I have been blessed—truly, wonderfully, abundantly blessed—with two beautiful daughters. Both are godly, compassionate, nurturing women who believe their highest calling from the Lord is to be mothers—and both have excelled in that area, to say the least! Laura has seven children and Julie has six—and praying the Lord will bring another one or two (or more!) into her life. Not that the number of children makes them exceptional mothers, of course (although in this day and age it is rather unusual), but the proof of their mothering skills lies in the exceptional children they are raising. Of course, being those children’s grandma, I am not biased or anything… No, really—they are sweet, loving, amazing kids who love the Lord—because their mamas and dads are raising them well.
I was in Ecuador with Laurie a month ago to celebrate her birthday with her. I thank the Lord for allowing me that special time with her. We had a wonderful time together and I will treasure those memories for a long time. I can hardly wait for this summer when Laura and her whole family will be here with us for a few months!
Today, however, is Julie’s birthday and although sadly I cannot be with her, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate her. I certainly named her well. Julie means “youthful,” and although she is forty-something now, she still has that same youthful spirit about her that she’s always had. She was always a giggler and she still loves to laugh, play, entertain and tease. She’s ready to break into a little song and dance anytime she thinks it will make her kids laugh—or groan in embarrassment—whether it is a silly version of “Let me Entertain You” just as the neighbors happen to drive by, or “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye” as her loved ones roll out of the driveway. She loves to play board games with the kids, or hide and seek out in the yard. She’s older than I was when I became a grandma, but she has a one-year-old and is not ready to stop there if the Lord would allow her to have more. I suppose having young’uns is bound to keep you young as well!
If I were to choose a Scripture verse that I think exemplifies Julie, I think it would be 1 Peter 3:3-4 which says, “Do not let your adorning be external, the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Julie’s beauty lies in her tender loving heart, her compassion and thoughtfulness for others, and her commitment to the Lord. She is kind and good and yet strong. She shows it in how she is raising her children with what I like to call a “velvet glove”—love, patience, gentleness but firmness in quiet discipline. The children respond with cheerful, willing obedience and devotion to her.
I wish I had had that touch when I was raising my children! (Somehow they turned out well in spite of me!) I always wished I was a gentler, quieter mother. When I see those qualities in my daughters, it touches my heart. My grandchildren are blessed with mothers of true inner beauty, and godly fathers. Thank you, Lord!
As we get older, most of us strive to hang on to at least a little of our youthful looks—maybe we cover the gray or soften our makeup to hide the tell-tale signs of aging. After a while there is not much we can do to undo the passage of time. These verses in I Peter, however, tell us that true inner beauty need not fade away. A sweet, humble, patient, peaceful spirit is a precious ornament that beautifies not only the inner woman, but shines forth on her face as well, no matter her age! Want to look beautiful at ninety? Let the beauty of that gentle, quiet spirit radiate!
Jesus was our example. Philippians 2 reminds us of His mindset, His spirit: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:2-8) We are to have the same mindset as Jesus—love, mercy, humility, selflessness, servanthood, sacrifice… Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in us!