Youth Ministry Mentoring: How To Help Girls Find Their True Reflection

When one of my daughters was about 3 she used to have this little frilly blue dress that she referred to as her “Cinderella Dress.”  It was her way of being a princess. Twirling she would sing to me, “Mommy don’t I look so beautiful?”

There was a problem though.  As this particular child would get “dressed up”  for a special occasion she would begin to panic.   All of her confidence would drain as she analyzed her hair, and shoes,  certain everything was less than perfect.   Yes, at three.  As a matter of fact her Dad and I started to dread these special occasions.   When she was at home in that blue dress, she was a princess who had just entered the ball.  Anytime it involved going out in public, it had to be perfect to the point of breakdowns and tantrums.

I wondered if it was my fault? Had I so desperately been excited by having a little girl I had turned her into the “fairy” monster?   By the time she was 2 1/2 she had two younger siblings.  Was this her way of being “seen” in the midst of all the others?

Thankfully,   this “phase” subsided.  Fast forward to adolescence.  Now we are in the midst of changing bodies and pimples.  She is awkward and gawky.  Once again I stand before the panicked voice asking,  ”Mom am I pretty?”  The old insecurities are back.   This time in full force.   The media,  her friends, the world are pulling at her to have the right skin, the right weight,  the right clothes.   It is a constant tug of war.

Yet,  this is a struggle that I hear from every young woman I meet At some point they wake up,  and the person they see in the in the mirror gets overanalyzed.  “If I can just make my complexion clearer,  my cheeks more rosy, my this that… then I will finally be attractive.  Then someone will notice.  Then I will be seen.  Finally,  I will have figured out how to be “pretty.”

The problem is we lost that in the garden.  The moment we took a bite of that fruit and figured out we were naked.  That is the moment we started to “see”  ourselves.    There is only way to “get beyond it.”

Take on the person of Christ.

My pastor explained it so eloquently.   When we come to the cross we give Jesus all of our sin.  We give him our flesh.  We lay it all down and give it up.  The problem when it stops there – we are empty.

What then happens  as it says in 2 Corinthians,  ”God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Yes, we know we are “indwelt” with the Holy Spirit when we accept this.  However, have you ever thought about the fact that we take his gift, put it on,  take it in,  and we “become”  this?    The nakedness of the garden is gone.   It is clothed in Christ.

Yet, how do I help a young woman look into the mirror and see she is “enough”  when  the voices around her tell her it isn’t so? That tiny girl in the dress has never been anything less than exquisite.  I believe issues like cutting, eating disorders and even suicide would be profoundly diminished in girls if they could see the Creator’s reflection in the mirror.   Let’s face it, the world muddies her with its labels minute by minute. As we have heard sticks,  stones and words hurt.  It takes much less time to tear down than to build up.

So for those of us working with a younger generation, what is our responsibility?

We need to “make disciples,”   the way Jesus did.  He was with his “guys”   when they were laying down,  when they were walking,   constantly.  Each time he told them who he was and how to live for him that was the time he expected them to understand.

We must stop just standing near young ladies and hope they will comprehend how to become “women of God.”  It’s time to get involved.  It’s time to teach them how.  The moment has come to enlighten them as to who they are in Christ.  Amazing.  Gorgeous.  Whole.  Just Right.

We have to get with God and take on his righteousness.  See his reflection.  Show the next generation how to do it.

It is NOT A LOST CAUSE.  It is not too big.  It starts by showing up in the life of a girl,  and letting her know she has always been a princess,  after all she is a daughter of  THE KING…