17 days until my 22nd birthday and Lord, I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that I am beautifully made. I know I was made in a beautiful way but to call myself beautiful is so difficult for me. It’s not about being vein but the fact that some part of me feels it to be untrue. I pause my writing and start to tear up at the sound of your voice inside my head as you whisper over and over and over,

You are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are beautiful.

Every part of me wants to fight that. Wants to find some excuse (you don’t know the whole me; maybe you’re looking at me from a different angle; it’s the lighting; I have braids in today; etc) that I have become so accustomed to saying when I receive compliments from other people. However, I hear you again and you say,

I am God. I don’t see from angles or from 4-by-5 sized profile pictures. I can see passed your clothes, passed your extensions and even if there was no light I could still see how beautiful you are. I knitted you in your mother’s womb and I’ve watched and helped you grow. My daughter, you are beautiful. My dear you are worthy of the title.

I don’t think I have ever really been more scared of a word like this one before. When I hear it being directed towards me I try to take it in as much as possible in fear that whoever said it is wearing rose-colored glasses that will soon be removed. I end up trying to enjoy it for a few moments then deny it as though it’s a gift and the giver might change his or her mind. However, here comes God again to say, this “gift” of beauty is yours to keep.

Don’t ever feel the need to give it back because there has never been and there will never be a situation where you have to do so.

Not when
you’re standing next to a white girl.
you’re standing next to a black one.
you stand next to a curvy girl.
you stand next to a thinner girl.
you’re in the midst of a crowd of girls.
you stand next to the man you have feelings for.
there’s ‘nothing’ in your closet for you to wear.
someone call you names.
you compare yourself to celebrities.
you compare yourself to your mother, sister, cousin, aunt, or grandmother.
you wear that sweater that keeps you warm even though you think it makes you look frumpy.
you flip through the pages of those magazines.
you forget or don’t have time to put make-up on in the morning.
you take out your braids or twists, straighten your hair or leave it curly.
you decide to do 20 sit-ups or none.
anyone else calls you beautiful and certainly not when I do.

Yes, I have shown you 1 Peter 3:3-4 but even if those words were never written I would still think you are beautiful. You need to realize it and then come to terms with it because that is what you are.

Although I have been struggling internally with this for some years, I share it now just in case you or someone you know is going through something similar. God wants us to know this and He wants us to believe it. He has made everyone of us in a beautiful way and additionally, He has made us all beautiful. Please, don’t ever forget that.