Last week my cell phone rang at my desk at work. I’m not one to prefer talking on the phone. I enjoy texting and email if I am not going to have a face to face conversation, but this call was coming from a friend’s husband and I knew I had to answer it. After saying hello the voice on the other end sounded familiar yet different than I had ever heard it. He was reaching out for help for his wife and my heart hurt as I listened. She had been checked into a private drug and alcohol rehab center where people go to recover from the devastating effects of drug addiction and alcoholism. He asked if I would be willing to go and visit her. I of course said yes and tried to encourage him to hang in there as you could hear the weariness in his voice.

photo (47)On Sunday after church, I found myself driving and praying the whole way to our visit. I had never been to one of these hospitals before, and I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived there was a guard on duty that greeted me at the closed gate. I had to give her my name, she checked the list to see if I was on it, and then proceeded to open the gate for me with instructions of where to park and go next. I was not allowed to bring anything in with me. My cell phone and purse had to remain in the car. I took my bible with me and checked in at the front desk. They issued me a name tag and went over the rules of the visitation. They paged my friend and she came out to greet me. We hugged briefly as we made our way out of the busy hallways that were full of families meeting, and we went outside to find a picnic table to visit under a shade tree. She did most of the talking, and I did most of the listening. She was raw and real with her life choices that had added up over time which caused her to find herself in this place. I just held her shaking hand as the wind blew through her hair and continued to pray while I listened. What I was hearing from this beautiful woman was a very BIG LIE that the world had been screaming at her since she was a little girl. “You’re not pretty enough, You’re not skinny enough, You’re not enough.”

photo (46)LADIES, if you have heard these words silently in the back of your mind or even from someone you love STOP LISTENING! MEN, if you are speaking these words to a woman please STOP SPEAKING them. THEY ARE NOT TRUE! If you want a picture of what a REAL woman looks like take a visit to Proverbs 31:10-31.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:25-31

The Lord always amazes me with His timing. I met two other friends for coffee right after this visit where I was given the next study we are going to be doing together. The name of the book is 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney. Seriously, the very first chapter of the book covers this very topic…YOU ARE MORE THAN THE SUM OF YOUR PARTS! Vicki goes into describing the women of the 19th Century and compares their dairies to the diaries of our day. Here’s a look into the Vintage Beauty Secrets, Circa 1890 according to Joan Jacobs Brumberg, author of The Body Project, “character was built on attention to self-control, service to others, and belief in God.” Here are some statistics from The Dove Foundation survey that polled women of today…60% of women strongly agreed that “society expects women to enhance their physical attractiveness,” 59% strongly agreed that “physically attractive women are more valued by men,” and finally 76% strongly agreed that they wished that female beauty was portrayed in the media as being made up of more than just physical attractiveness. The women of TODAY want beauty to be more about VIRTUE and less about VANITY! So let’s make it happen!

photo (1)It starts with us! Let’s try to become the woman described in Proverbs 31! I want my daughter’s to see a woman that is confident in herself, who holds her head high and handles the affairs of her family well. I want to bring honor to my husband and see him well respected in all of his affairs. I want my daughters to know that their beauty goes farther than what they see in the mirror. The beauty that is from within is what is valued and brings so much LIGHT into our world. I want my girls to put themselves last and put others first! I want them to serve! I want them to LOVE and BELIEVE in our mighty and HOLY God who was and is to come. I want this for my friend who is struggling, I want this for every friend, and I want this for all of YOU! Believe it! Receive it and LIVE IT!!!  You are LOVED!!!  #gloryup