“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” -Psalm 139:14 About a month ago, Mattea approached me with a new photo shoot idea. Tired of society’s idea of beauty, she wanted to portray what beauty means for her. With the theme, “perfectly imperfect,” we set out to defy the traditional sense of beauty. Mattea shares, “I’ve seen a lot of posts about girls not loving themselves and wanting to be someone else. I really want to show them that being yourself is the best you. A lot of people have told me that I need to change and be more… I don’t know, a proper lady, and I’m just not.”
She continues, “I’m not afraid to be who I am. I have a husband that loves me because of it and a family that accepts me and friends who love me this way. Why would I want to change that?” We selected items that tell the story of Mattea. Her Bible, guitars, a hand drawn canvas with the words, “Perfectly Imperfect,” as well as a mirror.Mattea is the girl with the infectious laugh who makes you feel comfortable immediately. If you’re just meeting her for the first time or you’ve been friends for years, she makes you feel welcome and at ease (she’s never met a stranger). She’s the kind of person who really does listen when she asks how your day is going, and she isn’t afraid to offer a hug. On first glance, Mattea admits that she may not look like a stereotypical Christian, but she’s got a big ‘ol heart and she’ll make you think twice about what it really means to be beautiful in God’s sight.If you want to learn more about Mattea, just ask her about her tattoos. “My tattoos represent what’s important in my life–family members and friends who have had an impact on me, and of course, God. I love it when people ask me the story behind my tattoos because some of them are about my Savior and when people ask me about them, I can create a ripple in their hearts.”
Although Mattea takes her relationship with the Lord very seriously, she has had her challenges with other believers. “I was very nervous about going to my husband’s church for the first time. I had been unwanted by so many that I didn’t want to feel that again, but I trusted Jonathan when he said that they wouldn’t do that to me. And sure enough, instead of pushing me away, they welcomed me and instead of judging my tattoos, they asked me about them.” The photo below shows Mattea as some might expect her to be. Below that is a photo of Mattea as she really is.I love that Mattea feels comfortable in her own skin. Because of this, she has the confidence to embrace others and care about their lives. She hasn’t always had this self esteem, however. “I just grew tired of trying to please the world. I believe that God knew that, too, and graciously gave me Jonathan. He has been a big help in getting me to understand that I’m beautiful no matter what. It was and is still a slow process. I’m still working on being ok with myself but I’m a lot further from where I was in the beginning.”Mattea has some advice for other young women. She shares, “Surround yourself with people who will only lift you up. If people are dragging you down, you aren’t going to get anywhere. Prayer is a BIG ONE!!! Don’t be afraid to ask for prayer and help. Talk to God! He is listening!”Thank you, Mattea, for wanting to inspire other women to trust the Lord for their confidence and beauty!
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” -Psalm 139:14
A Reflection By Mattea Crook
“Fearfully and wonderfully made! We are His creation! Made by his hands! The God of the universe thought each and every one of us up and said to Himself, “I am going to create this beautiful being.” Yet so many of us don’t see the beauty that is around us. We try to cover it up with what we think is a better piece of art that satisfies our needs. It’s almost like an insult to God’s creation, that His art isn’t good enough.”“The world has always had a particular image of how someone should be. Not just women, but men as well. The women have to be thin, with long hair, high cheek bones, and wear clothes that show way too much skin. For men, they have to have crazy toned muscles, short hair, suit and tie, and make lots of money. These are all pretty lies that seduce us into thinking that who we are now isn’t good enough and that we need to change into a different and more attractive version of ourselves.”
“I see this not only happening in the world, but also in our churches, which should be the places where we can go to seek refuge from a world of negative things. I have personally experienced being pushed away from the church because of how I look. I have short (sometimes colorful) hair, tattoos, peircings, I don’t wear dresses much, I’m not skinny by any means, I do drink every now and then with my dinner, and I love rock and roll music. So because of these things, I never felt welcomed into any church I ever went to. Even while growing up, I was forced by certain people to be a certain way and never once felt like myself.”“I started thinking, “If I don’t be what people want me to be, then how will anyone love me?” I asked myself this every day. Then God said, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4. The Lord then showed me just how beautiful I was to Him when he gave me a gift– a husband who loves me through my darkest and lightest times and who shows me that I am worth more than gold or silver.”“Natural beauty is what God so graciously gave us. We need to stop fighting for the world’s approval and work on what’s inside us rather than outside of us.”
We were meant to be perfectly imperfect. Such a beautiful mess. ~Pretty Lies by Veridia
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