You guys are going to be SO EXCITED about today’s post!
1) It’s a break from the normal “photography monotony” you get here on our regular blog
2) You get to hear from someone OTHER than Jessi and/or I (me? – see, there’s that lack of grammar talent as I referred to in my last post)
4) There is a GIVEAWAY involved!!! (Need we say more?!)
Mercy River has been doing a blog tour the entire month. We could ask them any question we wanted. (You’ll have to go and read their interviews on the other blogs. I gained some fantastic insights and ideas – especially on finding balance in life and practical and useful ideas on being a better wife and mother.) But I took it in a little different direction than what other bloggers had been asking. Since Jessi and I have been focused on our beYOUtiful campaign, I simply asked Whitney, “What makes you feel beautiful?”
I could actually write an entire NOVEL on why I love Mercy River. And on why I love Whitney in particular (the brunette from the group, who happens to be one of my closest and dearest personal friends). But I will let Whitney’s guest post do the talking. It speaks for itself. Volumes.
BeYOUtiful: Finding the Lost Little Girl and Embracing the Champion
By Whitney Permann
I was a fantastic little girl. I read voraciously–especially Nancy Drew detective mysteries. I played in the mud and climbed trees with my brother. I wrote boxes of stories and composed music at the piano. I rode 4-wheelers and made secret hideouts. I liked myself. I was confident, kind, and funny.
Whitney (right) as a little girl, organizing races with the cousins
And then I hit Jr. High. I remember VIVIDLY walking into the doors my first day of Jr. High and realizing–in a panic–that I had bought all the wrong clothes. I have never had a natural sense of “style,” and the first time I recognized it as a social problem–the first time I recognized it AT ALL–was in Jr. High. I became self-conscious. I stopped reading fiction and started reading beauty magazines. I stopped playing outside and started talking on the phone. I fumbled to put on makeup and dress “right.”
At the end of that year I tried out for cheerleader, because that’s what all my friends were doing. I made it, and the VERY next weekend I was invited to a party thrown by the most popular girl in the school. This girl had never even glanced my way before I “was” a cheerleader. I remember noticing the irony in this–the loud hypocrisy of it all–but the attention felt nice.
After this my best friend from elementary school and I drifted apart. I put on a cheer uniform and started hanging out with girls who were obsessed with makeup, clothes, and boys. My best friend put on black clothing and started hanging out with girls who did drugs.
The little girls we both used to be–our confident, bright, imaginative selves–had been lost.
Isn’t it obvious? Satan knows what he’s doing. If he can get a girl to abandon her vibrant childhood self (who she truly is) and tempt her to be something she’s not, that girl will become unsure, withdrawn, self-critical, and obsessed with her status and body. That girl then grows to be a woman, who continues to struggle with self-worth and cultural stereotypes as an adult. And what does this do to HER daughter?
Thank heavens–thank HEAVENS–that Satan isn’t the only one in this fight. James E. Talmage said, “The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” (Possibly one of my favorite quotes EVER.)
He knows who we really are. He knows what we are capable of. And He knows how to help. His gospel offers perfect protection against Satan’s deceptions. Our Greatest Champion stands ready to pull us out of this worldly mess, and to show us what magnificent we are in His eyes. When we follow and trust Him, we gain a radiance that literally shines in our countenances.
The other night at bedtime I asked my seven year old son what he liked about me. His response? “You’re p-r-e-t-y.” (Gotta love first grade spelling.) “And you’re n-i-s-e. And, you’re s-m-r-a-t.” All at once, I saw myself through his point if view–pretty, nice, and smart. And there, in my sweats, with a disheveled pony tail and bags under my eyes, I felt truly beautiful.
I realized something that night–I realized I feel the most beautiful when I am feminine. And I don’t mean feminine as in wearing frilly dresses and high heels and lipstick. I mean feminine as in being nurturing and kind. As in…using my femininity the way God intended it to be used. Not to attract or impress, but to nurture, care for, and lift others. To be kind and gentle and good and chaste.
Margaret D. Nadauld said, “Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
When I use my divine feminine gifts in these ways, I can’t help it. I feel lovely.
I’m happy to report that now, as a grown woman, I have reconnected to my little-girl-self. Music never left me (perhaps that was the grounding tie), but I am now back to reading like crazy, playing in the mountains, and liking myself. I have also learned to trust that I am beautiful to the Lord–and following His plan and being a “feminine” woman of God makes me radiant.
What about you? Have you found her yet? That little girl you used to be? Connect with her and embrace your TRUE self! Then, allow the Savior to lift you out of Satan’s webs. Loving the real YOU, embracing your divine femininity, and striving daily to become more like the Savior, will bring you deep happiness.
And that is truly beautiful.
BeYOUtiful Whitney, her husband Rock and their five kids
Isn’t Whitney amazing?
Isn’t Mercy River divine?
Don’t you want to win a copy of their new album Higher?!
To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. Tell us what makes you feel beautiful. Or why you like the album. Or what you found inspiring about Whitney’s post. Or what you had for breakfast this morning. (The point is that you can leave a comment about ANYthing and be entered to win.)
You can get a second entry by liking Hiya Papaya on Facebook. Just leave a comment and let us know.
And for a third entry, like Mercy River on Facebook and again, leave a comment, letting us know.
The winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced Monday, April 2nd.