True Beauty Conversations: Redemption

Julia and I are exploring the meaning of Beauty, intersecting Beauty with the word of God, and letting Beauty live in our lives. Inspired by a joint feeling of just not measuring up in the beauty category, we’re tackling some hard questions:

  • What is Beauty? And does it reside in me?
  • And when my husband says that I’m beautiful, how can I receive those words as truth in a culture that says the opposite?
  • What am I going to teach my daughters about Beauty?
  • And most importantly, what does the Word of God say about Beauty?

Join us as we converse about a topic that touches the heart of all women.

Dearest Melissa,

We’ve spoken of many things through this series.

We’ve talked of modesty, words, parenting our daughters, teaching our daughters about Beautywho is Beautiful and about living out Beauty to glorify the One who made it.

It’s a lot to strive for, and much to live up to.

Of course, no one is perfect. We all have shortcomings.

But, what about when we fail?

When I was in graduate school, my life felt completely and utterly out of control:

  • my boyfriend broke my heart
  • two of my best friends were engaged to be married
  • I was a bridesmaid in both weddings
  • from the recesses of my memory, I recalled trauma from my childhood
  • my family was one big disaster
  • graduate school was hard and demanding
  • I was working two part-time jobs

I was in the depths of despair. I handled “the depths of despair” poorly, to say the least.

I looked in the mirror and, somehow, everything that was wrong could get better if I just wasn’t so “fat”.

I exercised to unhealthy ends.
I hardly ate.

Numbers on the scale dropped lower, bones jutted out further. I still despaired.

I loathed myself. What I looked like, who I was.

I have some pictures from one of the weddings I was in, but seeing what I look like is not my point.

My point is—I’m sure there are many women out there with a story like this one:

A story of self-loathing.
A story of fighting for control.
A story of hurting her body.
A story of sinking into the depths of despair, where the ocean waves of depression mercilessly crash over her body, as she fought to keep breathing.
Or maybe, in her story, she wanted to stop breathing.

 There is redemption here in all of this. On the other side of all this struggle, all this yuck, all this “I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel”, there is redemption.

A friend of mine, with her own story, shared this verse with me:

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten….
~Joel 2:25a

These are those years! I am blessed beyond what I deserve, and my cup is overflowing with joy!
I won’t say I don’t still struggle sometimes. There is a balance. Moderation. Sometimes I have to search through the weeds to find it, like a golfer looking for his shanked ball.

I have to fight for joy, sometimes I have to fight hard. In the joy, I find Beauty:

Beauty in my daughters
Beauty in me

I also find a space to give myself permission to love myself. Love myself, because God created me with love and care. He knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13b). My body is his temple, I should care for it, and love it tenderly, as he does.
That is grace. Redemption.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.
~Oscar Wilde

What a gift, to be lifted so far out of the pit where I was wallowing.

With that gift, with that undeserved redemption, I want to live, and “be” in such a way that my daughters do not see my struggle. So that they do not see me struggling with the way God made me. I do not want them to inherit that struggle.