Most of the time when people email or direct message me a question regarding faith or my own personal testimony, I have answers that come easy. It wasn’t until recently when I was questioned by a middle-school girl, after speaking at her church youth group, that I felt extremely unqualified and incapable of answering questions surrounding faith. Here I thought I would pour an enormous amount of wisdom onto her life, but she stumped me.

She asked everything from, “How do you forgive yourself when you really screw up?” to “How did you stop turning to boys for love?” to “Why am I ugly? And “Why couldn’t God have made us all perfectly gorgeous?”

A fleeting prayer I thought as she finished muttering her final question… Lord, help me to speak. You know what she needs to hear. This is not what I expected.

Of course just about anyone’s first response to a young, middle-school girl who’s in the most awkward phase of her life is going to be “Oh stop, you’re not ugly! You’re gorgeous!” and I’m pretty sure that’s the first thing that came out of my mouth. I said a bunch of other stuff, but nothing as profound as what I would tell her today, now that I’ve had weeks to reflect on it.

I wish I could tell her, and all young girls, that…

Beauty isn’t about having straight teeth, luscious hair, or a clear complexion.

Beauty isn’t about being a size 2 or having the perfect curves.

Beauty isn’t what the covers of magazines tell you it is.

I know it seems like those things are beauty, but as I mature and as my relationship with Christ deepens, the easier it is for me to see beauty and the more often I recognize it.

We need to be praying for eyes that see what He sees; not only in others, but in ourselves too.

There’s beauty in nature, beauty in the imperfections, beauty in the scars and stretch marks left from children.

It’s in the way we treat others, speak, and carry ourselves.

Beauty is deeper than our eyes can see.

Have you ever met someone who wasn’t model-status, but you were captivated by them simply because of their contagious joy, laughter, or kind soul? 

It simply comes down to what’s in our hearts.

And naturally, what’s inside (our heart and our thoughts) will flow out from our mouths.

So if you’re talking down to yourself or about somebody else, that’s proof you need to check your heart. 

While looking into the eyes of this impressionable girl as I declared her beautiful and told her to go confidently, praising The Lord for how beautifully He created her, I felt a twinge of guilt burning within my soul. A conviction that I could do better. That I, too, need to quit picking myself apart. I decided to be proactive, diving into scripture, and memorize 4 verses.

4 Verses to Memorize Regarding Beauty

  1. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. -Psalm 139:14 Take a look around at everything which comes from God. He makes things with such intricate detail and precision. Like a snowflake, every person is unique; no two are the same. When you look in the mirror, He wants you to know full well that you are wonderful because you are part of His works! This verse is a good one to tape onto your mirror.
  2. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 We all know that beauty fades with age, so if you are more concerned with your looks than anything else, you’ll be quite bitter when cellulite and wrinkles make their appearance. God wants us to be most concerned with Him! Fearing Him means to adore and be in awe of Him. When we fear Him and are passionate about Him above all else, we don’t get so caught up in the fusses of aging.
  3. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. 1 Timothy 4:8 I think it’s pretty clear to everyone how much I love working out and believe it should be a priority. Not only does physical exercise do so much good for our heart, bones, and muscles, but it’s also one place where I’m often able to worship God through it. However, I know that isn’t the case for everyone. Many people are swearing throughout their whole workout 😉 ha! I do believe we need to be cautious in placing too much value on our workouts because at the end of it all, if you spent more time in the gym than you did talking with Jesus…man, I don’t know how else to say this, but you missed out.
  4. But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7 I’ve said this before: while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look our best, we need to make sure it’s in balance. God sees our hearts; our integrity, patience, kindness, honesty, selflessness, and hard-work. He doesn’t judge us if we don’t have all of the latest trendy clothes or if we go 5 days without washing our hair. I know I’m not the only one! He just wants to see us being beautiful in the way that He defines beauty.

This post has been heavy on my heart all weekend and I’m praying that I’ll feel lighter by sharing it. I so badly want those 4 verses to stick with you. I can only imagine a world where all people feel confident and beautiful because of Christ. I think I’m describing a slice of heaven. 🙂 I just want every girl out there to know that no matter how thin, thick, muscular, lanky, short, bony, tall, dis-proportioned, thigh gap, or not….We are God’s creation and He makes no mistakes.

I’m jumping on board with Dove and Aerie and all of the other brands who keep it real by promoting photos that have not been retouched for their advertising. These photos taken by my friend Lauren have not been retouched.

I’ve teamed up with Albion Fit, Raising Wild Swim, and Lime Ricki to give away 3 suits! PS. You don’t have to choose the same ones I’m wearing.

The giveaways will be happening over here on my Instagram. Starting tonight 😉

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Red suit: Albion Fit

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Neutral suit: Raising Wild Swim

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High-waisted suit: Lime Ricki

Since you actually read this whole post to hear what’s on my heart and mind tonight,  I want to reward your support and efforts by giving you an advantage when it comes to winning one of these giveaways. As they appear on Instagram, follow the rules within the post, but also comment “Blog Reader Perks” + your favorite emoji and I’ll throw your name in the drawing 5 more times!

You are absolutely wonderful and beautiful and I pray you’ll believe that in Jesus’ name tonight.

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6 comments

Reply

Manda,

Thank you for this. The last verse hit home for me. I have to remind myself constantly that God made me this way for a reason. I’may currently 25 and still feel discouraged everyday when I look in the mirror because of a blemish, or my hair isn’t just so, or my workouts aren’t working as effectively on my body as I thought they would. I tear myself apart emotionally quite often when I look in the mirror. I have since I was the same age in the girl that reached out to you. When I was in high school, my mom explained to me that I had a beautiful heart and that makes me even more physically beautiful because it shines on the outside. To this day, I still repeat what she said that me on especially hard days. Yesterday was one of those days so thank you for writing about what I exactly needed to read.

Reply

Carrie,

I’m so glad you read this post and felt uplifted by it. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart. I am 24 years old and I bet there’s not many girls our age who don’t, at least at times, struggle still with the same things you and I do. Something you may want to try that I do is put sticky notes of positive affirmations to myself all around the mirror I use most often to get ready in. 🙂 XO

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Hello Manda,
As you leave the 1st grade classroom I am leaving my alternative school and heading to first grade. I am curious how you handled creating a classroom library? I’m freaking out about having to create one and curious how you handled that 🙂

Thanks!

Reply

Madison,

Yes, yes! The classroom library is SO important, especially in 1st grade. Luckily, my school provided the majority of the books to start my library, but I used a small stipend of money to buy books in bulk. You should definitely utilize garage sales this summer and check out Better World Books if you have one of those near you. My kids LOVED “Pete the Cat” books and “Elephant and Piggie” books! I wish I could send them to you, but I gave most of my books to another first-year teacher and kept some for my own children someday. Best of luck to you! XO

Reply

This is so beautiful! I love it. Thank you for writing!

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