for the lovely ones

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to the lovely souls in my life who show me what true beauty is.

...and perhaps / what made her beautiful / was not her appearance / or what she achieved / but in her love / and in her courage / and in her audacity / to believe / no matter the darkness around her / Light ran wild within her / and that was the way she came alive / and it showed up in everything.”
— Morgan Harper Nichols

Oh, lovely one — for that is indeed who you are. Lovely. The kind of beauty that stems directly from love, not anything remotely on the surface. Maybe it is cliche to say that beauty lies within. Maybe you are tired of hearing that because, to you, the natural desire to be beautiful on the outside also holds value and importance. Maybe you no longer fully trust in the value of inner beauty. The world favors the beautiful. I know, lovely one, I know.

I can feel the sting of their glances when you go out into the open air, brave & beautiful, baring acne and scars and tired eyes and “imperfections.” Maybe the rawness is in the way mothering has molded you into a new version of yourself. Perhaps the scars are not just external. I can almost hear the voices in your head when you look in the mirror, trying on clothes in the lonely fitting room. For some of us, seeing every imperfection enhanced in the bright lights draws out every ugly thing in our minds. I think we do not realize that the voices, the things we tell ourselves, are often too cruel to even say aloud. Because you do not measure up to an expectation set by a corrupt world, because you are a real human, the enemy of our souls loves to attack us with our own minds. I know, lovely one. I know.

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your beauty, right here in this moment, is enough.

I know that you ache to be told that your beauty, right here in this moment, is enough. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this truth when the words of others echo in our minds. I think it may take a thousand genuine compliments to undo the work of one cruel sentence. Our identities are not always strong enough to take the blow; the words sometimes go straight through our strength and right into our tender souls.

You, lovely one, are a fighter. You fight to see the beauty in the world around you, breaking the pattern of cynicism. You go out of your way to remind people that they have innate, Creator-given purpose and value. You are the one hugging tight, kneeling in prayer, rubbing backs, kissing boo-boos, wiping tears away, sacrificing body and soul to love others well. When no one is watching, you are still loving. Like Jesus, you are still loving. This is why you are lovely. I wish I could take just a fraction of the way you love others, the way you see straight into their hearts, and pour it back on you. Maybe, just maybe, you’d begin to see how truly lovely you are. The realness, the kindness, the compassion…it is lovely.

The truth: your kindness is your strength and it is what makes your heart soft and sensitive. You are authentic. And you know what? The world doesn’t know what to do with you. It is so used to the counterfeit that you break the system; you are so rare and so raw.

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your heart is a work of art.

Your heart is a work of art. Say that over yourself. Remember that you, yes you, are a masterpiece in this moment and for all eternity. Everything about you has been intentionally planned by a God who is out for your good. So, lovely one, next time you look in the mirror, I pray that this is what you see:

Eyes that were created to see the good. To light up with laughter. To produce tears in times of joy and in times of sorrow. Tears are treasures that will not last forever. Remember how your Abba keeps track of every salty drop that falls from your eyes? He treasures even your broken moments.

Arms that are open to others, equipped with strength and gentleness. Your embrace is needed in this world. You never know how much Jesus you can give someone through a hug.

A smile that is pure sunshine. Like the sun breaking through on a cloudy day, your smile and joy are surprising and refreshing. Remember to smile, lovely one!

A voice that brings courage to others in ways you may never see. There is a song of courage being sung over you, and maybe you are only just beginning to hear it…but trust me and trust your Abba when we say, the song is good.

Lovely one, I pray today can begin to break through to your heart: beauty comes from everywhere but the outside. I pray you feel known, seen, and loved by a God who gives all He is to you without regrets. I pray you begin to see yourself through His eyes. You are not a mistake. You are truly, deeply lovely, and there is no flaw in you.