Friday, July 22, 2011

when your daughter uses the "f" word

No, not that one. The other one. The one which lingers in the minds of many girls and women, bringing forth questions, doubts and self-loathing. The word? Fat.

Brianna used it the other day when she was getting ready for church.

"I don't want to wear this dress with the sash tied in the back.** It makes me look fat."

Immediately, my mind filled with questions: "Where did she get that idea?" "Did someone tell her she looked fat?" "Are her friends talking that way about their appearance?" "How has she already gotten the idea that looking "fat" is a bad thing?" "Is this how eating disorders start?"

I wrack my brain trying to remember any times she may have picked up this message from me. I am usually careful to not comment on how I feel about my appearance on any particular day. But I wonder if there were times when she's watched me dress and picked up on my nonverbal cues that somehow I was dissatisfied with the way a particular piece of clothing fit. There also have been teachable moments when that word was verbalized about other people - opportunities to explain we don't make those kind of comments about others and that what God considers important is our hearts.

Days later I still cannot explain how Brianna came to this conclusion. She's so young. Only weeks away from turning eight. I think I was a pre-teen before I became that conscious of my appearance.

Though I tried my best to sway her thinking, she remained steadfast in her beliefs about the dress and how to tie the sash to better flatter her figure. I tried telling her these were lies from the enemy about her appearance and pleaded that it's what God thinks of her which counts. I'm not sure I got anywhere or handled the situation very well.

However, it has caused me to realize we, as women, need to do battle for each other and the generations of women to come. To take up the sword of the Spirit - God's Word - in prayer and thrust it into the heart of the enemies lies about who we are and how we look. Will you join me in this battle?
see the sash tied in the front? ;)

We can start by praying a piece of Scripture which may be familiar to many of you and is dear to my heart. It's from Psalm 139. Let's say it out loud for ourselves and our sisters today and throughout the day as God brings it to mind...

Lord, thank You for creating our inmost beings and knitting us together in our mother's wombs. I praise you because we are fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. In Jesus' name, Amen. (adapted from Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)

And...if you've encountered this same issue in your own life or can provide some wisdom on how I can minister to my daughter in this area I'd love to hear your thoughts.

**Brie likes to wear her dresses with the sashes wrapped around her back and then tied in the front. Maybe it's because she can tie the bow herself or likes to see the bow. The sash on this particular dress was starting to pull at the seam so I suggested she tie it in the back as it was meant to be.

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