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Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm Like a Deer in Headlights. Or, How Lily is Teaching Me What True Beauty Is.

Lily's been asking some really hard questions lately...

"Mom, am I bew-ful?" [beautiful]
"Mom, do you yike dis dress, is is bew-ful?
"Dad, yook, I'm a princess... a bew-ful princess! Do you yike me?"

She's even gone so far as to ask "Will they yike me at school with this dress?"

When she first started showing us that she was concerned what others thought of her appearance I wanted to run for the hills. Seriously, I almost choked on my coffee. I just wasn't ready! 

See, I thought I had years YEARS I tell you! I was supposed to figure out ahead of time how to teach and explain to my [much older] daughter all about good godly character and how it's WHO WE ARE not WHAT WE LOOK LIKE that makes us beautiful.

But she's just four! And she's wearing a blue princess dress. And you know what? I think she IS beautiful! One of the most beautiful creatures in the world!

So when she asks if she's bew-ful, everything in me wants to shout "YES BABY! You are sooooo beautiful I just LOVE your dress and you have the prettiest crown EVER and let me smooch your cheeks cause you're just so. darn. BEAUTIFUL."

But I know I have to stop. (Or at least reel it in somewhat) Because now I see that she's already old enough and now is the time... now is the time to talk about what really makes us pretty. I remember watching this video awhile back. It still gives me chill bumps.

My four year old is already picking up on our culture's obsession with outward appearance. And I'm her first line of defense. And oh boy you guys should SEE how terribly I screw up these conversations!

I stutter and stammer my way through what I hope are coming out as age-appropriate sentences that explain the vastly complex situation we're facing here... and I feel like she's thinking this...

So yeah. Thank God these conversations will happen often and will change in complexity over the years. Just like our conversations about what a man's you-know-what is for. Ahem. Yep, that's already happening, too.

I'm trying to be mindful of what character qualities make us beautiful... I'm drawing more attention to things I see in myself that I want them to emulate.  But it's surprisingly hard! Because no matter how much you try to think you DON'T buy into culture's message of "external beauty trumps all", you do. At least a little. At least I do.

So it's kind of interesting actually... I'm re-learning what makes me beautiful as I try to teach my daughters about beauty. "Mommy is smart and always trying to get smarter. Mommy loves to read, do you want to read with me?" "Mommy is strong and working out to get stronger. Do you want to do yoga with me?" "Mommy is kind and caring and friendly and sacrifices time for others..."

...and these things are more beautiful than what her makeup looks like or what clothes she has on or what the number on the scale is this month. 

If I sound overly dramatic here, fear not. We don't take ourselves too seriously in this family. And I'm not throwing out my makeup or ditching all our Disney movies.

We are always striving for balance... and with the mother they have (hi, I'm Jessica, and I tend towards extremes in all areas of life!) they are going to be constantly learning THAT right along with me, too!

So yes, my girls will grow up knowing Momma likes to wear makeup and high heels when she goes out. But they will also hopefully see many many more instances of a joyful inner strength of character. One that serves and cares for others, instead of being afraid of opinions or appearances!

Whew, Lily. You're making me think all deep here!

*deer in headlights!!!*


  1. I love this Jess! Praise God for His faithfulness to make you observant of Lily's words. Most moms would have simply thought it was cute. But your eyes were open and you responded with action! That is amazing and God will bless your initiative. Yes, you feel like you are faltering but God sees your heart, soft and responsive to His promptings. As you use your imperfect words and example with your girls, God is working in their hearts and minds. As you pray and trust Him, He is working in your girls' lives ALL THE TIME!! Isn't that amazing? There will be lasting fruit from these little conversations. Keep thinking deep and letting your girls take you all the places you are terrified to go. There is incredible life transformation for all of you waiting there. So happy to be part of your journey! Love and prayers, Carrie =)

    1. Thanks Carrie! Kind words... and it's so true that they take me to all the places I'm terrified to go haha. I knew motherhood would stretch and grow me but I didn't realize how much it would challenge me about myself!