When Looks Really Do Matter


Beauty is only skin deep.

Pretty is as pretty does.

True beauty lies on the inside.

We have heard all of the sayings.  We try to convince ourselves that our looks are good enough for God, good enough for the world, and good enough for ourselves.  However, do our looks really matter?  Did they matter to the Proverbs 31 woman?

Looks probably mattered quite a bit to her, but maybe not the way our society promotes beauty.  She would never grace the cover of a magazine in a bikini or revealing dress.  Modesty would have been a huge priority.  However, we know that she worked hard to prepare clothing for her family.  She tried her best to make them all look good.  She wanted to present her family to the world as a well clothed group.

13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes. (Proverbs 31:13, 22-24)

The chapter goes on to say in verse 30 that “beauty is fleeting.”  So should we value beauty or not??

Here is my opinion.  As always, my opinion evolves as I age and grow.  At this point in my life, my goal is to make sure my family dresses well.  I want everyone to have clothing that is clean, fits well, looks attractive, and is modest in nature.  My husband and I must look professional for our careers, so we pay attention to our closets.  We don’t spend a lot of money on clothing, but stores like TJ Maxx and Target keep us clothed.

We all know that when we see people whose clothing doesn’t fit, who appear dirty, and those who look disheveled, we form an opinion about them.  The Proverbs 31 woman tried to promote her husband’s social status by ensuring that her family was clothed well.  To me, that doesn’t mean expensive, designer clothing, but it does mean clean and neat.

What about the hair, make-up, nails, and jewelry?  As with anything else, an obsession with it would detract from our relationship with God.  We cannot spend our lives worrying about looking perfect.  It won’t happen.  We are created to look different, individualized.  We should embrace our differences and our features.

Having said that, there are times when I go to the expense of nice jewelry, professional hair coloring (shh…) and cut, and get my nails done.  My husband works in a world where looks do matter to many of his clients.  To some of his clients, appearances show a social status.  In order to make my husband look good, I need to look good. ( I know, rough life when my husband is forced to pay for a manicure for me!)

I remember hearing stories as a child of churches who wouldn’t allow women to wear jewelry.  I know there are sects of Christians who still believe and practice this.  They do not allow make-up or professional hair and nail services.  I disagree with them.  I do not believe that God considers valuing the way we look as a sin.  Only when we put beauty ahead of Him or treat others poorly based upon their appearances will God become angry with us.

I know this is a touchy subject.  I could go on to discuss weight and our family’s journey to fitness, but I will save that for another post!


Adventures At a Fabric Store

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She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen. Proverbs 31:24

Tonight is the performance of the play I direct at school.  My drama club began putting together our rendition of Peter Pan back in October.  Things were smooth until my co-director had her baby five weeks early.  I can’t complain too much because two other teachers stepped up to help.  My amazing teammates always are willing to help me!  However, as we approached performance time, the to-do list seemed to grow and grow.  Finally, last night, I still needed fabric.

Since our mermaids needed fabric to “swim” through, I went to a local fabric shop to buy something that looked “watery.”  The lady was awesome!  She found the blue fabric, measured, cut, ran my credit card, and I was out the door before I even understood what had happened.  I was completely overwhelmed by that store.  It was by the grace of God that she came to my rescue.

That experience got me thinking about the Proverbs 31 woman and her expertise of fabric.  I don’t think we all need to understand fabric to rise to her level.  We are simply called to understand our own trade.  For me, I work hard to stay current on educational practices.  I also work on pushing forward my writing career. (Small as that may be at this time!).

What is your trade?  How are you working to promote your career, your area of expertise?  I think the point here is to take your God-given talent and use it!


Strength and Dignity…Lord, Help Me With This One!

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Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future. Proverbs 31:25 NASB

Strength has several meanings for me.  First, I obviously admire the physical strength of women who have much more time to workout than I do.  I wish I could hit the gym every single day.  I would love to be able to run and strength train more regularly.  Unfortunately I only get to run 3-4 days a week.

Mental strength, however, is even more difficult.  I believe that God is constantly working on me.  I feel that each trial He presents in my life is an opportunity to shape me into the person He wants me to be.  That doesn’t make life easy!

My mental strength wavered tonight.  As I mentioned yesterday, our house is going on the market. In TWO WEEKS!  I spent all of yesterday evening painting the upstairs bathroom, thanks to a girlfriend who helped paint and watch kids.  After she left, I touched up paint on the kitchen cabinets that I refinished two years ago.  They are a lovely white!  Well… They were!

Whoever thought getting a house ready for market with a nearly one-year old and a preschooler was crazy!  I will blame my husband!  Darling daughter dumped an entire tray of paint on the bathroom floor yesterday.  (Again, thank goodness for my friend who was helping!)  Tonight she cut her finger.   On a bowl. (Not sure how.) And bled. On the …. Yep! White kitchen cabinets!  My strength was TESTED!

In the moment, all I could do was check to see how bad the cut was.  Her finger is so tiny.  It is the first time I have actually seen a person shoot blood from a body part.  (Sorry for the grossness.)

Once she was bandaged, all I could do was sit on the floor beside her and look at the blood.  I prayed to God that He would grant me the strength to keep this house showable once it hits the market.  I prayed that I would not become overly tired and bitter.

My husband’s words filled my head.  On the way home from church Sunday, he told me that his goal for this move was to not get stressed out.  I laughed and told him it was too late.

Sitting on the floor with a crying baby, wiping up little puddles of blood, trying to clean my kitchen cabinets, I thought of my husband’s words.  Instead of stressing about the cut, I picked myself up off the floor, picked Darling Daughter up off the floor, and thanked God that, with strength, we receive dignity.  From strength and dignity comes the ability to smile, even when things go wrong.

The Proverbs 31 woman didn’t have an easy life.  However, she was able to pick herself up after a fall.  She could hold her head high, knowing she was doing her best.  With her strength and dignity, came her smiles.  Undoubtedly her smiles carried over to her husband and children.

We all need God to grant us strength to get through the rough times.  Today, remember to smile when you feel His strength!