Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

As I’ve traveled around the country, speaking at good Bible-believing churches, I’ve discovered that the kind of biblical relationship to which I think the New Testament calls us is almost nonexistent. For example, I recently spoke at a conference that was well attended by women who were serious about their faith. They weren’t “playing church,” and they wouldn’t have thought of themselves as tourists. But when I asked for a show of hands of those who were in a biblical relationship with others to whom they regularly confessed sin, expected accountability, and regularly confronted the sins of those same others, only a smattering of hands went up. That’s not to say these dear sisters weren’t eager to follow the Lord. It was just that this kind of relationship, this depth of biblical fellowship, was way beyond their normal practice.

The kind of fellowship I’m enjoining flies right in the face of our American individualism and desire for privacy. We don’t want anyone poking around in our affairs, and we certainly don’t want to be accused of poking about in anyone else’s. This idolatry of privacy and individualism is one of the greatest detriments to sanctification in the church today. God has placed us in a family because we don’t grow very well on our own. It’s still not good to be alone. We need the encouragement, correction, and loving involvement of others who are willing to risk everything for the sake of the beauty of his bride.

~Elyse Fitzpatrick in Because He Loves Me

Photo: OBMonkey

Face It, Girl, You Need a Friend

“…woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has not another to lift him up!”

Ecclesiastes 4:10b

In the latest issue of Tabletalk Magazine, Nöel Piper, wife of pastor John Piper, shares openly about her struggle to drop the mask, lower her defenses, and allow friends close enough to truly love her. I would imagine that each of us as women can learn something from her story… 

Over the years, when my husband and I have tried to untangle some of the snarls in my life, sometimes he’s ventured to ask, “Nöel, don’t you think it might help to have some women around you to offer other perspectives and to pray for you and maybe give some helpful suggestions?”

I knew he must be right because King Solomon said the same thing…in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a, that it’s good to have friends because they support each other: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.”

…So my mouth said to my husband, “That’s a wise idea.” But my heart cringed at the thought of letting people close enough to poke around in my weaknesses, my mistakes, my faults, and my inadequacies. I decided that I needed to get my life sorted out, then I could include friends–someday, when I could be a giver instead of a taker. “I ought to be able to manage all this,” I thought…

Then came the day in the counselor’s office when he said, “Tell me the names of four or five godly women you’d be willing to be totally open with.” I rolled the eyes of my heart. Not this again.

I told him who those women would be (if I were going to be totally open with someone). I thought: “He’s going to counsel me to think about drawing them around me sometime soon. I’ll say OK and then drag my feet a few weeks until we’ve moved on to other things.”

But he didn’t leave me that escape route. Instead, he said: “When you get home, contact them today. Ask each woman if she can commit to be here with you at our appointments, starting next time. Their wisdom will be part of our conversation. And they will be a support to you in the days between appointments.”

“Right,” I thought pessimistically. “Those are busy women. They have their own problems to deal with. I’d be presumptuous asking so much time from them.”

But I did as I was told. I went home and emailed four women a message that boiled down to this: “My life is a mess. Will you help me? But I know you’re really busy, so please say no if that’s best for you.”

I pressed the send button, hoping they’d all say they couldn’t. That thought was barely complete before the replies showed up in my inbox–four people who said they felt inadequate because of their own struggles, but they were honored and would be with me at the counselor’s office on Monday. 

As minimal as my email confession had been, it was enough to poke a small hole through the curtain I’d been living behind–the screen that allowed an audience to see only a shadowy outline of me. On my side of the curtain, I was amazed to sense the thin beam of light and the breeze of fresh air making their way through the hole.

Already I could breathe a little more easily because now there were four women with whom I could start to relax, since I wouldn’t need to maintain with them the tension of projecting or protecting an image of the person I thought I ought to be.

Yes, this would be good in the long run, but in the meantime, what? The day came to meet with the women and the counselor…

In that session and in the days to come, as these friends opened themselves to me, my heart warmed to them and I felt more and more freedom with them. We came to trust each other with the tender places of our hearts.

In Proverbs 27:9, Solomon might have been writing about my friends: “Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” God used them to make my heart glad…

I was sixty years old when this story began–when I was forced to have friends. I am ashamed that, until then, I could have remained so ignorant of what God intended friendship to be. At the same time, I am filled with gratitude that God didn’t leave me alone…

I am still an introvert. My dream day still is a day by myself, but only once in a while. I thank God for the women he gave me when I needed to receive friendship. I pray that God will shape my heart to give friendship like they do–like Jesus told us to: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). He is the one I most want as a friend. I don’t want ever to be totally alone, without Jesus. I thank God for friends who have shown me Jesus’ kind of love. They have been an appetizer for the feast of Jesus’ friendship.

Photo: ilker

Becoming Our Brother’s Keeper

“Two are better than one…For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

In the latest video from CCEF, Mike Emlet gives a helpful explanation of how we should think about Christian accountability…

Photo: Tory Byrne

Ask Mel–How Do I Help My Friend Grow Spiritually (Pt.2)

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

Proverbs 27:6

More thoughts about how to encourage our friends’ growth in Christ…

View Part 1 HERE.

There’s so much more that could be said about this topic, but I do want to keep these videos as short as possible. Here are a few more points I felt I
should add:

  • Ask how you can pray for your friend. This may provide her with opportunities to share things she would otherwise have felt uncomfortable telling you about.
  • Ask your friend to pray for you. By sharing your own need for prayer, you can help your friend see that you also need help and encouragement in your walk with Christ.
  • When possible, invite your friend to join you for activities she may find both enjoyable and spiritually beneficial such as Bible studies, conferences, or other church events.
  • Finally, if you see no evidence of spiritual fruit over time, be aware of the possibility that your friend may profess faith in Christ without actually knowing Him at all (Matt. 7:22-23). Ask the Lord for her salvation, if, in fact, she has not placed her faith in Him.
  • Continue showing love as you lean on the Lord for strength, recognizing that He loves your friend far more than you ever could.

Do you have a question for Ask Mel? Send it to: preciousadornment@gmail.com.

Anything else you would add?

Illustration: Cecile Graat