I have one daughter. Her name is Ava, and though I confess an obvious bias, I believe her to be quite beautiful. Every dad should feel this way, I think. Genesis says that God “made us in His image, as male and female” (Gen. 1:27). Gender was all part of the perfect plan–for the planet to be peppered with boys and girls, with men and women.
My little girl that sings in the tub, plays with paint, and snuggles on the couch displays the face of God in a way that the creatures called Max, Miles and Jack do not. Through our little girl, Lynley and I see the tenderness, the sweetness, the softness of God. These are attributes of Him to be embraced.
Having said this, while I admire the beautiful ways of my daughter, it is the exaggeration of outward beauty that could one day destroy her. I don’t want my daughter to have the goal of being called “hot,” or of drawing countless eyes in the high school hallway. While physical beauty is a gift of God, it is not the greater gift. God looks for the woman who makes herself beautiful in character, more than form.
Consider proverbial wisdom:
Like a gold ring in pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. Prov. 11:22
Physical beauty is the ring, character flaw is the swine. What does this Scripture say to us today? It’s this: our little girls are doomed if they are always praised for their appearance, and rarely for their counter-cultural choices. American culture worships flawless skin, six-pack abs, and toned legs–all of which are sure to fade as the sand falls from the hour-glass. Without a doubt, my daughter glows when I tell her that she looks really cute in that outfit. She needs affirmation that she is a jewel and not a common stone, in my eyes. Even still, for every compliment of hair and dress, she needs to be applauded for cleaning up her room without being told, for offering unsolicited compliments to her brother’s excellent pencil sketch, and for singing praises to Jesus on Sunday with a smile on her face. These are the things that will cause her to be stunning before God and others.
Let me change gears for a purpose. I am married to Lynley, and though again I confess an obvious bias, I believe her to be quite beautiful. For 15 years, I have listened to others praise her for her distinctive hair and her super-long eye lashes. But the sad news is–both she and I know it–the hairs on her head are grey-ing, lines on her face are forming, and her prized lashes are falling out, like leaves in late Autumn. This is not to drum up compliments or to solicit praise from friends. This is, rather, the truth about what is happening inside our home.
What is my role in this, as I see her deal with the unstoppable changes? As a Christian husband, I should make it my aim to celebrate those lines that go forth from her eyes, each one a reminder of the road we have traveled together and the better land that lies ahead with Jesus. Even more, I should applaud Lynley’s obvious wisdom and discretion–which do not fade with time but grow like wild fire. This woman makes our homelife happen. She sees the needs of the family over the hill, and she makes careful preparations. Meal plans, detailed calendars, enforced family values and rules–all these things cause our home to feel at peace. She is the Mandrell peace-maker. And I believe Jesus exalted such things.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9
So, fellow parents, let’s resolve together, to praise the girls God has graciously placed in our homes–not merely for their outward beauty–but for their growing love for all that glows of God.
Ben and Lynley Mandrell recently relocated to Denver, Colorado to plant Storyline Fellowship. Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology, a seminary degree from SBTS, and a D.Min. from Union University. Read more about their church planting journey at NAMB.net.
Published February 27, 2015