When I was in undergrad, my brother gave me the book Fierce Beauty and I have reached for it time after time over the last decade. It has been of great comfort and encouragement as I journeyed further in to adulthood as a single woman. It is an amazing resource for women as they seek to establish their identity in Christ. As a single lady, I really needed the guidance that Kim Meeder gives in this book to become firmly rooted in Christ by looking at matters of the heart, identifying wrong messages, and healing my wounds.
I highlighted the following sentence, “Because we live in a world that constantly batters women with the lie that how we look is far more important than who we are, we often need some help to move away from this dangerous falsehood and back toward what’s true.” p. 2 I find this true for the most plain dressing groups of people (such as Amish, Mennonites, and Quakers) as well as the more common outward beauty standards set by the makeup and fashion industries. I find that it can be so freeing to be around plain or simply dressing people who completely accept one for who one is and allow one to drop pretenses. Being around other plain or simply dressing people can make me feel judged for not living up to their standards. They can make me feel like I am too worldly. I constantly get the message from someone in the world that I am not making myself as attractive as I could by not wearing contacts (hello glasses!), not dying my hair (I really like the color of my hair and my natural highlights, thank you very much), or keeping my hair longer (no fuss hairstyles for me please).
Two things that make me feel beautiful and confident in my appearance and in myself are getting my eyebrows waxed and trimmed (I totally have Rockwell eyebrows) and caring for my face by using a facial cleanser and cream (and sometimes doing masks and scrubs). When I was in New Mexico in graduate school, I went to a lady who helped with these two things. She was such an encouragement both with my physical appearance, meeting me where I was, and also in general with school and life. We are still friends on Facebook today. The summer after I moved back to Ohio, one of my college friends started selling Mary Kay. Not only do we have amazing skin and gorgeous makeup, but also a more caring and encouraging friendship because of her side hustle.
A couple paragraphs later on the same page is encouragement to “become beautiful… - a fierce beauty.” I found through the above experiences and people calling out my physical beauty, that I can embrace my physical beauty with confidence and joy. Becoming beautiful certainly requires a beautiful heart, spirit, and way of being which only serves to enhance physical beauty. Much kindness and love are required and these are not easy things to cultivate as I often find myself being called to do so with people that challenge me to act with love and kindness and patience.
The book is filled with anecdotes of adventures Meeder and her friends, family, and acquaintances have experienced that have helped her become the amazing woman of the Lord that she is today. Through these stories, she offers others hope and freedom and examples of how the Lord can do the same in you. By offering her beauty to others, she invites readers to find their own beauty and identity in the Lord as well.
Chapter 2 details a dream of a gorgeous bald eagle confined to a stunning cage. In chapter 13, a princess is transformed into a warrior. Finally in chapter 18, the book concludes with a suspenseful battle wherein the warrior triumphs and the King is glorified. These three chapters are probably my favorite parts of the book and give me goosebumps each time I read them. They so vividly detail the transformational work Christ has done in my life and desires to do in each woman’s life.
The amazing thing is that God does not leave us to struggle alone to become the fierce princess warrior He created us to be. He walks every step of the way with us. In order for Him to continue to heal and transform us into the beauty He designed for us to be, we must continually surrender more and more of ourselves to Him. Surrendering to Him is not a passive inactivity though. It requires every bit of strength and determination and will that we have.
As we become the women God designed for us to be, the message I take away from Fierce Beauty is that I am enough and I am not too much. What freedom it is to embrace my physical beauty and offer my gifts and talents and who I am to the world knowing that, as long as I walk in obedience and faithfulness to my God, what the world says does not matter. The battle is the Lord’s! John encourages us this way, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4 NIV)
A discussion question in the back of the book says, “What things tend to sidetrack you from becoming all that God is calling you to be?”
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