Women were created by God to be beautiful. It doesn’t matter if your picture ever graces the cover of Vogue magazine, or whether you think the mirror affirms this truth. Many women are beautiful on the outside, but true beauty is what emanates from within through your character. Women are nurturers and relationship oriented. It doesn’t matter whether you’re married or not, or have children or not. The more you fill yourself with God, the more those qualities pour from you like pure, refreshing water from a mountain stream. And it refreshes everyone around you.

If you’re a young mommy, you may find it difficult to believe that you are beautiful. Your daily perfume is usually spit up, breast milk or formula, and sticky residue from the last snack your children consumed. You and your home are often in various states of disorder. However, there’s nothing more beautiful than one who gives her life for the sake of others, and that is you.

If you’re middle aged, you may be frustrated with widening hips and a growing midsection. The slow descent of once firm flesh has begun, and wrinkles are beginning to trace your smile. These realities may hint to you you’re no longer beautiful. That is a lie. We do the best we can with what we’ve got, but what is on the outside is only a shell to house our true beauty. Your loveliness comes in what is in your mind, the love you have given and continue to pour forth, and especially the time you spend striving in prayer for others. The smiles and hope you offer the world cannot compare to the glitz of fashion.

If you’re older (and I’ll let you determine when that begins), you, my dear, are most treasured of all. You mature followers of Christ, even if you found Him later in life, are the loveliest of all in old age. The memories and wisdom you have to share, and your availability to others is more to be cherished than the glamour of youth. The genuine interest you show in others, and a relaxed pace is so attractive in this too hurried world.

To each one of you: married or single, mother, career girl, empty nester, or widow – you are beautiful!

 And what you’re doing is beautiful: 
If you have children at home, remember you’re doing the most important job in the world – loving, teaching, protecting, and nurturing little ones created in the image of God. You’re equipping them to enter adulthood with the knowledge and confidence it takes to face the struggles and temptations of life. No one else can do it like you can.

Don’t let exhaustion, repetition, or comments from others (even yourself) discourage you from seeing the value of your work. I’m grieved that our society often denigrates stay at home moms. They are to be commended. And for you young mommies working an outside career as well, many blessings on you for the energy it takes to juggle so many needs!

For the empty nesters and beyond: Some of you are (like me) blessed to work a career from home, be involved in ministry, or care for your husband and family at large. What you do is valuable. If you choose to stay home, happy and productive in your work, rest in the abundance of God’s grace.

Many of you sustain a full time job outside your home. The smiles, quality work you do, words of encouragement, listening ear, and positive attitude all testify to God’s Spirit in you. I know you get weary, trying to keep up with so much. Be kind to yourself and let God, not the skewed images on television and magazines, show you who you are.

Whatever work or vocation God has given you to do, do it joyfully, with all your might. Do it all as a woman of God and let His beauty shine through you. The confidence of who we are in Him is what makes us so lovely, no matter what our age or circumstance.