A Girl Lost In Smoke and Mirrors {What Does God Say About Beauty?}

{There are many things on my heart to say this morning, many things I long to convey, to pour out, but God has placed this on my heart for now and has surprised me by opening the door for me to share something that has laid dormant for so long, that I am really baffled as to how best to share it….Please bring some grace along with you, friends, as you read…I will need it….much love…}

I don’t like this woman that stares back at me in the mirror. This once-young body has been ravaged by the throes of motherhood–all those babies I grew and breastfed–and left a shell of skin that I don’t recognize.

The once glowing, young face has been replaced by wrinkly skin that doesn’t snap back into place when I smile or frown–the lines stay. The glow of youth now just ashen and sagging, my green having seen some pain through the years, peeking out. They’ve learned to not sparkle so much, their fierceness quieted by the hard lessons and harsh words.

My skin constantly breaks out, seemingly with no cure, and the scars bear the evidence that where beauty once so brilliant shown, now time has obviously marched right across my face and staked territory.

“Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it’s marchin’ across your face.”
                                                                 -Truvy–Steel Magnolias

I feel like I’m having a mid-life crisis and back in highschool all at the same time.

I’ve found it hard to come to grips with this, to like the skin I’m in, to be comfortable in it, and more than that, to believe what God says about me–that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.

I remember Husband’s words that women in today’s culture seek to be sexy, but the most beautiful woman is a confident woman–a woman who can wear old jeans, pull her hair back in a pony-tail and laugh, and be happy with herself and her God.

I know he’s right–I do, but I don’t feel confident and I don’t feel so wonderfully made when this body is decaying and falling apart.


Old habits die hard.

Growing up, I was always, always complimented on my outward beauty. It was the only thing I got noticed for, and was completely unaware why. I tried hard to fit in, to be apart, took a stab at jokes, tried to find a tight space in conversation to slip in a clever remark.

But I was made fun of and laughed at–this girl who looked out windows, closed eyes in blinding sun and day-dreamed too much and didn’t get the dirty jokes–told that I was a dumb-blonde, that I was so out of it and air-headed.

I knew that they were joking, just having fun, but I was the butt of the joke, and it didn’t feel like fun to me–I was the one who was paying the price for their fun. I felt deflated–worthless–nothing of value in my heart and mind. I’d look back out the window again and drift off some place where it didn’t hurt as bad to be me.

As I grew taller and began to take shape–my face becoming that of a woman, my beauty was all anyone was interested in–I had nothing else to offer. I felt stupidly clumsy, falling all over myself in front of people, not knowing what to say. It was just easier to shut off and not be interested in meeting new people. I didn’t understand this extreme social status game, me this bookish girl all in my own dream world, shyly preferring characters in stories to real people and the pain they inflicted.

Books were my closest friends. I would come home and run to the comfort of my bed where I would fling myself down and read for hours. I would look out the window at the dogwood and think of the nails that Jesus took for me, but unfortunately I did not know the grace that man came to give.

I was so empty.

This is where I took a turn down a long, dark path. This was just the beginning….

Dear, kind friends, this is only the beginning of the story–I apologize for leaving you hanging, but Emily {of Imperfect Prose} has asked me to share my anorexia story and I will be sharing that over at her eating disorder site next Monday. Please come back and read of my journey? It would be such an extravagant grace to have you back here then and if you would like, to follow me to her place to get the full story….

A little glimpse of the beauty to come and some encouragement for you today: …..

 This is what God says about my beauty, about this frail, human body:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days you have ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” Psalms 139:13-18

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction in on her tongue. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”–Proverbs 31:25,26,30 

 Prayer: 

God, I want real beauty. I want to be a servant with the worn spots of motherhood on me. Let me wear the work apron in place of fine jewels and instead of being obsessed with lashes lavished with makeup and with curling, let me have eyes that are a place of found grace when my kids have fallen into sin, not lingerie-store pushed up and out, but a soft breast for little ones to fall asleep on, and not a perfect hour-glass figure, but a wife and mother that prays on the hour for You to come love them through me, and not a mother who checks herself in the mirror, mumbling insults in front of little ears….

{please come back for the rest next Mon? I will share details from my eating-disorder journey and encouragement on what God says about a woman’s body vs. what our culture says–I promise it is freeing! He gives more grace, friends! Always more grace!}

Sharing with a trembling heart…hitting publish with shaky hands, and as Emily says, letting Jesus write through me…and counting, this week again, through all the hard times, with Ann…..

Gratitude:

#720 daughters and me doing exercise together everyday

#721 that they ask to do things with me

#722 Bella’s pleading 4-yr-old-lisp request: “Pleasth, Mama, can I go with you? Pleasth??” and how even though I want time alone, I can’t resist.

#723 me and Bella smelling the flowers together in the garden center at her prompting

#724 me taking girls out for the day to get my hair done–first time in a year {!} and to take the girls to a skating party–surviving social anxiety

#725 our whole family serving at our church this week–way out of our comfort zonethe beauty of giving versus receiving

#726 an unspoken hard eucharisteo

#727 sun in face, looking up at trees above, light dappled through leaves, tears brimming over, heart heavy and conversation just between my Father and me

#728 an impromtu supper picnic at the lake with friends–conversation, laughter, love, support

#729 my friend’s wisdom and loving encouragement…how she grounds me

#730 our family making. it. early. for Sunday service!!

#731 a dear woman at church asking me to sit with her and discuss homeschooling–her husband divulging his concerns for his 12 yr old daughter–the wild grace that I could have anything to offer this family–only God, only God
#732 that with all my shortcomings, that maybe God can still use me

#733 the opportunity to share my story–something I wasn’t even aware that I needed to do until I was asked–that it will be healing for me and hopefully for others…

Friends, I would LOVE for you to leave your thoughts–your comments are so precious, and minister to my soul–I am probably in a corner of my home somewhere cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, sorting through laundry, helping my second grader sound out words, or talking with wonderful Husband over wine….I am sorry that I cannot answer every comment, but please let me know you were here, so I can stop by your place and leave some encouragement for you!

Shared with Ann in community at…

Emily…

L.L…
On In Around button

and Laura…




Jen…

Jennifer….

Michelle…

and Shanda…

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28 thoughts on “A Girl Lost In Smoke and Mirrors {What Does God Say About Beauty?}”

  1. Nacole…I have known this too…and those ugly lies of self-hatred sink deep into a soul…God brings more and more freedom…but even at my age i see some threads of that self-hatred…kind of like cobwebs in hidden corners…not to hard to sweep out…but still need to be swept out. Blessings as you tell your story.

  2. Oh, Nacole. yes. I too have been discouraged as age takes new hold on my body. I will be back to read the rest of this story. but for now, I wrap you up so tight, just as you are. breath love that will make your skin shine and smile abound. you my friend, are all the right kind of beautiful.

  3. Green eyes are my very favorite! I remember becoming comfortable in my skin around age 35. I found the book on spiritual gifts by Don and Katie Fortune – and I finally understood the beauty of how I was created. It was like God cleared out all the weeds and rubbish society had surrounded me with and I was able to start becoming fully me through Him.

    I agree – you are the right kind of beautiful where the inside heart glows to the outside. I was also thinking that maybe our eyes don't sparkle as much because they are full of things so much more valuable – and hold much deeper thoughts.

    I look forward to your story – and I am so excited you went out, overcame social anxiety – you so blessed other people more than you imagine!

  4. So brave, so beautiful. Your honesty such a blessing. Thank you for trusting us. “your adornment (is) the interior disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, so precious in the sight of God” 1 Peter 3:4

  5. Nacole, my heart skipped a beat here as I read this — are you SURE you are not writing about ME??????? I feel like you have crawled inside my soul, found MY story, and are about to reveal all the shadows of MY heart! I know this road you travelled. I know the pain. I think I could write “the rest of the story.” I look in the mirror today and wonder, how did it get to this? I am further down the path than you in age and I will tell you this: God is true to His promises!!!!
    In Joel 2, He promises to restore the years that the locusts have eaten! What seems like something we cannot ever get back, He can and will, and He has done it for me. Through your ministry of writing and encouraging others, you have (and are continuing to do so) you have gained soooooo much more of that which has eternal value than golden hair, smooth skin and perky boobs!!! Girl, ALL OF US are sagging, fading, wrinkling up, hobbling, aching, seeing blurry, etc. Here I sit, always so self-conscious of having only one boob. None of us, NOT ONE, doesn't bear the scars of the sinful nature. But God sees us differently, and I praise Him for that! When I learned that He sees me as PERFECT, dressed in white, as a princess, a child of the King, it changed everything for me. Not right away, not over night. Even that was a process for me. A very long story. I leave you with Amy Carmichael's poem, Hast Thou No Scar?
    Hast thou no scar?
    No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
    I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
    I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
    Hast thou no scar?

    Hast thou no wound?
    Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
    Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
    By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
    Hast thou no wound?

    No wound? No scar?
    Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
    And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
    But thine are whole; can he have followed far
    Who hast no wound or scar?

    You are always in my prayers, Nacole! Thank you for this, and I'm looking forward to hearing the rest. Don't ever be afraid to push that publish button — it's always those posts that mean the most and NEED to be published!

  6. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story. as I read, all I could think was,”But she is young and beautiful.” for…I am 50 now and feel much older. Yet, God is still blessing and revealing to me that I have purpose…if not youthful beauty!
    Thank you for you sweet comments on my blog and for reading about my sweet Dulce Maria. My heart still cried when I think of her.

  7. We are NEW in Christ Jesus & the perishable MUST put on the imperishable! This is God's plan & we must trust HIM knowing that all we might become attatched to on this earth(including our youthful bodies) is to be relaced with something far more glorious & even beyond our small imaginations. We can only grasp this by faith (something hoped for but not seen!) I'm 55 years old & still struggling with body image but praise JESUS we can ask for more faith & HE loves & answers that type of prayer! Blessings girls! in Jesus, Cynthia

  8. Oh, I GET IT.. and applaud your courage. I, too, am a saggy, stretched and oh, so grateful for grace woman freed from an eating disorder and longing to be beautiful in the way that your husband described it. Wise man. I'll be back for the rest of the story. And by the way, you ARE beautiful.. I can tell that each time I visit this place.

  9. What an honest and heart felt post. I stopped by from A Pause on the Path blog hop. I'm so glad I did. I understand what you are saying and I'm sure many others do, too. You will find your way back to loving who you are, inside and out. God bless.

  10. When I look at my 80 year old wife, yes she is a bit different than when I married her and she was 18, – – but to me she is beautiful and I see her as God sees her — still the same person I married and still love.

  11. Beautiful words, we do not go through a journey to then keep it to ourselves, God brings us through so we can minister and share it with others. To RISK is hard to open it up and say “this is who I am” is really hard. But you can do it.
    I will be praying, for you.

  12. Oh, friend. You are such a lovely lady. Your beauty just shines from the inside out and spills on everyone who encounters you. Bless you for sharing. I look forward to the rest of the story.

  13. Every women here speaks so beautifully, Patricia really nailed my thoughts exactly. 1Peter 3:4, what every daughter of God desires to be true and real and living within us! Proverbs 31… how we plead with God to make this true of us…!! “The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”
    Bold and beautiful.
    Your unfading beauty is radiant with Christ's redeeming love…. your words drip with the depth of His work in you.
    I'll be praying for you too, as you continue to trust God as you share and pour out more.

  14. Thank you for being wide open. I've never been a beauty, and aging and stretching haven't so much bothered me, so you've taught me some things here. I think you're beautiful, still: on the inside, sure, but I'm talking about the outside, Pretty Mama! I'm so glad that you have Jesus. My friend Jim Wheeler says: “God never wastes a hurt,” and I can see that God is already using your hurts in big and important ways.

  15. Thank you for sharing and I will be back next week to read part 2.

    I totally understand not liking how I look as I age – yet in some ways I feel better about myself now than I did when young. I can remember being worried I looked fat when I wore a size 7! (Would love to be a 7 again!)

  16. Thank you, Nacole, for sharing so vulnerably and beautifully your story. Praying that God will continue to bring healing to you so that you may feel beautiful because you are! Hugs, dear one 🙂

  17. oh girl. can i say, i'm so proud of you? because i am. this is beautiful and true and God-honoring. i love the woman you are, and the woman you are becoming, and the Christ i see shining worthy through you.

  18. beautiful and wonderful – fearfully made- I was much the same girl – “air-head” over and over again – “so blonde” – satan found a foot hold in my life and sought to destroy – I really haven't told that story – God bless you as you tell yours – thank you for sharing

  19. you know, women are def not the only one to deal with this…there are similar truths men battle…so your story is universal…the definitions we have so skewed on what beauty is…

  20. Sitting here, and wishing I could reach arms through the screen to find you. This is beautiful. I'm so glad you're sharing your story. It matters. It really, really matters. And yes, I'll be back to read the rest. Your story is important. Thank you for being courageous in the telling!

    Much, much love…

  21. I love that you have the opportunity to share this part of your story… I know so much healing will come… to you and others… you share with such grace and beauty.. you are vessel of honor fit for the Master's use… and in His hands you are safe…

  22. hi Cynthia,

    i see you dont have a blog, so i wanted to wave a warm hello to you and say nice to have you here. thank you so much for coming by and for the reminder of our faith that you took the time to tap out here–yes, friend, He loves and answers. *thank you*.

  23. Nacole, God sees you and calls you beautiful, He knows you and calls you beloved; He does not, like man, look upon the outward appearance but he understands the heart and while we were yet confused and unlovely He chose to give His life for us, to become our Kinsman Redeemer. I am so glad you know all this… and that He is your hope that maketh not ashamed. Nacole, you are beautiful! Your sharing was very special. thanks for that dear!

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