All I Want for Valentine’s Day
Posted February 13, 2013
Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).
High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this:
I have been very good this year, and I would really like it if you would bring me a husband who:
Is working to become just like Christ
Will love me just the way I am
Speaks several languages and plays several instruments
Will look past my inadequacies to see only my inner qualities
Will not be so carnally minded that he will care about the way I look
Isn’t interested in money
Can support me in the style I would like to be accustomed to
Is completely sold out for God
Will let me be myself
I know these are very righteous things to desire, and I have been patiently waiting and have not compromised my standards, so can you please reward my faithfulness now? Thank you.
It’s good to develop noble standards for the kind of man we want to marry, but simply having a preference for good men doesn’t make us worthy of them. We often have lofty demands for suitors (well, not that lofty – just that they have Jim Elliot’s heart, C. S. Lewis’s mind, William Wallace’s courage, Clark Gable’s face, Cary Grant’s clothes, Josh Groban’s voice…), but we want them to love us just the way we are. So the men we want to marry often don’t really exist – and if they did… well… why would they want to marry us?
Janey apparently hopes that her paragon of glowing character and accomplishments won’t mind that she is (apparently) shallow and materialistic, has qualities buried so deep there’s no danger of anyone ever finding them, is not-quite-sold-out for Christ herself… and is not interested in changing. But then, we don’t really want what we deserve, do we?
So, we make our wish lists and pray that we get Missionary Martyr Malibu Ken for Christmas. But what will we have to offer him? How are we preparing to be what he might need in a wife? How long are our lists of standards and requirements for ourselves?
Our aspirations to be married to fine husbands are good; but then, that’s an aspiration that the Cinderellas and the ugly stepsisters of the world have always had in common. We need to step outside of our imaginary roles as the heroines of our own personal fairy tales, and ask ourselves: Which one am I? Why would the prince choose me?
The bad news is, none of us are naturally likeable, desirable, or eligible. Because of sin, we all start out as ugly stepsisters, and we don’t automatically become Cinderella upon reaching marriageable age. The good news is, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Pet. 2:24) And the rest of the good news is, if you find yourself Valentine-less this Valentine’s Day, that means the Lord is giving you more time to die to sin and live to righteousness, more time to make yourself ready, more time to become a better gift.
Ladies, let’s decide to do our (future) husbands good on this day (Prov. 31:12), instead of moping about the good they’re not here to do for us. On a day when women all over the world will be thinking about what they want to get from a man, let’s think instead about we’re preparing to give to one.
(With excerpts from It’s (Not That) Complicated)
Two New Deals!
Posted February 12, 2013
Announcing the Reclaiming Beauty Study Course
Posted December 19, 2012
We’re delighted to announce the release of the Reclaiming Beauty Study Course! The response to our Reclaiming Beauty webinar was so tremendous that we’ve repackaged the recordings into a digital study course, which includes nine hours of video recordings (audio with image-rich power-point, plus Q&A) and a brand spanking new study guide, ideal for women’s study groups.
To be honest, we’re grateful the webinar is over. It was a fascinating glutton of time and energies that we’re now very happy to be able to devote to other things, like gearing up for future family projects and studying things that are not beauty-related. And taking a minute to organize our messy closet, like we told all our listeners to do theirs.
That said, we gained a huge amount from the experience of preparing and hosting this webinar. And most importantly to us, the webinar seems to be doing what we prayed it would: helping young women sort through the important, frustrating, confusing subject of personal image.
During the webinar, listeners signed up from all over the world, some getting up in the middle of the night to tune in. The flood of notes we received after each session, and are continuing to get, made the whole thing worth every moment of effort. Here are just a few, out of hundreds.
Finally, the help I need…thank you! — C
The webinar helped me to truly “reclaim” beauty. I felt inspired with every session! — J
There were so many times where we would say, “Wow! I’ve never thought of it that way before.” Our lives are changed (or should I say, changing) for the better – practically, physically, and most importantly, spiritually. — V
I loved how you brought everything back to Christ and the truth of His Word. — B
It is amazing how one topic can do so much to change a person’s life. … Before listening to this seminar, I would have such terrible anxiety about what I was going to wear and who I was, that it was affecting my health. I have been battling with Anorexia for 7 years and I can’t thank God enough for your obedience to Him and sharing the discoveries you have made in His word. …I no longer feel like I have no purpose, the suicidal grip Satan had on me has ceased, and my relationship with my family is beginning to blossom with healing. — S
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! It is so refreshing to hear a well-balanced view on this subject- a view that is based upon the Word of God and a love for the Lord Jesus. — A
…listening to you both was very helpful, encouraging, exciting, fun, freeing, enlightening, insightful, thought-provoking, action-provoking… It produced growth in all of us and it was a huge blessing! — V
After each session, we were amazed by the number of questions we hadn’t considered and the answers so graciously and persuasively presented from Scripture. …Your presentation was carefully researched, fiercely loyal to Scripture and yet gently and winsomely communicated, practical to everyday use and eminently vital for the cultural transformation of the world. — K, E, and A
“I encourage you to check it out because I have experienced myself what these ladies live and breath, what beauty shines forth from them.” (R.C. Sproul, Jr.)
“My daughters and I have heard the Botkin girls many times and we are always improved in our thinking as a result. I commend this experience to all those who would like to grow in their understanding of this important subject.” (Scott Brown)
Announcing Our Year-End Sale!
Posted December 15, 2012
Gratitude for “It’s (Not That) Complicated”
Posted December 7, 2012
It’s been a year now since we published It’s (Not That) Complicated, and the feedback we’re getting is incredible. God is answering our fervent prayers by using it to change lives.
A sampling of the notes we’ve been getting:
“Of all the relationship-oriented books, blog posts, and Christian magazine articles that I have read, none have been as Biblically solid or as helpful as this book. Were I to go through this book with a highlighter, the entire thing would be neon yellow.” – P.
“It totally challenged me in the way I relate to young men as brothers in Christ. I have officially made it my favorite book, and have strongly encouraged all the young ladies I am acquainted with to read it!” – Tiana
“…exactly the kind of book I have been looking for for so long! I laughed out loud and took extensive notes. There really is not any other book like it.” – Brydon
“You should know that I finished it in one afternoon. It gave me an entirely new perspective on how I should be treating my brothers in Christ, as I have always struggled with how to love them and come across the right way. I was so blessed by the comments from various young men. It put everything into a new light for me. I have been able to put much of what you shared into practice this year with both my brothers, and my sisters in Christ (encouraging them to do the same!), and the results are simply amazing. May God use this book to bless young men and women all around the world!” – Amanda
“The only book I’ve ever cried over. Every girl should read this. Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin have wisdom beyond their years, and they present biblical truth with grace, but without holding back.” – Emily
“In my opinion, every girl in America needs to read that book. No, EVERY girl needs to read that book.” – Amber
“…my highlighter was thoroughly worn out when I was done reading…and I’ve been trying to get into as many girls’ hands as I possibly can!” – Sarah
“It’s (Not That) Complicated was hysterically funny, incredibly amusing, and properly edifying all at the same time. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth wrote about the Truth of God in a way that we girls who live in the 21st century can enjoy. Their words are accurate, but they use anecdotes that we can understand and relate to. I’m already rereading the book for the second time. (Yes, it was really that good!)” -Cassandra
“I can’t thank you enough for the way you spare no punches and give us the real deal–it shows love in a way no sugar-coated “girly talk” can! It’s helped me to adjust my goals and ideals of what a good life is… Also, I’m impressed by the way you present salvation so candidly with none of the modern Christianity fluff. That’s what we need, it’s what everyone needs: a no-frills, Biblical gospel, and I admire the straight and narrow way you presented it. Keep it up!” – Alaina
Session One Finished and Available!
Posted September 28, 2012
Praise the Lord for giving us a successful first session to the Reclaiming Beauty webinar. And our very warm thanks to all of you who joined us on Tuesday night!
For those of you who didn’t, we’ve decided to make the recording of this one session available to everyone free of charge. Go here to download the session, and here if you’d like to sign up for the rest of the webinar. There are six more episodes to come!
Fathers, Daughters and the Beauty Subject
Posted September 19, 2012
Daddy’s little girls: us at 6 and 4
Beauty and personal appearance is one area of a girl’s life that many fathers feel unqualified to speak into. However, in this mp3 message, our father Geoffrey Botkin explains a father’s biblical duty to be shepherding his daughter in this crucial area of her life – affecting the way she grows up to see herself, the culture around her, and her role as a woman. Listen to this message along with our mother’s on the same subject, and get a full-orbed picture of how a father and mother work together to prepare their daughters to be “corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” (Psalm 144:12)
Mothers, Daughters, and the Beauty Subject
Posted September 18, 2012
Us with our mother in 2001, ages 16 and 14… before the days of hairstyling, makeup, or clothes that fit.
As the launch date for our “Reclaiming Beauty” webinar draws near, we’ve been thinking about what an important part mothers play in this part of their daughters’ lives. Though the webinar is targeted at young women, we’ve persuaded our mother to share some helpful words for other mothers on how they should approach this issue and help their daughters with it. We considered having her share this as a guest in one of the sessions, but decided this message was so important that we wanted to make it available to everyone for free. Please listen to this message. Pass it around to your friends. And don’t forget to sign up for the webinar! September 25 is just around the corner.
First “Reclaiming Beauty” Session Open to the Public!
Posted September 16, 2012
Friends, we’ve decided to make the first session of the “Reclaiming Beauty” webinar free to the public! Tune in from 7-8PM, Central Time, on September 25, and join us for a eye-opening look at “What God Says About Beauty and Beautification: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” — a fascinating introduction to the issue that launched a thousand ships. Bring your questions, and get ready for a new look at how to glorify God in your body! (1 Cor. 6:20)
Space is limited, so after registered participants, seats will be awarded on a first-come, first served basis. Click here to sign up for the first session free of charge.
We look forward to starting this journey with you on September 25!
When Fairness is Unfair
Posted August 31, 2012
Earlier this year, 18-year-old Florence Colgate was dubbed “Britain’s Most Beautiful Face,” not by the authority of beauty pageant judges, but by the authority of science and math. Miss Colgate’s face won out over 8,000 others on the basis of best match-up with a mathematically devised blueprint for perfect facial proportions based on the Golden Ratio.
Her “scientifically proven” prettiness sparked a huge debate that still rages all over the internet. Hundreds protested (for good reason) that the mystery of what makes one face more attractive than another can’t be solved with a formula. A much bigger concern, however, was over what that formula would do to the self-image of millions who can’t measure up to it: Women would feel like they were doomed to ugliness because their faces didn’t match the grid.
Most of us, of course, don’t need the aid of a scientific beauty-o-meter giving us an exact reading on our facial deficiencies to fear that our looks just aren’t “good enough.” If this is how we feel, we need to first take comfort in the fact that God has not given us one prescribed standard for physical perfection that we all have to match up to in order to be beautiful – a good thing, since He created us all to look very different. Also, His purpose for the diversity in our looks was not so that we could hold beauty contests. Beauty is not a game to win or lose, but something we all should be cultivating by the proper stewardship of our bodies to glorify Him. This is a good reminder for both the girls who invest inordinate amounts of time into their looks aiming to come out on top, and the girls who have given up trying because they feel they can’t compete.
When temped to resent the reality that some appear to be created a little more equal than others, we need to remember that God has a purpose for everything He does – the people He creates and also the way He creates them. God is not color- or beauty-blind, and His Word often uses objective terms like “ruddy,” “lovely to look at,” “without blemish” and also “mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind” to describe His creations. But asking why bad hair happens to good people is as useless as the pot asking the potter why he was made a pot. We may never know why some were created with more proportioned features or better skin than others, but He does, and we can rejoice in the fact that we don’t have to be “equally” made to be “wonderfully and fearfully made.” (Psa. 139:14)
God has given Miss Colgate an objectively beautiful face – one that is much more symmetrical and aesthetically “perfect” than mine. Does that make her more beautiful? Does that make her better? Does that mean that God did not create my face equally well? These questions miss the point. What matters is that He gave us each the faces that pleased Him, and that we are both equally accountable to Him to steward the bodies He gave us and glorify Him in them.
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