Happy Mother’s Day: Thank God for your Mother

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” – Chinese Proverb

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.” – Cardinal Mermillod

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” – Honore’ de Balzac

“Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends – but only one mother in the whole world.” – Kate Douglas Wiggin

“The patience of a mother might be likened to a tube of toothpaste – it’s never quite all gone.” – Author Unknown

“You never realize how much your mother loves you till you explore the attic – and find every letter you ever sent her, every finger painting, clay pot, bead necklace, Easter chicken, cardboard Santa Claus, paper lace Mother’s Day card and school report since day one.” – Pam Brown

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within hearsay of little children tends toward the formation of character.” – Hosea Ballou

“I thought my mom’s whole purpose was to be my mom. That’s how she made me feel.” – Natasha Gregson Wagner

“She is my first, great love. She was a wonderful, rare woman – you do not know; as strong, and steadfast, and generous as the sun. She could be as swift as a white whiplash, and as kind and gentle as warm rain, and as steadfast as the irreducible earth beneath us.” – D.H. Lawrence

“A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, ‘where mother is.’ ” – Keith L. Brooks

“The mother, more than any other, affects the moral and spiritual part of the children’s character. She is their constant companion and teacher in formative years. The child is ever imitating and assimilating the mother’s nature. It is only in after life that men gaze backward and behold how a mother’s hand and heart of love molded their young lives and shaped their destiny.” E.W. Caswell

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington

“An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.” – Spanish proverb

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan

“I cannot tell you how much I owe to the solemn word of my good mother.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when troubles thicken around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” – Washington Irving

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

“The mother is everything – she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly.” – Kahlil Gibran

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“I wish I could sit here and give you words to describe what my mother means to me. There aren’t enough words in the dictionary. I don’t know how she did it.” – LeBron James

“My mother never gave up on me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back.” – Denzel Washington

“It seems to me that my mother was the most splendid woman I ever knew… I have met a lot of people knocking around the world since, but I have never met a more thoroughly refined woman than my mother. If I have amounted to anything, it will be due to her.” Charles Chaplin

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“The noblest calling in the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give.” – David O. McKay


Thoughts on Christian Womanhood

The world has enough women who are tough;
we need women who are tender.
There are enough women who are coarse;
we need women who are kind…
We have enough women of fame and fortune;
we need more women of faith.
We have enough greed; we need more goodness.
We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.
We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

-Margaret D. Nadauld

A Christian woman does not put her hope in her husband, or in getting a husband. She does not put her hope in her looks. She puts her hope in the promises of God. She is described in Proverbs 31:25: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” She laughs at everything the future will bring and might bring, because she hopes in God.

She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever He pleass. She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows His promise that he will be with her, help her, and strength her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood.

-John Piper

Unrealistic Beauty

Have you ever looked at a magazine or TV ad and felt ugly and worthless, unable to compare with the beautiful models you saw?  If so, you are not alone.  Many women feel this way…we see the “perfect” standard of beauty on TV and feel unable to live up to it.  Anorexia and bulimia are conditions becoming increasingly prevalent in our culture, as girls and women starve themselves in an attempt to be as “thin” as the models on TV.  Women are literally dying to find worth, and culture tells us that the surest road to value when you are a woman is physical beauty.

Girls, our standard of beauty is distorted.  We are told that beauty has one size, one skin color, one height, one weight.  But that’s not true.  God designed each of us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and He looks at us as unique and beautiful and made in His image.

Pop culture cultivates an ideal of beauty that is not only unrealistic, but totally imagined.  Check out these videos for a little bit of perspective.  Most of the photos you see are airbrushed and edited, images that no human can live up do and only a computer can generate.  Outward beauty in any form will never give us true and lasting happiness.  Being satisfied with what we look like on the outside will not bring eternal joy.  Only a relationship with Christ can do that (Psalm 16:11).

Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness because of your physical appearance?  Maybe your heart is heavy with thoughts of comparison, like, “I’ll never be as pretty as she is” or “No guy will ever want me I’m not pretty enough”.  Remember that what makes a woman truly beautiful is her heart and her devotion to the Lord (Proverbs 31:30).  You can be gorgeous in the eyes of your Maker.

After you watch these clips, check out Distorted Beauty, an article by Carolyn Mahaney, for some real perspective on the beauty issue.

Be My Valentine

valentine.jpgThis is February 14th…Valentine’s Day.  For some girls and women, it’s an exciting occasion to enjoy the love of their special guy.  But for single women who want to be attached, it can instead be a painful reminder of what they don’t have.
Most young girls dream about getting married.  Oftentimes, a bride will have definite ideas about her wedding ceremony, that were formulated years before she even met her fiance.  Maybe we’re wired that way.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.  But nevertheless, marriage is a fascinating topic to girls and young ladies, even from very early on in their lives.
Many successful career woman with prodigious degrees and levels of learning declare themselves completely willing to give it all up if they could only find “the right guy”.  Deep in our hearts, there is a strange yearning in all of us for true love and a happy marital state.  I truly believe that even women who try to supress that feeling, have it deep inside, and someone with the love and skill required can and will draw it out.
Do you remember Ava Gardner?  Maybe you’ve seen her in one of her numerous films, like Showboat.  She began acting in the early 1940’s and soon gained a reputation as being among the most beautiful actresses in show business, as well as one of the most talented.  She had it all, right?
Here is a quote from Ava which was added in an article, dated January 27, 1990, in the Arizona Republic, which was written about her following her death.
“I act for money, no other reason.  Since I made my first picture in 1941, I haven’t done a thing worthwhile.  I have never enjoyed making films, and I don’t like being a so-called film star.  I haven’t the emotional make-up for it, nor the love of exhibitionism.  I am much too shy.  [I’d rather find] one good man I could love and marry and cook for and make a home for, who would stick around for the rest of my life.  I never found him.  If I had, I would have traded my career in a minute.”
This quote breaks my heart.  Though Ava Gardner is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time, it is obvious that she was never really happy.  Her three failed marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra, her abortion; these things must have plagued her.  We would think that someone like Ava Gardner would have it all…fame, beauty, talent, prestige.  But her own words are a testimony to her inner unhappiness.
But the truth is, not even our deepest longings can truly satisfy us apart from Christ, and God can give us peace no matter our circumstances.
Oftentimes, we can follow the extreme of idolizing marriage and love.  I think this especially happens among Christian young women.  We truly feel that God’s calling in our lives is marriage, and so often focus all our hopes and energies on that one point.  This, too, is erroneous.
Only when we find our satisfaction in Christ will we find ourselves truly contented, regardless of our circumstances.
But sometimes we become so obsessed with the gifts of our good God (such as marriage) that forget the Giver.  This is exactly what we should not do.  Those very gifts should point us to the Lord, causing us to give Him more glory, rather than distracting us from Him, His goodness, and His benevolence.  We should never think God a selfish ogre, good things like wealth, beauty, love, friendship, etc. are His gifts to us.  He provides them!  All He asks is that we keep things in perspective.
God is not trying to steal our joy, He gives us every good thing we possess.  Remember the famous words of James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  He desires to give us good things, for He is the good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children, and He loves us.
A woman once told me a story about her engagement to her beloved.  He secured the promise with a beautiful diamond ring.  This young woman had never owned such a valuable, beautiful thing, and grew to cherish the small ring to such a point that she almost idolized it.  In her zeal for the gift, she even neglected the giver.  Whereas the diamond ring was meant to remind her of the love and devotion of her suitor, she focused on the sparkling beauty of her jewel.  Whereas the ring was meant to increase her love for him, it distracted her.
This is what happens when we allow God’s gifts to divert our attention from His goodness and mercy, and often leads to the sad conclusion that God is trying to spoil and wreck our happiness when He demands that we give Him the glory He deserves, and focus on Him, rather than the things He has given us.
Dear sisters who are married, engaged or dating, enjoy this Valentine’s Day with all your heart, and the affection of a man whose love for you mirrors Christ’s. You are truly experiencing one of God’s richest gifts.  But remember, always remember, to focus your eyes on Jesus.  In Him alone will you find true satisfaction.  Even when your beloved fails you, He will not.  He is faithful, steadfast, true, the picture of love 1 Corinthians 13 was painted from, the promise  of fidelity in Hebrews 13:8 that will never be broken.  Your Father adores you as His perfect princess, and sees you as truly beautiful.
And to those who are still “waiting”…don’t wait any longer.  You are deeply loved by the only One who can satisfy your heart’s deepest longings.  Do not focus your attention on the gift of matrimony, but on the Giver.  Go about His business, make your life profitable for His glory and His people’s good.  And if your prince should someday come, he will not find you idle, but deeply content and richly employed in God’s service.  A truly godly man will find that more beautiful than the fairest face.  And you will find far greater happiness as a married woman if you have already learned to find your true source of inner peace in Christ alone.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death or life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

“A ‘sure enough lady’ doesn’t pretend to be,
she is.

The lady heart comes first.

Then, the ‘sure enough lady’ must have a lady mind, knowing how to talk and think about things that really matter.

Third, a lady will keep her body as strong and as beautiful as possible, for in this way she expresses her heart and mind.”

-Harold Bell Wright

Beauty that Transcends Time: A Reminder

littlerose.pngSevens® jeans. Logo t-shirts. Flip-flops. Prada® handbags. Designer jewelery. Bikinis. Stiletto heels. Tube tops. Halter tops. Trapeze tops. Gucchi®. Thongs. Hoodies. Skorts. Sleeveless. Strapless. Spaghetti straps. Sunglasses. Ballet flats. Leopard print. Low rise. Capris. Espadrilles. Cami. Babydoll. Rocker. Grunge. Princess seams. Empire waistline. Mandarin collar.Today’s fashion speak can be confusing!I wonder what kind of terms flew about amidst the ladies of yesteryear?

Poplin. Muslin. Satin and silk. Corset. Hoop skirt. Yoke. Puffs. Shirrings. Bustles. Chatelaines. Cloak sleeves. Brooch. Boatneck. Saque jacket. Bonnet. Hat. Lace cap. Cape. Fan-front bodice. Ruched. Shirred. Garibaldi blouse. Taffeta. Pagoda sleeves. Zouve vest. Fans and parasols and snoods…oh my!

Women’s fashions have certainly changed…and certainly not all for the better. In one hundred years, our styles have transformed dramatically. In fact, we have probably experienced more change in the last century than in any other time period in history. Many of our fashion changes have been for the better, as we discover more comfortable and convenient ways to dress. However, sadly, with those positive changes we have also seen a great plunge into immodesty and have lost much femininity and innocence in the way we dress.

Here, however, is God’s “fashion speak”, which has endured throughout the ages.

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

The beauty that our Lord so values is that which comes from within. The beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, a submissive soul, a loving, generous heart, a virtuous mind and pure, healthy thoughts. These are the things that our Savior sees. These are the things which make us beautiful in His sight.

Of course, an outward manifestation of that inward godliness is dressing in a way that honors Him. When we clothe ourselves in a way that is both modest and feminine, we transcend fashion and temporal fads and become an eternal testimony of faithfulness and respect to our God. Our modesty shows an inner submission and humility to God, and a love for our brother that causes us to risk breaking fashionable norms rather than cause another to stumble. Our femininity shows an obedience to God and a healthy respect for ourselves and others.

Start cultivating a beautiful spirit towards God that respects His commands and desires to live in His honor. Replace worldly ideas of fashion with words like those found in Galatians 5:22-23. Here are terms that will never go out of vogue!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galations 5:22-23

So ask the Lord to cultivate in you a spirit of true beauty, humility and grace. Then you will be truly beautiful in the eyes of the One who loves you most.