Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (CEV)

I have five granddaughters, ages 23-10. Watching them grow and mature is a joy and privilege even though I am a long-distance Nana. But it is possible to keep in touch in this age of digital devices with texting and FaceTime.

Girls have a tough time growing up these days. The winds of change are sweeping our nation with political correctness that is both confusing and complicated. The norms and standards we were taught and passed down to our daughters have been tossed aside in an effort for each person to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. But as Christians, we have the ultimate guidebook, the Bible.

How many times do I remember my mother reminding me to “be a lady.” Some things can be taught but being a lady comes from the inside and works its way out as a result of the love and grace given to us by Jesus.

I ran across a blog post entitled 30 Characteristics of a Modern Lady. The blog began with “Being female is a matter of birth, being a woman is a matter of age, but being a lady is a matter of choice.” Many would dispute this today but the Bible is clear that God made male and female and I believe that God intended girls to grow up to be ladies. That statement takes nothing away from their strength or abilities but rather adds to their worth and dignity. The characteristics offered are both common sense and biblical. Here are a few of the 30 listed:

1. She is gracious: A lady is never above thanking someone, no matter who or how small it seems. She is sincerely thankful and always expresses her gratitude in a meaningful way.

2. She is a leader: A lady sets the precedent in any given situation. She knows that she has influence and uses it to lead people to good.

3. She is steadfast: A lady is consistent across time and circumstances. When she makes a commitment to herself, she doesn’t allow pressure or trends to cause her to waver.

4. She promotes moral excellence: A lady does the right thing even when no one else is looking. She takes the time to find a trash can rather than leave it on the sidewalk.

5. She is honest. She says what she means and means what she says. A lady is direct, never passive-aggressive, she does not leave room for interpretation.

I sent a copy of the list to all my granddaughters. Manners, morals, and values are not high priorities for the average teenager or young adult but my girls are ladies in the best sense of the word. They are growing up with hearts of love, service, loyalty, and kindness.

As women, whether mothers, grandmothers, or single, modeling good manners, kind words, strength of character, and moral values are needed. Don’t let society dictate what and where your strength comes from.

Encourage the girls in your life to not just be strong women but be women of strength:

A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape, but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape. A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything, but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her,
but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone.

A strong woman walks sure-footed, but a woman of strength knows God will catch her when she falls.

A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face, but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey,
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

– Author Unknown

Remember that a special beauty comes from the heart and is given by God. Value it highly.