I am in the throws of book cover designs, tweaks, and critiques. It is a fun process, but it is also very nerve wracking! There is a lot of pressure knowing I am deciding on the image that will represent my book, its message, and its passions. Words or pictures truly can’t describe the heart, mind, life, and complexities of girls, young girls, and women…but I guess I need to try.
On the cover is a picture of a young woman. She is dressed beautifully in a pink and black dress. Her face is prettied and done up, but you can tell that her heart is heavy. One resounding feedback has come back: “Isn’t she too beautiful for your cover?” This question makes my skin crawl and causes me to think that somewhere along the line we have all gotten this “beauty” thing drastically wrong.
My husband. My wonderful, adoring, inspiring, and supportive husband is about to be thrown under the bus. I am a mother of two. A pregnant mother of two. Most days it is sweatpants and t-shirts and, if I am lucky, a shower. If I have an occasion (or the mere opportunity) to put on like real clothes and some makeup…when I walk downstairs you’d think the sky had fallen. “Wow, Maria you look beautiful today!” I am thinking noooo you mean my clothes and my makeup look beautiful today. Poor guys. Dads, husbands, and brothers…they really don’t stand a chance do they?
If you were to ask him he would tell you that he thinks I am beautiful from the inside out. That hair, makeup, pounds, clothes don’t matter or affect my beauty to him. I know in his heart he believes it, but somewhere along the line we have stopped acting on what we really believe to be true about beauty.
Are our eyes and hearts so desensitized to true beauty from the billboards and the magazines that we only define beauty in one way? Have we forgotten what it truly looks like and feels like to live and act and talk like people who adore the heart? Have we forgotten that outward beauty is irrelevant to our insecurities? That if a picture of you looks beautiful than you must FEEL beautiful all the time?
These are the overwhelming burdens that brought me to write this book in the first place. We need to be reminded, parents especially need to be reminded…to take your eyes off the outside! The outside is able to perform trickeries and masks that are not real. Take our compliments, our words, our definitions of beauty off of the outward. The body, the looks, the “good hair days” are so far and few between and then our girls, our precious daughters, friends, and wives, are left feeling worthless on the days in between.
We need to redefine beauty. Not just with our words and our Sunday school answers. But with our hearts and our actions.