(Mama and her girls)
She finishes painting my last toe and we continue talking as she motions for me to lie down on her cozy, pillowed aesthetics table. She begins to apply warm wax to my eyebrows while I recall an experience I had earlier. As I share, she erupts with genuine, belly laughter and I try not to, just in case I mess up the wax on my face.
I come to visit Rebecca because she has become my friend and she is a Christian, but I wrestle with being a spa-go-er. I tell her I'm "low-maintenance" and that she probably won't be seeing me here for awhile since I don't "keep up" with my beauty treatments on a regular basis. She asks why and I stand dumb-founded with partial Scriptures running through my mind about not adorning the body and focusing on "self", etc., etc. But at the moment, standing there with my friend, they don't seem to be adequate. Rebecca uses her aesthetics business as a ministry and prays over and for each client, boldy proclaiming Christ. There is no doubt that God has called her to her little practice for such a time as this, for the women who frequent her spa. But, if she is called to minister to women through beauty treatments, "what makes it wrong for Christians to receive those beauty treatments?" Rebecca appeals to me. "My non-Christian clients will pay double the money to come here than my Christian clients. I don't understand. What makes it wrong for a woman to take care of herself?"
We hug goodbye and I make my way to my car, cautiously stepping over stones in the parking lot, as not to smudge my nail-polished toes peeking out of flip-flops. I'm left to think about why I, as well some other Christian women I know, feel we don't deserve? need? desire? should? take care of our bodies in a way that makes them beautiful. Barring the cost of aesthetics, what are other reasons why Christian women wouldn't have ugly old skin removed from their feet, or their faces cleared of impurities? If a woman is not into coloured fingernails, what would be so wrong about having her nails cleaned up and protected with a good clear coat? As Rebecca mentioned, money is not an object for many of her Christian clients so she desires to have a defined answer for why "God's Girls" can't look beautiful, clean and well taken care of. Aren't we His temple? Would the world want to join the "family" when so many of us are unconcerned with how we're being viewed? Of course, inner beauty is of utmost importance, and outer beauty shouldn't be an idol, but how are we Christian women coming across to the world? How does it appear that God is taking care of His women? These questions loll through my mind as I turn up the street to my home. I know that I have just a bit of the attitude that Rebecca is talking about.
I curl up in a favourite chair with some popcorn and begin to think hard. I remember lying on my tummy as a little girl, on my mom's bed, chin resting in my palms as I watched her getting ready for a date with my dad. I was mesmerized by how she applied her make-up just so, and how she curled her hair with that butane curling iron that didn't need a plug. She wore a criss-crossy, wrap-around, floral dress that was very flattering and lovely to me. She sprayed herself with perfume and I knew that when I grew up, I was going to make myself gorgeous for my husband too. On Sundays, my mom would adorn my sisters' and my braids with satin ribbons and she would paint our nails once in awhile. On Saturday nights, she would wrap and clip sponge rollers in our hair and we'd sleep ever so stiffly, as not to pull out our precious curlers before morning. She often dressed us alike and everywhere we went, people commented on how cute we looked. We felt so feminine when my mom spent time showing us what to do with our long locks or dirty-from-playing fingernails.
Everyone knew my mom was a godly woman and they told her often that she took such good care of her girls. To my knowledge, no one thought she had put too much effort into herself or us but instead, they appreciated the loveliness of her outward beauty, as well as her true, inward, love and concern for people. At a time in our lives when our finances were not an issue, my mom would make regular manicure and hair appointments. My dad liked it that way.
So what happened in my mind? Somehow, at some point in my life, I began to believe a Christian woman should not spend money to take care of her personal self, at least by a professional. I say that this is a belief, because I actually do get my hair cut and my husband loves to gift me with the odd manicure or pedicure. But I had convinced myself I was visiting the spa in support of my friend rather than doing something to beautify myself. Rebecca's question plagued me and I began to pray and ask the Lord what His thoughts on the matter were.
Before I continue, I'd like to hear your voice on the matter... and so would Rebecca. What do you think? If money were no object, would beauty treatments be a part of your weekly/monthly/yearly regimen? For those who already visit aestheticians, what are your reasons? As a woman who loves to be in bare feet year round, get very few haircuts, rarely go to the mall, and (gasp) let my brows grow in, I began to take pride in how "low-maintenance" I was. But was I just not caring about myself? Was my lack of care reflective of my inward thoughts of myself? What message was I sending my daughters? Hmmm.
Please share, even if you haven't before :)
To read Part Two of Christian Women and Beauty click here.
Gratitude... because it's Monday and because every subject can be used for thanks :)
831. for non-judgmental friends
832. how God cares about providing answers when we ask genuinely
833. discovering new things about ourselves
834. an aesthetician who provides services for free because she says she wants to bless me
835. differences in women and no matter what the outcome of the above question, we will remain beautifully different.