“What is beautiful?”, I wonder. “And when will it start? Does it have a certain size and certain colored parts?”
This is the opening line to Abbie Sprunger’s book What is Beautiful?. As a young woman, I truly believed I would never be considered pretty or desirable unless I changed everything about me. I felt hideous. I hated everything about me. Every time I looked in the mirror, I disliked the reflection staring back and when it came time to wear makeup, I was more that happy to do so. The idea that a perfect body and being sexy were burned into my brain from the media, magazines, and even the girls around me. The cute girls who were flirty, wore pink, and could go to the movies always had someone crushing on them.
As a young adult, I felt like an extreme failure since I wasn’t married by the age of 22. And, you guessed it, I immediately started trying to work on my appearance. I wore tons of makeup, wanted to stay super thin, and just wanted someone to notice me and treat me like I mattered to them. All of this was in vain however, for I would leave events empty handed and lonely.
I never realized until the past year or so that being desired is not what gives fulfillment. I didn’t know who I was and was looking to others to define me. I would attract very unhealthy men who would pursue me in a way, but I always sensed something wasn’t right. Over this past year, with a pandemic that literally rewired my brain, I realized that the key to my happiness and fulfillment was in my hands. I never needed to be validated. I never needed to be pursued. The Creator of the universe had already called me beautiful and only He could fulfillment and validate me.
I had been searching in all the wrong places; He was patiently waiting and guiding me in the direction I was to go.
When I read Abbie’s book for the first time, I cried so many happy tears. The words on the page just spoke right to my soul. Because I can’t possibly do her words justice, I want you to read something she wrote. This is from one of her Instagram posts.
‘Speaking at @urbanhopesavannah last week, I asked the room of girls (ages 4-18), “Who has heard of HIV?” Most raised their hands. Then I asked what they knew about it. A five-year-old (who earlier had defined beauty as “herself in a unicorn dress”👧🏾🌈 raised her hand. “Yes, sweetheart, what comes to mind when you hear “HIV?” “That’s the sickness that kills you.”😢”Well, you are right that it ‘can’ kill you, but that’s the bad, sad, hard news about HIV. The good news is that it doesn’t have to.🖤In fact, did you know our Aaliya, who is also five and loves unicorns, was born with this icky virus in her body? But guess what, she takes medicine every day that keeps the virus asleep, so she can be healthy and swing high and dress-up in costumes, just like you.” This led to some meaningful dialog and educating for the next bunch of minutes.
There remain many false stigmas and misinformation about HIV, like it being a death sentence, or only prevalent in certain demographics, or contagious by hugging, breathing, or even just touching. None of these are even close to true. In developed countries, HIV can be quite easily managed, and although there isn’t a “cure” yet, persons who have it can live a full, healthy life-span, and even marry & have children of their own someday, without spreading the virus. In developing countries, however, mere access to medicine remains a massive challenge (plus more outlandish stigmas and misinformation). That is why I am personally giving $1 of every sale of the #whatisbeautifulbook to the @globalfund and you can further amplify that by adding your voice at @one. Many will unnecessarily die today simply because they don’t have access to medicine. I want to thank you for playing a role in halting that with your purchase of this book. Your labors are not in vain, friends; our labors are not in vain. Father, please let Thy Kingdom come, and Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven this Friday afternoon.’
‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5
Sunday (October 11th) is #INTERNATIONALDAYOFTHEGIRL. Now this is a day to be celebrated! God clearly finds women phenomenal, saving them as the finale of His creation story, the icing on His original design!’
I am truly honored to get to share this beautiful story with you my readers. I know a lot of you are women and I also know that despite our world starting to change, many things have stayed the same. But our worth is not defined by our worthiness; rather, we are worthy because He has made us worthy. We don’t have to earn it, we don’t have to try and be something we are not. He has called us blessed and beautiful. He smiles on us. And He has validated us completely. His love know no bounds.
This post was lovingly sponsored by Abbie Sprunger but all opinions were my own.