I could tell you that you are beautiful…

but what would be the point of that?

 

You might believe me for a moment, but the first light breeze would blow that sucker right off

or

You’d think I was just saying it to make conversation

or

You’d think I was an idiot

 

It’s ok. I know. I’ve done it. 

In the past, when someone told me I was beautiful, I too was faced with a swift moral dilemma, because either that person was a Liar OR they had terrible taste and my opinion of them needed to go down a couple steps.

 

My husband says I am beautiful.  After almost 14 years of marriage, I must ignore my moral dilemmas here. Usually, I accept his compliments as a gift from God; that my husband has some kind of magic God-filter on his eyes. This is good, the God-filter.

But I don’t feel it. The words fly at me and they bounce off, like I have a force field against compliments. They can’t get in.

I do not, absolutely do not, almost never ever, feel beautiful. Do you?

 

Over the last few years, God has grabbed my heart on this issue, but I had to work on myself before I could start to speak it – write it – heal it in others.  I knew I needed to. I am a mother and a leader.  Like so many of you, I long to make the world more whole, more alive, more true – more aware of God in ALL things.  Brandy Patterson Walker is a woman fighting and leading the way into a wilder, more loving and free Way. As I was working on a piece for a her new book, “WILD GOSLINGS: engaging with kids in the mysteries of god” Brandy asked what I most want children (and those who teach and raise and love them) to know.  I’ve worked with kids and adults through all kinds of creative endeavors for years, and I’ve learned that no matter how much someone loves God, no matter how beautiful the things they create for Him; if they do not love the things God has made (including themselves), they cannot fully love God.

So, what did I want to contribute to WILD GOSLINGS? 

THIS:

As part of renewing the ways we see God, we must also renew the ways we see ourselves: Beautiful and Right.

**********

My daughter has a freckle on her cheek. Oh, how I love that freckle; it signifies all that is right in the world. Beauty boiled down into one small speck on one small girl.

I see her beauty. I have seen her beauty from the day she was born.

I expected my newborn baby to look, well, a little weird. They usually do, don’t they? They look like strange, little misshapen aliens. (It’s ok, we are friends, you can admit it.)  So, when my first baby was born, I was going to be objective. I was ready to see her strangeness and love her anyway – cone head, smooshed face, whatever! I would be the mother who was “honest” about my baby.

And then I saw her… we were both exhausted as our eyes met. I opened my mouth to speak and I couldn’t hide my surprise. The first words I directed towards that precious miracle were, “OH You ARE cute!” (amen. #motheroftheyear )

 

And she was. The truth of her beauty was undeniable to me.  From the moment of her birth, she has been beautiful and getting more beautiful by the day…

but there’s a looming tragedy on its way and I know it.

Someday she will be ugly. Someday she will be lumpy. I may sound terrible, but how many people have you thought looked ugly or weird or too fat or too skinny or something was wrong with their hair or face or body? 100’s and that’s being polite.

And every single one of those people was the daughter or son of Someone.

Someday my beautiful daughter will walk into a party and be eyed by 20 girls and 20 guys who will all judge and assess and critique and categorize her.

{{{{  Just writing those words makes my lungs close in on themselves.  }}}}

And she will learn the “truth” that she is deeply flawed.  This will be a tragedy and a lie from the actual pit of hell.

She will go home and look in the mirror with new eyes. No longer will she see the gorgeous creation she was as a child – made perfectly by a loving God, precious and beautiful and free. With disappointment and probably hate, she will see her face, her body, and she will never be the same.

I cannot let this happen. If this was a train, I would throw myself in front of it to save her. If this was a lion, I would fight it with my bare hands. If this was poison, I would drink so she could live. But, it’s more insidious than those things. This is 100000000’s of lies and creepy virtual insects crawling into our homes, our mirrors, our minds.

We cannot let this happen to our kids.  And we MUST start with realizing we cannot let this keep happening to ourselves.

I was not more beautiful as a child than I am now. My daughters are not more beautiful than me. We are not more beautiful at 1 or 5 or 8 than we are at 11 or 25 or 58. We have allowed ourselves to be lied to for too long. The truth is here and we must choose to believe it; for the sake of all the babies.

This is my new Start. This is what I am willing to fight for – for my children and for us to know that our beauty didn’t fade. We are all children of God: beautiful and right.  Believing the truth of our beauty is not an end or a way to just feel better about ourselves. This is the beginning of knowing God and the powerful people we are meant to be.

“All beautiful you are, My Darling. There is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

You are beautiful. All Beautiful. Believe it.

 

Will you help me spread this truth? Can you believe you are beautiful? –Even one small part?  Can you help a friend see her own beauty today? 

I am putting out an SOS. We will call it #sos47 and my prayer is that it will be more contagious than all the judgement and false “perfection” we have been sick with.

 

SOS47

 

Also!! I could not be more excited and proud of Brandy’s new book and all the contributors; a group of people giving time and talent to making connections across beliefs and topics… Being brave enough to engage in the mysteries and wildness of God – with and for our children.  

Wild Goslings will be published July 15th.

by Brandy Walker

by Brandy Walker