“If you do not know,
most beautiful of women . . .
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!”
—Song of Solomon 1:8, 15

“As jy dit nie weet nie,
mooiste van al die vroue
. . .Jy is mooi, my liefling,
jy is mooi!”
—Hooglied 1:8,15

Maybe I have shared this before, but a lot of those words that hurt us, which we were talking about in the last chapter, are words or thoughts rehearsed in our minds that deal with the way we look. Today, more than ever, some of us are continually bombarded by thoughts of how we fail to look and really feel pretty. We believe we are either: too fat or too thin, too tall or too short, our noses are too long or too wide, our skin is either too white or too dark—the list is endless.

Miskien het ek dit vantevore gedeel, maar baie van hierdie woorde maak ons seer, waaroor ons in die laaste hoofstuk gepraat het, is woorde en gedagtes repeteer in ons gedagtes wat met hoe ons lyk afreken. Vandag, meer as ooit word sommige van ons bombardeer met gedagtes van hoe ons faal om regtig mooi te lyk en te voel. Ons glo dat ons eerder: te vet of te maer is, te lank of te kort, ons neuse is te lank en te wyd, ons vel is eerder te wit of te donker—die lys is eindeloos.

While traveling to different parts of the world, when I arrived in Brazil, I was surprised by what I saw. Brazil appears to be even more obsessed (even more than the U.S.) about women feeling the need to look and feel sexy. Before even leaving the airport, as I was standing, waiting at the luggage carousel, I noticed that I was the only woman who did not have a lot of skin showing. My stomach and cleavage was covered, and my clothes were not really tight nor provocative. 

Terwyl ons na verskillende dele van die wêreld gereis het, toe ek in Brasilie arriveer het, was ek verras deur wat ek gesien het, Brasilie lyk asof hulle selfs meer obsessief is  (selfs meer as in die V.S.A.) oor vrouens wat die nood voel om prikklend te lyk en te voel. Voordat ek die lughawe verlaat het, soos wat ek by die groot bagasie mallemeule gestaan het, het ek agter gekom dat ek die enigste vrou was wat nie baie vel gewys het nie. My maag en my borste was bedek, en my klere nie styf of uitdagend nie. 

My astonishment continued as my host family drove me through the city to the church where I was invited to speak. I was mesmerized by all the billboards that shouted this trend in their society; there were extremely sexy ads of women everywhere. The craziest aspect of this and what had me dumbfounded was these Brazilian women are simply gorgeous!! So why do they feel the need to show any more than their beautiful faces and lovely figures in whatever clothing made them feel pretty? As I sat puzzled, I remembered seeing a television special that said that South America had the most Miss Universe winners than any other continent, and in one country most girls are sent to schools to teach them how to win the title by grooming them with how they talk, walk, what to wear, etc. It seems that no matter how gorgeous we are, most of us feel inferior; myself included.

My verbasing het voort gegaan soos wat my gasheer/gasvrou familie my deur die dorp gechauffeer het na die kerk toe waar ek genooi is om te spreek. Ek was mesmeriseer deur  die reklameborde wat die tendens in hulle samelewing uitgeskree het; daar was uitermatige prikkelende advertensie van vrouens orals. Die kranksinnigheid aspek daarvan is en wat my stomgeslaan het was dat hierdie Brasiliaanse vrouens absoluut pragtig is!! So hoekom voel hulle die nood om nog meer as hulle pragtige gesigte en lieflike figure te wys in watookal klere hulle maak mooi voel. Soos wat ek verbyster daar gesit het, het ek onthou dat ek ‘n spesiale televisie program gesien het dat Suid Amerika die meeste Mej Heelal wenners as enige ander kontinent het, en in een land word meeste meisies skool toe gestuur om hulle te leer hoe om die titel te wen deur hulle touwys te maak oor hoe hulle moet praat, loop, wat om te dra, ens. Dit lyk asof dit nie saak maak hoe pragtig ons is nie, meeste van ons voel minderwaardig; myself ingesluit.    

So a few weeks later, while flying to another continent, I had plenty of time to talk to the Lord about this. I began by asking Him for a way to explain to women all over the world just how He saw them. What’s interesting is, I was on my way to Africa, where my host family had set up a time for us to go on a safari. And that’s when I really understood just how what He had said meant to me, which I hope to convey to each of you. And I’d like you each to promise to encourage at least one other woman you meet or you know, who needs to know just how beautiful she is, about how He sees her—maybe using this same analogy He shared with me.

So ‘n paar weke later, terwyl ek op pad was na ‘n ander kontinent toe, het ek baie tyd gehad om met die Here hieroor te praat. Ek het begin deur Hom te vra vir ‘n manier om vir vrouens dwarsoor die wêreld te verduidelik net hoe Hy hulle gesien het. Wat interessant is, ek was op pad Afrika toe, waar my gasvrou familie vir ons ‘n tyd opgestel het om op ‘n Safari te gaan. En dit is toe ek werklik verstaan het net hoe wat Hy vir my gesê het vir my beteken het, wat ek hoop om aan elke een van julle oor te dra. En ek sal daarvan hou dat elkeen van julle belowe om ten minste een vrou wat jy ontmoet of ken aan te moedig, wat die nood het om te weet net hoe pragtig sy is, oor hoe Hy haar sien—miskien dieselfde analogie gebruik wat Hy met my gedeel het. 

What the Lord said is that He sees each of us as endangered and who needs protecting, just like all the endangered animals throughout the world. What He’d explained while on my flight, I then saw firsthand when we were driving through the vast expanse of open land, while on safari. When we stopped in the protected and fenced rest areas, I met people who’d come from all parts of the world for one reason only—just to strain to get a look at even one of these animals. Say, for instance, the gorgeous and majestic giraffe. Yet, while this sweet giraffe is being admired and photographed, the Lord said, to have me imagine herself thinking, “Just look at me. Why does my neck have to be so long? How embarrassing that I have to spread my legs apart just to get a drink of water! And all these brown spots . . . why can’t I have that gorgeous coat like that Miss Leopard over there!”  

Wat die Here gesê het is dat Hy elke een van ons sien as bedreig en wie beskerming nodig het, net soos al die bedreigde diere dwarsoor die wêreld. Wat Hy verduidelik het terwyl ek op my vlug was, het ek eerstehands gesien toe ons deur die uitgestrekte oppervlakte van oop grond gery het terwyl ons op safari was. Toe ons in die beskermde en omheinde rus gebiede gestop het, het ek mense ontmoet wat van alle dele van die wêreld gekom het vir net een rede—net om met inspanning ‘n blik van selfs een van hierdie diere te sien. Sê, byvoorbeeld, die pragtige en manjefieke giraffe. Tog, terwyl hierdie lieflike giraffe admireer en gefotografeer word, het die Here vir my gesê, om myself in te dink hoe sy haarself dink, “Kyk net na my. Hoekom moet my nek so lank wees? Hoe verbouererend dat ek my bene moet uitmekaar sprei net om ‘n sluk water te kry! En al hierdie bruin kolle . . . hoekom kan ek nie ‘n pragtige pels soos Mej Luiperd daar oorkant hê nie.   

Then along walks an incredible and highly endangered rhino who says, “I can’t believe I got my mother’s long nose, it’s so embarrassing, and her overly large rear-end too—it’s huge! Why does my skin have to be this dark and leathery, why can’t it be soft like Miss Leopard?” 

Toe kom ‘n ongelooflike en hoogs bedreigde renoster wat sê, “ek kan nie glo dat ek my ma se lang neus gekry het nie, dit is so verbouererend, en ook haar oor-grootte agterent ook—dit is kolossaal! Hoekom moet my vel so donker en leeragtig wees, hoekom kan ek nie so sag soos Mej Luiperd wees nie?”

And there we were, driving hours, doing our best to take pictures of every angle of the rhino, whether it’s her large bottom or hoping to get that snapshot of her side view to show the beautiful length of that nose! We only hope to see a giraffe drinking from a watering hole, with her legs spread due to her long legs and long neck, thrilled if we ever can get close enough to see the long black tongue—taking pictures and pictures to later show everyone we know.

En daar was ons, rondgery vir ure, en ons bes gedoen om die beste fotos uit elke hoek van die renoster te kry of dit haar groot agterent is of die hoop om ‘n knakskoot van haar syaansig te kry om te wys hoe pragtig die lengte van daardie neus is! Ons hoop maar net om ‘n giraffe te sien wat uit ‘n watergat drink, met haar bene versprei as gevolg van haar lang bene en lang nek, opgewonde as ons net naby genoeg kan kom om die lang swart tong te sien—en fotos en fotos neem om later aan almal wat ons ken te wys.   

Hopefully, you get the picture. 

Hopelik, kry jy die prentjie.

Our own opinions of how we look is not at all how the Lord looks at any one of us. To Him, as He said, we are all on His endangered list since there are no two of us who are just alike! Our Beloved loves our side view, our hair, our skin shade and texture, even the imperfections we believe we see in our looks. The Lord loves how tall we are or how short. He even likes that extra weight that we’ve put on. Just imagine seeing a skinny animal and how horrified and heartbroken we would be if we saw one.

Ons eie opinies van hoe ons lyk is glad nie hoe die Here na enige een van ons kyk nie. Vir Hom, soos wat ons gesê het, is ons  almal op Sy bedreigde lys aangesien daar nie twee van ons is wat dieselfde is nie! Ons Beminde is lief vir ons syaansig, ons hare, ons vel skakering en tekstuur, selfs die imperfeksies wat ons glo ons in ons voorkoms sien. Die Here is lief vir hoe lank of kort ons is. Hy hou ook van daardie ekstra gewig wat ons aangesit het. Verbeel jou om ‘n maer dier te sien en hoe verafsku en hartgebroke ons sal wees as ons een moet sien.  

Since weight seems to be an obsession in most women, if you struggle like most of us, and are currently heavier than you’d like to be, I spoke to Him about that too! Here’s how He assured me that no matter how much I weigh, I’m still beautiful. While I was in Italy, I instantly noticed that the greatest and most famous artists painted and sculpted very large, curvy women! Even their backsides were considered beautiful when quite large and full. Yet here we are playing right into the hands of the enemy who loves to make us feel as if we fall short of being beautiful. By whose standards? Not the Lord’s. And why should we care about our outer beauty anyway when we know that “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30)? If it’s becoming older that’s troubling you, He even reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” And in the Amplified version it says even more. “Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day. For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.”

Aangesien gewig lyk asof dit ‘n obsessie in meeste vrouens is, as jy soos meeste van ons sukkel, en swaarder is as wat jy sal hou van om te wees, ek het ook met Hom daaroor gepraat! Hier is hoe Hy my verseker het dat dit nie saak maak hoeveel ek weeg nie, ek is nog steeds pragtig. Terwyl ek in Italië was, het ek die heeltyd agtergekom hoe die mees bekendste skilders baie groot en volronde  vrouens geskilder en skulptuur het! Selfs hulle agterstewes was oorweeg as pragtig wanneer dit nogal groot en vol was. Tog hier is ons en speel reg in die vyand se hande in wat daarvan hou om ons te laat voel asof ons tekort skiet om pragtig te wees. Deur wie se standaarde? Nie die Here sin nie. En hoekom sal ons omgee oor ons uiterste skoonheid wanneer  ons wete dat “Uiterlike skoonheid hou nie, ‘n mooi voorkoms is nie alles nie; as sy die Here dien, dán verdien ‘n vrou om geprys te word “Spreuke 31:30)? As dit is om ouer te word wat jou pla, het Hy my herinner aan 2 Korintiërs 4:16-18, “Om hierdie rede word ons nie moedeloos nie. Al is ons uiterlik besig om te vergaan, innerlik word ons van dag tot dag vernuwe. “En in die NLV sê dit “ Om hierdie rede gee ons nie moed op nie. Al is ons uiterlike besig om te vergaan, innerlik word ons van dag tot dag vernuwe. Ons swaarkry op die oomblik is gering en tydelik, maar dit bewerk vir ons ‘n heerlikheid wat alles verreweg oortref en vir altyd vas sal staan. Ons oog is nie op die sigbare dinge gerig nie, maar op die onsigbare, want die sigbare dinge is tydelik, maar die onsigbare vir altyd.”       

When I shared all of this with the ladies in South Africa, one precious member told me later that the next morning she stood and looked at herself in the mirror and said, she actually liked what she saw. For the first time she was looking through the eyes of her Beloved! A few weeks later I shared it again at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya where women had traveled from many countries all over the continent of Africa. Though I wasn’t there long enough to speak to anyone afterwards, I saw the message transform them when I looked into each of their faces. The Lord had me look around the audience and I could see faces beaming with joy and some women had tears streaming down their faces. All I’d done was ask Him His opinion along with a way to explain it to other women, then made sure I also asked for an opportunity to share what He’d told me, what I had taken the time to ask the Lord to help me do—and dear bride, you can do the same thing too! Take what I’ve shared, if it has touched you, and share it with other women, let them each know how HE sees us. Then continue this each and every time you have a need or hurt or question. Take it to Him, listen to how He explains it to you, then pass this loving message to women after you ask Him to show you who needs to hear it.

Toe ek dit alles met die dames in Suid Afrika gedeel het, het een kosbare lid my later vertel dat sy na haarself in die spieël gekyk het en gesê het dat sy eintlik hou van wat sy sien. Vir die eerste keer het sy deur die oë van haar Beminde gekyk! ‘n Paar weke later het ek dit weer by ‘n konferensie in Nairobi, Kenya gedeel waar baie vrouens oor die kontinent van Afrika gereis het. Alhoewel ek nie lank genoeg daar was om daarna met enige iemand te praat nie, het ek gesien hoe die boodskap hulle hervorm het toe ek in elke een van hulle gesigte gekyk het. Die Here het dat ek rond die gehoor kyk en ek kon gesigte sien wat straal van blydskap en sommige vrouens het trane gehad wat by hulle wange afgeloop het. Al wat ek gedoen het was om Hom sy opinie te vra en ‘n manier om dit aan ander vrouens te verduidelik, en dan het ek seker gemaak dat ek ook vir ‘n geleentheid om te deel wat Hy my vertel het, wat ek die tyd geneem het om die Here te vra om my te help om te doen—liewe bruid jy kan ook dieselfde doen! Neem wat ek gedeel het, as dit jou aangeraak het en deel dit met ander vrouens, laat hulle elkeen weet hoe HY ons sien. Gaan dan voort en doen dit ieder en elke keer wat jy ‘n behoefte of seer of  ‘n vraag het. Neem dit na Hom toe, luister hoe Hy dit aan jou verduidelik, en gee die liefdevolle boodskap aan vir vrouens na jy Hom gevra het om jou te wys wie nodig het om dit te hoor.  

Pretty Muscular

Taamlik Gespierd

Something new I felt I needed to add. In just the last few years another phenomenon has taken me by surprise, which is the trend for women to work out or train to the point of looking as muscular as a young man. In Erin’s Wise Woman book, she taught me about how important it was for celebrating how we were created male and female. Then she explained the danger of how blurring these lines has contributed to homosexuality. 

Iets nuut, wat ek voel ek nodig het om by te voeg. In net die laaste paar jare het ‘n ander fenomeen my onkant gevang, dit is die tendens vir vrouens om te oefen tot op die punt om so gespierd soos ‘n jong man te lyk. In Erin se Wyse Vrou boek, het sy my geleer oor hoe belangrik dit was vir ons om te vier hoe ons manlik en vroulik geskape is. Toe het sy die gevare verduidelik van hoe om  hierdie lyne te vervaag tot homoseksualiteit bygedra het.  

Rather than women wanting to feel and look pretty, I now see that women today strive, instead, to look pretty muscular. Not only does this excessive training with weights and exercises produce well-defined and bulky muscles, which were once reserved for men, but when women train to this extent, it often reduces the breast tissue and can actually stop a woman’s monthly cycle. Is this honoring and celebrating how we were created, female? Would an overly muscular woman be easily viewed as His bride and feel as He intended?

Eerder as wat vrouens mooi voel en lyk, sien ek nou dat vrouens, in plaas daarvan, streef om taamlik gespierd te lyk. Nie net produseer hierdie oortollige oefen met gewigte en oefening    goed-gedefineeerde en groot spiere, wat eens op ‘n tyd vir mans gereserveer was, maar wanneer vrouens tot hierdie mate oefen, verminder dit bors weefsel en kan eintlik ‘n vrou se maandelikse siklus stop. Eer dit en vier dit hoe ons geskep is as, vroulik? Sou ‘n oor gespierde vrou maklik gesien word as Sy bruid en voel soos wat Hy dit bedoel het?  

It’s not to say we need to be ashamed if we were created more muscular or masculine, but only if we strive to be more the way the world is changing—to blend the male and female genders. It not only robs you of feeling pretty, the way He sees us, but it is also getting dangerously close to the slippery slope of a society that goes beyond accepting who a person is. It now promotes a way of living contrary to the Abundant Life—enjoying being who we were created to be, a woman, His bride. 

Dit is nie te sê ons moet skaam voel as ons meer gespierd of manlik geskape is nie, maar net as ons streef om meer te wees soos die wêreld wat verander—om die manlike en vroulike geslagte te meng. Dit beroof jou nie net om mooi te lyk nie, hoe Hy ons sien, maar dit raak gevaarlik naby aan ‘n glyerige skuinste van ‘n samelewing wat verder gaan as om te aanvaar wie ‘n persoon is. Dit bevorder nou ‘n manier van lewe teenstrydig met die Oorvloedige Lewe—om te  geniet wie ons geskep is om te wees, ‘n vrou, Sy bruid.

How He Sees You

Hoe Hy Jou Sien

While in Brazil I had one hostess who continually said to me, “Linda, linda, linda” that means “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.” Precious one, that’s what your Lover, your Heavenly Husband, says each time He looks at you! He just can’t keep His eyes off of you, and His love grows with each glance. There is no need to work out, or change who you are, since you are Linda, His beautiful, bride, “If you do not know, most beautiful of women . . . How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” (Song of Solomon 1:8, 15). 

Terwyl ons in Brasilie was het ons gasvrou aanhoudend vir my gesê, ‘Linda, linda, linda” dit beteken ‘Mooi, Mooi, Mooi.” Kosbare een dit is wat jou Minnaar, jou Hemelse Man, sê elke keer wat Hy na jou kyk! Hy kan net nie Sy oë van jou af hou nie, en Sy liefde groei met elke blik. Daar is geen rede om te oefen, of te verander wie jy is nie, aangesien jy Linda is, Sy mooi, bruid, “As jy dit nie weet nie, mooiste van al die vroue . . .Jy is mooi, my liefling, jy is mooi!” (Hooglied 1:8,15).