By Alexandra Kuykendall
She’s wearing her hair in a side braid today. It falls over her left shoulder. At risk of sounding cliché, I swear she grew taller last night. Her neon yellow shorts accentuate how her legs are almost as long as mine, those legs that were formed in the darkness, swaddled by my hips. She is pre-teen in every way. And she is beautiful.
Someone recently told my husband that your babies’ years between one and eleven go slow, but from eleven on they fly. When he came home and repeated those words our eyes locked and we knew. We are on the precipice of freefall flight. The end of this summer is the start of middle school in our house. Have we prepared her? Is she ready to face that next step? At the center of our anxious questions is this core, does she know how valuable she is? Does she know she is beautiful?
As I talk to other mothers of daughters, I hear this cry over and over. Does she know what she is worth? And what MORE can I do to convince her? Our cultural definition of beauty is painfully narrow. And as her mother, I look through a different lens, I see her with the eyes of love. How much more does her Maker, the one who knit her in my womb, see His own image reflected?
And I am surprised again and again that these mothers’ worries, my worries, come from our own places of self-doubt. I fear passing on the complexes of my past or my now.
In their new book True Beauty, mother-daughter duo Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre, argue our obsession with our insecurities is part of our fallen nature. Simply, when we fixate on ourselves, we are not focused on God. To truly live a life embodying beauty, we must fixate on the glory of the beautiful Jesus: “He is the radiance of the glory of God.” (Heb. 1:3)
So as I have four sets of girl-eyes watching how I talk about myself and others, care for myself and others, I am modeling to them what it is to be a woman. What it means to embody beauty by fixating on Jesus and his ways. Could it be that the best way to show my girl with her long legs that she is valuable is for me to live a beautiful Jesus-obsessed life in front of her?
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