Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Beauty

  I’ve been blessed with an awesome mother-in-law.  You don’t hear that very often, do you?  She is a prayer warrior, praying continually.  I cherish this when our family is traveling….since Steve has problems going the speed limit.  I know she has prayed with me through many of the valleys I have experienced - miscarriages, my mom’s death, hard decisions. To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone is praying with you….fervently lifting you up in prayer when you feel so unable to pray for yourself is an enormous blessing that I can’t even put into words.  She’s also on her knees when our lives are going well; she is giving thanks and praise.

Her sister, Evelyn is equally amazing.  After a few minutes of being around her, she is sure to tell you her opinions about how you should be living your life.   She devotes herself to the study of God’s Word and is an avid reader of many Christian books.  She has given Steve many wonderful books that he treasures.  When she found out about Faith’s “real beauty” project, she was more than happy to be a part of it.  She wrote Faith a letter:

Dear Faith,
The qualities that make a woman beautiful are:
1.  Possession of a joyous servant’s heart.
2. Plays to an audience of one (the triune God).
3. Wisely industrious.
4. Lives by the Bible, prayer, and faith (devout).
5. Virtuous.
6. Generous to all, especially the poor.
7. An avid learner
8. Has a healthy sense of humor with grace

I guess I could sum it up by saying she has a Christlike character.  If number 4 is true, all the other qualities would be included.

Needless to say, I am eternally thankful for the wonderful women who have been placed in my life and in my children’s lives!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beauty Moves

I moved to Lynchburg about eleven years ago, and it wasn't because of Liberty University.  In fact, I'd never even heard of Jerry Falwell or Liberty Mountain.  My family moved here for other reasons.

  We made friends pretty quickly, and that's when the devastation started. See, Lynchburg is a college town, and people who live in college towns are notorious for not staying put.  Lynchburg is just a resting point, a leg up to the next place people are going.  I make a new girlfriend, a year later she's moved on to the next phase of her life.  And it's usually far, far away, too, as in I will probably never see these women again!  Even when it's closer by, though, a long-distance relationship is just never the same.  It breaks my heart.  Remember that old Paul Young song "Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you"?  My friend Renee carried off a piece, my friend Danielle carried one off, Maribeth, Jessica, Courtney, and a bunch more.  Their time in Lynchburg was finished, so they moved their beautiful selves off to somewhere else, and I have stayed here.  Some I was very close to and some I just liked hanging out with, but they all added beauty to my life!  

  One of my earliest Lynchburg friends is Kristina.  Kristina befriended me at church early on, and I've loved her ever since.  I remember going to visit her in the hospital when her first baby Sammy was born.  He was a preemie, so tiny, and she was such a beautiful first time mom.  Now Sammy is a big, beautiful kid with two little brothers!  I've watched all three grow and been blessed to watch Kristina be their beautiful mom!  

  I went by Kristina's house the other day, and tried to pull up the 'For Sale' sign in her yard.  Someone had pushed that sucker in deep, though, because it wouldn't come up.  Yeah, she's told me she's going, but I've turned a deaf ear to it.  The sign made it real.  Kristina is moving.  She's going to be taking a big piece of me with her!  

  I could cry and whine about losing all my beautiful girlfriends to the reality of life, but I can't.  Well, I can, but it wouldn't be right.  I've been too blessed to have them in my life to ever regret losing them!  Kristina will be moving on.  She's moving north, and I never travel north, so I may never see her again.  But she's been such a beautiful blessing in my life that I can't hold a grudge.  And I always have Facebook so I can still see her three beautiful boys grow!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Encouraging Girls to be Beautiful Girls

  I'm a big fan of encouragement.  I want to be an encouragement to others, and I love when others are encouraging to me.  There is a passage in the Bible about women encouraging other women, and it goes like this: "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to too much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may ENCOURAGE the young women..." Titus 2:3-4

When we studied this passage in our women's study group, our first question was an obvious one.  Who is an 'older', and who is a 'younger'?  Am I the encourager, or the encouragee?  Well, since most of us are not the oldest woman in the group or the youngest woman in the group, we fall in the middle.  So, we're both.  

  Our Beautiful Photographers, Faith and Aubrianah, are young women.  They have been blessed by the encouragement of older women.  Twenty-year-old women and sixty-year-old women, and women younger than twenty and older than sixty have taken Titus 2 to heart and been an encouragement to our girls.  But does that make Faith and Aubrianah 'youngers'?  Not always!

  Natalie here is a Beautiful Girl.  She is compassionate, she is sensitive, she's fun to be around, and she's thoughtful.  And she needs encouragement, just like the rest of us.  To her, Faith and Aubrianah are 'olders'!  Oh what an opportunity they have to be a blessing to Natalie and the other girls who are Natalie's age, and they have taken that opportunity when they have seen it.  

  How about you?  Are you a woman who has been frustrated by the lack of encouragement you've received? Are you laying all the responsibility onto the older women's shoulders?  Oh, how I hope not...but if you have, I challenge you to look at the other side.  Is there a younger woman YOU can be a blessing to by encouraging her?  Blessings tend to multiply, so give it a try!