When I was a teenage girl, I would look at the church women around me, and most of the young ones a few years older than me seemed…well not very concerned about being attractive, not very fashionable, not bubbly or enthusiastic, their hair unkept, roots grown out in desperate need of highlights, not exciting in conversation, kind of blah-type of girls.
I started thinking if that’s what being a young Christian girl is like, no thanks! I’ll pass on that until I am old and fat and actually can’t do anything about it! haha (Just kidding. Not really. Ok, you know what I mean!)
Then I met several girls like Gina and Christianna and Beth who were SO beautiful (like a real-life Barbie) and more beautiful than the girls I loved to admire in the magazines, and so enthusiastic and fun to talk to and guess what, they had a love for God that just inspired me!! Girls like THEM are who have kept me loving Jesus and excited about living for Him because I realize He loves making things beautiful. He doesn’t ask me to give that up, to be able to follow Him.
Lately I have been reading about amazing, world-changing, out-of-the-box, beautiful, and gorgeous, Christ-honoring women of days gone by. I came to realize that great women who exuded enchanting beauty can be found all throughout the pages of history. And should be found. As girls we need role models and after hours of pouring over magazines, its scary how quickly those girls become our role models as we unconsciously take on their attitudes and perspectives about womanhood and life and our role in it.
I remember one girl I read about in a magazine, Avril Lavigne, they asked her when she thought girls should become sexually active. Her answer was “Whenever they feel ready.” I thought to myself, “Well then I feel ready! I am all grown up and powerful. I am not a little girl who can’t handle that!” Imagine the damage created through advice like that causing young girls to stumble into situations that are over their heads, and then all the heartache they will bear alone when they are pregnant and going to college or high school, forced to abort or find another place to live. Thats the story of several of my friends who got carried away by the wrong role models. Avril Lavigne is not going to be there to buy you formula and diapers and hold your hand as you suffer the consequences for your choices.
So back to the strong, gorgeous girls who walked a different runway! There’s a common thread here I noticed in that these great women I’ve been reading about. They were women who rejected the empty feminine charm of the world and embraced an altogether different kind of beauty–the way-more-exciting and amazing beauty of Jesus Christ. They showcased femininity as God intended it to be in all its elegance, grace, nobility, and lasting loveliness (tons better than what we got today, think Kate Middleton vs. Lady Gaga). Buts its even more diverse and not so cookie cutter! He is a creative God who made animals with neon stripes and wild polka dots and invented flying and jumping and climbing (can you tell I just got back from the Shedd Aquarium?! haha!) and I have seen dynamic girls in all shapes and sizes who put the fire in my bones with their stories of heroic lives lived for their King.
Here are just a handful of my favorite examples. Notice that the following phrases are what people, fellow contemporaries, said of such women (which makes this even cooler):
“A pretty woman, with lovely soft features, kind eyes and dark hair, she was never angry, never impatient, never resentful, she patiently wore away prejudices and hatred by her gentle, gracious presence and her blameless life.”Said of Lottie Moon (young missionary girl to China during her single years):
And here’s my favorite last line about her…
“She had all the firmness of a man, and yet a more gentle and womanly woman it would be hard to find.”
That’s what I’m talking about!
“She seemed endowed with a peculiar magnetism when you were in her presence so that you could not help thinking yourself in the presence of a being much higher than the ordinary run of humanity…” (Precisely how I feel about one of my friends. Having coffee with her is like sitting down to coffee with Jesus. I always walk away totally blown away by her heart and thoughts). “She was always gentle and kind to the Indians, as she was to everyone else. She took an interest in every one at the mission, especially the children. Everyone loved her, because to see her was to love her.”Said of Narcissa Whitman (young, married missionary girl to the Native American Indians):
And one similar to what I would like said about me…was what Jonathan Edwards said of his wife Sara Edwards before he was even married to her. His observation of her yet while she was still a single señorita:
“They say there is a a young lady in new Haven who is beloved of that great Being who made and rules the world. They say that He fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight. They say that she hardly cares for anything except to meditate on Him. If you present all the world to her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it. She is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has singular purity in her affections. You could not persuade her to compromise her true Love even if you were to give her all the world. She possesses a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and kindness to those around her. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly. She seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows exactly why. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have Someone invisible always conversing with her.”
I want my daughters and their daughters to remember the names of courageous woman of wreckless faith whose lives continue to inspire generations, not just the shallow girls in the magazines who will be remember ten years from today for sex tapes or shop lifting. How about you?
Ok, I gotta catch my train for more sightseeing in Chicago! Ciao!