What is beauty?

Posted: February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized
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A blogger friend of mine – you may have heard of her, the amazing August McLaughlin – is hosting a blog fest titled “The Beauty of a Woman” this week. I accepted a Facebook invite to the event thinking, sure, I’ll read and comment on blogs, sounds like fun.

When the fest kicked off today, I began pondering the question: what makes a woman truly beautiful? I realize there is at least a hundred different answers to that, so I dug a little, asked myself the simplified version – what is beautiful to me? As cynical and sarcastic as I am, I do find beauty in every day things. I even see it in some of the most terrible places thanks to my skewed vision.

I touched on my depression in my last blog post. Let me take you a little deeper here.

I had absolutely no reason to be depressed growing up (of course, any of us with the tiniest bit of knowledge on the subject know there doesn’t have to be a reason). My parents were never abusive in any way, shape or form. I had a glorious family life. I still do. My parents, brother, all my cousins, they’ve been called my “Brady Bunch Family” because we all get along so well and would do anything for each other.

Yet, there I was, sixteen years old, and I had my suicide planned. I saw it in my head; everything from the method (slit wrists, in the bathtub so it was easier to clean) down to the fact that Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” (hey, I was a child of the 80s) would be playing on repeat when I was found.

My faith and family – though none of them knew about it – were the only things at the time that prevented it. A year later, I developed severe panic disorder and dying was my greatest fear. Funny how that works.

At any rate, all these years later, I look back on the grueling path I traveled to the freedom I have today and realize there were a lot of beautiful bumps in that road.

Yes, I have been stricken with so many illnesses and diagnoses I could practically list them and use the entire alphabet. Yes, I’ve had to make sacrifices and learn what is truly important in life to me. But all the while, I have looked upon each as a milestone to contentment. And I’ve met some awe-inspiring people along the way.

So, what is beauty to me?

The woman who finds courage to leave a broken relationship. The man who reaches out to a complete stranger and offers understanding and camaraderie. The child or young adult who finds inspiration in those decades older than she.

It’s being who you are, who you want to be, and not settling for anything because it’s too hard to achieve. It’s acknowledging your inner flaws, fixing them if you can, and making the best of them if you can’t.

Being you, including all the ugly parts, is beautiful.

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    I’ll tell you something else that’s beautiful, Jess. Raw, fearless honesty. And you are that. I admire that you are so open and honest. You’re an inspiration. I love your description, “milestone to contentment.” That’s an awesome description of life’s challenges. I needed this post just at the moment I read it. Thank you.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you, Jan. This is such a wonderful compliment. It made me tear up. I’m thinking of you, and sending warm wishes and virtual hugs your way in your time of need.

  2. Reblogged this on Alice White Author and commented:
    I love this perspective on true beauty, by my friend and fellow author, Jessica Nelson. She nails it!

  3. I was about to share Jan’s sentiment exactly. Such raw and fearless sharing can not only inspire others, but save lives. I’m so grateful that your plan to end your life didn’t pan out, or I’d never have had the pleasure of meeting you! Nor would the countless others you and your writing touch. You’re beautiful, truly.

  4. I agree with you, Jessica. Authenticity is one of–if not THE–most beautiful qualities in a person, woman or man.

    I believe that we are all here to learn lessons. I have had some fairly horrific things happen to and around me. I, too, had my suicide planned out–though I was 13 and I actually tried. Thank goodness I failed! I know that I went through those experiences so that I could become a source of comfort, understanding, and wisdom for those who need a safe place to land. Perhaps you’re here for the same reason. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your experiences. YOU are stunningly beautiful.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you, Kate. This is one time I will say I’m thrilled with your failure!
      Yes, if I can bring hope to one person who is feeling hopeless, I’ve accomplished a major goal.

  5. Your bravery and courage are inspiring. Rock on!

  6. KM Huber says:

    I, too, applaud your honesty for that is a rare quality, although it is one everyone cherishes. With this post you have brought hope to many–of that, I have no doubt. Also, I have no doubt that more than one person chose life today because of you. This is a beautiful post.

  7. StyleByRayne says:

    Love me some Motley Crue! We have a lot in common…I have a loving family yet I was a true nightmare as a teen. Drugs, depression and disgrace. Today nothing but gratefulness and acceptance. AMEN TO overcoming the darkness and stepping into BEING A LIGHT.

  8. amyskennedy says:

    Jess, after reading this, I went back and read Labeling a Woman–I hope you realize just how brave you are, and in so many ways a shining example of how to keep going and growing. Thanks for your deep sharing.

    • Jess says:

      Thank you so much. I’m so happy I jumped into August’s blog event. For so long, I was afraid to share my writing. Now, these past couple of years, I’ve truly grown and rediscovered my first passion for the written word. Stay strong and keep writing!

  9. You are brave. Your story is tough to tell, but you did it with such ease and simplicity that it took my breath away. I’ve always felt that there are two things in life that are not for wimps. A life well lived and marriage/long termed relationships (which, incidentally, can also be a big part of a life well lived). Not giving up when times get tough or hearts get broken or feelings get stomped on…. That’s quite powerful and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  10. thanks for sharing with such honesty. It takes courage to share this pain and i’m grateful you can talk about that time now

  11. Hi Jess! Great blog. Thanks so much for sharing and for your honesty. I’m actually working on a book right now about suicide as it is epidemic where I live. I’d love to connect with you futher and perhaps your story would be a great addition to the book as we are looking at those who have lost a loved one to suicide as well as those who have considered suicide but are still blessedly with us. Ayesha xox


    Hermeneutics is the science of interpretation of the Scriptures. What are the causes of faulty hermeneutics? Things that contribute to faulty hermeneutics are proof-texting, lack of prayerful study, pride, exalting men as infallible teachers, man made tradition doctrinal influences, self-imposed ignorance and dishonesty.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that Jesus was a sinner!

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Does this prove that Jesus was a sinner? Absolutely not.

    Hebrews 4:14-15 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet is without sin.

    Jesus was not guilty of sin.—-PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah.

    Matthew 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

    Does that Scripture prove that John the Baptist was Elijah reincarnated? No, it does not.

    John 1:19-23 This is the testimony of John….21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.”…
    Luke 1:5-17…It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah….

    FAULTY HERMENEUTIC dictates that men are saved by simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God.

    Acts 16:31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.

    Does Acts 16:31 prove that men are save by faith only. No, it does not.

    The Scriptures teach that Faith John 3:16, Repentance Acts 3:16, Confession Romans 10:9,10 and Water Baptism Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21 are all essential in order to be saved.

    John the Baptist was not the reincarnation of Elijah.—–PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that Jesus was God the Father.

    Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

    Would this Scripture prove that Jesus is God the Father? No, it would not.

    Mark 13:31-32 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. 32 But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father alone.

    Jesus will not know the end of time until God the Father tells Him. Jesus is not God the Father.

    1 Corinthians 15:20-28….23 who are Christ’s at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father…..28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

    Is Jesus God? Yes, Jesus is God, but Jesus is not God the Father.—–PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS dictates that men can be saved without being baptized because the thief on the cross was saved without being immersed in water. Can men today be saved without baptism. No, they cannot.

    Luke 23:39-43 ….42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

    Was the thief saved? Yes, the thief was saved, however, the thief was saved before the New Covenant was in force. Under the New Covenant men have to be baptized in water in order to have their sins forgiven.

    Hebrews 9:16-17 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be a death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives.

    The New Covenant, the New Testament, the New Agreement was only in effect after the death of Jesus. When Jesus was alive He forgave men of their sins for various and sundry reasons; the thief was one of those He forgave.

    The terms of pardon under the New Covenant are :
    FAITH (John 3:16)
    REPENTANCE (Acts 2:38)
    CONFESSION (Romans 10:9-10)
    BAPTISM (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16)

    Can men today be saved like the thief on the cross? No.—PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER.

    FAULTY HERMENEUTICS=30,000 different denominations and religious groups all claiming the absolute truth? PROPER HERMENEUTICS IS THE ANSWER!

    (All Scripture quotes from: NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE)

    Posted by Steve Finnell at 4:12 PM No comments:
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