Legacy of Loveliness: What My Mom Taught Me About True Beauty

Like many mothers and daughters, my mom and I have a history of mommy-daughter shopping dates. There’s something about the delightful combination of food and clothing that brings out the best in our relationship and provides treasured girl time.

My mom started this tradition years ago with taking me shopping for spring recital dresses. Something to instill confidence, not break the checkbook, providing an extra zing to my step as I walked toward that big ol’ intimidating piano to play my memorized piece.

It was on those memorable shopping trips my mom taught me about modesty. The wonder of being one-of-a-kind. The celebration of womanhood. And the silliness and joy of being together. She would look over our lunch table of turkey sandwiches, salad, and lemonade with a twinkle in her eye, and proclaim: “I like us!”

doll boutique

When it came to trying on clothes, my mom would sit right outside the dressing room next to the big long scary mirrors. She encouraged me to twirl and flounce, helping me decide between keepers and items which looked better on the hanger. There was no negativity (unless it was making fun of the clothing item itself), and lots of room for hilarity. My daughterly goal was to get her laughing so hard she’d be dabbing at her eyes, reaching for the tiny tissue pack in her purse. Or better yet, send us both rushing to find the nearest restroom, giggling the whole way.

Over the years she has reminded me of the dynamic truth of I Peter 3:3-4 about not letting your beauty be mere outward adornment, but letting it be the hidden person of the heart. Though we may have been perusing clothing on our shopping adventures, she was adamant that the clothes we found weren’t what defined me. These truths helped me through the awkward stages of middle school and high school, and even into the major body changes that came with pregnancy and motherhood.

Mommy acronym: Marvelous, One-of-a-kind, Magnificent, Masterpiece Mom, Youthful

One particularly tough season of maternity clothes and feeling a bit more whale-ish than womanish, she took me shopping for a Mother’s Day outfit. The whole afternoon we searched for the perfect dress. Something to enhance my swollen shape and encourage my defeated heart. When such a thing proved hard to find, she helped to shift my focus. Instead of dresses, we looked at fun accessories. And while we did, my mom gently challenged me to embrace my hard-to-dress pregnant body. She urged me to see the beauty and importance of the life growing within and showered me with a special concoction of motherly love and motherly wisdom. By the end of the day, my heart felt full again; able to go back home and face my mirror without disdain, and cherish the season I was in.

So what season do you find yourself in? Or maybe a more appropriate question is this: What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you perceive the amazing God-crafted handiwork reflected there?

Mirror collage

Together, let’s look for ways to pass along this legacy of true beauty to our daughters and girlfriends, living out its truth until it is engrained onto every woman’s heart. For true beauty is not about the clothes we wear. Or the complements we receive when wearing a killer outfit. True beauty lies within. Where God is forming and shaping and making us to be the women He wants us to be. Now that’s a legacy worth sharing. {Thanks Mom!}

Who will you share this beauty secret with today? Guaranteed there is someone out there who needs to hear this message. That we are beautiful inside and out. Our souls, our smiles, give the world a peek into the heart of the Creator. So let’s build one another up in this area. Let’s shout it from the rooftops: We are one of a kind! Made with a purpose! We are God’s MASTERPIECE!!!


Anne-Renee Gumley

Anne-Renee is a full-time mom who works part-time at her family's party store. She has two children who keep her laughing, a husband who keeps her smiling, and an itch for writing that just won't go away.

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