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Chase God and the perfect prom will follow In late January, we held a style show for local girls to model prom dresses. The purpose of the event was three-fold: take photos of girls modeling dresses for our magazine, sell donated dresses as a fundraiser for Mighty Strong Girls and help draw a crowd for some friends with small businesses at the event. But like virtually everything we do with Mighty Strong Girls, that wasn't God's purpose. And we didn't see it until, as they say, "hindsight is 20/20." We had 22 girls sign up and take a turn on a runway. Upbeat music, applause, an emcee introducing each girl's unique interests. This event was about the GIRLS! Some of these girls would never otherwise get a chance to step on a runway or be affirmed for the way they look. I never got to do anything like this as a girl, and I didn't realize the VALUE it was! The event, the style show, it was for them! And really, that's what Mighty Strong Girls stands for — acknowledging each girl's unique beauty that is often counter-culture. Something else happened

on the day of this event. It occurred to me that we had incorrectly named our magazine's fashion pages. A news story I heard on NPR about the First Lady's wardrobe for inauguration made me realize that fashion is very trendy, worldly and temporary. It's not Biblical, and it's not what makes up a Mighty Strong Girl. No, a Mighty Strong Girl has something even better than fashion sense. She has STYLE! Style, as defined by Webster, is a distinctive manner of expression. It's unique. Webster also says style is a distinctive manner of behaving or conducting oneself that is comprised of beauty or grace or technique. When you have style, you have a timeless beauty that is more than a physical exterior. It's who you are, a character that starts on the inside and makes you glow to an exterior beauty that's uniquely you! 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) says, For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

There are two elements to consider in this verse. God sees our heart, and that is where our ultimate beauty can be found. We also need to remember that man does not see things that way. What does that mean for you? You NEED to care about how you present yourself on the outside particularly because boys are visual. It's important to be modest, lest we cause a brother to stumble in his faith. In that way, the Lord does care about how you are dressed. Here's another thought: What we wear reflects who we are — our heart, our inner beauty. Consider 1 Timothy 2:9-10 (The Message) And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. So, girls, if your priorities are in order, your beauty will naturally fall into its deserved place. Really our service is beautiful not only to God, but also to others. You will have an indescribable glow that will be every girl's envy on prom!


Dance


Shine!


DRESS TIPS When it comes to picking out the right dress for you, here are some things to keep in mind: LOVE IT: Don't buy it unless you're in love with it. WEAR IT: Make sure it fits correctly everywhere. If a strap isn't snug enough or a hem is too long, take it to a seamstress for adjustment. The cost is minimal, and the result is a fit you don't have to fuss with all night! GLAM IT: Jewelry, shoes, hair pieces and even makeup can make you sparkle and express yourself! TRADE IT: With so many options, you don't have to pay a fortune for a dress. Buy one gently used, visit consignment stores or consider a trade. With the money you save, do something to serve God and boost your beauty effect! OWN IT: Make sure the dress and accessories are expressly YOU! Don't try to be someone you're not. This is a chance to be yourself. We love just the way you are! And we hope you do, too!


SPARKLE


Glow


She is CHOSEN

Who is she? Who is this Mighty Strong Girl? She is beautiful inside and out. She may or may not know that yet. Because daily she faces a standard of beauty she can never achieve. And statistically speaking, she is more likely to hate her body than love it. In fact, nearly 80 percent of girls are dissatisfied with their bodies by the age of 17. But on this day, she carefully selects a dress. And sits down to have a woman she probably didn't know fix her hair and dabble on some makeup. A little pampering before hitting the runway and modeling her chosen dress. And God smiles. He smiles because He loves her, and even though He sees her as beautiful everyday, He is delighted that she will dance today. That she will stand before others on display and they will smile, too. God smiles because He has a plan for her. It's not about a dress or a style show. In fact, it's much bigger and more impressive and sparkly than that. Woven into His plan is her identity, which begins with His unconditional acceptance and love. She's not rejected in His eyes — ever, no matter what. She is His chosen daughter, and there is no dress or wardrobe befitting His lovely princess. She gets a tutorial on how

I have written your name on my hand. ~ Isaiah 49:16 to walk on a runway — maybe for the first time. Shoulders back, head held high. Pose. Smile. Walk. Perhaps this feels uncomfortable to her. She might be nervous. Nobody ever cared how she looked or wanted to see her model a dress. But an audience is waiting today. Her name is called. Her moment has arrived. Applause, smiles, cheers. The runway is all hers. The moment of affirmation and belonging — she owns it. Maybe for the first time, she is embraced among women and girls, put on a pedestal for being beautiful. Did she know yet that she was beautiful? I hope she does. Does she know that she was

designed by God? Maybe. But has she contemplated that she is CHOSEN, perfect and pleasing to Him? Does she know how it feels to be handpicked? Set apart because of His love for her? Unique beyond compare? The world would have her think that nobody would choose her, because she's not perfect. Society wants her to buy more, do more, become more. There's no end. She will never be picked. There's no hope. And yet there is. Because this wasn't just a runway. This event, it was a mirror — held up for a moment for her to see a glimpse of Christ's love and plan for her. SHE IS CHOSEN. I hope she embraces it.


Sing!


Show off your style


Avoiding impure choices on prom night Let's talk about what nobody else is saying — how can you be a Christian at prom? Of course it's possible, but expectations are higher this night than most any other. You want it to be fun and memorable. It can be both and honoring to God. Follow these instructions to keep your night Christ-centered: KNOW YOUR NIGHT. Have a plan for who you are going with, where you are going, what you are doing. Stick with it! Go to prom with a friend or group of friends if you fear you may be impulsively impure. WRITE AN EMERGENCY PLAN. There's a reason for emergency drills — you need to be prepared for ANYTHING! Know what you will do if you are tempted sexually or with alcohol/

drugs or even just going somewhere your parents would not permit. Walk through your plan out loud; role play with a parent or friend so you will be prepared in an emergency. PRAY. Nothing works more powerfully than prayer. Pray now. Pray daily. Pray before you leave for prom and touch base with God all night. Memorize one or both verses below. There's no doubt that prom could be a night of temptation, immoral choices, impulsive behavior and regret. But let's talk about the other thing nobody is saying. It could be a night for you to be a witness to your peers, live out your purity commitment or a time to recommit yourself to Christ. Seize the opportunity to make it an event to remember!

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:21 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person. ~ Proverbs 27:19

Thanks to our 2013 style show models!

Thanks to our runway photographer! Hi, I'm Don Irwin. I've been interested in photography since my freshman year in high school. I became a professional photographer in 1990 including working for a small hometown newspaper in the early 90's. I finally took the plunge into the business in 1992, moved to Tifton, Ga. from my hometown Bushnell, Ill. in 1997. After 10 years in Georgia we returned to Petersburg, Ill. to be closer to our families. I have been involved in many projects including working with the Springfield Sliders baseball program.


Smile. Laugh! Have fun...


Mighty Strong Girls Prom Guide