Maybe It’s Just Me

Brad Paisley got it right. When he described his girl as “sunshine mixed with a little hurricane”, I’m pretty sure he was describing Sweetgirl. That kid is a whirlwind of toothless eight-going-on-eighteen.  Ahab and The Nana would surely describe me similarly… plus a few teeth. And pounds. And years.

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The times I have to watch my Sunshine hide behind clouds of doubt or insecurity, though, because of the way others treat her, it’s my own inner hurricane that starts brewing.

I can’t be the only one who identifies with the inner hurricanes I see within these tender-hearted girls. Self-doubt is a powerful ingredient in an emotional storm and it surely does seem like there are far too many of us huffing harsh words out onto others in hopes that we will feel smarter, prettier, more popular, and even seen. We whip our attitudes around and lash out at others in an effort to boost our own meager confidence. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought in hopes that we matter more than the next girl.

And none of it does a single thing to advance love, joy, peace, kindness or goodness.

No. In fact,  witnessing how hurtful and mean girls can be toward one another is distressing. Watching the devastation left in the hearts of the hurt is heartbreaking. Too often this meanness starts a vicious circle of behavior: Be hurt. Hurt another. Feel better. Be hurt again. Hurt another again. Feel better again. And on and on it goes.

And, I’m tired of hearing that this is just how girls are with one another. Responsibility gets to fly off on the shoulders of Blame, that way. And, assuming that girls will determine social hierarchy with little emotional fallout makes about as much sense to me as throwing a non-swimmer into a pool and saying, “Good luck with that swimming thing.”

Comments sharing how there will always be mean girls fall hard on my heart, too, because I’m a firm believer in doing what you can. Don’t we all remember the Starfish Story? We can throw one starfish starving for it’s watery habitat back, and it will make a difference for that one single starfish, won’t it?

Aren’t the hearts of girls worth just as much effort and attention?

With their increasingly younger noses perpetually pressed to their smart phones or tablets, and seeking social acceptance there, it seems obvious that guidance is needed. We adults need to be checking in often enough to know who and what these girls of ours are trying to get their self-worth from.

And, while we’re at it, where are we trying to get our own self-worth from?

As I’ve mentioned here and here, I do believe our worth is something a few of us adults need to be reminded of, too.

Or, maybe it’s just me.

What do you say we work on battening down those hurricane hatches together?

God knows Grace gushes in my general direction because I desperately need it.

Often.

Can we agree to work on showing, not telling, our girls how to treat themselves, first. Can we remind them again and again that they are created in the image of One who loves them more than any Facebook or Insta “like” ever will. And can we do that together, by caring more about the eyes watching us refresh our screens than those on our screens.

Sweetgirl needs some help learning how to combat The Mean with the truth that we are each a special God-designed mix of sunshine and hurricane. Especially as we boot up for a new school year.

And, quite frankly, her mama can always use some more work in that area, too.

Always.

Yes indeedy.

Who’s with me?

Let Her Be More

Sometimes, I like to envision Memory and Perspective walking hand in hand.

While The Nana is away on a business trip this week, we are babysitting being companions to Ahab.

So, naturally, we cooked him his favorite dinner last night, steak and potatoes, and then headed out to Dairy Queen for a sweet treat afterwards.  We wanted his first night without The Nana to give him promise that we weren’t going to be Lazy Hang-Abouts all week long.  Ahem…

Ahab and I sat at a table, while Sweetman was waiting for our order, and watched the kids flit here, there, and everywhere.  While we did, two teenage girls walked up to the window all decked out in their teenage finest (read that, shortest and tightest dresses possible).  Their hair was teased and coiffed and I’m near to certain that they had a pound of make-up on their faces between the two of them.  They texted and lol’ed, checked out the surroundings for the few teenage boys working the counter, and generally did all of the things that teenage girls will do.

Ahab turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and asked me if I remembered those days?

What the what now?

I do not remember ever (just so we’re clear) dressing up quite that provocatively.

Or, maybe I’m just older than I want to admit to being.

Either way, I remarked that thankfully, sweetgirl was a lot like me and that I was pretty sure that she was going to be confident enough in herself to never think she needed to dress that way to attract attention. (Speaking it makes it true, dontcha know?).

I also might have mentioned that I was going to teach her that she didn’t need to “package” herself at that age, or any age, to attract the attention of men. And I might also have gone on about how I will be teaching her to care more about making her heart attractive.

Oh, the intentions I have…

And as we watched Sweetgirl flit, Ahab marveled at how precocious and outgoing she was and commented that, “Yes indeedy, (I come by it naturally, you see), she’ll do alright.”.

Isn't she beautiful, mama?

Isn’t she beautiful, mama?

I said that she came by her precociousness naturally, of course, because I was like that at her age, too.

Right?

But, what he replied with was not what I thought I knew of myself.

No. Not at all.

Ahab said, “No, you were actually kinda quiet and on the shy side.  You were much more cautious and a thinker.”

HUH?

Now, from the stories about my formative years that The Nana would tell you, I was all sorts of spitfire in the personality department.  My brother – he was the one who bounced from point A to point B.

But I?  Well, apparently I was the mastermind behind the bouncing.

I’m left chewing over that and trying to make sense of how God brought me to such a place of confidence compared to how I used to supposedly be.

And I can only conclude one thing.

By. His. Grace.

By His Grace, I am able to remember that I am more than my outfit.

I am more than my appearance.

I am more than what others think of me.

I am more than what others may say about me.

“But by God’s grace I am what I am, and his grace shown to me was not wasted.”

1 Corinthians 15:10

And oh! How I pray that Sweetgirl always holds this truth close to her heart.

Let her be more than a conqueror, through you, Jesus, too!

Yes indeedy!

What truth do you want your own daughter, or the little girls in your life, to hold close to their hearts?