What I Want My Daughter to Know About Beauty

To my precious Calla Grace,

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I am writing to you today, on my 31st birthday, as you are sleeping soundly in your bed.  You are not even a year-old yet and I already worry for your future.  Your Daddy would say that this isn’t anything new, I worry about you and your brothers all the time.  But this is different.  I worry about the world you are growing up in.  I worry what this world is trying to teach you about the way that you look.

 

You are the most breathtaking baby I have ever laid eyes on.  I love the way that you smile with your whole face–especially with your gorgeous blue eyes.  I love your soft thin brown hair and your angelic, unblemished skin.  You are beautiful in every sense of the word.

 

But what I want you to know, sweet girl, is that beauty is so much deeper than what we can see.  True beauty comes from within.

 

There is so much that surrounds us that screams for attention to our outward appearance.  You can’t open up a computer or turn on the television without some tainted and distorted view of beauty:  As much bare skin as possible, cleavage for all to see, and a perfect body to boot.  I worry about the effect these over-sexualized images have on your brothers and do everything I can to guard their innocent eyes.  Now I also worry about the effects these images will have on you too–but in a different way.  I worry that they will make you feel like the way God made you isn’t good enough–and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

 

God knit you together in my womb and has already numbered all of your days (Psalm 139).  He knows how tall you are going to be when you grow up, he knows what your body shape will be, and what color your hair will be.  He knows when you will start getting gray hairs and the number of lines that will crease your face when you are ninety.  He knows because He made you.  And He says that you are wonderfully made.  That’s what your Daddy and I say too.

 

When I was young, my mom and dad (your Papa and Lola) would lovingly tell me that I was beautiful inside and out.  But for some reason, I don’t think that I ever really felt beautiful.  In fact, I had this twisted notion that the phrase “beautiful inside and out” was some type of consolation for not being outwardly beautiful enough.  Sweet one, that is the opposite of how I want you to see beauty.

 

Being told that you are beautiful on the inside is the most wonderful compliment you can ever be given.  Don’t discount these words, precious girl.  A girl who radiates beauty from the inside will ALWAYS be the most beautiful.  Not because of the size of clothes she wears or how perfect her complexion is, but because she has the love of God within her–and NOTHING is more beautiful than that.

 

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  -1 Peter 3:3-4

 

I would love to say that it gets easier as you get older, that you become more confident and content with the way that God has made you, but unfortunately that just wouldn’t be the truth.  The same insecurities that have plagued women my age when we were young continue to rear their ugly heads even as we get older and supposedly wiser.  As I look in the mirror these days and see the toll carrying three babies has taken on my body and the lines that have found their permanent place along my eyes and around my mouth, it makes me sad that I don’t look how I looked 10 years ago or 15 years ago–when I still thought I wasn’t pretty enough.

 

God tells us that outward beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31), which means that is how he designed it all along.  He didn’t intend for women to look the same in their thirties and forties as they did in their teens or twenties, despite what Hollywood wants us to believe.  There is a difference between taking care of our bodies and making them idols that we worship with our time and money.  Don’t fall into this trap as you get older, my sweet girl, and I will try not to either.  Treat your body with respect and take care of it, but do not let the pursuit of the perfect body consume your thoughts.  It’s not worth it in the end.

 

Most of all, sweet girl, I want you to look for the beauty in others.  Surround yourself with people who are gentle and treat others with kindness and respect, who love God and let the Holy Spirit guide their steps.  When we love God, we love others well.  It might be difficult to see the beauty in people who are unkind to you, but continue to look for it.  Show kindness even when a sharp answer is warranted.  Be a joyful peacemaker to all those around you.  Honor others above yourself.

 

For this, my darling girl, is true beauty.

 

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Ordering the Books of the Bible with Ping Pong Balls

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Last year I made a Books of the Bible Puzzle as a hands-on way for kids at our church to remember the order of the books of the Bible.  I thought it was time for a new activity and found inspiration from our Ping Pong Alphabet Bounce.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  ping pong balls, a sharpie, 1″ white circle labels, and several white foam egg cartons.  

 

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I taped two 12-count egg cartons and one 18-count egg carton together on the underside using packing tape.

 

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Write the books of the Bible on the circle labels AND the ping pong balls.

 

 

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Match the ping pong with the labels on the egg cartons!

 

 

 

Check out more Sunday School ideas here.

 

Building Solomon’s Temple with Golden Blocks

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I am still working on supplementing our church’s curriculum for the unit on Solomon.  It is so intriguing to read about the building of the temple–how all the stones were pre-cut and no tool could be heard in temple while it was being built and all of the ornate materials used .  Since the temple was so magnificent, I didn’t want the children to build it with plain old building blocks.  It needed to be something extra special…hence building with golden blocks!

 

“And Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, and he drew chains of gold across, in front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold.  And he overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.”  -1 Kings 6:21-22

 

Here’s what you’ll need:  wooden building blocks and gold spray paint.  

 

 

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I purchased two sets of these blocks to make sure there was enough for a group of kids.

 

 

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 I laid them out on some plastic and then painted them with gold spray paint.  I let them dry for an hour, then turned the blocks and painted again.  All-in-all, I turned the blocks a total of four times.  Enough overspray got on the remaining two faces of the blocks that I didn’t need to spray 6 times.

 

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We used this blueprint to make the birds-eye view of the temple.

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SolomonsTemple“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Check out more Sunday School activities/ideas here and on our Pinterest board.

Proverbs 22:1 Activity for Preschoolers

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  Last year our church purchased and implemented a brand new curriculum.  It is wonderful but it needs some supplementation, especially for the younger children.  I am in the process of writing supplemental lessons for a unit on Solomon and needed an activity for our 4-year old class on this specific proverb. This Proverbs 22:1 Activity for preschoolers is easy and quick…two of my favorite things about Sunday school crafts!  I made a free Proverbs 22:1 printable that will make it even easier!  

“A good name is more desirable than great riches.”  -Proverbs 22:1

  Here’s what you’ll need:  this free printable (printed on card stock), a pencil, acrylic jewels and golden glitter glue (which were sent to us compliments of CraftProjectIdeas.com).   IMG 1402 Proverbs 22:1 Activity for Preschoolers

1.  Print out the free printable on card stock and then have each child write his/her name very large on the paper.

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2.  Have each child use the gold glitter glue (or puff paint) to trace his/her name.

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While the children are working, talk about what it means to have a “good name”.  In this context, it means having a good reputation, or what other people think about you.  The only way that you can have a “good name” (reputation) is by making good decisions that others see and being honest and trustworthy.

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3.  Add the acrylic jewels on top of the glitter glue.

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Let it dry and brainstorm ways that children can develop “a good name” through the daily decisions they make.

 

Check out more Sunday School ideas here and our Pinterest board.

Follow Jenae {I Can Teach My Child!}’s board Children’s Bible Curriculum for Church on Pinterest.

A Back to School Prayer for our Kids

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Sometimes I get frustrated that the Bible gives us such little explicit instruction on the task of raising children.  Honestly, there are few things that matter more than raising up the next generation to love the Lord.  I have been a little weepy at the thought of my firstborn starting first grade this week.  His love for life and zeal for God is amazing (and encourages me daily), but there is still so much I feel like we need to teach him.

As I was pondering all of this over the weekend, I began thinking about Jesus and how Mary must have felt when he was growing up.  Obviously Jesus was the perfect Son of God and would never sin even in his youth…but I find comfort in knowing that even so, Mary and Joseph probably discussed the best ways to bring him up just like my husband and I do about our very imperfect children.  The Bible tell us so little about Jesus’s childhood.   But there is one tiny verse that encompasses the monumental years of his youth that I have been dwelling on:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
-Luke 2:52

As school begins once again, this is the verse I am praying for my children, specifically for my oldest.  It includes three of the most important aspects of a child’s life:  mind, body, and spirit.  Each of these aspects come with their own strengths and weaknesses, with obstacles and challenges to overcome in every facet of life.

 

In Wisdom

Lord, I pray that you will allow Caleb to grow in wisdom this year.  I pray that he will learn everything he is expected to know academically.  I pray that he will be successful in his studies and that he will be a diligent worker in what is asked of him.  Most of all, Lord, I pray that you would allow Him to grow in YOUR wisdom.  Help him to learn more about your character through his interactions with others.  Help the scriptures and stories we have been sharing with him from your Word to be a lamp to his feet and a light to his path.  Give us, his parents, the wisdom to help him discern between right and wrong in the situations he is faced with this year.  Above all else, help him learn to love You more.

 

In Stature

Lord, I thank you for the lives of our children.  I thank you that they are healthy.  I pray that you will protect their bodies and help them to continue to grow strong.  Protect them from illness and harm, Lord.

As school begins, I pray that Caleb will know that he is created in your image.  I pray that he will know that is “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I pray that he will know that You created him exactly the way that you want him to be.  At times, words from others can be cruel.  Protect his heart and help him to rest in the truth that he is a priceless gift to us and, most importantly, to You…so much so that you sent your son for him.

 

In Favor with God and Man

Lord, I pray that you would allow Caleb to be a light for you.  I pray that he would be obedient to his teachers and kind to his classmates.  I pray that he will show kindness and compassion to everyone, but especially those who are treated poorly by others.  Give him the strength to stand up for the outcasts.  I pray that he will have integrity to do the right thing even when no one is looking.  Help him to surround himself with people who will help him grow closer to you.  I pray that he will be both a leader and a follower– a follower of yours but a leader for his peers.  Help his words and actions to be pleasing to you.

 

All this I ask in the name of your son Jesus.  Amen.

 


 

No matter whether your child will be attending public school, private school, or will be homeschooled, I think this prayer is all-encompassing for what we desire for our kids.  And I fully realize I am asking God for a lot…I certainly don’t expect my children to be perfect.  In fact, I need to pray much of this same prayer for myself.  But this is what I most desire for the lives of my children.

When we place the well being of our children in God’s very capable hands through prayer, we are surrendering control to Him.  I’m not sure there is anything else as equally scary, freeing, and comforting as this.  All I know is that He is certainly more capable than I am!

 

 

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PS- I thought I would create a printable scripture card for those of us who wish to consistently pray this prayer for our kids throughout the year.  Stick it on your bathroom mirror or in the visor on your car…any place that you will see it regularly.  There are 4 identical cards on a page…you can print one for yourself and give the others to friends/neighbors if you would like.

Click on the image below to access the printable file:

 

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Is your child heading off to school soon?  What else would you add to this prayer?