Thursday, September 22, 2011
My youngest daughter, Sofie, is wonderfully complex. Strong and sensitive, she is a little girl more at home on the soccer field than she is at a "tea party". Though she will indulge her big sister and agree to play with Barbies, Sofie prefers to be running outside. She is imaginative, energetic, fast and fun. Sofie prefers bright colors to pastels. She dresses more for function than fashion. And while she does like to have her nails painted, she prefers her long, blonde curls to be loose and free as they blow in the breeze, as opposed to being tightly pulled back in a bow on top of her precious head. I wouldn't want her any other way.
(My Honeybug playing "Superheros" with one of her best friends and partners in fun.)
Still, the world has crept into my little girl's mind and her enemy has begun to whisper lies about who she is and who she is suppose to be. "Everybody calls me a tomboy, Mommy," she said somberly after school one day last week. Looking into her honey brown eyes, I saw hurt and shame. "How does that make you feel?" I asked her gently. She paused for a moment, and then with a single tear falling down her cheek, she said, "Not good."
Unfortunately, I have found that it isn't only kids who label her incorrectly. For in the past week, I have had several women smile and say, to me, "Your Sofie is such a hoot! What a tomboy!" In response, I usually smile and say, "I don't know. I think she is just a girl who knows how to play. She has girl power." It is tough to hide my disdain for these remarks. If only others understood my daughter the way that I do. Her strength, both inside and out, are undeniably feminine. And I find it demeaning and insulting that we have reduced femininity to pink sparkles and cute outfits with matching accessories.
So this week, I have taken it to prayer, asking God, Sofie's Creator, for guidance as to how I should respond to the world's perception of my little girl. Of course, I cannot change the simplistic view that some might have of her. Nor can I chase down and correct each and every person who mistakenly categorizes my daughter. Both of these things would, no doubt, help me to feel better. However, neither of these options do much to remedy the hurt that has settled in my daughter's heart.
Instead, I have chosen to use my best weapon against the world...God's word. In an attempt to nurture and heal Sofie's broken heart with truth, I have tried to give my precious daughter new eyes about what it means to be feminine. God's eyes. After all, Sofie is a girl. She is fearfully and wonderfully made and God's thoughts are precious towards her. (Psalm 139)
My daughter needs a new perspective on what it means to be feminine. She needs to see femininity as it is illustrated in the Bible. She needs to understand the wonderful blessing of "girl power". I suspect that many of us could use a crash course in how the LORD views femininity. For too many women have been listening to the world for far too long.
Let's start with Eve. Now, I know...there was that little thing called The Fall. Poor Eve got quite the bad rap for her "little mishap" in the Garden. Still, she brought life into the world and was the first woman to give birth without the aid of an epidural. That alone should give her snaps in the Girl Power Hall Of Fame.
Let us not forget Ruth. Widowed and alone, she chose to begin life anew in a strange land and remain loyal to her mother-in-law. Because of her great strength and sacrifice, Ruth met and married Boaz, gave both Naomi and herself a new start, and became part of Christ's lineage. Girl Power!
Then, there is Esther. My personal favorite. A young girl with an ordinary background and extraordinary beauty became queen and then courageously risked her life to save her people. Major Girl Power!
There are others...Deborah. Sarah. Elizabeth. Mary. Rachel. All uniquely strong and feminine. And I bet none of them needed pearls or lipstick to accomplish their purpose. Now do not get me wrong, I can embrace my inner frilly, foo-foo, girlie- girl self as much as the next gal. However, that is not what makes a woman feminine. Being feminine is a complex mixture of strength and sensitivity. Grace and gumption. Caring and courage. And you can possess those qualities and still get dirty, run fast, and play hard.
Yesterday, Bug came home wounded once more by a classmate's careless proclamation that she is a "tomboy". I listened for a moment and then I spoke strongly, as a mother determined to vanquish the pain that had stolen my daughter's sparkle. "Sofie, do you know that God imagined you and created you to be the amazing little girl that you are? He and I both think you are special. There is no need to be something else. For you are not a tomboy. You are a strong little girl who God will use in a special way for His special purpose." Really?" she answered back. Though she didn't sound convinced. "Absolutely!" I assured her. "Just be the Sofie that God made you to be."
As a woman, raising up two girls, I want to challenge everyone reading this blog. Take a moment and think about the women we want our daughters to become. Soon, they will be the wives, mothers, friends and leaders of tomorrow. God has made each little girl for His purpose and He has a plan for each and every one. Some might prefer to sit quietly, read books, bake cookies, and play Barbies (I live with one of those as well). Others might be more like a "tomboy" (though I would caution you not to use that word in front of me or my little Bug). All of them have girl power!
Let's nurture our girls and build them up so that they might recognize their individual worth and embrace their God-given potential. Let's encourage our sons to do the same, for one day our boys will be walking through life with these same girls. Let's remember that our daughters, whether sugar or spice or some mixture of both, are created unique in appearance and in character for "such a time as this." (Esther 4:14) And THIS is a time for "girl power".