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Debunking Beauty Image Lies

Angela Craig finds God’s purposes aren’t wrapped up in outward appearances.

Angela Lynne Craig never will forget the moment her youthful obsession with weight and beauty began. As a 10-year-old girl riding in the back seat of her dad’s Monte Carlo, her father informed her that if she didn’t lose weight, she wouldn’t be socially acceptable.

Ridicule by her peers made Craig incredibly insecure. While her non-Christian father only had been trying to protect her, his admonition helped Craig get stuck in the cultural lie that a girl’s appearance determines her value.

The instability of her parents’ marital status complicated matters. Craig’s dad married four times, her mother three. Between them, they accumulated five divorces. Though she knew her parents loved her, Craig says she suffered from loneliness until sixth grade, when she finally made a friend — a pastor’s daughter.

Invited to church, Craig says she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior on her first visit. While church became her haven, at school Craig earned the reputation of a “fat Bible thumper.”

“Now that’s a title every girl wants to claim," says Craig with a chuckle. Society seemingly validated her dad’s concerns.

As a senior in high school, the popularity-seeking Craig lost weight and stopped attending church. Yet nothing — not dates, partying, or becoming a people-pleaser — filled the empty void left inside.

Alan Smyth, author of Prized Possession: A Father’s Journey in Raising His Daughter, frequently speaks about how crucial a father’s role can be in debunking cultural lies.

Girls today are fed a daily dose of unattainable comparison,” Smyth says. “They are under constant assault from media and society in general.” A father’s strong voice interpreting the difference between truth and falsehoods can cultivate and reinforce God’s values, according to Smyth, noting that may be the only true unconditional love a daughter receives from a male throughout adolescence.

It took a five-car pileup for Craig to truly surrender to Christ’s unconditional love at age 24. Following an impact so severe her earring posts flew out of her ears and hit the windshield, Craig believes she audibly heard God confirm a plan and purpose for her life.

Though Craig suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her with a sixth-grade reading level, God’s plans for her could not be thwarted. For the past nine years Craig, now 48, has served as women’s ministry team director for the AG’s Northwest Ministry Network, which encompasses Washington and Idaho.

Getting there wasn’t easy. Following the accident, Craig moved back home with her mom and stepfather while going to rehab. With an impaired memory, she could only read a couple of words at a time. A seizure disorder prevented her from driving for six months.

Due to her chaotic upbringing, Craig didn’t want to ever marry or have children. But meeting Mark changed her mind. Together they went back to church, and now they’ve been married for almost 20 years, providing a stable home for their two sons, Austin, 17, and Bret, 15.

Craig sensed the ministry call when her youngest was a toddler. She returned to school and earned a 3.9 grade point average for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 2015, her master’s thesis turned into the book, Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change. Shortly thereafter, Craig says her non-Christian doctor expressed astonishment at how, despite ongoing struggles with reading and memory, Craig not only could succeed academically and write books, but also thrive as a wife and mother.   

A few months ago, Craig started Northwest Ministry Network high-challenge equipHER groups that already have over 400 participants.

“Women are coming from all over, meeting in person and online,” Craig says. “Many women are finding us through social media, coming from outside the Church, wanting to know their purpose. I know now that our number one human need is to be seen, and we have a God who sees us.”

With the help of social media, including a blog to help Craig train and empower women, being focused on looks doesn’t really matter so much anymore.

Patti Townley-Covert

Freelance writer and editor Patti Townley-Covert is the co-author of two books: Love. Money. Power. A Believer’s Journey Into Reality, and In The Red Zone: A Game Plan for How to Share Your Faith.