You stood in front of my covered mirrors, as I fumbled with my flat-iron, to fix my hair without looking at my reflection. And of course, you wanted to know why I did such a crazy thing -- to give up my own reflection for 40 days.
I think you knew why. Kind of.
Then again, you're only nine years old.
You did know this:
You knew it was Lent, and how some people have this practice of giving something up during the days leading up to Easter. You knew that I wanted to give up more than my dark-chocolate indulgence. You knew I was giving up mirrors. You knew I was giving up a heart indulgence.
And you knew that we've been saying this one word around the house for two years now: "preapproved." We've been telling each other we're preapproved, that we have nothing to prove, and that we're already approved in Christ -- no matter what anyone else says about us.
You've heard that word again and again -- preapproved. You've heard it before you take tests, and when friends don't invite you to slumber parties, and when you're feeling somehow ... less than.
So it was no surprise to you that my bathroom mirror was plastered with that one word: preapproved.
"But why the mirrors, Mom?" you asked. "How does that make any difference?"
Because, honey, I'm tired. That's why.
I gave up my reflection for Lent because I’m tired.
I’m tired of the self-degradation that we do as women, that we're either not enough or too much -- which all depends on whether we're looking in the mirror (not enough) or staring at the numbers on the bathroom scale (too much).
I'm tired of women seeing themselves as a series of disconnected parts, rather than a whole, preapproved creation of God.
I'm tired of girls worrying about “thigh gaps,” or lack thereof.
I'm a mama who is tired of the photoshopping and the airbrushing.
And honey, I'm tired that girls your age begin to fret over their curves -- even before they begin to learn cursive.
Listen, daughter. I'm going to put my hands on your shoulders while I tell you this: Little girls who think they're not enough/too much ... grow up into women who think they're not enough/too much.
So many women despise what they see in the mirror, but once their fingers touch the computer keyboards, they pretend otherwise:
On Instagram, every day is a good hair day. Nobody has pimples or eats the last three spoonfuls of macaroni-and-cheese straight out of the pan.
I'm tired of that. And, I've been guilty of that. I love Instragram filters more than I should. I love the way that a good filter can take five years off my face. I'm sad for all the ways I preach "preapproved" to you girls, but use filters for the World Wide Web.
I'm done with that. So, then, this:
(The no-peek, no-filter selfie of the day...)
Daughter, I want to stop obsessing about what’s in the mirror, and I want to stop stressing about what’s on the scale, so I can start professing who I really am:
On Easter morning, I want to stand before our mirror, knowing soul-deep that my pouched middle means that the gift of motherhood stretched me. I want to know that the fine lines are marks of the years who’ve made me who I am.
A couple weeks ago, when I was gone on that trip with your grandma to New York City, I nearly cried tears of joy when I saw a woman standing outside the TODAY show studio with this sign.
What woman does this?
We need more women who are proud of who they are, not trying to hide something. We need more women who will hold up some kind of sign, as if to say: I am preapproved. I am good, as is. I am done with "not enough." I am done with "too much."
That's why, dear daughter. That's why the mirrors are covered. That's why you see me struggling and fumbling and laughing with my flat iron, in front of a covered mirror. That's why you see my hair winging out the side of my hat in the hairstylist's chair (bless her heart for covering the mirror):
Because I want to live what I believe. And I want you to live it, too.
But maybe you did know if after all. Because you came to me, sweet daughter, and you said you wanted to do the same thing. Because you didn't want your mama to do this alone.
And so we do this together.
I wonder, dear daughter, what beauty we'll behold on Easter morning, when our Hope rises so gloriously -- our Hope telling us that we're preapproved beyond our wildest dreams ...
Click here to print the preapproved cutouts. Place these where ever your Love Idols have lurked!
A Preapproved printable: to frame, to put on your refrigerator, to give to a friend. Click here to print. My gift to you, brave soul!
So, what's your Story? A #TellHisStory is any story that connects your story into the story of God.
You're invited to tell that story right here, in community with us.
Share your narratives, your poems, your Instagrams tagged with #TellHisStory, ... your beautiful hearts. You are the chroniclers, the people who help others make sense of the world with your words and your art.
Story is how we know that, no matter what happens, we can get back up again.
Visit someone (or two) in the link-up to encourage with a comment. Then, Tweet about your posts, and the posts you visit, with the #TellHisStory hashtag. Come back on Friday to visit our Featured #TellHisStory, in the sidebar.
A final note: This is a safe place to tell your stories. You don’t have to be a professional writer to join us. Story is built into every single one of us. Your story matters, because it’s part of God’s story down through history, not because you punctuated everything correctly. Deal?
For more details on the #TellHisStory linkup, click here.
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