Today would have been my baby girl’s twentieth birthday. With each year since her passing, we think of all the milestones she would have accomplished had we been granted the privilege of raising her into adulthood like our other children. It’s hard to imagine Rebecca as anything except a beautiful, delicate newborn.
Her fifth birthday was the hardest. The thought of her being old enough to go to kindergarten felt like grief all over again. Suddenly, remembering her as a baby felt like a violation to reality. This birthday is another painful one. Continue reading How Grief Taught me Joy→
My fourth child was due to arrive just before Christmas. We were building a home at the time and it was not ready for occupancy. I remember feeling anxious about bringing a newborn home to our temporary living situation–a large, open room over my brother-in-law’s garage. With two young boys and another young family within earshot, I feared the sleepless nights would be a problem for the whole house.
Every mom wants her nest in order–beautifully decorated and sanitized–before her new baby arrives.But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Imagine how Mother Mary felt ridding a donkey across the country during the “nesting stage” of her first pregnancy.
Your world view is greatly determined by the way you answer this important question.
Men and women are equal.
This world view may show itself in a lot of striving to prove our equality. When favoritism is shown or life seems unfair, it is only natural to fight for our rights. Any weaker party should be given to and any stronger party should be taken from in order to level the playing field.
Do differences (in gender, strength, appearance, gifts, talents, success…) make life unfair?
Women are inferior.
This world view is often confused. When men see women as less than, or when women see themselves as less-than, it is only natural for the genders to conflict. A man trying to prove himself may mistreat the women he wants to overpower. A woman feeling down on herself may accept abuse that she does not deserve.Continue reading Is Woman Inferior to Man?→
According to David Garner’s survey on Body Image in America as reported in Phychlology Today:
56% of all women say they are dissatisfied with their overall appearance.
84% of women report dieting
14 % of women have been diagnosed with eating disorders- the majority being underweight.
1.5% of women say they vomit for weight control, yet do not feel they have an eating disorder. 3% use laxatives for weight loss and feel that is not a concern.
67% of women report that being around thin women makes them feel insecure. 45% say that models make them feel angry or resentful.
There are many reasons why beauty has such a stronghold on our hearts:
1. Beauty is an important part of the feminine heart.
The desire for beauty is not shallow or selfish; it is our reflection of the One who created us. Just as man was designed to glorify God with his strength, so was woman designed to draw others to Him with her beauty.
Unfortunately, our desire to be lovely can get the best of us if we focus on it too much. I suppose anything we give too much attention to can mess up our lives, but let’s think this through.
The desire to be strong or successful, is encouraged by society.
The desire for beauty, on the other hand, is not as socially acceptable.
Wether we pursue strength or beauty, we may be confronted with jealousy from time to time, but seldom will we be put to shame for such desires as to do well or be strong.
I was only in third grade when my ministry to girls with Image Issues began. I remember coming home from school broken-hearted because one of my friends was being picked on for her weight.
So what if some kids are heavy? I was skin and bones, is that wrong, too? Why are kids so mean? I don’t get it. I was baffled as a eight year old and I’m still baffled today. No two people look exactly alike, so what kind of logic says that differences are defects or deficiencies? And why should anyone be ashamed of how they look?
Variety is beautiful
I seldom got judged for being skinny, but It was that same year that the kids teased me because of how I dressed. I used to wear little bobby sox and apparently they weren’t “in style” (because children know these things!). I was the brunt of cruel jokes day after day until I finally told my mom. I was hoping she would take me shopping for long sox so that I could fit in.
Most women HATE, HIDE or get HUNG UP on their image at one point in their lives. For many, this is during the teenage years, but for some it’s at a very young age, for others it comes later in life.
When we are hurting and our self image is down, we may lash out at others, blame them, or become consumed by their needs while neglecting our own. Whether you punish yourself, shut down your heart, or try to numb the pain is a big indicator of what your personal Image Identity (Img.ID) is.
Every child wants to be loved. Little girls long to be seen and heard and to belong to something greater than themselves. We need to know we are valued. Boys do, too. They need adventure and challenge. They long to be strong and courageous and to be needed.
Yet we all have image issues at times. And some “times” last longer than others.
Many factors have made me hyper-sensitive to family dynamics recently: My pastor has been preaching a series on relationships, I am preparing for a mother / daughter event, I am finishing up a child’s book about the six styles of children, and most significantly, cancer has invaded my strong, influential father and I am getting a lot of extra time with my extended family as we all join efforts in helping my parents through the fight of a life-time.
How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony! ~Psalm 133:1
When is the last time someone said something encouraging to you as a person?
You are very good at that.
You are so strong!
You are beautiful.
I hope it was this morning that someone validated you as a person, but I know that in reality it may have been a long time since you have heard a positive statement about your looks, strengths or qualities. For some reason, most of us hold back from “speaking life” over each other.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!-Deuteronomy 30:19
Not all Confidence Conflicts are Beauty Battles. Attacks on our identity come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most of these conflicts are mountains–whether we made them out of molehills or not.
Nineteen years ago today, my husband and I faced one of our biggest mountains: the loss of our daughter.
Grief is a very real and very difficult Confidence Conflict, which leaves you feeling small and overwhelmed. Emotions are raw, vision is blurred and the path to peace is hard to find. There were many times during our journey when we lost our way, broke down, gave up or separated from each other emotionally. We did, however, make a decision to reunite and help each other over the mountain of grief. Eventually we found our way through the woods, but I don’t believe we would have made it to higher ground if we hadn’t called out to God for help. Continue reading Finding Strength in the Confidence Conflicts→
The Dramatic woman is just that: passionately expressive. Conversations with her are very deep and theatrically infused with emotional word-pictures. She’s a rather private person, but somehow doesn’t mind the spot light. In fact, many Dramatics take up their profession in the fine arts and are often found in the theaters or on television. These girls (and guys) put their whole heart into their performance and their long, lean physique is easy on the camera.