Identity Confirmation From A “Mean Girl”

As mothers, each of us can commit to raising our daughters to be kind. We can vow to teach her to love her neighbor as herself. We can demonstrate compassion and model grace. We can instruct her on the fine and difficult art of establishing boundaries and we can walk her through friendships that hurt.

But let’s face it, sisters: there will always be mean girls.

Allow me to have a Martin Luther King, Jr. moment and proclaim that I have a dream of female camaraderie. I would love nothing more than to see a culture of women authentically support and love one other—could you imagine the power in this? No more extramarital affairs because we would all be a sisterhood. No more comparison, jealousy, or bitterness. Sounds pretty dreamy, doesn’t it?

Yet I’m not quite this naïve. While I want to strive to make this a reality, chances are this won’t actually happen until Jesus comes back.

Until then, it’s guaranteed mean girls will exist.

So how do we teach our daughters about Jesus through the sting of a mean girl’s hurt?

Last week, my eight-year-old daughter fell into my lap with crocodile tears brimming her eyes. When I inquired about what was making her so sad, she simply said, “Andrea told Elizabeth (names obviously changed) she didn’t like me anymore because all I want to do is play animals.”

Now, it’s true my daughter is two years younger than said girl. And it’s also true that said girl has a right to play with whoever she chooses. It’s just that said girl has been pitting the other girl and my daughter against each other because she wants to be the queen bee for quite a while now.

Though said girl is ten years old and believes her action won’t go unnoticed, I’ve been around the block a time or two so I can see the handwriting on the wall.  I’m no fool and ain’t nobody got time for that.  (So sorry. I had to work my new favorite phrase into this post. )

“Maybe I should stop playing animals,” she confesses after the tears have started to spill onto her cheeks.

I resist the urge to chime in with my two cents right away and sit with her in her pain for a moment.

“What do you think Aubryn or Sophie would say?” I ask, referring to her two closest friends who love to play animals, too.

“They probably would be sad that I don’t do that anymore,” she admits.

“So do you want to change something you enjoy just because one person made a hurtful comment about it?” I prod.

“No, but she also said she didn’t like me,” she answers, though the tears are dissipating.

I continue with the fact it’s just the first time she’s ever encountered this but it won’t be the last. I pass on the wisdom from my 87 year old grandmother that I’ve heard on countless occasions: “Not everyone is going to like you.”

True that.

And the other truth is that the fleshy, mama-bear side of me wants to take this girl behind our house and wring her neck. Yes, I realize this is sin. Yes, I realize I just revealed a big, ugly part of myself. And yes, I realize this would only make matters worse.

But don’t we all feel like this when someone says hurtful things about our children?

Suddenly, I hear a voice that can only be from the Holy Spirit because any good parenting discussions I ever have are from Him.

 “Tell her who she is in MY eyes, “ He suggests.

Breathing deep, I continue. “Sis, you are going to face a lot of stuff in this world. There will be people who won’t like you just because of the way you look. They may not like you because you are a good reader or because you play with stuffed animals or fill-in-the-blank. But in the end, who does God say you are?”

“Fearfully and wonderfully made,” she quickly answers.

“Yes and not only that, but He knows how many hairs you have on your head. You are His beloved princess and He tells you ‘you are mine.’ He knows when you stand and when you sit and He has nothing but good for you—even when life seems hard,” I add.

It’s then I realize when the mean girls attack, and sadly, they will, we have some pretty powerful ammunition.

Turns out, the old saying about sticks and stones is wrong. Words do hurt.

But when we choose to follow Jesus, we dig our roots into who HE says we are. Not THEM.

We continue with a discussion on placing boundaries around relationships and thank God for the true friendships she does have.

We discuss the scripture that tells us to pray for our enemies and we pray for the girl who hurt her feelings. For the record, I didn’t want to but sometimes action must precede feeling.

I kiss her goodnight and I exhale as I close her door.

 He has pulled through for me yet again in this journey of mothering a daughter.

Mean Girls Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Talk with Grace: Honoring Your Commitments

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the activities on your calendar? Have you ever had a friend cancel plans with you because they got a better offer from a different friend? This week on Teen Talk with Grace we talk about honoring your commitments and not getting too busy.

Click HERE to watch this week’s Teen Talk with Grace.

Teen talk with Grace

What She Needs to Hear

Family reunions typically mean family pictures.  At least in our family.  No matter the size or date of the gathering, families will line up for pictures with Grandma, siblings pile in together, and so on.  We love family pictures.

As we watch a slide show of family pictures flash across the screen, she says, “Look at me, I am so fat,” and “Oh I hate that picture of me!”  My heart breaks.  This beautiful, tall, athletic young lady with long, flowing blonde hair and bright blue eyes just said things about herself that are untrue.  Yes, as her mother, I think she is the most beautiful fifteen year old out there.  But even more than that, I know that she was made by the hands of the Creator of the universe.  A loving Craftsman who put her together just so.

For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

beautiful WGHow many times do we look in the mirror or at a photograph and complain about what we see?  Women of all ages and cultures struggle with self image.  However, when a teenage girl is going through changes physically and emotionally, those struggles seem to magnify.  They are unsure of what is going on in their body.  They feel awkward.  And as mothers, we are not much help when we are complaining about our own size, shape and looks.  How can our daughter think she is beautiful when her mother is saying horrible things about herself?  Sister, God made you.  He made you on purpose, for a purpose.  It is unfair to expect your daughter to see her beauty when you don’t see yours.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

 

How can you help her self image?

  1. Tell her she is beautiful.  Tell her often.  Say it face to face, leave her notes, write it on her Facebook.  Just tell her how beautiful she is.
  2. Point her to the Word of God that shows our Father created her.  {Psalm 139:13-14}
  3. Go on walks or bike rides together.  When we are more active, we tend to feel better about our self.  Simply say “I would like to spend some time with you, how about a walk?”
  4. Watch what you say about your self. Never put yourself down or complain about your looks or weight.  If you are unhappy with your weight, just be more active.
  5. Be very careful what you allow on tv and what she reads in magazines.  The world will tell her {and you} that you need to be a certain size or look a certain way  before you can be beautiful.  That is a lie of the enemy!

Let your daughter know that she is beautiful.  That no matter what body shape she has, what her skin is doing right now, or what number is on the tag in her jeans, she is  beautiful.

 

Letter to Teens: When you’re the only one

By Tracy Steel

Dear daughter:

I know that you love Jesus. There came a time when you realized you needed His forgiveness. So you received it and decided to follow Him.

But then you told your family about your decision. They didn’t understand. Maybe they laughed at you or called you names. Things are different now between you and your family.

They still don’t understand.

Yet you continue to pray for your family because you love them. You wish your family would love Jesus too, but feel it will never happen…

You continue to read the Bible, and its words light up the inner places of your heart. You experience moments of unexplainable peace. You feel alive. You are excited to share what you are learning, but when you do so around the dinner table, your words fall on deaf ears.

You are dismissed.

You feel alone in your faith.

You are the only one in your family who loves Jesus.

And it hurts.

You wonder if things will ever change…

Oh sweet girl, YOU are on my heart today. I want you to know that Jesus sees and feels your pain and loneliness. Only 4 of the people closest to Him remained at the foot of the cross as He died. All of his disciples, except for John, watched from a distance. (see John 19:25-27 and Luke 23:49)

Jesus was forsaken by His Father as He hung on the cross. (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)

Yes, precious daughter, Jesus sees and understands.

He is forming you into something rare and someone beautiful.

Keep

following

Him…

image courtesy of "Pong"/www.freedigitalphotos.net

image courtesy of “Pong”/www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

Did you know that in nature, pearls just don’t happen? Pearls are formed when an irritating microscopic object becomes trapped inside a mollusk. Pearls are a defense mechanism for the mollusk. As they fulfill their purpose they harden, become beautiful, and are highly sought after.

Likewise, you are God’s pearl. You didn’t just “happen” either. God is using various irritants of life to mold you into something beautiful. Hold fast to the faith you have confessed, for you are highly prized by your Heavenly Father.

 

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

-Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

 

Be encouraged! Here are some tips to help you “hold fast:”

 

Pray for your family. Even if you are already praying, keep doing so. Nothing is impossible with God. (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27) Ask others around you to pray for the salvation of your family to. Pray for God to help you trust in His timing.

Engage in a local church, seek out Christian friends and find a mentor. You need to be encouraged, challenged, and supported as you grow in your faith.  

Admit when you’ve messed up and ask for forgiveness. Humility and honesty bear witness that the love of Christ is maturing you. Your family may begin to ask questions and desire to have a relationship with Jesus as they perceive the power of the Holy Spirit in you.

Remember that God loves you. When you experience loneliness and pain, fill your mind with the Truth of God’s Word. Try memorizing: Psalm 103:10-12, Romans 8:38-39, and 1 John 4:9-10.

Live your faith. Your family is watching, so act and speak carefully. It’s an honor to represent Jesus to the hurting world around you, isn’t it?

I pray this encourages you. All of us at Whatever Girls are cheering you on. We hope you’ll pray, engage, admit, remember, and live for Jesus daily.

 

Can we pray for you?

 

If you are the only one in your family who loves Jesus, would you send us an email? We would be honored to pray for you by name and walk beside you in this way!

 

Resources to help you answer tough faith questions:

 

The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel  www.leestrobel.com

More Than A Carpenter and New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell  www.josh.org

Do you have a family member that is ready to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you aren’t sure what to do next? Proverbs 31 Ministries has some wonderful information that can help guide you: www.proverbs31.org/do-you-know-jesus/

 

The Day I Met Grace

“It’s a girl!” the doctor announced at 1:48AM after over twenty hours of grueling labor. Or maybe it was the nurse who told me I had a daughter? My body was shaking, going into shock and I couldn’t breath on my own. How could someone that moments before, was experiencing such pain be so numb to reality?

The minutes passed by as my baby was getting cleaned up, weighed and swaddled. I remember I was freezing cold, still on oxygen and my jaw was out of line.

My mom was the first to hold her. I was in such a state of “something” that I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I remember my mom telling her new granddaughter they were going to go shopping.  She’s made good on that promise, by the way, countless times over.

Then, an 8 pound, ten ounce, twenty-one and a half inch long angel baby with a sprinkling of light brown hair and deep blue eyes was placed in my arms.

I looked at her, and it was still surreal.  I was a mom. Wow.

I remember resting in my hospital room and hearing a baby’s cry from down the hall. It was my baby Grace; I knew it. I hadn’t known her for a full day, yet I knew her cry.

There’s so much to our story. How I was 21 and unmarried when I got pregnant with her. How I was married and a mother at age 22. How I was 23 and divorced. How my parents were my rock through it all. How I met and later married the man God created for me. And how if it weren’t for my Grace I wouldn’t have found His grace. There are so many things between then and now, but those stories are for another day. Today, I celebrate her.

“What’s her name?” the nurse asked, as she recorded her birth.

“Grace” I answered. “Her name is Grace Elizabeth”.

She is all I ever could have asked for in a daughter….and more.

Wishing my beautiful daughter Grace a very happy fifteenth birthday today. I love you to the moon and back, infinity.

My Gracie girl

 

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