Growing Up A Girl: True Story

Leneita Fix —  September 18, 2013 — 2 Comments

girls

 

I hear weekly from preteen and teen girls what they believe is “wrong” with them.  Their teeth are too yellow.  Their hair is too straight or curly.  They are too short or tall, chubby or skinny, busty or flat chested.  They are in a constant state of trying to look “right” so they can be accepted.

Sure we walk around saying that it is what is on the “inside that matters.”  Of course those of us who follow Christ are saying  we see the Lord’s reflection when we look in the mirror.

Yet, the horrible and very real truth is that as women we can rarely look past the outside long enough to focus on the soul.

 The problem according to several statistics is that they are consuming about 10 hours and 45 minutes of media DAILY.  This generation is consuming more television, internet,  print media, video games, and movies than ever before in history.

Even if  we hide our girls away-  turned off the computer and never watched a movie, the moment we walk into a store it is in our face. Article after article is about how to be skinny, have perfect skin or perfect hair.  If not it is about picking someone apart because of their lack of such attributes.

How do we convey how to live in this world and look like Christ when we are constantly bombarded with WHAT WE ARE NOT.

The problem of course lies in the moment that we believed that serpent’s lies;  when we took the bite from the fruit of knowledge of good and evil we lost our innocence.  Women lost the memory that we truly are created in the image of our living God.

So the diets started.  The comparing.  Sizing up.  You are looking at me and wishing you had my eyes, while I want your hair.  So we make ourselves look “pretty.” In the meantime our girls are crumbling under the pressure of, “If I could be a little more this and a little less than that.”
We wonder why they are starving themselves or marring their bodies. They can’t get past the fact that they are “all wrong.”

Those that are smart or leaders are seen as “too much.”  We can say it isn’t true over and again.  We can keep saying we shouldn’t care about our looks. An hour out the door of church and my own teen is asking if her jeans, “make her look fat.”  Yes, we joke about that line, but I have stood in my bedroom on more than one occasion sweating that question to my own husband. Perhaps it’s about control? If I can at least look the part then I just might be able to get by. So I am wondering:

How do we really teach our girls that they are gorgeous to God and that is what matters?

How do we help them engage culture and take it back for Christ, in real ways?

How do we really help them to put their identity in the right place and person without pretending- but really make it a truth in their hearts?

First

We need to stop ignoring it. The facts are that while women OUGHT to believe that our souls are beautiful we are striving for beautiful bodies. It begins with every woman working on seeing themselves as created in the image of God. Every woman needs to get before God and honestly assess their insecurities as they compare themselves to other.

Second

Godly women need to be mentoring girls.  We need to show them in the word what the Lord meant for them. It is important for us to teach others how to take the words of Proverbs 31:30  inside: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;  but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

Third,

We must teach this generationally.  Each generation of girls needs to be sharing with the next that they are “perfectly and wonderfully made.” Adults, teen, pre-teen, and children: one to another.

Finally

We must teach girls that they were created to do mighty things for God.  Teach them about our Biblical examples: A queen that saves a nation (Esther.)  One redeemed that helps those take over the promised land (Rahab).  Mary was a teen chosen to bear the Messiah. What about Deborah, Abigail, Mary & Martha, Sarah or Rebecca? Ever thought about how there was a void until Eve was created?    We simply don’t know what amazing things our girls might do.

Let’s get them unstuck from this place. THEY ARE CREATED AS A REFLECTION OF THE LIVING GOD.  Let’s celebrate, and teach them to celebrate as well.

These are just starting points what are you doing to affect the girls in your life?

A couple of weeks ago this tweet came across my phone:

93 years Ago today the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Sadly the church still has a way to go on recognizing women leaders.

— Pete Wilson (@pwilson) 

What was interesting to me was the slew of comments that followed.  There were all sorts of ideas about whether or not women should be pastors, or follow “culture” or if this idea of women in church leadership was “Biblical.”   Pete’s responses were gracious and void of malice.  My favorite response was this one:

Nope. Not sure how you came to that conclusion from one tweet. Esteeming women and their God given purpose is a Biblical value.

The whole exchange really sat in the back of my brain.  It’s interesting that Pastor Wilson was not making a stand as to whether or not he felt women should take the pulpit or be in charge, he was saying that if God has put a call on your life, and you happen to be a woman you shouldn’t be looked over. (The idea that we draw conclusions from 140 characters is another post all together.)  I want to make it clear this post is not meant to be a theological debate.  I have heard very solid Biblically based arguments for all sides of where women should sit (or stand) in church leadership.  All I can give are some thoughts from a woman who has been in family ministry for 22 or so years.

Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a purpose and a plan for our lives.  A plan for good and hope to prosper and not harm us.  That plan might include marriage.  Or not.  It might include children.  Or not.  It might include being called into “paid” ministry.  Or not.  It might mean that plan is to become an international missionary, or be the first person to swim from Cuba to America.  What I know is that whatever this plan is,  it does not go away.  It’s inclusive to all the seasons we go through.  Yet, somehow our culture often dictates for women in ministry it is supposed to “look” a particular way.  If it does not work out that way, something it “wrong.” Too often we are talking about our opinions and not the Bible at all.

I know that when I look at my daughters, Moms, women and girls growing up in my ministry, I want them to know how much Christ loves them.  When they grasp how high, wide and deep that love truly is my prayer is that the greatest cry of their heart would be to love and serve Him. Then I pray the Lord would help them understand that as we do everything for the Lord, as we serve, we lead. It will mean a variety of things wherever God places them. They may or may not be celebrated for it here on earth, and that has nothing to do with gender.  However, this journey with Jesus is the most important one we have.  For me he broke my heart for the least, the lost and the last.  I long to see families who are falling apart, put back together.  In this he has given me places where I lead.  I also agree with Pete’s original tweet, and I could tell you stories of ways I have been pushed down, stereotyped, and that people- who love Jesus- have been down right mean.  When I look at my girls,  the ones in my home, the ones in my youth group, my greatest desire is that they are willing to walk this life with Christ.  I trust He is big enough to lead them correctly and they will know when they seek him with their whole hearts.  Sometimes, I think we as people need to get out of His way.

I would love to hear from other women in ministry, what are your thoughts?



Women in Ministry

General —  May 23, 2008 — Leave a comment

Some of you that read this blog are the Youth Pastor at your church, or working in ministry at some capacity. There is a forum set up for those who might want to chat. It is hosted by Simply Youth Ministry, there is no one steering conversation. Just a place for those who are in the same boat to touch base.

To get there click on Simply Youth Ministry under my heading “friends”.

On their website go to “Community” and then “Forums”, there you will see the bold Women in Ministry.

Go for it!

Amanda