantown, PA. My mother especially loved the story-books Mrs. Buchanan read to her students.

Students at California School, the one room schoolhouse on California Road in Morgantown, PA

Students at California School, the one room schoolhouse on California Road in Morgantown, PA

From time to time (especially when we read and recite poetry together) I think of the stories my grandma and mother shared of Mrs. Buchanan. I don’t want the story to die, and so I share it with my daughter. More importantly, I strive to cultivate a deep love and passion for learning in her – a gift now passed down to a fourth generation of students thanks to one incredible teacher many years ago. I believe Mrs. Buchanan’s influence makes me a better mother and home school teacher today.

My mother and my daughter

My beautiful mother and daughter

What a powerful picture of the impact one teacher can have on future generations! The lesson to me is this: If a one-room school-house teacher in a tiny town in Lancaster County, PA can make such an imprint, then certainly we all have the power to sow seeds of values and joy into the children in our lives – which will grow, spread like vines, and blossom on the pages of future history.

~ Justina Dee

This is number 18 in my “31 Lessons I Learned From My Amish Family” blogging series. Click here to read more! 

 

 

 

 

Body Image: Embracing Your Imperfections

You're perfect in your imperfections." Body Image Series |LydiaGlick.com

To be comfortable in your own skin –

this is a destination I want so much for you to reach. It is the place in womanhood when you will wake and walk and sleep, and never think for one second that the body that is housing your soul is not beautiful or capable enough for the journey in front of you.

It is the day you understand what it means to embrace your physical flaws, knowing that your imperfections, your scars, your pain and your inadequacies are all opportunities for grace, healing and redemption to be known in your life, your body and in your heart – and then in turn you will be equipped to extend life and love to those around you.

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty. ― Steve Maraboli

Deep and meaningful radiance flows from a woman who embraces the person God created her to be. This kind of beauty draws people near you instead of intimidating and pushing them away. It creates a space to bless others, and leave an impression of loveliness that will forever be imprinted on their hearts.

Your message, your ministry, your influence is built from your flaws. People relate to HUMANITY…not perfection.” ― Mandy Hale

Dear daughter of mine, may the song of your life continue to be a delicate melody that grows stronger and more meaningful with every day. And may you soon understand that those things which you perceive as less than perfect, are the very notes that make your life’s song an unforgettable work of beauty that lingers in the heart of all who behold it.

~ Justina Dee

Thank you for visiting my blog! This is one of the posts in a series I’m writing for my tween daughter. You can read more here. 

Body Image: Why Eternal Perspective Matters

...the Lord looks at the heart

Twenty years ago there was a seventeen year old girl who frequently attended the aerobics classes  I taught at a small gym in Tomball, Texas. She wasn’t the kind of girl you would ever see on the cover of a fashion magazine. As a trainer who’s taught classes at gyms for many years, I regularly see women and girls whose bodies and faces are perfect by our cultural standards. The girl I’m talking about here wasn’t the prettiest one in the hundreds of those who took my classes over a long period of time. I’ve long forgotten many people, but SHE stood out in the sea of faces, and I remember her to this day because of her ready smile, her gentle confidence and deep sincerity, the genuine interest she took in the lives of those around her, and most of all – the true LOVE and JOY that she radiated in her world. She was truly beautiful. 

One day just like any other, she took my aerobics class. And the next day I learned the horrible news that she was killed in a car crash after being hit by a drunk driver. This life on earth is fragile gift. A shimmering vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow. And even though this girl’s life on earth  tragically and abruptly ended, her beauty has not faded, but instead it lives on. 

So what does any of this have to do with a healthy body image? I believe it has EVERYTHING to do with the way we perceive beauty. You see, our society’s definition of beauty is temporary. It’s something that fades with time, and in some circumstances it is snatched away in an instant. Time wrinkles perfect skin, and burns bring scars. The strength and vitality of a “perfect” body fade with the years, and horrific accidents can break our nervous system causing a beautifully functioning body to become useless and paralyzed in an accident. You could be named the world’s most beautiful woman, and be disfigured by tragedy the next. The kind of beauty we see around ourselves from day to day us is temporary. 

But here’s something that never changes: The Word of God. And that’s why His definition of beauty is the only one that is trustworthy and true. It’s the standard of beauty we should set for ourselves, and it should dictate the way we perceive others.

You see, God’s Word says that “people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And it tells us “the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” It’s important to understand beauty through the lens of eternity.

What is eternity? I love Jenn Arman’s explanation on Project Inspired. 

An eternal perspective is one that views a much larger picture than the one we see in our time-oriented lives. Having an eternal perspective helps us to focus on things that transcend time like God, grace, mercy, love, faith and hope, instead of losing ourselves in our circumstances. An eternal perspective also assures us that God has a reason for the things He does, the things He allows and the answers He gives, even if we never understand the reason in our “time.”

True beauty is defined by what is inside. An “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” Earthly charm and beauty fade away, but a woman who loves and worships Jesus as the Lord of her life will be highly esteemed and praised! True beauty not only stands the test of time, but the test of eternity. It will never, ever fade away. It’s an eternal legacy.

Dear daughter of mine, no matter what this crazy, upside-down and messed-up world tells you – no matter what the magazine covers & commercials say to you – no matter what famous Tumblr girls, popular YouTube channelers or your Instagram stream shows you – no matter what a boy tries to whisper in your ear or your so called friends may try to convince you of, the only thing that matters is what God says about you. And no matter what anyone tries to tell you, know this: as a daughter of the King you can stand firm on the truth and firm foundation of His Word. You are beautiful, you are loved,  you are perfectly and wonderfully made, you are of great worth and value, and God has designed an incredible plan for your life. 

~ Justina Dee

This is the third of seven posts I’m sharing with my eleven year old daughter who is navigating the rocky waters of self esteem. You can find the first post here: 10 Things That Make You My Beautiful Girl 

Additional resources:

Focus On the Family post: What the Bible Says About Beauty and Appearance 

Bible Scriptures Referenced in Post: 1 Samuel 16:7, 2 Corinthians 4:181 Peter 3:3-4, Proverbs 31:30

10 Things That Make You My Beautiful Girl {the next five}

As a mother learning to help her daughter navigate the treacherous waters of body image, I am learning one of the most valuable things that I can do is help her understand the true definition of beauty by identifying teaching, encouraging and reminding her on a daily basis of things about her that are beautiful – and unrelated to weight, size, and our warped and idiotic (I know it’s a strong word, but it’s true) cultural ideals of beauty. I want my daughter to understand and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that even if she loses all that this world shallowly defines as beautiful, her inner beauty will still remain, and shine clear and bright in a dark world. Last week I began a seven-week series on body image, by writing about five things that make my daughter beautiful, and this week I am sharing five more. If you have a daughter, I encourage you to make a list of at least ten things that make her your beautiful girl and read it to her. I know she will be lifted up and encouraged, as my daughter has been!

6. Your identity

A person’s name is a way we identify someone. When Daddy and I found out you were a girl, we spend countless hours pouring through baby name books, looking for the perfect one for you. We wrote many lists of names we both agreed were beautiful, then carefully researched the meanings. Then (together) we prayerfully decided on the name we gave you on that unforgettable day you were born. Amazingly, the meaning of your name has proven itself to be a true representation of your remarkable and strong character and personality! Your identity comes not only from your name, but from the story, personality, gifts, talents, passions, hopes, dreams, family, friends and experiences (both the good ones and the difficult) that make you, YOU. Your personal identity is completely unique, 100% original and beautiful in every way, and I am so thankful that I have been given the privilege of seeing your identity and story grow and unfold into something more amazing than I could have ever imagined!

7. Your strength

I’ll always remember the way your tiny yet very strong fingers wrapped around mine when you were a baby, and you squeezed with all your might. And I remember the day you decided you wanted to roll over, and you practiced relentlessly until you accomplished the amazing feat. Even when I was pregnant, I could feel that you held an incredible sense of determination. I’ve seen what happens when you set your mind to something, and your tenacity and “stick-to-itivness” inspire me every single day. From pushups to a difficult math problem. From teaching your dog a new trick and not quitting till she gets it right, to practicing a dance routine until you can perform it perfectly. From learning a new volleyball skill with Daddy to following through with a personal decision you made about anything from eating healthy food to keeping your room clean, your determination to finish the task you’ve started is a rare and valuable quality. Keep on working hard, flexing the muscles in your spirit, body and brain, and growing stronger ever day. Your strength is beautiful and powerful, and will help you accomplish great things.

8. Your hands and feet

I’ve always loved these words:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 NIV

This verse reminds me of YOUR beautiful hands and feet. I know that you want to travel to foreign countries and share the Gospel someday, but let me tell you a little something about you that is happening at this time in your life. I’ve seen your feet run towards those who need help. I’ve seen them walk into places and lives void of the Gospel and share the love of Jesus with people who may never have heard of Him before, as you served refugees and orphans. I’ve watched your feet walk beside a little one, holding their hand and helping them stay safe along the street. I’ve seen those beautiful feet of yours walk towards a person who is sad, so that you can give them a hug. I love the way your feet can’t stay still when you hear music you love. Those feet of yours have been dancing since you were a tiny girl – bringing joy everywhere you go. I’ve seen you dance in praise when no one but me is watching and it makes (happy) tears roll down my cheeks. I know God loves watching you too. I love the way you kick off your shoes and run barefoot every minute you can. And your hands! They are incredible! They care for others, they create, they make music, they draw, dance, hold books while you read, they write, they help – I could go on and on and on. Your hands and feet are perfect, and absolutely beautiful.

9. Your knowledge and love of learning One of the things I love most about you is your unstoppable desire and quest for knowledge. When you want to learn about something new you will research it for hours on end. It’s exhausting for me to even think about it! I love when you gain new insight and understanding on a matter and the light bulb goes off over your head. I’m in awe of the way math comes so easily to you. How quickly you learn foreign languages, and when something interests you, you give yourself no rest set until you’ve learned more about it. Your intelligence, knowledge and love of learning is an incredible gift, and it is beautiful.

10. Your sense of adventure If we lived in the days of pioneers, you would be on the wagons rolling west. If there was an uncharted mountain looming in front of you, you’d want to climb it. If someone was in danger, you are the girl who wouldn’t stand on from the sidelines wringing your hands as you watch, but instead you would bravely run to help.  Your wonder & excitement in not only the big things but tiny treasures like hummingbirds and butterflies are a joy to see. Always keep your sense of adventure. Never lose your wonder. They are beautiful.

Blessings to you my friend, and to your daughters. Thank you for taking the time to visit my little spot on the web. May each of us understand more of what it means to be truly beautiful. ~ Justina Dee

Related post: 10 Things That Make You My Beautiful Girl {The First Five}. Next week’s Healthy Monday post: “Body Image: Why Eternal Perspective Matters”.  Also coming soon: How Your Unique Creativity & Talents Make You Beautiful