Part of living overseas is that I have started to get a 1000 foot (or mile) view of my former life. In the midst of the struggles of living cross culturally I have been
A. longing for every crumb of spiritual food I can find
B. needing to protect myself from words that disguise themselves as for my good but in reality bring shame, guilt or despair.
So, sorry facebook, though I love seeing every picture of the friends I miss, I cannot stand in the midst of a world that looks like all smiles: obedient and well dressed children, perfectly planned and executed family activities and constant success.
And though I desire to know the 10 things I MUST say to my daughter or the 7 things to NEVER do, I cannot bear the weight. In reality I am only doing 3 of those best practices but have limited capacity to tackle the others and of the 7 transgressions I am doing at least 3. My poor child has no hope of becoming a successful adult with emotional stability. (Which is why I desperately need her to know Jesus)
I know it can sound tongue and cheek when it is written this way but I am more than half serious. I am completely serious.
I am weak.
I am vulnerable.
And sometimes this seems to be the truest thing about me.
But… it’s not.
There was recently an article floating around the web about being STRONG.
Strong is the new beautiful for our daughters.
I admit, though I already knew better than to be scrolling around facebook, much less clicking on articles, I was drawn to the idea of a different definition of beautiful.
There was a lot to like about this idea and much of it I resonated with.
I want my daughter to play in the mud (sometimes) and jump from high heights and run with superhero speed and dream and play… with out worrying about her hair or dress or being dainty.
As some one who always has and still does battle with body image… I want so much more for my daughter.
But I’m not sure strong is the word I would use.
You see, I have just disclosed to you that I, her mother, am weak.
Not only am I weak in the ways I just described but I am also physically weak… struggling with a body that does not work properly, hormones that don’t balance, discs in my back that leave me with out the ability to walk from time to time, an allergy to the sun and all other living things and then the fatigue of living cross culturally.
And the thing is, I know I’m not alone. I have sisters/friends with many tiny children in their home… filling them with delight and exhaustion. I have friends with emotional and physical disorders that disrupt their dreams and daily life. I know that in an instant you can hear the words “cancer” and though you feel strong know that you are weak and that your life is out of your own control.
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone and its place is no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting…” Psalm 105:14-17
“Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.” Psalm 94:11
“For you are a midst that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14
I want my daughter to feel strong… but more than likely there will be days when she knows she is weak.
If I teach her that strong is beautiful, though she is fine with her size and shape and features, she will once again be plagued with the lie,
“I am not beautiful… I am not good”.
When you cannot get out of bed, you can bloom. God can work in the midst of your weakness and open up depths of beauty with in your heart and mind.
In the midst of depression or deformity, the love of Christ can bring out in you the beauty we so admire in a flower bursting forth in the warm spring sun.
When we are in the saving grace of Jesus Christ our beauty is secure and ever blossoming.
In the midst of developing wrinkles and skin disorders I am confident that I will be more beautiful than ever because right now my spirit is diving head long into the love of my Father.
He has taken me past what I can do and endure. I am faced with the failure to be able to accomplish my will and yet He has met me here in the mire and called lovingly to me and I am lovely because He loves me.
This is what I desire for my daughter to see and know more than any other strength or aspect of beauty.
I want her to fall in love with a God who loves her far more deeply and passionately than any human can. I want her life to be changed from one glory to another as she grows in relationship to Him and in His likeness.