My Body Image, My Daughter

I’ve puzzled lately why my nearly sixteen year old daughter has said, “Mom, you’re pretty,” so many times in the past few months. To be honest, it was nice to hear, particularly as I head towards being twenty-one-twenty-one. But then everything came together this weekend when I heard Vicki Courtney speak. She gave us five things our daughters wanted to tell us, but were afraid to. Here are the five. Pay careful attention to number three:

  1. Mom, please be my mom first, then my friend.
  2. Level with me about s*x.
  3. Make friends with your own reflection.
  4. Understand how important my friends are to me.
  5. Walk your talk, talk your walk.

I realized why Sophie was building me up: it was because I was not happy with my own reflection. And how I view myself is caught by my daughter. She will be insecure if I am insecure. She will reflect my own paranoia. She will get her attitude about how she looks by how I feel about how I look. If I’m stressing about extra pounds, chances are, she’ll follow. So, in a roundabout way, her compliments served as a reminder to make peace with myself.

I have had three children. My body will never be the same it was when I walked down the aisle as a toothpick-thin bride.

Matthew 5:25 says “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”

I’m afraid I’m guilty of not obeying that verse, only the opponent isn’t someone else, it’s me. I need to learn to make friends with my reflection, denying the nagging voice in my head that says I’m no Angelina Jolie, who compares me mercilessly to the latest teen heart-throb. I am doing my daughters no favors by constantly worrying about my physique.

Lord, forgive me!

So my daughter’s words have prompted me to:

  1. Tell her SHE is beautiful.
  2. Remind myself that God looks at the heart, and that my goal in life should be beauty He rewards, the kind of heart that runs quickly to Him, full of mercy and patience and kindness.
  3. Shake hands with 41-year-old me, realizing I’m healthy, in shape, and happy. There is nothing more that should trouble me.
  4. Defy the culture that glorifies youth and puts asunder anything less than perfection. Is that what Jesus would do? Would He flock to the beautiful people? Since He created us all, we’re all beautiful people. To place on each other this yoke of hierarchy is to discredit Jesus.
  5. Smile when I look in the mirror, thankful for the years the Lord has given me thus far on this earth. Because my father died when I was young, I always thought I would die in my thirties. Well, I didn’t. And I’m so thankful.

So give your daughters and granddaughters a gift today. Make peace with your reflection. Glory in the body God has given you. Rejoice in the health you have. Trust that He will make your soul beautiful. And show the world this radical truth: a godly woman is content with how she looks.

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