And Our Second Giveaway Winner Is...

1:33 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
Hey guys! Sorry this was a bit delayed. My weekend got crazy before I realized what was happening. :/ Anyway, the winner is (drum roll please...)

GrowUp318.com!

This is the lovely Heather who blogs at www.growup318.com. Y'all should check it out, and see if it encourages and challenges you as much as it has me! (I'll actually be guest blogging there next month!) Heather, you'll be hearing from me via email so I can send you your copy of Dannah Gresh's amazing book Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty.


To everyone else, thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I always love reading about your lives and the ways you are striving to chase after God's heart.



Grace and peace!

Love Letter

10:58 AM Edit This 1 Comment »
My beloved one,

I see you, in the secret places of your heart, and I know you better than you know yourself. I carefully crafted you just the way I want you. You are my artwork, my grand masterpiece. And I say you are perfect. I fell in love with you the moment I first thought of you, long before time existed. From eternity past, I have never not thought of you, and I have never not loved you.

You make me sing and shout with joy! Just one glance from you in my direction and I am overwhelmed. You ravish me; you have captivated my heart. You are a rose, and a lily among thorns. I see you and there is no flaw in you. I love you, my beautiful one, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and I promise I forever will.

You are my beautiful and beloved bride! I can’t wait for the day I can finally sweep you away into the place I’m preparing for us to spend eternity—together.

Until then, please don’t despair. Never doubt my love. I have loved you with an everlasting love. Even when you don’t see it, my love is always there, drawing you closer to my heart. Nothing in this world or the next, not the height of Everest nor the cold depth of the Atlantic, could ever separate you from it. My love is stronger than death itself, and nothing you could offer would ever be enough to buy it. It is given freely. My heart burns for you, and many waters could never quench its fire.

I love you fiercely, and I am desperate to win your heart. You are the apple of my eye and the delight of my soul. You’re worth my blood, every last drop. Never forget how much you mean to me.

Your King and Eternal Lover,

Jesus

PS- Happy Valentine's Day.

  

 Psalm 139:1-24, Ephesians 2:10, Zephaniah 3:17, Song of Songs 4:9, Song of Songs 6:5, Song of Songs 2:1-2, Song of Songs 4:7, Mark 12:30, Isaiah 62:5, John 14:3, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:38-39, Song of Songs 8:6-7, Zechariah 2:8

A Secret to Keep - Part 2

6:49 PM Edit This 6 Comments »

I wrote in my last blog about the purpose and power of modesty. It’s all about maintaining the mystery and protecting your secrets. Unfortunately, in our culture, it’s all too common for girls to flaunt their secrets as loudly as if they had a bullhorn. You know exactly what I mean. V-necks framing cleavage galore, tight t-shirts that show off every curve and bra line, miniskirts with just enough fabric to cover your undies, cutsey cropped shorts that show a mile of leg, and that’s just for starters.

So, practically speaking, how can we guard our secrets? It’s hard to pin down an precise line of “how much is too much,” but there are some rules of thumb we can use to help us figure this thing out.

One question I sometimes ask myself is, “Would I want a guy putting his hand on the skin that’s showing?” (Awkward image? I hope so!) Obviously, if a guy’s being creepy about touching any part of my body, that’s not cool, but some areas are clearly deep into the danger zone. When I’m trying on shorts and I notice that practically my entire thigh is showing, I imagine a guy laying his hand on my skin up there—and off those shorts go into the “I don’t think so” pile.

Another question to ask might be, “What is this outfit drawing attention to?” Do I really want my shirt so low that my breasts draw more attention than my face? Hmm, what about words printed across my rear like a billboard? (Yeah, he’s a jerk if he stares, but come on, you were the one who put up the neon signs.)

Wanna get even more specific? Try a few tests with a mirror in front of you to see if your clothes make the cut.

The, Um, Chestal Area

This is one of the easiest areas to lose control of, because today’s fashion is pretty much all about flaunting it—and frankly, you know you want to! (Hey, just being honest here!) So take a deep breath, remind yourself that your secrets are worth protecting, and shield those babies from prying eyes!

Bend over and, in the mirror, check out what’s going on down there. Can you see deep into the “valley,” or even all the way down to the middle of your bra? Not good. (For some body types, you won’t even need to do this. You’ll know right away how much cleavage you’re showing!) Solve this problem with some layering. Try a cami or a tank, but if those are still too low, either tweak the straps to bring the neckline up or go for a t-shirt to layer underneath instead. One beautifully modest girl I know likes to layer two tank tops, one backwards and one forwards, to take care of this problem in a super cute way! Another trick: buy a package of men’s tank tops, which have slightly higher necklines than girls’ tanks.

Here’s another test to try. With your fingers together and palm flat against your chest, hook your thumb into that little hollow place right at the base of your neck. Is there still skin showing below your hand? Can you see the curve of your breasts? Better double think what this shirt is drawing attention to. (Once again, layers are your friend.)

The tightness thing can be the hardest to figure out. Here, the goal is not to look spray painted. Leave some shape to the imagination. There is power in mystery!

The Gap of Death

This is my personal demon with jeans: that evil gap in the back between the pants and your skin that happens when your pants don’t fit quite right. Immodest and just plain uncomfortable! Invest in a simple belt to cinch that in. All fixed!

Even with a belt, though, this gap can spell death in more ways than one when you bend over or sit down. Try it, then reach back to feel what everyone else is seeing. Do you feel skin or underwear or worst of all (cringe) The Crack? Layers to the rescue! Wear a long cami or tank underneath your shirt to take care of this. You can either tuck it in or pull it down over the top of your pants, depending on how cute your belt is. ;)

LEG!!

There’s no getting around it: some skirts and shorts are just TOO short! Try this: Put on those shorts and sit cross legged in front of a mirror. Can you see too far up your inner thigh? (You’ll know how far is too far when you imagine your dear ol’ grandpa sitting in front of you!) Luckily these days Bermuda shorts are in ready supply, so you never have to worry about short shorts being your only option!

Skirts: You could try the cross-legged test again, but you and I both know how that’s going to turn out. So try this instead: Bend over like you’re trying to touch your toes, then feel how much of the backs of your legs is showing. Too high?

In general, miniskirts are out. Look for skirts that are closer to your knee than to your crotch. Anything less is too short!

What about wearing tights or leggings under your skirts? Leggings can be awesome, but remember that pretty much all they do is color your skin. Every curve is still fully on display. There’s a point where too short is just plain too short. I suggest using leggings as a safety net for those borderline skirts that you’re not sure about.

Here’s a cool idea, though: Wear your short skirts over jeans! It’s common enough not to be weird, but it’s unusual enough to be fun and unique and a little bit boho! This isn’t going to save your tight denim miniskirts (but feel free to prove me wrong!) but come on—you’ve got so many other stylish choices up your sleeve, who needs ‘em?

Strappy Days

No one should know what your underwear looks like, and that includes your bra straps. Plus, exposed bra straps are just tacky. Keep those tucked away; you can buy little hooks to attach to the underside of your shirt to help. Take advantage of those removable straps that you can cross and attach in several different ways to keep them out of sight. (The picture at right is a good example of this--although that particular tank is a tad tight to wear on its own.) If you shirt just has really weird armholes and all else fails, go strapless. 

What about spaghetti straps, like on a cami? I say avoid them. It’s not a good idea to wear a cami by itself. Not only do you often have cleavage issues, but it leaves your upper back and shoulders bare and is really no better than a tube top. That’s just way too much skin. Remember, the more skin you how, the more it just invites guys to complete the picture in their minds. Go for a tank or tee underneath. Play up that color contrast!

If you’re feeling iffy about any outfit, ask your dad or an older brother. They can help you understand what a guy sees so you don’t go causing guys to stumble if you can avoid it.

My goal isn’t really to give you rules to follow and a dress code to obey. I only hope you realize the importance of guarding your secrets, saving every glimpse for the one man who deserves them. With that in mind, use your best judgment. There is power in mystery. You will feel more confident when you choose not to give your secrets away, and that confidence will only heighten your beauty. When you choose to hide the full beauty of your body, the glorious beauty of your heart can be revealed.

PS- If you're interested in more specifics on what's modest and what isn't, check out the Modesty Survey, where a bunch of Christian guys answered very detailed questions on what they consider immodest. You probably won't agree with all the results - I didn't - but it's a very interesting read nonetheless.

GIVEAWAY: Congratulations to A Hopeful Romantic for winning last week’s copy of Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!! Luckily for the rest of you, I’m actually giving away another copy of Secret Keeper today! Just leave a comment below sharing one of your favorite modesty tips and tricks (How do you decide what's modest? What do you do when an outfit gets iffy?) along with your email address, to be entered. One week from today I’ll announce the winner!


If you don't want to post your email on the internet, that's totally okay; you can still enter! Go ahead and post your comment here, then also email me (abeautyglorious@gmail.com) a copy of the comment, just so I know which address goes with which comment. :)

ALSO, to get more entries into the drawing, tell your friends to enter! Have them leave a comment sharing their trick with your name, like this: "When a shirt is too short, I like to blah blah blah... and YOUR NAME sent me here." Each friend you send to the blog will earn YOU an extra entry into the giveaway!

And The Giveaway Winner Is...

5:11 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
...selected by random drawing (by my mom, just to be totally fair):

A Hopeful Romantic!

Congrats, girl! You'll be hearing from me via email so I can send you your brand spankin' new copy of Dannah Gresh's amazing book Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty. Everyone else, you should totally check out our winner's amazing blog, http://becomingahopefulromantic.blogspot.com. It has encouraged and inspired me many times.

To everyone else, thank you so much for your lovely comments! I much enjoyed reading all about your stylishly modest outfits. But don't go away, because I have another giveaway up my sleeve... it'll be announced at the end of Part 2!

A Secret to Keep - Part 1

8:51 PM Edit This 12 Comments »
(WARNING: Girl talk ahead!) 
So here we are, two years past A Beauty Glorious’ launch. We’ve talked about a lot of different things, from beauty to art to dreams, but there’s one topic I’ve kind of avoided up to this point. Truth is, I’ve been a little scared of it.

It’s a big topic. Some people basically ignore it, and some people get hardcore legalistic about it and start making up crazy rules. Everyone has some sort of experience with it, and thus everyone has an opinion. Whoa! How’s a girl to know how to blog about such a thing? Where do I start?

The topic I’m talking about is modesty.

As soon as I say that word, a ton of reactions probably come to mind. (Something like this picture, maybe?) Do any of these sound familiar?

“It’s just fashion! If guys take it the wrong way, that’s their problem.”
“Come on, my shorts aren’t that short!”
“Times change. People are used to seeing a little more skin than in the old days, so it doesn’t really matter.”

I admit, I’m guilty of throwing out these responses from time to time. I definitely did when I was in high school and craving a little extra attention, from fashion-conscious girls and from skin-conscious guys. But the more I delve into discovering the real purpose and power of modesty, the more I start making different choices about what I wear. And surprisingly enough, I feel way more beautiful and confident that way.

The truth is, modest really is hottest. And I will explain why.

The purpose of modesty is saving the full secrets of your beauty for the man you marry. Think about it. Who would you rather be: the hot chick that every man drools for, like a T-bone steak on display, or the hidden treasure who saves the full secret of her glorious beauty for the one man who is madly in love with her and dares to pursue her?

Think of the movie National Treasure. At one point after yet another mysterious clue, Riley complains, “Why can’t they just say, ‘Go to this place, here’s the treasure, spend it wisely’?” But how valuable would that treasure be if we found it in the first ten minutes of the movie? How breathtaking would the big reveal be if we saw peeks of it throughout the movie? A true treasure must be sought and earned--or else it loses its value.

The power of modesty is in maintaining the mystery. Believe it or not, this makes guys way more interested than if you give them everything right away. Modesty isn’t about pretending you’re not sexy or beautiful. In fact, it’s just the opposite. This is an attitude that says, “I am gloriously beautiful, but I’m not the sample table at Costco. My body and my heart are a package deal, and unless you’ve won my heart and sealed it with a covenant before God, you have no right to expect freebies.” And those freebies can be visual as well as tactile.

When you show too much, what you’re doing is inviting guys to complete the picture. The mind does this automatically. The more skin you show, the easier it is for a guy to automatically imagine what the rest of your skin looks like. And suddenly your “just fashion” takes guys somewhere in their minds that it can be really hard to ignore.

There is an aspect of truth in saying that guys need to be careful how they respond to what you wear, but you have a role to play too. Most Christian guys know they have a battle to fight and really don’t want to stare, but they are male and it’s a whole lot harder than most girls realize. We can help them by quite simply being careful and not unconsciously (or consciously!) inviting them to stare. What seems okay to you might come off entirely differently to them. The Bible calls this not causing each other to stumble. (1 Corinthians 10:32) (Do you see the irony in telling guys “Hands off! Respect me!” while at the same time your outfit is flashing neon signs?)

For a lot of girls, the reason they flaunt their bodies is insecurity, even fear. They crave that attention. Maybe they have gotten used to the attention and are afraid if they covered up a bit more, they would lose all that. Maybe they don’t value themselves enough as people to believe they can be loved for who they are, rather than for what they show.

But you know what? It’s not true. You have so much more to offer to this world than your curves. You have your beautiful smile and the light in your eyes. You have your unique and beautiful personality. You have so much love to share that has nothing to do with what you wear. You are a wonderful person, and the world is better because you are in it.

Embrace this truth. You are gloriously beautiful, and you don’t need to show off to prove it. Challenge the man who's right for you to honorably pursue you by not giving away your secrets ahead of time!

Now that's hot.

In Part II, we’ll look at some practical ways you can protect your secrets and renovate your wardrobe into reflecting the beautifully modest woman of God you are called to be!

GIVEAWAY: Wanna read more about the power of modesty and the beauty you were born with? I have a copy of Secret Keeper: The Delicate Power of Modesty by Dannah Gresh I’m going to give away! This is the book that completely redefined my view of modesty and inspired this blog post. Trust me, it will rock your world. Leave a comment below describing your favorite modest outfit, along with your email address, to be entered to win! One week from today (that will be Sunday, February 13) I’ll post Part II and announce the winner!

If you don't want to post your email on the internet, that's totally okay; you can still enter! Go ahead and post your comment here, then also email me (abeautyglorious@gmail.com) a copy of the comment, just so I know which address goes with which comment. :)

ALSO, to get more entries into the drawing, tell your friends to enter! Have them leave a comment describing their outfit with your name, like this: "My favorite modest outfit is blah blah blah... and YOUR NAME sent me here." Each friend you send to the blog will earn YOU an extra entry into the giveaway!

The Journey 2011 - Dysfunctional Chosen Ones

7:04 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Hi, guys! Sorry I haven't posted in a while... How are you guys doing on The Journey 2011? Confession: I’ve been a tad behind, so I just pushed into Exodus yesterday. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Genesis, though, and I’ve been struck by how dysfunctional these early chosen ones were! Let’s recap, shall we:

Abraham, the father of the Jewish people:
• told people that his hot wife Sarah was his sister so that no one would kill him to get to her. (Genesis 12:11-13)
• doubted God and so got his wife’s servant pregnant. (Genesis 16:1-4)
• played favorites with his kids (although that was kind of God's idea)

Abraham’s son Isaac:
• told people that his hot wife Rebekah was his sister so that no one would kill him to get to her. (Genesis 26:7)
• played favorites with his kids. (Genesis 25:28)

Isaac’s son Jacob:
• manipulated his twin brother Esau out of his inheritance. (Genesis 25:29-34)
• manipulated Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing, because his mom told him to. (Genesis 27:1-29)
• fell in love with Rachel, and then was tricked into marrying her older sister Leah. (Genesis 29:9-25)
• went ahead and married Rachel too a few years later, and loved her more than Leah. (Genesis 19:26-30)
• manipulated his father-in-law out of the best sheep in the herd. (Genesis 30:25-43)
• ended up having kids by Leah, Rachel, AND both their servants! (Genesis 29:31-30:24)
• played favorites with his kids. (Genesis 37:3)

Of Jacob’s twelve sons:
• Reuben, the oldest, slept with one of his dad’s concubines and thus lost his inheritance. (Genesis 35:22, Genesis 49:3-4)
• Levi and Simeon tricked and then slaughtered all the men of the city because one guy raped their sister. (Genesis 34:1-31)
• The oldest ten sold their brother Joseph into slavery out of jealousy and then told their dad he died in a tragic accident. (Genesis 27:12-28)
• Judah broke a promise to his daughter-in-law and then was tricked into sleeping with her. (Genesis 38:1-26)
• Judah was also the one who suggested the slavery scheme in the first place. (Genesis 37:26-27)

This is one crazy family! And I didn’t even mention all the trouble that Jacob’s brother Esau got into, or all the drama between Rachel and Leah!

And yet this is the family that God chose to base his entire redemptive plan on.

• Abraham was the father of a great nation and was called the friend of God. (Genesis 15:5-7, James 2:23)
• Isaac also received this promise and became the father of a great nation. (Genesis 26:2-5)
• Jacob also received this promise, became the father of a great nation, and had his name changed to Israel. (Genesis 35:9-15)
• Jacob’s twelve sons became the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel.
• Joseph’s being sold into slavery became part of God’s plan to save all of Egypt, plus Joseph’s family, from starvation. (Genesis 45:4-8)
• Levi and Simeon were punished for their vengeful rampage by being scattered throughout the land, but God still chose the tribe of Levi for the honor of priesthood. (Genesis 49:5-7, Deuteronomy 10:8)
• Judah (the guy with the daughter-in-law issues) became the mightiest of all the tribes and in fact was the ancestor of Jesus. (Have you heard Jesus called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?) (Genesis 49:8-12, Luke 3:33, Revelation 5:5)

It blows my mind that God would use such a messed up family to accomplish his plans. These three, plus Jacob’s twelve sons, became the foundation of God’s chosen people. God proved that he could use even the messiest circumstances to tell the most miraculous story of all time.

If God can have such a huge destiny for such people, in spite of their dysfunctional behavior…might he also have a huge destiny for me?

Cheat sheet - Abraham's family tree