And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside…
Sara Groves, “Add to the Beauty”
I have a daughter, a tiny sparkly 16-month-old beauty with dark eyes and a sweet smile and curly pigtails. She lights up a room the same way she lights up my heart.
In the glow of the delivery room, I heard my husband softly say, “It’s a girl. A girl.” We didn’t know before that moment if the baby I’d birth would be a girl or a boy, and in that single second when she was placed on my chest, I breathed deep with both joy and panic.
How do I mother a girl? was the question that burned. I had a two-year-old rough and tumble, sweet and tender, adventurous boy at home, and I was comfortable with him. But a girl?
How do you pass along generations of unspoken truth, ancient knowledge stored only in soulful eyes and brief nods, knowing smiles and a soft pat on the knee? How do you hand down beauty and passion, drive and ambition, solemnity and caretaking, the feeling of being more than and not enough all at once?
How do I explain to my daughter that women — oh women! — can be the very encouragement that carries us to another day and also be the destroyer of self-worth?
How do I help her see and seek her own deep-seeded beauty when I’m still looking for mine?
. . . It comes in helping a soul find it’s worth . . .
I’m raising a beautiful little girl and a beautiful little boy, and at the end of November the scales will tip when my third boy or girl is born.
Since my first was born, my heart has relaxed as much as the rules. I still worry about things, but no longer do I panic when thinking about how to teach my daughter what it is to be a woman, because it comes down to this:
. . . This is grace, an invitation to be beautiful . . .
We are invited, each of us, to be beautiful. To see and seek beauty in our everyday, in each other. And so our charge is not how to become more beautiful, but to ask instead: how can I add to the beauty?
- Does this action I’m thinking of taking add to the beauty of today, of this moment?
- Does this conversation with a friend add to her beauty?
- Will this tweet add to the beauty of my life and the lives of others, or is it just filler?
I’m tired of filler. I’m ready to seek beauty. I want my daughter to grow up on grace-filled beauty, the kind that has been handed down for generations and through friendships, in every casserole dish brought, tissues slid across church pews and faces saved and hearts spurred onto good. I want my daughter to feel beautiful not because of her long eyelashes and silky skin and chestnut curls, but because of the One who placed beauty deep within her soul long ago outside the Garden.
Beauty poured lavishly like perfume from an alabaster jar.
Accept the invitation to be beautiful from the One who offers it, and extend it to one another. Be the beautiful feet that bear good news. Together, let’s tell a better, more beautiful story.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Ironically I don’t have another word…other than to say this is beautiful. Truly a post filled with beauty. The world and fashion magazines fill our daughters’ heads with how be appear more beautiful, whereas what you are aiming toward is cultivating your daughter’s inner beauty which is how she reflects Jesus’ love toward others. Add to the beauty…I like that!
Anna R. says
Thank you so much, Bev – that phrase, ‘add to the beauty’, has stuck with me too.
I had the same thoughts and feelings (but as a girl mom) when I delivered a little boy in July. Thanks for sharing.
Anna R. says
It’s some kind of crazy to have one of each, isn’t it?! Congratulations on your little boy =)
Hannah Smith Hall says
This is so lovely, Anna. You are spot-on too. So much of what we (I) say and do is just filler, meant to bring attention to myself or steal the spotlight from someone else. Look at me! Not her! Blech.
I want beauty that is quietly authentic. That my daughters can see even when they don’t realize they’re seeing it. Thank you. I pray my conversations and words and actions show authentic beauty today.
Anna R. says
‘Quietly authentic’ <– YES. Love these words, Hannah!!
I was reminded earlier this morning of the words “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.” I think when we have spent time with God we know that He sees us as beautiful, therefore we can be confident in that beauty. When we are confident in that beauty we’re more likely to see beauty in others, so they in turn feel beautiful. It’s all about reflecting and seeing and sharing beauty. What an amazingly beautiful cycle!
Anna R. says
That idea of cyclical beauty… brilliant. Thanks for adding your heart here, Calista!
Kathy L says
Wow! It has been a LONG time since I had a baby but I still understand that feeling and now my baby will be having a baby girl or boy in just a few weeks and I hope that she understands the phrase….Add to the beauty. It is truly a blessing. Thanks Anna.
Beth Williams says
Your writing is charming! I loved this post! It speaks to me. I’m tired of the “filler junk” this world offers as “beauty”! Blech!!! I am ready for authentic friendships, ways to grow one another in love. We as women need to nurture inner beauty of our children, and family. We should show them how to display God’s love!
Lauren Heller says
Love this! 🙂