Instead of becoming preoccupied with your external beauty and body image, remember that are bodies were meant to be used in full service to God.
Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious." —1 Peter 3:3–4 ESV
This passage is not saying that we can’t braid our hair or wear cute clothes (preferably purchased at Target on clearance). And it definitely is not saying that we cannot wear chunky jewelry . . . cue “Hallelujah Chorus”! But it is a strong reminder that nothing we can ever put on and nothing we can ever take off is the source of true, lasting beauty.
This is a good reminder for moms because being a mom changes our beauty, sometimes in ways that are difficult to accept. I have plenty of stretch marks and scars to prove that those beautiful eight-pound boys were once in my tummy. My weight has crept up, up, up since the stick turned pink. And I like to describe my personal, post-baby style as “bag lady chic.” Sure, my boys are out of diapers, but I am still trying to find a pair of pants that fit that doesn’t have an elastic waistband.
Our post-baby bodies and beauty can be discouraging, but our bodies are ultimately tools to be used by God, not artifacts to be preserved in their original form. Retaining our eighteen-year-old bodies should never have been the goal; rather let us seek to use our bodies to the full in service to God and in love for our children. So what if we get a few dings and marks along the way.
Bearing and nurturing children means a shift in our beauty. But it doesn’t mean we have to throw the beauty out with the bathwater. God’s Word promises a type of beauty that never fades and that is of great value in God’s sight, but it’s the kind of beauty that can only radiate out from the inside. It cannot permeate your heart from the outside in.
Even if your current season in life prevents you from cultivating the kind of outer beauty you’d like to have, you can be beautiful. Work toward a quiet and gentle Spirit, and ask God to continue to give you a beautiful heart. You don’t have to completely ignore your outer beauty, but work toward a shift in thinking to see surrendering affection for that kind of beauty to God as part of your willingness to minister to others through motherhood.
Action Step: Choose truth.
Write Romans 12:1 on your bathroom mirror this week:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. ESV
A Mom’s Prayer: Father, thank You for making me in your image. Thank You that I have the hope of a version of beauty that does not hinge on how long it’s been since I’ve had my roots done. Help me to value inner beauty over external beauty and to let the affirmations of my beauty and worth from Your Word be enough for me.