Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Digital Beauty

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In the last few weeks, I’ve tried to help several different female friends through some bumps in the road. One friend is a precious college-aged girl who is anorexic. Another is a young teen who is cutting herself, and yet another is a married friend who has discovered pornography on her husband’s computer.
Fifty years ago their foremothers in America were making some decisions. They decided it was demeaning to be “just wives and moms”” and, thus, in large numbers, they left the daily routine of cooking, cleaning, packing lunches and helping kids with homework, to be office workers, law partners, executives, doctors, nurses and workers in all levels of industry. They used words like liberation, emancipation, power career, and even self descriptive “feel-good” words like fulfillment, esteem and success a lot more.
And about that time, Hollywood, whether a cause or a reflection of this movement of American women from home to the workplace, iconified the Barbie doll look as the model for all American teen girls. She came along with specific measurements, flowing hair, straight teeth, olive skin and she was on commercials advertising everything from make-up to beer. She was always the center of attention in these ads and there was always fun music playing wherever she went and she was laughing and loving it all…and women all over America wanted to be her.
But not all American women would or could be exactly…her. Some women had inherited thighs that, no matter how many miles they ran each day, would always look like their mother’s…not like Barbie’s. This woman had her father’s Italian nose and that one had Aunt Jeanie’s propensity for large and awkward feet (not those teeny tiny little Barbie feet that never come down on their heels). And some of the dimensions were right, but just not in the right order–on some women. And there were women whose skin was more orange than olive and, even worse, had freckles. And everyone knew that a beauty mark was not that. And then personal trainers, cosmetologists, plastic surgery, tanning beds and cazoodles and oodles of beauty products that cost out the wazoo became part of the daily lives of American women.
And, by this time, there was no excuse to be anything BUT Barbie. And, sadly, with this excuse, there was no time to be anything BUT Barbie, either. There certainly was precious little time left to be mom.
But that was okay, too, because there were plenty of “experts” to go around too. Someone behind every microphone and every psychologist’s desk, it seems, was telling Mrs. Modern America, that it was okay–even healthy–for your kids to learn early to “make it” in the real world of “communities” of children rather than at home where a mom was nurturing, disciplining and, in short, being there for the children she brought into the “real world.” Worst of all, some of the Mrs. Moderns began to realize that there really might not be a way to “have it all” and, since the marriage had already pretty much crumbled by then,anyway, it was one of the first things to go.
And so the day care babies have grown up. Many have beat the odds, because that’s another thing psychologists will tell you…”Kids are resilient.” But sadly, many of them are not THAT resilient. Some of them, for all the self-esteem lessons, the psychologists’ doctrines of resilience, the tolerance training at school, and the “you- can- have- it- all” mentality did not end up with a very good self image, have not bounced back yet, and don’t think they have anywhere near gotten “it all.” They are becoming less and less tolerant and more and more angry at the expectations and at their own shortcomings and the absence of a family support system. They mutilate themselves in response to their feelings of worthlessness. To sum it up, they feel a bit left behind in our “no-child-left-behind” world that is anything but. They skip meals for months, but still don’t think they look thin enough. Perfection is always illusive and no amount of money can sustain superficial goodness or beauty forever.
If I sound a bit angry this morning as I write, it’s because I am. I am inundated with messages from girls who are the victims of this society. They cannot remember a time when being a keeper of the home was exalted as the high calling that our maker intended it to be. It’s way past time for mothers, especially those of us who claim allegiance to the Word, to stop the selfishness. It’s time to be what we claim to be. Calvary was all about sacrifice. It calls us from living profligately for the consumption of the lusts of the flesh and to the agape kind of love that bears all, believes all, hopes all and endures all. That’s the kind of sacrificial love that holds marriages together, chooses spiritual riches over material things, reserves time for the eternally important rather than the fleeting and urgent matters, and values good character more than athletic prowess, outward beauty, academic success or financial profit. I think we need to raise the bar for our girls. As you will notice in the video below, any girl can be billboard beautiful for a moment. It takes a lot more time and effort and time and love and time and teaching and time to make a girl beautiful with the kind of “pretty” that needs no digital enhancement…ever. What if you and I just decide that our homes are going to be blissfully independent of the cultural norms that call women to plastic perfection and determine to put real wholeness: goodness, virtue and the calling to care for others in the hearts of our children? If that’s the goal they get in their sights, they can be real achievers.
Please watch. Please also note that my inclusion of this film does not imply endorsement of everything the Dove Foundation may promote.

Finally, for today, the women in my congregation recently hosted a seminar to promote women of real achievement and the protection of our homes from the devil’s deceit. The program was entitled “This is War” and we have just a few t-shirts remaining from the day. Does anyone who attended (or who just wants to show support) still need a t-shirt? If you want one of these, please email me at byhcontest@gmail.org and let me know what you need. I will be sure you get the shirt, and upon receiving it, you can send a check. There is no profit for anyone involved. We’re just attempting to end up in the black. Thanks!
This price is cost plus shipping. The following shirts are available:

Large – $8.00
X-Large – $8.00
3XL – $12.00

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