In honor of my mom and Thanksgiving.
There is a significant memory I have between you and I—one where I woke up “really early” and walked out to the dining room to find you reading your Bible. You offered to have devotions with me, so I went and grabbed my own Bible and you taught me verse by verse John 1:1-3. Every time I read that passage, I think of that morning.
One of the things I appreciate the most about you is your desire to be a woman after God’s own heart. Which, in that case, leads to another thing I appreciate about you: you allow yourself to be on display for me, for the kids, and for the rest of the world that God brings your way.
Eventually, you’ve raised us to become God-fearing children and to develop wise thoughts on our own.
And so, hopefully, these are some of my own godly and wise thoughts. This is for you.
To the moms who think they’ve still “got-it”…
Dear, sweet mother(s),
You have done so much for us, and I don’t think we compliment you and give thanks enough. You’ve done your job and we’ve done ours from the very beginning:
You gave birth to us, we cried.
You fed us, we slept.
You cleaned our dirty diapers, we giggled.
You’ve done our laundry, we’ve worn it.
You’ve washed our dishes, and we’ve eaten from them.
You’ve swept, and we’ve cheered you on.
When you’ve raised us to not just cheer you on, but to do our own chores and to face the consequences of our grievous mistakes, we didn’t stand there in shock – we were spanked into action. You have been honest with me, telling me if my haircut looks bad or not, and as I’ve grown up, you have become a confidante, encouraging me and aiding me when I’ve been so confused by the world around me. You have shared your past experiences—good and bad. You’ve been the brunt of teases and you’ve teased us back—and then we’ve all been shocked by how much funnier you are than us. You’ve been a comfort during times of broken heart, and the one who has held me accountable.
So through all these years, how do I see you? Well I’ll tell you.
You have exemplified yourself as a practical, wise, playful, loving, and, ultimately, humble woman. A jewel.
You’ve become the “older woman” God called you to be in Titus 2 (v. 3-5).
It’s sad, but a reality, that the world and our fleshly desires blind us. My generation is known to be called self-seeking, lazy and technological. We’ve let sin have its destructive way. We start to believe that we should have someone sacrifice their time, skills and energy for our own needs and wants. However, for those who have raised their arrows well, we do remember that you are one huge blessing that we do not deserve. And as your sister in Christ, I am called to encourage and aid you—however I realize that at times, I do not fulfill that duty well enough.
Which brings me to a great concern I have.
As an ignorant child, I received all that you taught me with the belief that you had already overcome all of the world’s stabs. However, growing up, it slowly dawned on me that you still received bruises inwardly. Eventually, you showed me that, even though people take on a more mature-looking face and body, it doesn’t mean their outward cover reflected their spiritual life. And in the last few years, I’ve seen you overhear the gossip, the nasty facial expressions, the backs turned on you—but even more recently, I’ve discovered that there are two great temptations so subtle, so alluring, and so deceitful, that many women—young and old—fall prey.
Beauty and charm.
There have been times I’ve heard older women say, “Yeah, my daughter wanted me to find a sexy outfit, so I bought this…”
Many times, I overhear a mom encouraging another mom, proclaiming, “You should definitely buy [make-up product after make-up product] so you can cover those bags under your eyes, and [make-up product] so you can add some color to your cheeks and look hot. Your husband will definitely appreciate you every single day.”
The most horrific of them all, though, (and the one I’m hearing way too often), is a daughter tell her mother, “Mom, take a picture with me!” And her mother replies, “No, I can’t now. I don’t have any make-up on.”
So I know, if you’ve read this far, you’re sitting back in your chair wondering what’s wrong with that sentence—only because you and I have both said it. So let me just remind us both of a verse that we’ve memorized since the start of our own teenage lives.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.
I’m pretty sure that verse teaches itself, so I just want you to reflect on it and then all of what I wrote above about what I think about you and why. I think of you as a jewel and Titus 2:3-5 woman, loving and humble. Sure, you’ve always been beautiful on the outside, but you’ve exemplified yourself as a beautiful person on the inside, and we both know that that is what makes you absolutely gorgeous on both sides.
As a young woman, trying to please the Lord from the inside, and, yet, being surrounded with the world’s idea of beauty, I know that I foolishly fall prey into trying to impress people with trying to look attractive—trying to charm others so I can feel “beautiful”.
It’s true (and a vicious cycle), charm is deceitful and beauty is vain.
With all of this being said, I don’t think wearing make-up and stunning outfits are wrong (so please don’t go extreme on me). The Lord made us ladies in such a way that we like to enhance our features and reflect our beauty on the outside – but we’re also cursed human beings and we will decay. I love the fact that He has allowed us to know and see that we don’t have to give up on beauty. There is one beautiful thing that will never decay and it’s what grows and keeps our beauty on the inside—saving grace. For me, even though I fail frequently, I know that the Holy Spirit will continue to sanctify me. The One we should want to impress people with is God, and I pray that we will be able to encourage each other in our walk with Him.
“…A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”