A new edition to the Questions of the Heart series is long overdue. I love hearing other women's perspectives on beauty and I hope you enjoy it just as much.
Laura and I met through some mutual friends. Her great smile gives you a hint of her optimism that she shares on her blog: Life is Beautiful.
My love for quotes is also partial to her Wisdom for Wednesday series.
Questions of the Heart; Answers of Real Women
What makes a beautiful woman?
Humility, deep joy, and sincere love for others. Those are instantly attractive qualities about a woman. "Humility of not thinking less of yourself but rather thinking of yourself less." When women are comfortable in their own skin and are able to be real with others instead of trying to seem perfect...when they have an overflowing joy from knowing Christ...when they are truly interested in and loving those around them...these are the qualities that light up a woman and make her irresistibly and indescribably beautiful.
What makes you feel beautiful?
I really do feel more beautiful when I try to practice those virtues above of humility, joy, and selfless love. It's like my face softens and smiles more easily when I forget to be critical of myself and just simply love and enjoy those around me.
Of course, I also love makeup and dressing up! It's amazing what a difference it can make on my mood when I curl my hair, slip into a sundress, and have fun with the makeup. That mascara wand really is a magic wand sometimes!
What has had the greatest impact on how you view yourself and encouraged you to be yourself?
Time, grace, and unconditional love. I struggled a lot with perfectionism growing up, and was very critical of myself, inside and out. Throughout the years, I've found such freedom in realizing my worth simply as a daughter of God. My friends, family, and Catholic Faith have also taught me the beauty of unconditional love-- that I don't have to measure up with how I look or what I do in order to be loved and worthy. There's freedom to simply be who I was created to be--and that's beautiful.
What is your beauty go-to for the days when you feel anything but beautiful?
I've got a whole list for this one--I'm armed and ready for those days! Painting my nails, putting on a green clay face mask, baking cookies, lighting candles, going for a run, fruity-scented lotion after a hot shower. The little things can be such a treat!
But you know, while those pick-me-ups are blessings, I can't help but think of the women who don't have even such small luxuries. A month ago I traveled to Haiti and experienced poverty like I've never seen before. I saw women dying of AIDS, women waiting hours for medical care, women stick-skinny with mismatched clothing...these women have no idea what it's like to treat themselves to a hot shower or flowery lotion or fresh-baked cookies. I can't forget their faces, their smiles, their pain, their unquestionable beauty. And when I contemplate them, beauty becomes redefined for me.
What would you like to share with other women to encourage them to recognize their value and to be beautiful?
You are absolutely beautiful simply because you are wanted, loved, and chosen by God our Father. He delights in you, He sings over you, He dances with joy because of you (Zephaniah 3:17). The world is so stifling with its view of beauty-- harsh, plastic, cold, joyless, counterfeit form of beauty. I know it's tough, but don't let that view damper your natural, God-given beauty. Seek His friendship and His love first and foremost, and from that confident security, let who you were created to be truly blossom. Be wild and crazy. Be gentle and thoughtful. Be happy and grateful. Be creative and nurturing. Enjoy your femininity and celebrate it freely--it's beautiful.
It was such fun planning this with you, Laura!