Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
“What are you doing, Mommy?” This question comes from Hayley as she enters the bathroom where I am getting ready.
“I am putting on makeup.”
“Can I put on makeup, too?
“No, honey. You don’t need makeup. You are already beautiful without it.” So, to this she asks why I need makeup, and my answer? “Well, Mommy needs makeup to cover up wrinkles, and if I have pimples and red spots…well, I have to cover those up, too. Mommies need makeup so we don’t look so tired.” Yes, these words actually came out of my mouth.
Old, imperfect, pale, tired. In other words, I was telling my daughter how ugly I thought I was. I was telling my daughter that women must hide all their imperfections under foundation, concealer, eye cream, and mascara.
And the views I have of myself, of my body, and my intellect are expressed in this more often than that one conversation in the bathroom. It continues almost daily with the comments I make: “I feel so fat! These jeans are just too tight!” “Be sure to get my good side in the picture. You know, the one without that horrible gap in my teeth!” “Shorts? No shorts! I mean look at these pale and bruised legs!” “I don’t wear sleeveless. I can’t stand my arms.”
The comments I make when I think no one is listening.
The comments I make that my very conscientious and curious daughter hears. The very comments she will one day say in her own home, to her own daughter.
I don’t want to hear these same words come out of my daughter’s mouth.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:13-14
I have read this verse so many times. I say it. I profess to understand it. I have it plastered in each of my children’s baby books, and I have it cited on this very blog. Yet, I don’t believe it or live it out through the words that come out of my mouth.
I want my daughter to believe she is beautiful, that she is a masterpiece. Made by God. I want her to believe she is fearfully and wonderfully made. I want only those things to come out of her mouth. Not the self-loathing words that come out of mine. The words that could one day become her own. The ones she learns from me.
She won’t learn to love herself on her own. She will not learn self-love from the world. If I am not careful, she will also not learn it from me. So, I must show her that I truly believe I am a beautiful child of God. I have to relinquish the need to let words uttered in my bathroom fall from my lips anymore. I cannot say those words I never want to hear come from her mouth.
One day, Hayley will be 35. She will look in her own bathroom mirror, and she will see her own mother. She will see me. And she will look at herself and see old, imperfect, pale, tired, fat. In other words-ugly.
And those are things I never want to hear come out of my daughter’s mouth.
It’s time to check my tendency to berate myself at the door, especially at the front door of my home. It’s time to truly believe, live by, and repeat that I am a beautiful child of God. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a masterpiece. I am loved.
Those are the only words I want to hear come out of my daughter’s mouth.