Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Want for Julia

Backstage with Julia at her ballet recital on Mother’s Day, I was taken with her and her friends.  They are growing up.  Even just last year, the once-a-year make up still looked like a little girl playing dress up.  This year, well, I began to see what’s waiting around the bend of just a few more years.   Giddy with lipstick and eyeshadow, I saw lingering looks in the mirror and second, third glances.  And I know she saw what I saw~  the appearance of a young lady.  And she lives in my house.  And that makes me responsible for planting some big thoughts within her.

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”   ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

There is no need for me to say a whole lot because there have been some amazing books/posts/articles written on the subject ~this one being one of my favorites by Jeff Lawrence, a friend of a friend~ especially the lovely paragraph at the end to his daughter.  However, my thoughts are resting on how often I comment on her physical traits versus her inward substance and what I am modeling/communicating to her in regards to my own appearance.

“The greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but found by the heart."

Mrs. Summey was in town over the weekend and one cannot spend time with this woman without having your whole pot of thoughts stirred up ~ in the best kind of way.  She knows when to challenge you when you are simply talking and making conversation.  There is no shame or guilt in her counsel. Perfectly placed, each exhortation is lined with love, wisdom and grace.   This physical beauty topic seemed to pop in and out of our times together over the weekend.  Her words were simple but she told me how her mother would remind her time and again that, “Pretty is as pretty does.”    I think we all remind our children of this in different ways, but how often?  Do I do it as often as I comment on their appearance?  What are they hearing me say most often?

"It's beauty that captures your attention; personality which captures your heart.”

As sheltered as Julia is at 10 years old, she is inundated with images of what our world values in women.  Even the Sunday paper ads are covered with faces that exude attitude and sensuality.  There are images plastered all over town that she sees on a daily basis so why wouldn’t the importance of the loveliness she can carry within be something I stress on a daily basis?  This is worth planning.  This is worth thinking through.  I should come up with some things I can say as she comes and asks how she looks, or if what she has on looks okay, or if I like her hair?  Or when she has done something sacrificial for her brother or for a friend or when she responds well when Jeff or I have to tell her “no” to something.  Do I comment on her heart as often as I do her physical traits or the outfit she chose?

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Another theme that ran through conversations with Mrs. Summey was modeling.  What am I modeling to my children in regards to my outward appearance?  Do they see me spending gobs of time in front of the mirror?  Exercising excessively?  Primping constantly?  Complaining about this trait or that one?  What about when someone shows up at the door and my face or hair is not “ready” for company?  How do I respond?  I know some of this is just normal but I need to be keenly aware of the seeds I am planting into the heart of my children.  Especially my daughter.

The quotes interspersed are just some I admire~ not necessarily the people but their thoughts on this thing called beauty.  People from all walks of life realize it and understand the depth of it.  Whether they recognize it or not, God made it and we really can’t see beauty without His revelation of it.  And only His Presence enhances it.

And so from the Truth....
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
 but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

Yes, our physical beauty evaporates, but we have the invitation for our fear of the Lord to grow and deepen.  Here is the deepest beauty.  This is what we should model.  This is what we want.  This is what we want for our girls.

And this is praise worthy.

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