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Posts Tagged ‘Girls’

Last week I wrote about how just doing ‘good’ is not enough, in my post If I … but don’t have Love.

The day after I wrote it, I received a post from one of the people whose blogs I follow, and I thought how timely it was, for where my head was on the issue of love, and social justice.

I love the heart of this woman!

Ann Voskamp, book writer (One Thousand Gifts), blog writer ( http://www.aholyexperience.com ), mother to six, wife to the Farmer, child of God.

This post had me silently ‘amen-ing’ her thoughts at 6am, smiling and eyes filling with the fluid of the heart.

images-3Ann deals inwardly, and then with words, with the plight of too many young women around the world. She deals with the need for revolutionary change, and where that change can be birthed. She deals with the message of the world (one of good intentions … but … without … love) and with the message of the power of gratitude, of love … in making the change.

The post, How Women Can Get Really Radical For Their Sisters, moved me. I encourage you to take a read.

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A conversation a long while back still haunts me.

My daughter had the look of one who wanted to spill information that she knew, so we did some errands where we would be driving (nothing like the wheels of a vehicle moving to get a teenager to talk) a significant amount.

It took no time for the story to enfold.

She told me about her friend. Her friend, at the time, was a girl of just fourteen. She had a boyfriend. According to what my daughter said (because she is a question ‘asker’ and she had asked her friend what the two of them talk about together), her friend and the boyfriend didn’t spend much time talking, because there was not much for them to talk about to each other. The two had discussed the details (I guess they found a topic that they wanted to talk about), of when and where they would have sex for the first time. And so, when mom was out, and the house empty, they did IT.

The story does not end there. The next day the daughter asked her mother for oral birth control (I am not sure if she fessed up to mom about her recent sexual explorations). Her mother grounded her for two weeks.

So, now we have a young girl, who is dating a guy who she has nothing to talk about with, who is having sex, who is wise enough to know that birth control is a good idea, whose mother chooses to not only say no to, but, rather than sit down and have an exploratory conversation, grounds her. Yikes! It is the perfect storm of situations!

How is it that, in this day and age, a mother could be so uncommunicative with her daughter? How is it that, in this day and age, a girl could think that having sex with someone who she has nothing to talk about with (other than sex) is a good idea? I keep hearing the voice of the Virginia Slims cigarette ads saying “you’ve come a long way baby” and thinking … really? I keep thinking of the book by Laura Schlessinger “10 Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives” and thinking … will it ever end?

There is a line that I frequently quote to my daughters, that comes from the classic Louisa May Alcott book, Little Women, “I will not have my daughters being silly about boys.” Although they are fully human young women, I greatly desire that they grow up knowing that their value is not in temporary pursuits (and especially when it comes to young men), but in who God has created them to be, and the purpose and intent He has for their lives, apart from romantic or sexual relationships. They are, indeed, sexual beings, but oh, they are so much more! I truly believe that they must seek God’s best for them, as individuals, before they begin down the path of life with another person, and their life’s direction.

It is with fear and trepidation that I co-parent these two precious ladies … fear and trepidation that brings me to my knees! And that is a good place to be.

While on my knees I pray for openness of communication, and for wisdom to help them grow to be wise.

“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good.
To be admired, loved, and respected.
To have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married,
and to lead useful, pleasant lives,
with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send.”
Little Women

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“I am so fat.”

“I am ugly.”

“I hate my nose (substitute any other body part)”

“I am so flat.”

These are the “truths” that many, if not all teen girls believe about themselves. Most often these “truths” are not truths, but lies that have grown from a near microscopic-sized seed, planted by someone else, who had had no idea how immense the growth would be.

The growth of that seed results in the decay and destruction of the heart and soul of young and developing young woman. As it’s lies take root in the young lady, it pushes aside and alters the intended growth and development of that young lady. She becomes something that she was never intended to become. She increases in insecurity, she decreases in her understanding of her own abilities and value. She looses her own self in the lie.

Sometimes the far-reaching growth of these lies completely envelopes her heart, and changes the path of her life. Sometimes it hides deep within her, and the cracks it creates in her soul make it difficult for her to live with herself, even though the damage done is not seen by the eyes of anyone around her. Sometimes, it’s damaging overgrowth forces her to look for ways to escape who she thinks she is, and she does things to her body that can damage her and change her life forever.

Teen girls are the masters of comparison. They compare themselves with other girls. They compare themselves with celebrities on the covers of magazines. They compare themselves with girls who have a guys hand to hold.

As I walk the halls of the high school where I work, the church I attend, the malls where I shop, and the house where I live, I see the eyes of the girls who believe the lies. In those eyes I see the insecurities that have taken root from the lies that have been believed … hook, line and sinker.

It breaks my heart to see these broken vessels. Not because they are not beautiful, but because their ability to see and know their own beauty, their own abilities, has been suffocated by the lies.

If I could tell a teen girl anything, it would be that they are a one in a million gift. That the package that they contain, that they are, is of more value than any rare jewel. That, as they live their life as the precious gift that they are created to be, they are empowered to unwrap each layer of their gift, to reveal the purpose, and passion and beauty that only comes from within.

I would tell them : “Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. I have loved you with an everlasting love…I hold you in the palm of my hands. In my sight you are precious…do not be afraid I am with you.” Says the Lord God. (Isaiah 43:1-4)

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We were heading to do a bit of back to school shopping, my youngest daughter and I. It was a shopping trip with a mission … to purchase what was needed, and get back home … on budget, and with our relationship still intact (those of you with teenagers understand the near impossibility of that).

I decided to start our evening off right, with a mother-daughter dinner. This enabled conversation, planning for the evening, and full bellies.

As we were sat at a table, another family was seated just across from us … a mother, a daughter and a preschool son. My daughter noticed them and oued and awed over how the older sister was caring so tenderly for her younger brother (how she could not see herself in the place of the older sister, and how good it would be to treat her younger brother with tenderness … at least once in a while … I do not know. But, I digress).

And this moment, at the beginning of our evening, started a most wonderfilled evening together. She started a theme, and we began to seek out similar moments, intentionally.

The theme altered slightly, from children in general, to little girls and their fathers. And so, with her impetus, we began seeking fathers and daughters to observe. And, we did this all evening.

There was a man at Costco with his daughter in a cart. The preschool aged daughter was holding a package. Her dad looked at her and told her not to open it, he then looked away, she looked at us, grinned, and giggled with the twinkle in her eyes communicating that she would not stop trying to open it.

Then the little girl who cried she wanted to go home, and dad hugging her.

And the little girl dressed up, in a pretty dress, riding on top of a mattress set, on top of a cart … looking like the princess and the pea … dad pushing her on it.

By the end of the evening we had purchased all that we had sought out, we were on budget and we were still talking (an amazing accomplishment). I am convinced that it was because our ‘purpose’ for the evening had changed. Oh, we still got clothes and food and school supplies, but we also got to lay our heads on our pillows that night with the beauty of wonder filling our hearts and souls. We sought wonder (intentionally), and it was there.

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It’s a weird thing, getting ready to celebrate my daughter’s 14th birthday, but not getting to celebrate it with her … except on Skype … a poor substitute!

You were a long awaited answer to prayer, after agonizing losses, and, finally acceptance that you might never come to be. Man, we should have known that you would not be any easier after birth, than the waiting before.

You came to us (via the stork, of course, what 14 year old wants to accept that there could be any other way … gross? AND what mother, who gave birth, wants to be reminded of the birthing process?) on an beautiful spring, warm and sunny day, with magnolia trees in full bloom just outside the hospital walls … how idyllic … today it is raining, and pouring!

Your birth was quick and natural (aka … hum, sin is natural … enough said), and you slept through the first night … and that was the only night you slept through for two years!

Your hair was the color of a shiny copper penny, and it covered, not just your head, but your back, and even on the sides of your face (we called you our monkey … and now, when you have friends over, we realize that monkeys attract each other).

We took you home to your sister who so desperately wanted you (to have someone to boss around).

And now you are 14, and so much more aware of the world. As a child you amazed me, at how you could find a playmate in anyone; no difference was a barrier. You played with anyone, no matter their age, where they were from, or gender.

You still can find a playmate in anyone, but you now see that there are differences … growing up can mean you lose beautiful innocence.

There is something I desperately do not want you to lose, and I see it fading …

Don’t stop dancing. There is freedom in dancing, there is dreaming in dancing, there is uniqueness and creativity in dancing, there is worship in dancing. All of that, just from dancing … alone … by you, for you, for your Creator.

My most beautiful memory of you is that hot summer day, when, on the cusp of … changes, you played dress-up, felt the cool of the shaded grass between your toes, and you danced all over the back garden. And I stopped and watched, and drank in that moment of innocence, and freedom … and thanked God, that you finally sleep through the night that He prompted me to pick up the camera to keep this memory of you for all time.

I HOPE YOU DANCE

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

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So, it’s been a week since part of my family left. And, man, have I accomplished lots!

I’ve worked in the garden (freshly laid out grass seeds are currently being drenched by yet another ‘mini’ monsoon), organized ‘piles’ of stuff to put elsewhere (some of us are ‘pilers’ and some of us are … messy), taken a day trip with eldest daughter (you will so be hearing about that trip!) and cleaned the house (a very full, extremely heavy, garbage can was taken to the curb last night … not this morning, as is often the case, when another (male) resident of the house frequently chases the garbage truck down the street, with the can … name withheld to protect the guilty).

It has been a good week!

But the dancing through the house in my undies like Tom Cruise in ‘Risky Business’ (yet another indicator of just how archaic I am, AND an added bonus for those who know me is to now have been given FAR too much information, and a visual that they just do not want) is now past. And I am missing my Baby Girl 😦

It is not that she is the only one I am missing … I do miss her brother and her dad, but tonight when Skype was choppy (grrrrrr!), and she kept getting ‘offlined’ by Facebook … my heart just longed for her. It felt as though she and I needed to be together, and the big, bad technology gods were not letting it happen.

It was one of those momma-longings. I remember when she would be sleeping (finally … let me tell you the moments I am about to share were pretty much non-existent for the first two sleepless years of her life) and I would look in on her and everything within me wanted to pick her up and just ‘drink in’ her unique scent …

By the way, for those first two years I NEVER actually did pick her up … heck, I was so sleep deprived that I rarely checked on her if she was sleeping … sleep was a longing that this momma rarely ever had fulfilled.But, I digress.

Anyway, tonight as I ‘chatted-choppily’ on Skype with her dad and brother, I got this longing for her. Then, when she still hadn’t ‘appeared’ in the conversation, I realized that she might be struggling with the thunderstorm they were having, and I NEEDED MY BABY GIRL. Because, even if the thunderstorm was not bothering her mature Middle School person, it was bothering her momma here that I could not hold her in my arms.

I’m so glad times have changed, and that she doesn’t leave me sleep-deprived anymore (of course I recognize that surely that will re-occur in the years to come). I’m so glad that I am not scared to go and watch her sleep peacefully (this does not happen late at night, as I am old, and she is … adolescent. It happens anytime before noon, but after 6am, when I awaken). I am so glad that, even though she is adolescent (and I am … old) we both need to hold each other.

So, Baby Girl, whether you read this tonight, or tomorrow morning (or, in 10 years, because you think reading your mom’s blog is ‘lame’) I want you to know that when you were in Middle School your mom longed to hold you, and talk to you (and give you hints about what I got you for your birthday), and …

I miss you Baby Girl, sleep well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6QGTKrj97g

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