these young warrior women of mine

photo (14)

Sunday afternoon I sat with those bright eyed girls, and taught my lesson: Why Should I Treat My Body Like a Temple? We ate clementines with the sticky juices dripping down our fingers. We acknowledged what a miracle it is to have a body with so many faculties--eyes to see the clementine's fiery color, a tongue to absorb its tart candy flavor, a nose to inhale its citrus mist.

We looked at images of women from fashion magazines that promised us flawless skin, glossy hair, and a happy soul should we use the miracle syrum, shampoo, perfume, face wash, lipstick, mascara, etcetera and ad nauseum. We talked about those lies that are as shiny and slick as the paper they're printed on. The lies that claim our physical appearance is a direct reflection of our infinite and uncontainable worth. We then remembered that Christ himself was not a handsome man (so says Isaiah) but that his Spirit was so beautiful it shook the world from her foundation.

We shared stories of shaming our bodies. I made a list of unkind things I've said to myself in the mirror at one point or another and read my list to them:

Your hair is flat

Your skin is too oily

Your ears stick out

Your thighs look chubby

I wanted them to understand that we're all fighting this embodied battle--the old ladies and the young--between who we really are and who the media tells us we are. I wanted them to understand that as fellow warriors, we're to shield each other from soul crippling shame; we're to protect each other from those poison tipped arrows aimed at our hearts where wisdom resides.

One of the girls said, "This morning while I was getting ready for church, I looked in the mirror and told myself that I was ugly. I'm not going to do that anymore."

And so we repented. We made promises to fight fiercely for the body that God has given us. We vowed to dig our toes into the salty earth, to open our eyes to the blue checkered sky, to run through the streets until our breath gives out and our legs bend and bow.

I believe that this generation is going to turn the battle's tide. I'm devoting my faith to their goodness, wisdom, and courage. Today I am so happy. So happy to be fighting alongside these young warrior women of mine.