I remember the first time I felt I was ugly.
I was walking home from school, and was teased by my fellow classmates about my crooked teeth. They laughed and I grinned and I acted like it didn't bother me.
I became obsessed with having braces. Surely, when my teeth were straightened out, I would be beautiful.
But an odd thing happened. After my braces came off, I realized my nose was too big. My breasts were too small. My pores were far too large. In general, I looked not one bit like any of the girls I thought were breathtakingly beautiful.
And oh, how I wanted to be beautiful!
I began looking at magazines and movie stars, and even at my friends, in a whole new way. I didn't just admire their beauty, I ached inside wishing I had it too. Why couldn't I have that figure? Why didn't God give me eyelashes like hers? Why can't I have a cute button nose like that??
Beauty is hard to see for what it really is when instead of giving joy, it makes you feel like dying.
An odd thing has happened since I was a teenage girl. I have had a daughter. She is gorgeous, really stunning. I look at her and my heart just aches. But in a whole different way. It throbs with love.
I have taken a long look at myself in the mirror. And I realize I too am Someone's daughter. I too am beautiful.
I have silvery streaks that accent my form, places where I was once so full of love my body had to stretch far and wide to hold it all in. These marks bring memories of the babies I have carried beneath my heart.
I have curves I never had as a teenager. I was once told, by a nurse, that I had good birthing hips. I wasn't sure how to feel about that at the time. Now, after eight babies, I am thankful for them.
Some parts of my body are falling apart, wearing down, or painful from disease. I still have a big nose. Strangely, I am comfortable here, in this body. I don't fear rejection.
My husband and my sons and my sweet little daughter look at me, eyes filled with love, and tell me I am beautiful. And the miracle of it all is that I can hear the truth in their love.
I am so much more than my body. And I no longer desire to be worshipped as I once did. (What else can you call that longing for attention and admiration for ones beauty?) I can now look upon a lovely face or form and admire it without feeling ripped off. I can appreciate true beauty and reject the fads and fashions that substitute for it.
I have found gentleness, joy, hope, contentment, and love- these things- to be the most beautiful of all. These are the things I now long after, that I wish to make my own. These are the adornments of my choice. These are the things I depend on now to make me lovely.
And the greatest of these is love.