My sister says that my daughter was prayed into existence (Erin's story can be found in my first blog -- A Little History) which means I have a huge job on my hands, and so often I feel that I fail or I'm not doing what needs to be done by her. God has given her such a precious, compassionate heart for all living things all the way down to the crickets (she released my husband's bait on a camping trip after she saw what he was using them for). She has a heart to share with others the love of Jesus, but for all the outgoing and bubbliness of the little girl who is my daughter, I'm seeing now she through her drama, through her words, and through her actions she doesn't value herself the way God does. I'm taking her to see a Christian counselor tonight so she can talk about her bad dreams, her nightmares, and now, I'm going to bring up her self-image.
Yesterday, I picked Erin up after school for an afternoon of just her and me to celebrate her "anniversary" until church began. Erin's adoption was finalized on October 26, 2001. Patrick and I had bought a special outfit for her earlier in the day to commemorate. Erin and I went shopping for her fall shoes and we visited my grandmother and another elderly lady at a nursing home. Erin was expressive and energetic and excited. She had a wonderful time at church and Awana's. It was on the ride home when I was past the point of exhaustion that I said, "Erin, I am so glad that God made you the way you are. He made you perfectly the way He designed you to be you." My seven year old daughter told me she didn't think her body was all that perfect. She said she wanted to be skinnier! SHE IS 7! Broke my heart that Satan had already wormed his way into this part of her life.
My conversation with her that followed was about how we are all made differently but made in God's image. "Look at the Cheetah Girls," I said, "they don't all look alike. They are all built differently." I explained that God made Erin's body the way it is for a reason. We just have to figure out what that reason is. I also told her that come high school she is going to have curves and the boys are going to be calling and I'm going to have to knock some heads of those boys too. I said she is still growing. God is still making her into the one He wants her to be.
I believe Erin's love language is Words of Affirmation. I have to step up my A game because Satan is doing better, but I refuse to allow this little girl to think less of who she is. God has big plans for Erin. It would not surprise me if she was called to be a missionairy. It would not surprise me if God used her ability to entertain and make people laugh to draw them closer to Him. She has a calling for her life.
For several weeks God has been placing on my heart a strong desire to set up a "charm" school of sorts at our Christian school in Shreveport, but unlike "charm" schools as in years past, there would be a time to learn about manners, a time to learn about their bodies and behavior, and a time to learn where they get their values from. I had already talked to the children's pastor and several moms who are more than eager to get this off the ground. My goal is to find or develop a program and have it implemented by Spring 2010. The future of our little girls are at stake, and if we can raise a group of girls who will back each other up, who will encourage one another even though they are different, who can accept each other's differences, and who know not only where their value comes from but Whose they are, maybe just maybe some things in our society will change.
My daughter wears anywhere from a size 12 to 14 in children's clothes, and do you know that it is hard to find little girl clothes that don't look like "hoochie momma" (as my 4 year old son would say). Modesty and self-respect go a long way with little girls who mature into young ladies and who develop into virtuous women. Lord knows, our homes, our churches and our society need for us to raise them up right.
It's time to fight! Fight for our daughters.