Category Archives: Feel Beautiful

Feeling Beautiful Starts in the Mind with Keelie Reason

Keelie Reason of Love Hope Adventure is here with us today! I’m thrilled to have this wonderful marriage blogger provide some practical advice on how to feel beautiful. In addition to the encouragement to embrace our beauty, it’s great to have these specific tips on how to adjust our attitudes to achieve that goal.

Also be sure to check out Keelie’s blog, where you can get practical tips for your marriage and your marital bedroom.

Feeling Beautiful Starts in the Mind

This year, I have seen a lot of great campaigns out there about women learning to accept the way they look. Not only accept the way they look, but appreciate and love their body. It was a topic that just kept coming up over and over.

I read J’s post: Feeling Beautiful in 2015: Fight the Frump and really felt the pull to put together a How to Feel Beautiful Series of my own. Through those weekly beauty challenges, I learned a lot about the way I view myself.

Why I Feel More Beautiful Now Than I Did in My 20’s

When I look back at the pictures of myself in my 20’s there isn’t much difference between the way I looked then and now. So, why do I feel more beautiful this decade then I did last decade?

I’ll give you a hint, it started in my MIND.

Feel Beautiful, Not Look Beautiful

One of the things I focused in on in my series was how to feel beautiful, not how to look beautiful. Ladies, can I just say something? You LOOK beautiful! The problem is that you do not feel that way.

If you want to look in the mirror and like what you see, you have to change your mindset. You can spend hours trying to look better, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you will never see the beauty you already posses.

Take Steps to Changing Your Mind and Seeing Your Beauty

There are some things you can do that will put you in the right mindset to feeling beautiful about yourself. It is so important that you take the steps in the direction of accepting your own loveliness. Otherwise, you can be a runway model and think you are ugly (and believe me, there are runway models out there that feel that way).

Remove Influences That Make You Feel Unattractive

One of my biggest defenses to win the war in my mind is to remove the influences in my life that make me feel unattractive. When I was a teenager, I stopped reading beauty magazines. Even now, I stay away from them.

As much as possible, I limit my influences. If that means I have to stop looking at Facebook for a while, I will…Pinterest a problem? Gone…whatever it is that is making me feel bad about the way I look, I get away from it.

Get Out Of Your Pajamas and Yoga Pants

I love some of the great challenges that Sheila at To Love Honor and Vacuum give about Getting Dressed. For those young mom’s out there with a baby on each hip, I know how hard of a task this can be. Shoot, for those of us that have kids that can dress themselves, it can be a challenge.

Trust Someone Else to Tell You The Truth

Can’t believe yourself when it comes to the way you look? Find a trusted friend and ask them. If you are married, go to your spouse and ask them to tell you specifically a few things they love about the way you look. You can also ask a close family member or friend their thoughts.

The most difficult thing to do is to trust what that person has to say. If your friend or spouse thinks you have nice hair, eyes, waistline…whatever, believe them.

The Benefits Of Changing Your Mind

When you commit to changing your mind and seeing yourself as the attractive person you are, it will have great impact on your relationships. Feeling good about yourself removes the negative thinking from your mind that makes it hard for you to receive love. If you have a poor self-view, you will struggle to go deeper in your relationships, especially your marriage.
I encourage you to do what is necessary to move towards a positive mindset about yourself. Also, it is just as important that you help your spouse feel attractive and good about who they are.

Keelie ReasonKeelie is married to her high school sweetheart, and they raise their three amazing boys together. She blogs about the marriage relationship at Love Hope Adventure. It is her passion to see couples grow in a deeper relationship that is satisfying.

 

 

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

What a treat we have today! Jennifer Smith of Unveiled Wife is here to share her thoughts on Feeling Beautiful. Jennifer has a very popular blog and a Facebook community of over 600,00! She shares marriage wisdom, daily prayers for your husband, and transparency about her own struggle from unhappily to happily married.

Also check out her book, Unveiled Wife: Embracing Intimacy with God and Your Husband, in which she chronicles her marriage journey. I’m so thrilled to call Jennifer a friend and to have her address feeling beautiful after the babies come.

Embracing Our Bodies After the Babies Come with Jennifer Smith

I had my daughter six months ago, and my son just turned three. I can’t believe how fast they grow up. It feels like yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby boy in the hospital bed just after delivery.

It amazes me how God created our bodies to reproduce and give life. The process of carrying a child, labor and delivery are all together miraculous. Women are uniquely special, in that they are the beautiful part of creation that gets to experience the fullness of this miracle.

Although I have thanked God for the joy in my heart for my children and being given the gift to bear children, my body is also on my mind. The truth is that pregnancy and delivery are very traumatic experiences for our bodies to endure. Change happens. Whether the changes are slight or completely transform our bodies, it happens. Embracing motherhood can be easier than embracing the changes we face physically.

I personally have found myself emotional over the way my body is different now. I have been grateful for the opportunity to have my children, but I have to admit that frustration has also consumed my heart when I realize my body will never be the same. I have gained weight that has been difficult to get off. I have stretch marks and saggy skin. My clothes don’t fit the same. My body doesn’t even feel the same during physical intimacy with my husband.

When I see my body, I am confronted with a choice. I can be frustrated by the change or I can embrace it as my new normal, just like I had to adjust to my new role when I became a mom.

Our culture is not good at encouraging women to embrace the fullness of their bodies. Every advertisement and marketing scheme presents us with a message to be unrealistically better than we are. The world tells us we are imperfect but that we should strive to be perfect, when God tells us He has made us very good and to be good stewards of what He has give to us. Those are two very different messages. Listening to the right message will help us embrace our bodies after the babies come.

God’s truth is beautiful and necessary for every mother to know. He created our bodies, knowing that they would change. We should embrace the changes with joy and confidence. What is a stretch mark in comparison to the miracle of life? What is a few months to a year of recovery in comparison to a legacy being built?

When I accepted God’s truth that He ingeniously made my body to change the way it has after the babies have come, it helped me embrace my body. It helped me be okay with my new normal. It helped me to be intimate with my husband and allow him access to get to know me all over again.

Embrace your body. Don’t see the changes as a negative thing. They are a powerful thing. They are evidence of God’s beautiful design.

Unveiled Wife CoverBy God’s grace, Jennifer Smith created Unveiled Wife, a web-based ministry for wives, in March 2011. She publishes weekly marriage articles including encouragements, devotions, and prayers of the day, all geared toward empowering wives.

Jennifer has served in ministry alongside her husband, traveling as missionaries to Zambia, Malawi, Canada, and Nicaragua. She and her husband have been married for seven years and live in Central Oregon with their two children.

Feeling Beautiful Beneath the Sheets with Julie Sibert

I consider Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage my blogger twin. In addition to writing about sex from a Christian perspective, we share several things in common: raising sons, a love of baseball, an appreciation of a nice glass of wine, a similar sense of humor, and a desire to vacation on the beach together.

We’ve shared several phone conversations, and I’m extra-eager to meet her in person someday. In the meantime, I just love getting to read her posts in which she encourages women toward healthy, godly sexuality in their marriages.

For my Feel Beautiful series, she’s letting us in on tips for how to feel beautiful beneath the sheets. Read on…

Feeling Beautiful Beneath the Sheets with Julie Sibert

Entertainment and social media and Photoshop have schemed us, haven’t they? At least when it comes to what qualifies as “beautiful.”

And what’s ironic, if we are being honest, is that we know we are being schemed. Few people look at the covers of magazines as they’re schlepping their Diet Coke through the supermarket checkout and think, “Those photos are totally real.”

Nope.

We know that the endless stream of images and video clips vying for our attention are a pale representation of accuracy. (I mean, seriously, these people spend literally hours in hair and make-up, even before digital trickery has had its final say).

And yet.

Even though we logically know that all those “beautiful” people likely look much more average without the professional manipulation, we still struggle.

We struggle with feeling less than beautiful, less than attractive, less than sexy in our own skin, in our own real lives. You know, the place where we live every day, hopefully with the people who genuinely do love us for who we truly are, not who we wish we could be.

So what’s a gal to do, especially when it comes to feeling beautiful beneath the sheets?

Sexual intimacy is a huge roadblock for many women. Can you relate? Are you beyond self-conscious about the wrinkles, loose flabs of skin, extra pounds, lack of muscle tone, and evidence of years gone by?

I get that.

But…

Because I love sex, I’ve learned a few things along the way about feeling beautiful beneath the sheets. Maybe I’ve even learned some things that could help you in your real life in your real body:

1. Stop looking at your sexual encounters through the filter of every romantic movie love scene.

See how I did that? I circled back to my previous observations about how we are schemed into believing that for something to qualify as amazing, it has to look like what is depicted on the screen.

The next time you see a love scene in a romantic comedy, imagine a crew of 30 people standing on a chaotic set 10 feet away from those two “lovers.”

Imagine Joe the camera guy asking that the lights be adjusted. Imagine Dee the make-up artist putting concealing powder across the actress’s chest to dull the natural shine of her skin. Then imagine all the other people, from the props assistants to the set designer to the script person to the sound tech using every ounce of professional mastery to make you believe this scene is totally natural — totally like how things happen in real life.

Feeling beautiful beneath the sheets has a lot to do with recognizing — embracing — that real sex is not movie sex. Real sex is better.

When you and your husband make love, it is astoundingly beautiful and holy and right. Because it is real.

2. Shed a little light on the situation.

Usually when a woman feels conscious about her body, she wants complete darkness when she and her husband have sex. For some women, even complete darkness in the room isn’t enough. She wants the two of them completely under the sheets as well.

Her theory, of course, is “If he can’t see me, then I won’t feel so self-conscious.”

I’m going to challenge this conventional line of wisdom.

I’m not saying you need the overhead light on, but consider turning on a closet light and cracking the door to let some of that light peek into the room. Consider lighting a candle on the nightstand. Or turning a small lamp on.

If your husband is like most husbands, he wants to not only touch your body, but also see it. Sure, you may not feel comfortable with the lights on full blast, but some light on your body allows him to see your curves and softness — and allows you to feel good about the way such visual stimulation brings him pleasure.

These are all confidence boosters. Pleasure and sexual excitement are powerful distractions that keep us focused on what matters, rather than on what we don’t like about our bodies.

3. Try something new sexually.

Do you feel apprehensive about being naked with your man, to the point that you always play it safe sexually? Do you always follow the same repertoire when you make love, never venturing into new touches, techniques, and positions?

Well, it’s easier to feel beautiful beneath the sheets if we remember that sex is supposed to be fun! Yes, it’s also passionate and romantic and “gaze into my eyes” longingly. But more than anything, it’s supposed to be freedom for a husband and a wife to thoroughly figure out what brings each other intense sexual ecstasy.

And here’s the thing.

When we begin to appreciate the freedom to explore each other’s bodies within the exclusivity of our marriage, we find there is thrilling beauty in being the one who does it for him.

Be the one who leaves no doubt in his mind and heart about how much you hunger to feel his skin against yours. Be the one who makes him climax hard through your intentional presence and sexual playfulness.

If that’s not beautiful, I don’t know what is.

For more reading, check out two of my all-time must-read favorite posts on body image and sexual confidence: A Body that Never Quits and Extraordinary Sex in Your Ordinary Life.

Julie Sibert Bio Photo 2015Julie Sibert writes and speaks out of her own story, encouraging couples to nurture authentic sexual intimacy in marriage. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two sons, and a dog named Stella who is busy destroying the yard. You can follow Julie’s blog at www.IntimacyInMarriage.com.

Our Identity and Beauty as Women by Ngina Otiende

I still remember years ago when I discovered I had readers in Africa. I gasped at the idea that our worlds could converge so easily and felt humbled that my fellow believers on a faraway continent would connect with little ol’ me.

It wasn’t long before I discovered how much I could learn from my wise African brothers and sisters. One in particular caught my eye — a young wife named Ngina Otiende who started a blog titled Intentional Today. I love her authenticity, her wisdom, and her heart for marriage.

So I was thrilled when she agreed to participate in my Feel Beautiful series with her unique perspective. As someone who has not felt like a girly girl most of her life, I love what Ngina has to say.

We also had a funny little email chat about the benefits and struggles of straight hair versus kinky hair. I think we’d each be willing to trade for a day to see how the other half lives! (Ah, luscious curls! What would that be like…?)

And now to hear from the lovely Ngina herself!

Our Identity and Beauty as Women with Ngina Otiende

As a young girl and into my early teens, I was fascinated with the opposite sex. Not in the way you might think. I wanted to be it . . . I wanted to be a boy. I liked the power the male gender seemed to wield easily in my conservative African society. I looked at the women who did all the work at home and wondered, “Why haven’t you all rebelled and fought for a higher place?”

I still remember the day it hit me that much as I harbored hot ideas of taking over the world, playing rough, it could be confusing to others.

I was around ten or eleven years. My friends and I had been invited to the yearly Maasai (a tribe in Kenya) circumcision ceremony down in the valley. We trekked through rocky cliffs, thick bushes and down a winding valley, a couple of miles on foot. Finally arriving at our destination — a scattering of traditional huts and homes, we stumbled on a group of old men roasting meat in the bushes.

Culturally men and women do not mix during such circumcision festivals. Already some in our rag tag group were anxious because we women saw the old men. We hurried past, with the young men in our group branching out to join the old group of men.

But a voice stopped us in our tracks: “Where is that young man going?”

We all stopped. And it took a while before I figured out who they were talking about. Short scruffy hair, dirty jeans shorts, long scrawny limbs, dirty feet, very flat chest, and no hips. Me.

I was mad that they laughed. Even more upset when my friends laughed and pointed their fingers.

My mum did not think my tomboyish-ness was a laughing matter. At least at a certain age, she expected me to snap out of it. But dad was an ally. He indulged me, laughed when new friends shooed their boys in my direction with “go play with that quiet boy.” This was Africa, it was all harmless, something I would eventually snap out of, especially after meeting the Lord in my teenage years.

Now living in America, my heart breaks when I read about gender confusion and how it spirals out of control. My fascination turned out to be “harmless,” but here I am reminded about the consequences of not understanding (and therefore not appreciating) our identity and beauty as women. And these few things stand out:

We need to guard what we hear. 

I can’t ever recall my mum wearing pants. She was a traditional African mama. As I entered my teenage years, she began to slap (my very uncovered) thighs and told me to sit like a girl. She put me in dresses and noised about being a girl. I hated it then, but now I understand what she was doing. Mothers set the tone for their daughters. It was not about the shorts, but the thinking behind the shorts.

I don’t know why, but society seems to think that parents should allow their kids to discover who they are and go with whatever they find. But Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

It matters what you hear, what you expose yourself to. Read one too many fashion magazines, scroll one too many perfect Instagram photos, and not enough time hearing and believing God, and you’ll spiral out of control.

You cannot tell others who they are if you don’t know who you are.

You can’t give what you don’t have. You can try, but little people (and big people) are smart and will follow your heart, not your words.

The fight to see yourself as God sees you — beautiful, whole, unique — is not just for you. It’s for others too, because we are our sisters’ keepers.

Thats why it’s a fight because the enemy of your soul sees what your little confusion and dissatisfaction will lead to. He sees your daughters, your friends, the people you influence. He has plans for your awkwardness and self-cutting words. There’s nothing more freeing than taking on God’s perspective of “we” instead “me.” Perspective can spur us to work on feeling beautiful, to accept ourselves, for the right reasons.

It’s okay to be different.

I am not a girly girl. At least that’s not my default. I still like my pants and jeans and prefer certain cuts. Yet sometimes when I see women who are well put together, who can dress pretty in under five minutes with perfect make-up and matching jewelry, my heart skips. “I wish I could have such effortless beauty.” My mirror reflects a face with imperfect skin, a mole, kinky African hair, not a lot make-up or jewelry, an accent and often, two left feet when it comes to style or fashion. At that moment I forget that beauty does not have a distinct look, or face or color or shade. Simply the most beautiful person is the one who understands and accepts who they are in God’s eyes.

Simply the most beautiful person is the one who understands & accepts who they are in God's eyes. Click To Tweet

David said in Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Sometimes we offer broken praise . . . but it’s praise nonetheless. When you wake up and don’t like all the person you see in the mirror, when what you see cannot be fixed by healthier eating or exercise. When what you need is a heart makeover, every single day of your life. You can still offer praise. Still say, “I believe who you say I am God even if I don’t feel it now.”

I love that God will never give up, will never cease to remind us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are His daughters. His faithfulness is what keeps us singing, keeps us believing. May we, may I, never forget that His faithful is what counts. Always.

Ngina OtiendeNgina Otiende is a wife and writer who blogs at IntentionalToday.com, a site dedicated to helping early-wed wives create grace bathed intentional happily-ever-afters. She’s the author of Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years, and in the book she shares lessons from her early years, how God transformed her marriage, and how wives can change the dynamics of their marriage. Ngina and her husband are originally from Kenya but now live in the USA. You can pick a free chapter of her book + a free eBook when you sign up at her website. 

Confidence and Beauty with Linda Wilson

Lovemaking Cover from LindaWhen couples are looking for a quality book about Christian sex in marriage, I have a short list I give, and one of the books on that list is Lovemaking: 10 Secrets to Extravagant Intimacy in Marriage by Dan and Linda Wilson. I was happy to give it a high review, because the Wilsons did a wonderful job explaining godly intimacy and giving real-life tips to improve sex in the marriage bed.

But I got a big bonus during that review process: I got to know Linda Wilson much better through our communications. And that contact has blessed me personally many times over. She is an amazing encourager with a heart for missions and marriage. And when she submitted her post linking confidence and beauty, I wanted to cheer. Hope you get as much from it as I did!

Confidence and Beauty with Linda Wilson

I hope you have all been enjoying J’s guest posts about beauty this fall as much as I have. Interestingly, I have noticed that many share the concept that beauty is enhanced by confidence. Yes, yes, yes! Let’s explore this idea a bit further.

Confidence makes you look beautiful and feel sexy. Ooh la la. Picture a woman you admire who walks in confidence. She stands taller, smiles easily, and speaks with assurance. I believe this woman is a Proverbs 31 type, one who “laughs at the future” (Proverbs 31:25). And, as we all know, we can only laugh at the future when we are confident, not ruled by fears or insecurity.

So what gives us this confidence?

Sometimes upon leaving the hair salon ,we can feel beautiful. When we have had the best haircut, some great highlights, the expert styling — all of these combined can make us feel attractive.

Nice mani and pedicures can add confidence. Go ahead and admit it. We all notice other people’s nail color, especially in a room full of women.

And clothing. If clothes make a man, they certainly add to or detract from our feelings of femininity and beauty.

Teeth whitening. Botox. Liposuction. Personal trainers. Diets out the wazoo. The possibilities of things we can do to feel beautiful are endless.  The options available to us in today’s culture are mind-boggling, not to mention ridiculously costly in both time and money.

Hair, nails, clothes — all of these might enhance our feelings of beauty, but they are fleeting fixes. How can we not only feel beautiful, but actually be beautiful? Confident beauty comes by knowing who you are and Whose you are.

Confident beauty comes by knowing who you are and Whose you are. - Linda Wilson Click To Tweet

Synonyms for confidence include poise, assurance, certainty.  These traits come from God who gives them to us with delight. You are beautifully and wonderfully made! You have your Father’s eyes. You see, friends, we are daughters of the King of all kings. That makes us royalty. Regal. Lovely. Powerful. Beautiful.

You are a child of God (1 John 3:1). Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you who you really are. You can always believe what God says about you. You are not only a child of God, you are a dearly loved child. You are the object of His affections. Of all the people on earth, He is smitten by one glance of your eyes. You have ravished His heart (Song of Solomon 4:9).

A few years ago I had a dream in which I was seeing sin in my heart. Interestingly, the heart I saw was a physical one as seen in anatomy books. Next a hand came, picked up a paintbrush, and dipped the brush into red paint. With one swipe, the red paint completely covered my heart. His blood completely covered my heart! That is what Jesus sees when He looks at my heart and yours — He sees His blood, not our sin. Lastly I heard Him say to me, “My blood was not wasted.”

Shame or guilt from today or from the past should not haunt us. Our sin is hidden by His sacrifice. We are forgiven. That, girlfriends, should put a spring in our steps, smiles on our faces, and sparkles in our eyes. Nothing is more beautiful than joy! And deep joy comes from confidently knowing that we are forgiven, we are free. Yippee!

“But you (YOU!) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). He chose you! That should make you all giddy with excitement. The King chose you. This is not a Cinderella fairytale. Truth is better than fiction! God chose you, and plans on loving you forever. Allow the feelings of love and gratitude to fill you up, spilling out of you onto others. This, friends, makes you truly beautiful.

Occasionally treat yourself to a spa day or purchase a pretty outfit. But remember that true beauty flows from the inside out. It is quite possible that beauty was one of the “things” Jesus had in mind when he said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Confidently allow others to see Christ in you.

Lovely lady, you are one of a kind. You are spectacularly stunning.  Don’t hide your light under a basket—let it shine (Matthew 5: 15,16).  Laughing at the future, allow the world to know that you are the secure and poised, gorgeous daughter of the true King.

Linda WilsonLinda Wilson is a marriage missionary. She and her darling friend Dan travel around the US and the nations teaching about marriage and sexuality. They also love ministering to widows and orphans.

The Wilsons have co-authored multiple books including 7 Secrets of a Supernatural Marriage and their latest release—Lovemaking. You can discover more about Linda and Dan at SupernaturalMarriage.org.