Since I can remember, I’ve been a lover of beauty.
It started when I was three years old and I have my babysitters to blame. At 14 years old, I guess it’s understandable, but they’d doll me up, painting my teeny nails pink and curling my bright blonde hair. I loved it.
In middle school I was infamous for my love of fashion magazines. I would tote them around, admiring the shiny photographs and learning all of the tricks for matching your nail polish or creating the perfect smoky eye.
My aunts would cluck disapprovingly, all of them strong, intellectual women who valued my acceptance into an Ivy League school more than my ability to choose a lipstick. (Understandably so.)
My mom struck a perfect compromise though- while encouraging me in my studies and fashioning my character, she also taught me about makeup.
To this day, my mom and I go once a year to get our makeup professionally done. She wanted me to feel confident in that part of being a woman – skilled with a brush and a makeup palate – knowing where to apply the colors and how.
It was pink lipstick that introduced me to my first scripture from the Bible. Written on a mirror in my sorority house was Habakkuk 1:5, foreshadowing the way that beauty and the God behind it would transform my life.
It’s through beauty that I see God the best. Whether it’s a sunset or a photograph or a cappuccino or a child, God reveals himself to me the most through the beautiful things in this world.
But beauty and I haven’t always gotten along.
There have been times that I’ve felt beautiful and glossy – confident like the women I always admired in those magazines. And there have been times that I’ve felt hideous, ashamed and afraid of people seeing my flaws. I’ve spent years hiding as I picked out all of the ways that I was made wrong and desperately wanting to be different.
Beauty is one of the most controversial, debated, warred over, strived for things in our world today. Beauty is powerful. I think that’s why it hurts so much.
Beauty is a powerful thing because beauty is from God. God could have created a perfectly functioning world without all of the intricate, colorful, miraculous details he included. But he included them anyway, inviting us into his presence through a dusting of his fingerprints across our world.
Beauty invites. Beauty draws us in and encourages us to take our shoes off. Beauty gives our souls a place to unwind and relax, breathing in deeply, remembering what’s important and why. And that’s the beauty that lives inside of us – an inviting, peaceful, contagious beauty, placed in us by our beautiful creator.
We are the dwelling place of the creator. We are the created. We are made in our creator’s image and are creators ourselves. We are his beauty incarnate – the snuggling, giggling, vibrant result of his loving creative hand. And when we allow ourselves to be beautiful – overthrowing the lies that say we’re not – we get to invite others into the beauty of his presence. We get to invite others into the beauty of knowing that they’re a beautiful child of God too.
Beauty is something that exists completely independently of things like makeup, clothing and perfect hair. Beauty is something that is wholly separate and really does not rely on the perfection of our outer appearance.
That being said, I do know that taking care of my appearance makes me feel like I’m cleaning my windows – allowing what’s shining inside to come out clear and bright.
Something that I have fallen in love with recently is really bright lipstick. There’s something about it that reminds me how fantastic it is to be a woman. It’s reminiscent of slumber parties and balloons and the kinds of dresses that twirl. It’s easy for me to feel like being a woman is really hard sometimes. But things like bright lipstick and sparkly cocktail rings remind me that it’s not only a wonderful thing, but it’s also really fun.
Radiant Cosmetics has made a lipstick just for us, for the readers of The Lipstick Gospel, and I could not be more excited.
It’s the brightest pink – the kind that just ensures that you’ll laugh while wearing it – the best parts of being a girl splashed across your lips.
I hope that you’ll get one for yourself – celebrating your beauty and joining in with Radiant Cosmetics as we bring beauty to places where it’s been stolen.
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(All photos, except for the picture of the mug, were taken by the lovely and talented Lacee Peloquin)