Sunday, July 27, 2008

Real Beauty

***I wrote this about a month ago.  I'm not sure why I never posted it.  But since I had the lesson again this week, I thought I'd share.

We left on Wed afternoon to head to the beach.  As we were almost to the beach, Rebecca got very sad.  I could hear it in her voice as she was trying to soothe Eliana.  When we were able to talk, she told me that she had forgotten to pack her swimsuit.  I assured her that it would be fine and there would be choices since we were going to the beach.  I tried to convince her that it wasn't a problem.  I felt surprisingly calm given all that we both went through the last time we had to shop for a swimsuit.

Here's what I wrote about the first experience.

I was hit with the concept of beauty this week in a place I hadn't expected it.  While sitting in a dressing room and watching a tear slide down my daughter's face.  It hurt my mama's heart - still does.

We spent the day - just the two of us - going shopping.  Something that for many mother-daughter pairs sounds like lots of fun.  Neither of us are huge shoppers, but we do enjoy time together for girly things.  This day we had a goal - find a swimsuit.  Rebecca is pretty modest in her tastes and that made things really hard!  We were both hoping the Lands End suits would work, but they didn't.

After going to many stores in the mall and finding nothing that fit or that satisfied her sense of modesty, she just looked at herself one more time and her face crumbled.  My beautiful daughter was seeing herself as less than lovely.  The image that she saw made her feel a range of emotions - none of them encouraging.  Something many, if not all, women can relate to. 

I prayed for words to say to comfort and encourage.  My heart just ached as I watched her face and understood her heart.  I wanted to be there for her in just the ways that she needed.  I wanted her to know that I love her, that I care deeply and that I understand.  I also wanted to encourage her to begin to view herself differently.  I don't want her to take in the messages of the world and fall into that trap.  And how does she know any of this at her tender age?  It just hurt my heart.  I knew it would come one day, but I wasn't prepared for it to be now.  I just want to protect her so she won't get hurt.  Her heart is so very tender.  I'm finding that I have to continue to trust.  God loves her so very much!

In so many ways she is still young.  She is young at heart while being mature and reliable and sacrificial in so many other ways.  My sweet little girl is becoming a young  woman right before my eyes.

I shared with her that beauty is a struggle.  I shared with her that she is beautiful.  She is a daughter of the King.  She is hand-made by the One who created the universe.  We talked about body image and how it is important to view ourselves as God does - through His lens.  I do hope that she can learn that earlier than most of us do.  Or is it something we ever truly get?  I know I struggle ... still.

We also talked about real beauty - it comes from the inside.  Not on how you look on the outside at all.  In the most important ways - my daughter is so very beautiful.  Of course, I think she is beautiful inside and out.  I hope that she hears me, believes me.  I know I'm biased, but so is the One who made her and He delights in her,   (Zeph 3:17) just as He does in each one of us!

Well, apparently one or both of us had more to learn.  I asked God what it was that we needed in order to experience this again.  The trip wasn't as emtional - thankfully!  She found a suit that worked though wasn't one that she loved.  We talked about just making do with it so that she could enjoy the beach - and she did.  I think she looked great - and hope that she did too.

One last thought on beauty - a really sweet moment.  One day I was listening as Christopher, our 15yo, was playing with Eliana.  He was talking with her and telling her how pretty she is.  It just melted this mommy's heart.  I can't help but think that he is seeing beauty as it should be seen.  Not filtered through the "knowledge" of the world, but through a heart of love.