“Don’t be concerned with your outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to God.”
1 Peter 3:3-4
This verse lends itself to women. We know that because it speaks of fancy hairstyles, jewelry and clothes, the essence of what we assume women to be. But what is beauty? Is it not these things? According to the verse above, beauty is inward. It’s the position of our heart and soul. Beauty is a soul that is “gentle and quiet,” or a soul that is at peace, not striving. Quiet doesn’t mean a woman has no voice, but rather that she exercises restrain on when to use it. She knows who she is and WHOSE she is! She is confident and comfortable in her skin. Beauty flows from the inside out and exudes the Glory of God. I’m sure we can all say we know or have met a woman like this. Her presence draws you in; you want to be around her. Unfortunately, these types of woman are few and far between. I imagine Eve before the fall, radiating in all her beauty, stripped down, completely bare physically, spiritually and emotionally! That leads me to a thought. Beauty is not a putting “on”, but rather a taking “off “. It’s not the putting on of make-up, clothing, or jewelry that make us beautiful, but baring our true self, being vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong! There is nothing wrong with makeup and wanting to look good. We enjoy that as women! But somehow along the way, we as a society have put so much emphasis on our outer appearance, that it is beginning to strip our souls of who we were truly created to be, and it’s affecting our daughters and the generations to come that are looking to the media and the world to define who they are suppose to be.
We struggle with our self-worth. We ask ourselves “Am I beautiful?” The world has devalued beauty, sexualized and perverted it. We have traded what God created beauty to be for some counterfeit illusion handed down to us from the world. If everything in the natural realm speaks of the spiritual realm, then look at nature. Nature is Beautiful! I for one, love sunsets. To me they are breathtakingly beautiful. What about snow covered mountains in winter or fresh blooming flowers at the onset of spring? God put all of that here for us to enjoy, to take in and breathe the beauty all around. Nature just is! It functions as it was created. We as woman bear the feminine heart of God. Woman is beauty, yet we are striving to bear an image of a beauty we have allowed the world to define; a perfect figure, the right clothing, make up, etc. But if we can just BE, not striving, but truly be at peace, then we can be breathed in like nature. We as woman would draw others to the God in us. We would be pleasant, enjoyable and desirable to be around.
Now what does this have to do with Covenant Friendship? Let me get personal and vulnerable with you . I, Vanessa, struggle from time to time with my skin. I have always disliked my skin. A few years ago, I started to develop hyper pigmentation, dark spots on my skin. I became insecure and felt the need to always wear make-up, and most times did not want to show my face. I opened up to my sister about my struggle and she immediately took it on as her own. She began to write out scriptures for me and told me to speak them over myself and she spoke them with me, as well. One of the scriptures is from Song of Solomon 4:7, “You are all together beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.” The crazy thing is, God put that scripture on both of our hearts earlier this year. We would recite this scripture to each other almost daily, as if we knew He had a bigger reason because let’s face it, He usually does! It’s truly amazing how God began taking us first through helping each other with inward struggles, then to the outward. We felt God telling us to remind each other how beautiful we were. It is still hard for us to accept for ourselves, although we both truly know how beautiful the other is. So, we began reminding and confessing to the other how beautiful and stunning our sister is. Little did we know what God was doing through us for the other. This is why we need each other! This is what Covenant Friendship does – it goes above and beyond casual friendship. Covenant is loyal and committed in the big and little. Covenant covers, protects and it carries the burdens of our sister.
My sister chose to do what most wouldn’t. She decided to not wear make up until I was comfortable without wearing any, no matter how long it took! She didn’t just pray for me, give me scriptures and send me on my way. She got in this with me. I have never had anyone do for me what she has done and continues to do. It has been about a month since she decided to do this, and everyday it becomes easier for me. It took me a few weeks for me to finally go without make up in front of her. I still struggled. I could still see the flaws and blemishes, but she continues to remind me that she doesn’t see what I do. One particular day that I decided not to wear make-up, I got up to use the restroom and as I washed my hands, I looked up and the first thing I noticed were the flaws. I came out of the restroom and my sister could tell something was wrong. I opened up and told her I was struggling. Time and time again she speaks the truth to me in love, encourages me and gets me right back to how I should see myself. Today, I can say that I am definitely becoming more and more comfortable with my skin. I remind myself that my outward appearance doesn’t define my beauty, but that my inward reflects on the outside, however I AM beautiful on the outside and that’s how our Father wants us to feel!!
We began with the question, what is beauty? When beauty flows from the inside, it reflects on the outside. We often reverse that and rely on looking beautiful on the outside first and forget to nurture the inward root. Beauty is not merely outward appearances, but a confidence and sureness of oneself that protrudes radiance, joy, peace, love and invitation. When you have covenant, you are covered and loved enough to face your fears and know you are not in them alone. I hope and pray that by my being vulnerable, it will encourage anyone who struggles with this problem to step back and look at what our Father says about us. Remember, “You are all together beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.”
Genesis 12:11 – “As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to (INSERT YOUR NAME), “I know what a beautiful woman you are.”
Genesis 24:16 – “The women, (INSERT YOUR NAME) was very beautiful.”
Esther 1:11 – “In order to display (ONSERT YOUR NAME) beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at.”
Job 42:15 – “Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as (INSERT YOUR NAME)”
Psalm 45:11 – “Let the King be enthralled by your beauty, (INSERT YOUR NAME), honor him, for He is your lord.”
Psalm 50:2 – “From Zion, (INSERT YOUR NAME), is perfect in beauty, God shines forth.”
Song of Solomon 1:8 – “If you do not know, O most beautiful (INSERT YOUR NAME)
Song of Solomon 1:15 – “How beautiful you are my darling (INSERT YOUR NAME), Oh how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves”
Song of Solomon 2:10 – “Arise my darling, my beautiful (INSERT YOUR NAME) and come with me.”
Song of Solomon 4:1 – “How beautiful you are my darling (INSERT YOUR NAME), Oh how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves”
Song of Solomon 5:9 – “How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful (INSERT YOUR NAME)”
Song of Solomon 6:4 – “You are beautiful my darling, as (INSERT YOUR NAME), lovely as Jerusalem. Majestic as troops with banners, turn your eyes from me. They overwhelm me.”
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