“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
True beauty is when our hearts reflect who God is in us. Recently, God has been working in me specifically on the topic of beauty. He revealed to me that I have been chasing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. He revealed to me that deep down inside I felt ugly, too flawed to be loved, scarred, rejected and unworthy. I did not know this about myself.
Today, I relinquished my Mrs. Oregon International title. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that pageants can offer women an amazing opportunity and platform to spread the love of Jesus and elevate their works in a cause they believe in. However, just like anything else in life, you can only be truly successful at something (and help build the Kingdom) if your heart is in the right place. Mine has not been in the right place for many years when it comes to pageantry and beauty. You see, in the very core of who I have been, I realized that I was using pageants as a way to make myself feel beautiful, accepted and worthy. I was so wrong. The root of what I believed beauty to be was warped. Yes, I am a Godly woman going through this struggle and it hasn’t been fun. It’s been painful and messy at best. I was working hard to get rid of my broad shoulders before the pageant, but in reality I should have been proud of these broad shoulders of mine. I get these shoulders of mine from my grandmother and mother, who are both amazing women who have worked hard to raise beautiful families and who set aside EVERYTHING to be that mother for their families. Both of these women worked hard for the people they love and I am PROUD to have been passed down their broad shoulders. I love looking at my mom’s hands because they are beautiful and show years of work, she doesn’t know that, but I secretly have always adored my mom’s little hands because they worked so hard for my sister and I. Well, her beautiful hands are connected to her beautiful shoulders. A week ago I couldn’t look at my broad shoulders and embrace them, but this morning I did.
And do you see that scar on my stomach? That’s not a scar from a c-section, that’s a scar from a young and scared girl in her early 20’s, who had just had a ruptured cyst and lost a baby. I have been embarrassed of that scar all of my adult years because I was unmarried and pregnant when I got it. I struggled with that overwhelming sense of loss at a young age and I didn’t understand it. I was so young and felt so alone. Today, I am proud of this scar. It’s a scar from a battle of ruptured cysts that I have had my whole life. I have learned so much about life because of it. I have been both the scared, unmarried, 20-something-year-old experiencing pregnancy loss and the scared, married, 30-something-year-old experiencing pregnancy loss.
Beauty is skin-deep and it radiates flaws that we carry. You see, our flaws are not mistakes, shameful or rejected. Our flaws are beautiful, spotless, and accepted by the One who took it all for us on the cross. Our flaws should be celebrated and embraced. I will never fit into what society calls beautiful, and that’s okay. I am my own beautiful.
The past two years have been messy for me, but I’m so thankful to have a God who loves me in all of my mess, and for a husband who thinks I’m beautiful no matter what I’m wearing or if my eyebrows are crazy patches of hair!
I’m going to stop chasing what the world calls beautiful and start loving what’s already beautiful about me; my scars, my broad shoulders, my eye glasses for days, my messed up eyebrows that I can never fix right….. I’m chasing more of God and less of me. Then and only then could I ever participate in something like a beauty pageant. We can’t accept beauty until we know the true beauty we hold inside of ourselves!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16.