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“I May Never Have Worldly Beauty”

 

April in 1st grade
April in 1st grade

 

April in 7th grade
April in 7th grade

 

From Peacefulwife:

I didn’t feel beautiful or feminine at all when I was growing up. My twin sister was “the girly one.” I was the tomboy. 

In upper elementary and junior high school, I got made fun of often for my glasses, my pale skin, the red dots on my legs and my very flat chest. I also have a medical condition (since junior high school) that often causes my belly to swell, making me look pregnant. When I was a young teenager, I  was convinced that I was not beautiful and that no guy could possibly be attracted to me. People thought I was about 12 years old until after I was 30. In fact, I was accused multiple times of being a young teenage unwed mother when I had our son at age 28! 

When I was about 27, a coworker of mine saw my identical twin sister come in to visit.  My sister was in her blonde phase then and had spent two hours primping that day. I had my natural brown hair and was not wearing makeup at the time because my eyes were so dry, makeup would make them burn. My coworker looked at both of us and said to me, “April, you can look at her and see what you would look like… If you were sexy.”  It stung – that I must be “the frumpy twin.” 

It is sad to me now that I allowed a few comments from a few thoughtless people who barely knew me to dictate my perception of myself. I believed these people over God, over my loving parents, over Greg. How I wish I could have chosen not to absorb messages like that. Now I am comfortable in my own skin (mostly because of this journey I have been on to discover godly femininity) and I choose to focus on seeking to have the beauty that God desires most – inner beauty. I wish the me now could go back and have a few long talks with the me in junior high school! For more about my story, please read here.

I think a lot of us can relate to feeling that we can never meet the world’s standards of physical beauty. And many of us were teased or made fun of for our appearance. For some of us, there are deep scars in our hearts about this issue. I want to see God heal our scars, my beautiful sisters!

Keep in mind that a woman who is beautiful externally can quickly look quite ugly if she has a prideful, sneering, hateful, resentful, condescending, critical, judgmental attitude. And a woman who may not look like a supermodel can look more and more beautiful as she radiates the love, peace, joy and power of Christ.

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From a wife struggling with physical deformities:

I suppose that is one of the reasons I strive so hard to be godly and as perfect as I possibly can be because I will never be beautiful. God chose to misshape me in the womb, why I’m not sure. To bring him glory I suppose. So my behavior must overcome my appearance. I wish I could be beautiful in the world’s standards, but not until I get to heaven. Of course I won’t care then!

I do not ask my husband if he thinks I am beautiful. He never says it, so it would be like fishing for a compliment. What is he supposed to say? I can’t even remember if he told me that when we were dating, but that was nearly 30 years ago so my memory just isn’t very good. My husband does not gawk at other women, so I don’t have that battle. I’ve just tried to concentrate on this verse:

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.

I keep myself neat and dress as well as I can, but my face will never be beautiful. My body used to be, but as I approach 50 the inevitable time of age and having 3 children has taken its toll. I try to eat correctly and exercise. But 50 will never be 20. Things sag, metabolism changes.

So hopefully, the inside of me is beautiful because that is the only thing I can truly improve.

Another wife responds to her:

Your comment went straight to my heart. I am 57 and have also had three children. I too grew up thinking I was homely compared to my two older very beautiful sisters. They had tiny waists and wore circle skirts and crisp white shirtwaists that made them look like princesses. They were also beautiful inside, and I love them very much to this day. However, I was tall and awkward as a child, had straight hair, a long face, and and was painfully shy. I never believed I was beautiful at all, until my deceased husband’s love finally convinced me.

Then I realized that I had a different kind of beauty, and that I didn’t have to look like my sisters to qualify.

I’ve grown to appreciate the gifts God has given me, and one of them is the gift of loving others, of listening to them and extending hospitality. I also love to write, a gift I’ve always recognized but undervalued because everyone else in my family was musically talented, and I felt deficient because my gift was different. With age and a deeper relationship with God, I’ve realized how wrong my misconceptions were.

I too, have experienced the changes that come with age, but instead of expecting myself to have exactly the same kind of body and beauty that I did in the past, I’ve come to embrace what I am now, and dress to accentuate my most positive features now. I think the single thing that makes a woman the most beautiful physically, besides a quiet and mild spirit of one who loves God, is self-confidence is who she is, and the knowledge that she has valuable gifts with which to love others and make the world a better place.

So I would encourage you to let the knowledge of God’s love and whatever your gifts are give you confidence in yourself. Maya Angelou, a great poet who died just last month, wrote a poem celebrating her own unusual beauty called “Phenomenal Woman.” She wasn’t a classic beauty in any sense yet was beloved by many because she had a gift for sensing the human condition and expressing it eloquently in writing that many could identify with, especially women who didn’t realize their own worth.

I know from reading your past comments that one of your gifts is a steadfast, unwavering spirit of loyalty for your husband, and that alone should make you realize you ARE a beautiful woman with many priceless qualities. Why not smile, celebrate your unique qualities as a daughter of our loving God, my sister, and let your love shine out to the world! People will look at you in a new way, and you’ll be so much more at peace within yourself. Remember that you are also a beloved part of our world-wide sisterhood, and that we love you and want to support you in searching for and seeing your own unique beauty. Sending you a BIG hug!

From TheJoyFilledWife in response to the first sister in Christ who was feeling unattractive by worldly standards:

Sweet sister, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Please know that God truly did make you beautiful.

The challenge is that you are judging your beauty based off of the worldly definition, but that is not where God stands and nor should we. We are to be in the world, but not of it, and to not conform ourselves to the patterns of this world…to the world’s way of thinking and judging. If we are believers, then we look to Christ to define what we should be believing and how we should be viewing ourselves and others.

To look to the world to set the standard is to make the world our Lord. It’s to idolize the world’s opinion and to strive to please it. That’s slavery, and Christ came to set the captives free. Let us remember that there is One who defines truthfully and that is our Lord and Savior. May we look to Him and Him alone for the standard, sister.

Since you brought up your desire to meet a worldly criteria of beauty, I think this would be a fitting place for me to bring up something that I have shared with my husband is a real struggle of mine. As I said in my comments a couple of posts ago, I sincerely hope that you are able to see that my heart is not prideful but filled with humility when I share this. I put myself out here, not so I can say, “Look at me,” but so those who feel the way you do about beauty can know what challenges there are on the other side of this issue.

Meeting the world’s definition of beautiful sounds great, doesn’t? The grass is truly not always greener on the other side.

My husband and I are business owners and a majority of our work is meeting face-to-face with people. We also do quite a bit of speaking, motivating, and mentoring within our industry.

When you’re a woman and are considered physically desirable by the world’s standards, it can be very frustrating trying to try and have substantial discussions with men in general, even if your husband is right next to you or nearby.

Recently I was sharing some very valuable insights with a gentleman candidate who came up to us to ask questions, and he kept looking me up and down the entire time I was talking. I was not dressed immodestly at all, but he spent the entire conversation distractedly staring at my face and every inch of my body. I so badly wanted to stop in the middle of my sentence and say, “Are you even hearing anything I’m saying?!” When you have something important to say, it can be very discouraging when others won’t look past your appearance to hear the valuable insights you have to offer. You feel like they’re missing your heart.

The same is true with women for me, but in a different way. You see, women have this tendency to judge other women and try and avoid them if they think they’re very attractive and/or have a nice figure. This is ESPECIALLY true when their husband or boyfriend is with them. I know this because I experienced some of those feelings once I found out about my husband’s pornography addiction. I felt like, if I could keep every attractive female out of view, I could somehow help him not become tempted.

But there are three flaws with this theory:

1. My husband’s definition of attractive was a lot more broad than mine and women that I would think weren’t even a visual temptation for him, I would see him bounce his eyes away from.

2. It’s wrong to judge someone else because of their God-given appearance.

3. This is trying to control, instead of praying and asking the Lord to protect minds and hearts.

I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t had the easiest time making friends with women over the years. In many ways, writing has been refreshing for me because it allows people to see my heart, instead of making assumptions based on appearance. I find that many women try and avoid me. I lost count over the years how many women have told me, “When I first saw you, I didn’t want to get to know you because I thought you were probably stuck-up because of how you look. When I got to watch you from afar and hear how warm and encouraging you were to others, I realized that you weren’t stuck up at all.”

You see, it can be so hard to show people the beauty you have inside when they feel threatened by you just because of how you look.

It can be frustrating when people won’t give you a chance and make assumptions about you based off of appearance alone. Attractiveness seems attractive, but the challenge is trying to get people to see past judgements about your outer beauty long enough to see the much more valuable beauty you have inside. I have to work so much harder, whether in business or casually, to show women that I’m not a threat and men that I’m not just a pretty face. It can feel very discouraging when you have to work so much harder to create relationships and spend most of your time trying to prove to everyone that there’s more to you than your appearance, that you’re a woman of substance, and that you’re not out to steal anyone’s man.

I share this with you because I hope to help you see that God made each of us to look exactly the way he wanted us for His purposes. You see, although many times I feel frustrated that I have to work so hard to get people to see who I am inside, I recognize that the Lord is using that to cause me to be proactive in reaching out to others and show them the light of Christ.

God longs to use all of our seeming “shortcomings” to bring Him glory, that in our weaknesses He can display His strength more powerfully. He longs to grow us so that we can reach others for the Kingdom. Paul in the Bible was so famous for his observation that our sufferings, trials, pain, and shortcomings are matters to actually rejoice over because they allow the mighty hand of God to be displayed more clearly than ever.

I love you, dear sister. You are who Jesus says you are and so very deeply loved. <3

 

 

41 thoughts on ““I May Never Have Worldly Beauty”

  1. April, I just wanted to comment on how precious your photos are. We truly are our own worst critic, if the opinions of others don’t get to us first.

    My three year old asked me a couple days ago if she could watch “One of Miss April’s movies” and, when I turned one on, the first words out of her mouth were, “Wow. She has pretty eyes.”

    I’m sure you get that a lot, but I thought it was too sweet to not share. 🙂

  2. “My behavior must overcome my appearance” Wow! This had me sitting down!

    I do believe that we’ve all grappled with the old age “I’m not beautiful or as beautiful as” syndrome. But the above statement had me thinking that even if by the world’s standard, you are beautiful, does your behaviors reflect God’s standard? You see, we can’t change what we look like (Ok, maybe if you have the money) but our behavior can be modified.

    So often we see women, young girls even, who are beautiful and their behavior is like that of the world. But surely as Christ mimickers, even if our beauty is ‘out there’ for the world to see, we are to remain as Christ would. And conduct ourselves as he has asked that we do.

    It’s something I am ever so mindful of especially having a young daughter, At only 6 she gets told almost daily that she is beautiful..”just like her mother”. It used to unnerve me. A lot. But I’ve found myself thinking that maybe, just maybe, to be compared to her mother is the standard she needs to be kept at…for now.
    You see, she may not have an older or younger sister but she is up against a very strong and ever present pop culture and those things that the world has us believing is a standard for beauty….and set behaviour.
    She does not know their story. She does not see the ‘before’ the magazine or Tv appearance shots. So when she says: “Am I beautiful i ask her: are you kind, are you generous, are you helpful and loving. Do you love Jesus. Are you happy and healthy and strive to be the best person you can be? Because all those things baby girl, is what makes one beautiful” Doing your hair, lining your eyes, blush, mascara, etc…enhance what is there.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. Wow. Just love your response to your daughter when she asks if she’s beautiful. You are teaching her a standard of beauty beyond compare by showing her the worth of inner beauty in God’s sight. So blessed by your comment, Lebo.<3

    2. Lebo,
      I love this!!!!!!

      I have a 7 year old daughter. We talk often about how a person’s attitude can make them so beautiful or ugly. A woman who looks beautiful on the outside, but has a hateful, bitter, prideful, self-righteous or unforgiving attitude begins to look quite awful. But a woman who may not be beautiful by the world’s standards can be radiant and glowing as the love, joy, peace and power of Christ flow through her.

      How I pray we will focus on the beauty that God most values. This inner beauty is very rare among women – but God and our husbands cherish our godly femininity. I pray God will form His brand of beauty in each of us and that we will cherish what God cherishes and that we may teach our children God’s ways and His wisdom, as well.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. April,

    I went to the other post immediately and felt your frustration at “looking like a 12 year old in face and figure” when you were very much already a grown-up. How disheartening too that comment from the lingerie store. 🙁 Thanks for sharing about your insecurities, April.

    I, too, suffered from a distorted view of my looks.

    At 12, I was told by my father that I was “fat and that I needed to lose weight; and that with my grouchy attitude, nobody would be interested in marrying me.” 🙁 That started my more than a decade battle with borderline anorexia. In that short summer, I lost 30 lbs and came back to school not looking like my self at all. That eating disorder hounded me all the way to adulthood, even as a mother and wife. Every pregnancy where I gained as “little” as 25 lbs to as high as 60 lbs was a constant struggle for sanity. I tried to lose the baby weight each and every time with a passion.

    I no longer battle with it now, since the Lord freed me from my bondages (proof of this is I am taking my sweet time getting back in shape post-4th baby 🙂 but when I do remember how much I wanted to commit suicide as a growing teenager and young adult because I felt fat and ugly and stupid, I pity my younger, pathetic self. 🙁

    I grew up seeing all flaws in my body and my face — that I was too curvy when I should be thin; that my nose was too upturned when it should be straight; that I was too brown-skinned when I should be lighter, etc.. The list was endless. I felt SO ugly that I dreaded the thought of having a child in the far-off future (musings of a young teenager), lest he/she come out into the world looking like me, and he/she would condemn me for bringing him/her into existence! 🙁

    It was only Dong’s loyal and steadfast love and appreciation for me and my looks (as my boyfriend of 7 years and husband of 10 years) that made me look at myself differently. He was never wanting in telling me and showing me how attractive I was in his eyes. <3

    But even that was not enough to stop the struggles with self. I was too bent on looking like how the world perceived a "beautiful woman" to be; and not meeting that standard, it depressed me. It made me feel unworthy to live. It made me feel useless. 🙁

    It was when I finally surrendered my all to the Lord last year that God removed my "world goggles", and allowed me to peek into His Vision of me. Minus those worldly spectacles, I started seeing myself for who and what I truly was…

    – that I was a sinner in need of God's Grace
    – that I was too much in the world and too tied up to self
    – that I was in need of repentance to God and His Mercy

    And with that total letting go and letting God, He:

    – freed me from ALL my bondages including my eating disorder
    – instilled in me a desire to be modest in apparel and manner
    – showed me that I was beautiful in His Eyes

    I know I can now "achieve" beauty because of this verse:

    1 Peter 3:3-4

    3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 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.

    A gentle and quiet spirit. 🙂 That's what I want to have. That's what I ask the Lord to give me. That's what the Spirit has put in place of my old self-righteous, take-charge, depressive self. 🙂

    I praise God for what He has done in my life, and I encourage all of you sisters to embrace your God-given beauty. When we are insecure or unhappy with how we look, we act ungrateful towards our Creator. Let's always remember we were "fearfully and wonderfully made". 🙂 (Psalm
    139:14)

    <3 ,

    Nikka

    1. Nikka,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! And you are right – even a husband’s love and reassurance is not enough to fill that void in our hearts. Only Christ can fulfill us and meet our deepest needs. I praise God for the freedom you have found in Him and pray that all of our sisters in Christ might find that same freedom, joy and peace, as well!

  4. Reblogged this on Peaceful Single Girl and commented:

    We are talking more about body image today. My prayer is for each of us to seek and pursue the beauty that God most cherishes in women. I am praying for you to find healing in Christ from any scars and wounds you may have about your physical appearance and that you might learn to stop comparing yourself to the world’s standard of beauty and find freedom, hope, joy and peace in Christ. 🙂

  5. Kelly, I know how you feel. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. After I had my daughter, I won a contest that included 12 weeks of a weight loss program, 20 sessions with a personal trainer and some other things. I got down to my goal weight, stayed there for a good few years, but when I met my husband, it all went downhill! We eat out a lot and when we were dating, we would stay up late hanging out or on the phone so I’d end up not waking up as early to work out anymore. Now I’ve been consistent with working out (sort of…), but the eating is so difficult for me (I’m a vegetarian so I can’t do the “lean meat, low carb” option).

    I ended up going to the Salvation Army store to buy some bigger clothes, just to have things that fit and feel comfortable while I’m working on being healthier.

    It is a very, very difficult struggle, and I feel your pain!!! Isn’t it wonderful to have husbands who love us regardless of our body image issues? 🙂

    1. I have the same struggle. I always have. I am currently taking a bible study course called the lords table at settingcaptivesfree.com. it is amaizing, has built up my relationship with God, and I know that I am on the path to being set free from the chains of gluttony. I would really encourage anyone to look into it, its free, they provide you a mentor and accountability partner whose been through the course before, and so much biblical truth. I understand those comments and the pain all to well. I am about 20 lbs overweight right now, but it has been more. And food just has had such a hold on me in the past. Even when I was dieting and losing weight succesfully (i lost 70 lbs after my 3rd child, gained back 55 with my 4th). My obsession was still about food. I think for me with the weight there is an additional shame, that this is not the way the Lord made me, but my weakness that’s led me to feel this way. But what I’m realizing is that through Jesus we can have self-control, get rid of our fleshly desires, and be set free.

  6. And I’ve also had really bad acne for most of my adult life. Sometimes it’s under control, but other times I feel like I should stay home and not subject anyone to looking at me. That’s not fun. I know my husband thinks I’m beautiful, but when he asks questions like whether my face products are working or not, I know he’s trying to be helpful and in humility I need to understand and accept that, but my pride rears it’s ugly head and I get so sensitive and sad. It’s pretty ridiculous! I need to toughen up. 🙂

  7. Kelly,

    I am so sorry about the pain you are experiencing from people’ comments and the frustration of not being able to wear your clothes. I’m also very glad you are seeing the spiritual connection to your eating. It is easy to turn to eating for “comfort” and “acceptance” when we are sad and lonely and depressed. But food can never fill that hole that only Jesus can fill. Praying for healing for you!!!

    And M,
    It is so difficult when there are medical issues that we may not have a lot of control over that we are already self-conscious about. That can make this struggle much more painful. Praying for wisdom for you, as well and for healing for your soul. I still have some acne issues myself and I am 41!?!?

    Much love to you! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks April, for all of your encouragement and godly wisdom – and most of all, prayers!!!

      And Kelly, I know I said this in a comment above, but the Salvation Army store is a treasure for finding inexpensive clothing just to feel comfortable. It’s so much worse when you are already self-conscious to also wear clothing that doesn’t feel right. Goodwill can have some great stuff too, I’ve heard that’s where Target donates all of their clothing that they aren’t able to sell in time!

  8. I do think you are pretty April and love your long hair! 🙂 Despite also bad comments from childhood, I do think that I am pretty (but not beautiful). Though, I do love me outwardly. When I was a kid, people were saying things like “She’s pretty” and my mom “Yes but she’s not good at school. Her sister is intelligent”. Ouch. Maybe this is why I’ve got 2 bacharel degrees. Anyhow, the battle now for me is to love me and accept me as I am inside. I do struggle with a low self esteem which is not linked with my body image cause I often feel pretty. But I am so harsh on me, feels often guilty of my too many weaknesses.

    I do pray everyday to get healed by God and proclaim that He loves me, I am accepted by him, cherished….

    But the hardest thing is to be married with a perfectionist which never tells me I’m pretty or intelligent but always expose what I don’t have in my body in comparing with the standards of his culture. And then pass his time exposing my weaknesses and all the things I do wrong. I just try to stay in silence and break the words of cursing he is saying over my life, but I hope one day God will change his heart. Meanwhile, I just need to try to find ways to protect me. Not always easy.

    1. sonadewonderful,

      Wow. I guess your mom was trying to help your sister feel better?

      It’s amazing how those little comments affect us as children so very much. Greg loves my hair long – and I love it long now, too. 🙂 Thanks for the sweet compliment.

      I think that all of us – no matter how we believe we compare to the world’s standards – must learn to rely on God and Christ and seek to develop His kind of beauty. But I do love for us to be able to be content in our own bodies and to appreciate the outer and inner beauty we have. I think that is a great thing – to savor what is unique about us and what is good about us in every way.

      My husband doesn’t give me compliments much – maybe a few times per year. But he also doesn’t give much criticism. It would be difficult to feel that you are criticized often for things that you can’t really control – and then not to hear compliments. I can definitely appreciate that would be very challenging. I pray for healing for you and for God to work in both of you to bring healing to the marriage and unity, joy and attraction on every level.

      Sending you a huge hug, my sweet sister!

      I don’t know how things are between you and your husband right now. I wish you could share that what he is doing is hurtful to you. Maybe you already have. Praying for God’s wisdom for you both!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. Thanks April. Well, things are more or less ok. I didn’t managed yet to conquer his heart. I still work on some of my attitudes that cause him to stay away from me. We are not in a war either. I just gasp of having a really marriage. Wish I could be different and him too, wish we could be closer. I shouldn’t desesperate: we still have life in front of us. Marriage is not easy and everyone has their troubles. Things could be worst but can’t and don’t want to extinguish in me this desire for something better. I need to hope cause life is too hard without.

  9. Hi April! I wanted to leave a public message here for you, and other women, to see and be encouraged by. My husband and I love each other deeply, and continue to grow in our love for Christ and one another. We have had a devastatingly tumultuous marriage, with many highs and lows. But God is faithful, and has brought me along a painful path that is helping to shape the woman he desires me to be. I could go on about many hurtful behaviors and attitudes that had been going on in our marriage, but I’m so pleased to report back about all the wonderful ways our marriage has grown since finding this blog, dedicating prayer towards specific issues, and learning how to respect my husband.

    Ladies, I had pretty much given up hope. I was hanging on to God, praying for a miracle in my husband’s heart. The miracle though, really started in mine. I want to testify that God listens and hears our prayers. He feels moved with compassion for you. Many times I was reaffirmed of his compassion for me over the last year.

    As soon as I started respecting my husband without expecting anything in return, and giving him the dominant position in all decisions, I noticed a change in my husband’s heart. I did not expect it to happen so quickly. God has been so gracious in my marriage though, and all praises to Him. I started apologizing for bad attitudes. I started to notice my selfishness when my needs were in ‘jeopardy’, and started putting my husband before myself. I started making his lunch and dinner without complaints. I listened to him critiquing my driving without snappy remarks. I consulted him in every single decision. These were all small things, but concepts I struggled to make habits.

    Then, something amazing happened…I started to notice my husband kissing me gently on the cheek for no reason, and holding me closer in his sleep. I noticed his affections and gentler attitude around me. I also noticed how quick he was to apologize, and not raise his voice. I see him reading his devotions in private, and seeking God with his heart. He’s stopped drinking, and is filled with a greater peace that only God could give him. I am blessed; I’m blessed to feel love and respect my husband. Ladies, I want to encourage you with this. I really felt like I was at the bottom of a very dark pit. In my lowest moments, I was hurting and cutting myself, desperately trying to relieve the anguish I felt. In my darkest moments, I always turned to God though; he will never disappoint, he will never fail you. His plans are perfect, and his love for us is so unchanging.

    Thank you April, for starting this blog. Respecting my husband has saved our marriage. I know there are many more ups and downs to come, but I have the powerful knowledge that my Creator intimately loves and knows me. Whew! This is long. Much love to all of my sisters.

    1. Hi Samantha! 🙂

      What a wonderful God we serve. I was blessed and touched by your testimony. Truly this was God at work in your husband’s heart and spirit. Praise be to Him! 🙂

      God bless you and your marriage more. 🙂

      <3 ,

      Nikka

    2. Samantha,
      WOW!

      Thank you so much for sharing! I praise God for what He has done in your life and in your marriage. I hope you might allow me to share this as a post. 🙂

      Much love to you!

    3. Wow, I really felt the Holy Spirit as I read this post, as if to tell me that I too will have a testimony like this one day 🙂 Thanks so much for allowing God to speak to me and others through your faithful post. God Bless you sister x

  10. For the sisters in Christ who are married, you are at the very least attractive to have found and secured a husband. Some of us have not that blessing and have been praying for a boyfriend/husband either because we are ugly or God is training us somehow.

    1. Heather,

      I obviously don’t know your story at all, but I do know the hurt of extended singleness to a degree. I didn’t meet my husband until my 30s, so I wrestled with similar feelings as I watched friend after friend get married (some more than once).

      I find that, for me, I struggle more with feeling unattractive as wife than I did as a single woman because I base everything on my husband. As a single woman, I would dream of what I thought my husband would one day do or say or maybe even like about me, but as a married woman, I now live with a man who, despite his best efforts, could never live up to those expectations. My husband struggles with porn and so, I struggle with the thought that I can never please him because I am not capable of living up to an airbrushed beauty. So, for me, the struggle of feeling rejected and unattractive has been much harder after marriage than before.

      I don’t say this to try and make a general comparison because the struggles of different people are just that, different. Rather, I say this to try and give you a window into why married women still struggle with this issue. Singleness is hard and so is marriage, but God is faithful and good.

  11. Beauty is highly modifiable by a woman based on how she dresses and acts.

    Here is an element that often goes unmentioned, though:

    Some women who regard themselves as “plain” decide to skip the makeup and feminine clothing. For many reasons, sometimes out of shyness, possibly from a “what’s the use anyway” mindset, or possibly from an “it shouldn’t matter” mindset.

    However, this can be a mistake. I used to date a plainer looking girl, but who was plenty cute enough for me. But she would do nothing with her appearance at all.

    In a way, think of how your guy sees this. I always saw it as her thinking that I didn’t deserve anything more than minimum effort. I mean, not only do I get the “plain girl”, I get the plain girl who won’t even try.

    Sometimes I felt that she didn’t think I was worth any effort at all. Now, I KNEW that maybe she was just shy about her looks, but it still bothered me that she didn’t think I was worth the trouble.

    Much of a woman’s beauty comes from attitude and cheerfulness. A cheerful smiling girl is often more notably desirable than a “hot” girl who is a scowling brat.

    Give it your best effort. Think “parable of the ten talents”.

    Hmmm, food for thought…

    1. Jack

      I think this is where many women get confused. Sometimes women think that they have to look like supermodels or their husbands will not be attracted to them. I am sure there are some husbands who may be like that. But, my understanding is that most men just appreciate their wives/girlfriends making a little bit of effort – nothing radical, not plastic surgery or an eating disorder. But just some attention to her hair, clothing and makeup because that makes their men feel honored.

      I know that I used to spend extra time the days I knew I was going to see Greg, when we were dating, trying to do my hair extra special and be a bit more careful with my makeup. I believe that as women, if we wear something feminine and doll ourselves up just a bit when we can – we will feel better and it is a special way we can bless and honor our men.

      1. PS – on comment to Jack (I should not try to comment when I am getting ready in the morning! Sorry for the fragments!)

        But – that is what I try to do now to bless my husband – spend a bit of extra time, not a lot, but a bit, wearing my hair down the way I know he likes it the most and putting on a bit of makeup. I want to show him that he is special to me. I used to only wear make up if we were going “somewhere special” and I would wear my hair in a ponytail all the time unless we were going out. But now I see that I want to send the message that my husband is worth a bit of effort on my part (I am only spending 20-30 minutes getting ready – not 2 hours or anything) – because this is a way I can honor, respect and bless him and I can show him that I am honoring my body, as well. (I realize when a mom has young children and she is very sleep deprived, this can be much more difficult, and she may not be able to do it as often.)

        I don’t think that we as wives realize that how we look reflects on our husbands. Of course, it reflects on Christ, too. I would love for us to embrace, cherish and savor our femininity and treat our bodies, our husbands and Christ with honor and respect in every way. This is just one way we can do that.

    2. Thanks Jack, I’ve recently realized my husband feels the same way, that when I don’t take care of myself, and put in the effort to look nice for him, that I don’t actually care about him enough. I had never thought about it that way. My husband told me a few times when I was failing to stick to a workout schedule that I must just not care enough about him to do it. I was so puzzled, and actually hurt by this. To me it had nothing to do with him. And it sounded to me like he just didn’t want an overweight wife. After reading for women only it really struck me that what he was saying was not so much about how I look now, but that putting in the effort was what mattered to him. And not so much because he wants a thin wife, but because it shows him I care about him. Once I realized that it gives me new motivation. When I don’t feel like working out, I look at it as an act of love for my husband, and get to it. With 4 young children, finding that time can be the biggest challenge, but i find that putting on a nice outfit and taking a few minutes to maybe put a braid, or straighten my hair does wonders. My husband prefers me without makeup, so that saves me time for the rest.

    3. thank you for your comments Jack. It is definitely a viewpoint I never considered and I am thankful that you have brought it out in the open and gives me much to ponder about.
      I have taken the time to “put myself together” with the hair, makeup and modest clothing only to never turn any heads (christian or just men on the street). You know you’re ugly when construction men wont even bother to give you the time of day.
      I know that all the validation we ever will need comes from Christ and it is how he sees us that is most important, but being human, when you see all your friends getting married and you dont get asked to dance at the wedding you are obligated to attend, it surely makes one feel like the biggest Oger.

  12. Hi April 🙂
    I can so relate to the beauty trap issue, as it was a very painful one for me. As a child, I had to wear thick bifocal glasses, which back then made me a target for ridicule. When I questioned my grandmother about why everyone was fawning over (another girl in the family) and giving her such ” unfair” attention, I was told “its okay dear, its the ugly ducklings that grow up to be swans”. I was crushed. She had confirmed that the reason none of this attention and value came my way was because I was ugly. So I learned to compete for a slice of attention and value in other ways. Being an extra compliant people pleaser, compromising myself and becoming whatever others wanted of me. Equally destructive.

    Then I hit my teens and suddenly, I was beautiful. Guys sent me drinks from across restaurants, and doors were being opened for me because of my looks. It also caused fights via jealousy from other girls who resented the attention I was getting. At first, I was confused and did not want all the sudden attention. Then I was somewhat gratified and somewhat furious! I once got a job and was being treated extremely well, not because I had yet proven ability but because I was considered very attractive. It was hard to receive that particular sop to my self esteem, because I knew deep down that if a plain woman were being taken around and introduced who wasn’t “eye candy”, she would not receive the same open door treatment. I felt sorrow for this imagined plain looking woman who would be treated as less valuable and interesting until she’d worked her butt off to prove otherwise. For a long time, I felt caught in a trap of a different kind. As one poster said, the way people treat you when you are attractive has its down side. Men who undress you with their eyes and seem to almost think that if your beauty arouses them, you are somehow intentionally CAUSING IT. Guys and women who automatically assume that you must have gotten your job or good performance review because you are performing in bed as well as on the job. (the bimbo effect). women and men who assume you must be a slut or on the make. Guys who resent that you are not interested in them and so spread rumors that you are a snob or a lesbian. A friend of my mothers got sick of men who talked to her chest and so one day when a fellow was treating her like a piece of meat, she pointedly stared in the direction of his parts and talked to them, with an obviously annoyed demeanor until he got the hint and embarrassed, redirected his focus. Beauty can even cause you to fail to receive needed correction and instruction, because no one wants to make the beautiful princess cry! It can stunt your growth and development as a person if you get caught up in preferring being treated like you are special over having people who speak truth to you.

    In the end, the best thing we can do is pull out of the worldly value system about worth and beauty, because frankly, its a distortion of truth and reality . We should pull out of it whether we fit the current definition of attractiveness or not. It can be really frustrating and even heart breaking when you see this kind of value system in churches in so far as how people are valued and treated. It can be really hard to stand there and see people being rewarded for all the wrong things and your payment for having some spiritual integrity is to be ignored and devalued when the opposite should occur in the church, because the church is supposed to run COUNTER to the world. Remember the NT rebuke about partiality to the rich…this is part and parcel to the whole system .

    I once read a story by a writer who had gone to a upscale department store fashion show. There was a gorgeous model who had everyone oohing and ahhhing over her stunning looks. After the show, the writer saw this gorgeous creature flying across the store to her companions and as she got closer, she could hear angry words pouring out of her mouth, about how another model had stolen the show from her and other nasty comments. The writer said she noticed something odd happening; as the model spoke, suddenly her eyelashes, which had seemed to be sweeps of jet black, became tortured stumps with clumps of mascara, her skin which had looked flawless now looked overly made up, and so on. Her appearance completely changed with the revelation of what was in her heart. All she had to do was open her mouth and reveal her heart and she instantly lost all her beauty. I just read a similar story in the book by debi pearl ( I realize this book has its detractors but I have actually found needed rebuke and helpful truth in it).

    Debi talked of being at a meeting where leading men had come together to deal with a serious issue; all the leaders were sitting in a circle, with their wives sitting either beside them or just behind them. One young leader, as he was contributing something, went to put his arm around his beautiful young wife. She responded by leaning forward and visibly shaking his arm off her shoulders and then pointedly re adjusting her hair, which she had been busily preening. Everyone in the room just froze as they witnessed the rejecting and publicly humiliating way she had treated her husband. The young wife, still busily fussing and worrying about looking pretty, was totally unaware that at this point it was wasted effort as everyone felt disdain towards her for how she had treated her husband. Pearl commented that the young husband, summarily dismissed and chastened in front of all, sat with his hands in his lap and his head down for the rest of the meeting; he made no more contributions.

    what I have learned from just these two examples is that true beauty is available to every woman. Its more about having faith in God and in what He has made and that if we honor and obey Him He will crown us with lasting beauty of the inner person. Gotta go my husband needs my help to move the chicken tractor. Bye for now!

  13. When women talk about having to compete with “airbrushed supermodels” I feel very sad. I always hated the way women on magazine covers look, like they’re trying to intimidate–and obviously succeed in intimidating BOTH men and women in different ways, yet with the same deception to associate the image with the beauty of femininity.

    (I think of femininity as soft and nonthreatening and inspiring comfort in those around a woman where the supermodel, ironically enough, manages to do the opposite!)

    I’m deeply saddened to see women feeling bad about this. 🙁 I always hate it so much when people are called “ugly” (to distinguish from the drive to take care of ourselves and keep healthy).

    Women are different from men in the feminine sense, and of course, man or woman, the body difference is going to be the first indication of that difference. Unconsciously we might associate the image with femininity itself–i.e. a “womanly” looking woman is more feminine. But it’s not true. Proverbs 5:19 is a great verse, I think, that tells husbands to associate her appearance with the love she actually has, while Proverbs 6:26 advises men not to be deceived when love isn’t actually present despite appearances–perhaps a man might like to think that love comes with the appearance, but it doesn’t. Oftentimes quite the contrary.

    Women who pursue femininity wholeheartedly can’t lose. Outward appearances only form associations with a femininity that may or may not actually exist, but a feminine woman has the actual real thing. 🙂

    Much love to y’all. 😉

    1. Aw! Thanks so much for this, Josh!! You know what? I love your description of what real femininity does, how it is soft, vulnerable, approachable, inspiring and makes others, men and women feel safe. But that a supermodel creates a feeling of intimidation for men and women in different ways. Hmm… That gives me quite a lot to think about.

      Thank you for encouraging our sisters. It makes me very sad, too, when anyone compares themselves to something that isn’t even real and they feel inadequate because of that.

      May we seek confidence in Christ alone. All of us, men and women. 🙂

  14. PS, April, you were totally adorable in the first grade, I’d totally adopt a little gap toothed cutie like that, lol

    1. Patricia,
      Aw! Thanks. 🙂

      My Mommy was pregnant with our little brother when my sister and I were in first grade – so she got our hair cut really short so she didn’t have to bother with fixing it. 🙂 I can definitely understand that!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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