The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 25, 2013

Church conference designed to boost girls' self-esteem

BECKLEY — As the school year approaches, one Beckley youth pastor is urging moms to remind their daughters that they are “beautiful” and that it’s “OK” for a woman to be “strong, determined and successful.”

Kelli Carrico, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Beckley, feels so passionately about the message girls receive from popular culture and each other that she is holding a conference  Aug. 2 to remind girls of their value and to let them know that beauty is not based on physical appearance.

Contemporary Christian musical artist Karen Spurlock will be leading worship at the event.

“Having three girls of my own, I am very aware of how early little girls begin to evaluate themselves and others in superficial ways,” said Carrico. “It occurred to me that so many women suffer daily by comparing themselves to others, and it all starts between the ages of five and 10.”

Part of the reason girls are so imprisoned by the beauty culture, Carrico said, is that they mistakenly equate being “pretty” with their self-worth.

“They believe if the world doesn’t think they are pretty, they must not be worth a nice man, kind friends or even personal happiness,” she said. “The reason so many girls and women believe their outward appearance holds value is because people act that way.

“We allow middle schools to vote on prettiest hair, best-looking and most popular,” she added. “Girls are taught that beauty is value without anyone saying it.”

One goal of the Christian-based conference is to assure girls that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder but in the “eye of the Creator,” Carrico said.

“The only way to help girls see past all this is to teach them that pretty is fine, that’s awesome, but it’s not beauty,” she said. “Their belly may not be completely flat today, or ever, and that’s OK, because God created us in His image, so...deal with it,  you’re perfect.”

According to Carrico, the Bible teaches that a woman’s worth isn’t based on her appearance, her marital status, who she dates or any other superficial standard.

“The Bible states, ‘...Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,’” she said. “God sees the heart of a woman.

“He sees beauty by what kind of person you are in your everyday life,” she said.

“We must teach our children that being compassionate, considerate and kind is not weak.”

“Jesus was a strong man,” she said. “It is OK for a woman to be strong, determined and successful.

“It’s just important that we define beauty as how someone treats others and loves God and (that we) define success as how hard we try every day to love God and love others.”

Carrico said the conference will emphasize to girls that they were created by “the best artist of all time.”

“Our value has nothing to do with dating the popular boy, but our value is already within us,” she said. “We have value, therefore we must not allow others to bring us down for free or give heart to any boy who says we have pretty eyes, because we are far more valuable than pretty eyes.”

She urged girls who are not considered physically attractive by popular standards to “settle for nothing less” than good treatment by others.

“You are a princess, daughter of the King,” she said. “So when someone treats you as less than that, let them know they’re wrong and tell them they need to be introduced to your heavenly Father.

“Just like an earthly father looks out for his little girl, so does Christ Jesus, and He does not like for someone to mess with daddy’s little girl.”

Carrico said that confidence is attractive and that parents should encourage their children to eat healthy and exercise.

Spurlock, a West Virginia-based singer/songwriter, released her CD “In a Moment” in 2010, a collection of 10 original songs she penned in response to spending personal devotion time with God.

Spurlock travels around the eastern United States for conferences and concerts.

Tickets are $35 per mother/daughter team, and each additional guest is $25. Each ticket includes Carrico’s message, the concert, a CD autographed by Spurlock and a T-shirt.

Only 30 tickets are available, and guests may pre-register be emailing Carrico at kellicarricophotography@hotmail.com.

The event will be at First Baptist Church, 422 Neville Street.

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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